Have you ever had to tell your spouse something you don’t want?
One of the hardest conversations I have ever had to have in my nearly 10 years of marriage is: “Charlize almost drowned in the pool.” This summer when I almost lost my daughter to drowning was undoubtably a moment in time that changed me. I remember everything about the day – how scared I was and the intense shame I felt in having to call my husband and tell him our daughter almost drowned on my watch. Fortunately, my husband received the news in a way that didn’t make me feel worse than I already did. We agreed to take our daughter to the ER. She was admitted to the hospital for pulmonary edema to be monitored. She, ultimately, was fine. But this moment, was a moment that changed me, a moment that has brought on several hard conversations and questions I had to ask my husband and myself.
Are you upset with me?
Do you blame me?
Do you think I am a bad Mom?
Do you trust me with the triplets?
Not only did I have to ask Ryan these types of questions, but I also had to express to him the extreme shame and guilt I was carrying. Not only that, but my anxiety was at a whole new level and I was terrified to be alone with my kids. I needed to be honest with him about my own fears, struggles, and confidence in who I am as a Mom. These types of conversations are hard and often painful, but so necessary.
I know I am married to a loving and gracious man, but I truly believe if it wasn’t for our 2 years of marriage counseling we wouldn’t know how to effectively communicate and share really hard truths with one another. There was a time in our marriage when I swear the only way I communicated was by raising my voice and in return, Ry would just shut down, silent treatment style. It was not effective and only resulted in more hurt. I think one of the hardest things to do in a relationship is admitting when you were wrong, made mistakes, or caused hurt. It is not easy to recognize your weaknesses and apologize, but when you do, I think it can really help build a great foundation in your marriage.
Sometimes in communicating effectively to your spouse means you have to wait until you can actually communicate and listen to each other. Nothing will be resolved if you cannot hear what your spouse has to say (no matter how much you disagree). We all want to be heard and sometimes it means hearing things we simply don’t agree with or don’t want to hear.
I think there is an incredible value in owning your feelings so you can truly help one another. When my daughter almost drowned, not only did I have to own the fact that it happened and I was right there, but because of the accident, my heart was in a whole new place of struggle. I had to be honest with my husband so he could help me through this season of the guilt and shame that came with almost losing our baby girl. I also had to hear his heart, his worries, and what he felt when I called him to tell him the news about our daughter.
While I know there is value in sharing honest, hard truths with your spouse, I also know that some of those truths can lead to truly heartbreaking conversations and sometimes arguments. If you and/or spouse are not in a place to receive and share (without saying things you know you don’t mean) then I really believe it is better to wait. Between Ry and I, I am the yeller. And I know if my heart is pounding and I am fuming it is likely not a good time to try and resolve something broken in our marriage.
We have been married for almost 10 years. We have been through some really painful seasons and some truly remarkable seasons. But right now, this season, is a good season. I feel like our marriage is in the best place it has ever been because of the tools we learned from our counseling years ago. Knowing how to truly communicate effectively with one another has saved our relationship and allowed us to be honest with each other. We are not always going to agree, and we will hurt each other. It sometimes feels inevitable. But we are in this together.
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Desiree Fortin of California. You can follow her journey as a mom of triplets on Instagram.
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