Ha! Don’t look at me. I have no idea what the key is to making a marriage work. Hell if I knew, I would be screaming it from the rooftops and making a bazillion dollars. Maybe even more! Seriously though, I feel like most people I know (that actually made the insane decision to get married) are constantly looking for ways to make their marriage work. Or at least complaining super loudly about their marriage making me wish they were looking for a way to make it better.
While I may not have any sort of magic spell, I believe I have been around the block to know a thing or two about a thing or two. It’s my suspicion that the key to marriage longevity is vulnerability. But, I already share everything with my husband, you may be thinking. To this I ask you, do you really? I mean, I am not just talking about what you did during the day, what your favorite food is, or even what your ambitions are. I am talking about revealing the deep, dark fears that hold you back from living to your highest potential. I am talking about verbalizing the exact things that you KNOW will hurt your spouse but really must be shared because they may be things that do/don’t align with your soul. Ex: “It makes me uncomfortable when you kiss me while running your tongue around my teeth like you are cleaning them. I really wish you wouldn’t do that anymore.” Or, you know, something like that. So why, you ask? Why is this vulnerability important in making a marriage work?
True Expression – Being vulnerable is revealing the true expression of who you are. If you can’t allow your spouse to witness you in this state, how can you possibly expect to reveal this to anyone else, much less the world? The thing is, the world needs you. The full you. The truest expression of you. There is only one of you and you have that special thing only you can share with the world. Allowing a spouse to see it is a great baby step into owning your power. Owning your gift. The bonus is as you step into your truest expression, you are by default giving your spouse permission to do the same. It may get super uncomfortable at first, but oh, the peace and love that will be revealed can heal any relationship.
No Guesswork – Now that you aren’t hiding any aspects of yourself, there are no more games. No worrying about whether you should say something or not. If it aligns with your soul, say it. If not, don’t. Want to start taking that dance class? Say something. Doesn’t mean spouse has to agree, but at least you are not hiding a desire. You can now have an open and frank discussion about it. This includes in the bedroom. This has been my biggest struggle. Being intimate while revealing vulnerability is hard ass shit. Step into it anyway. The fear is always worse than reality.
Solid Sense of Self – (didn’t even try for that alliteration, bonus!) The more vulnerable you become, the more solid your sense of self can become. What exactly does that mean? It means that as you reveal more and more of yourself, you can practice more and more self-love. The more self-love you have the less you need anyone else to validate your sense of worth. You begin to understand and know deep down in your core that you are worthy. You are worthy of love. You are worthy of living the fullest expression of yourself. And, if there is someone out there that doesn’t like it, even your spouse, you realize that’s ok.
Less Fear – The more you practice vulnerability, the easier it becomes. The easier it becomes, the more you do it. Not just with your spouse but with friends, coworkers, strangers, everyone. The more you do it, the less frightening it becomes. Before you know it, you are a rock star watching all of your biggest dreams come true including a solid marriage that is based on love and mutual admiration.
Becoming vulnerable does involve risk. While there is a great chance of making your marriage work, there is also the chance your spouse will not accept this change in you. Hear me loud and clear – this is NOT a reflection of you! This is a reflection of themselves and the fear that they have in revealing their own vulnerability. If it is too much for them, let them go. Their time with you is over. You have learned all you have to learn in the relationship and the only way to stay is by shrinking back into a lesser version of yourself. If you thought it was painful before, it will be excruciating the second time around because now you’ve had a taste of what being free feels like.
If you wish to know more about how to become more vulnerable, I highly recommend Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. She dives into the meat of being vulnerable and how incredible life can be living from this state.
Again, I am probably the farthest thing you would call an expert on marriage, but if there is one thing that I have learned it’s that the closer I become to being the truest expression of myself, the closer hubby and I get. Vulnerability can be the key to making a marriage work. What do you have to lose? Only the wall you created around your heart to protect it from pain. How’s that working out for you? Go ahead, knock that wall down. Let your light shine.