“Communication has been vital in our marriage!
This was something I didn’t always understand early on in our relationship, nor was I good at it.
When I would get frustrated with my husband, I wanted to be left alone, but he wanted to talk. Talk?! Are you kidding me? That was the last thing on my mind! Like, just let me sit in silence without you trying to talk things through like a mature person and let me sulk over why I’m upset. Because that always made me feel better… not!
I may not have been great at communicating with him when we first got married but I knew I wasn’t going to start a habit of saying things out of frustration or anger, only to regret what I said, later. He knows when I do say something, it’s because I mean it. We’ll never leave each other guessing where we stand or how we feel. If our facial expressions or actions don’t convey it, our words will.
Ryan expressed his frustration with me as we sat in the hot tub tonight, his frustration came from not meeting the frequency of how often he wants to have sex. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t caught off guard by this conversation, I knew it was coming. Because it’s the conversation we’ve had multiply times throughout our marriage.
Physical touch is one of my husband’s top love languages. And here’s the kicker, it’s also one of mine. I know this and he knows this. We both enjoy hugging each other, kissing, snuggling, hand holding, flirting, and SEX, but we both need all those things in different doses.
I let him know I wasn’t trying to frustrate him on purpose but that I understood his frustration. Because I know how I feel when he’s not meeting my needs in the doses I want, and we have to have a conversation about it. I understand where he is coming from, I get it! Who am I to say that what he needs is asking too much of me or not enough? That’s not my job. My job as his wife is to know his needs and wants, then try my best to meet them and when I’m not, be willing to talk it through with him and commit to trying harder. Even if it’s a conversation we’ve had countless times.
As we sat in the hot tub, we talked about the different ways we could meet in the middle. Ways that I could meet his needs but also his willingness to adjust his expectations. We talked about what was realistic in our marriage and that his needs matter, and so do mine. Yes, we even talked about the frequency of how often he wants it verses how often I want it. No, they don’t align! For most our marriage, they haven’t.
It’s not that I don’t love him or desire him. Because I do! I just don’t need it as frequently. We both have had to come to the understanding that it’s ok that we are different but that doesn’t give either of us the right to not try or expect that it’s going to go exactly how the other one wants it to. It’s about meeting in the middle. It’s about trying harder. It’s about showing each other we really do care. It’s about being committed.
We haven’t given up on this either. We both know we need to work at it and because we love each other, we do. Our conversation didn’t go perfectly. We have room for improvement when it comes to these kinds of conversations with each other.
But I’m grateful we both feel comfortable with the space we’ve created between us, to the point we feel we can always talk about things like frustration or not feeling fully connected like we would like to and how we can get back on track.
We’ve been married for almost 16 years and in those years, we’ve learned a lot about what it takes to make a marriage successful. And communication, healthy communication is a HUGE part of it. We’ve learned that attacking each other or pointing the finger doesn’t drive change or make an already frustrating situation, better. It only creates more contention.
Then tonight it hit me, when we have these conversations, we do it in a setting that is calming for both of us and we talk it out. We don’t yell. We don’t name call. We don’t blame. We simply express our feelings to each other and honor them. And by doing that, we are able to resolve any frustration we may have with one another.
Marriage is one of those relationships that if you want it to work and be successful, it needs constant communication and redirecting when it feels off track. Which boils down to consistent work. I believe whole heartedly that marriage isn’t meant to feel like hard work, it only feels that way if the wrong work is being done.
The wrong work stems from the head like ego, pride, and selfishness. Whereas the right kind of work, will always come from the heart, as known as LOVE.
The right kind of work doesn’t mean that there will never be uncomfortable or tough conversations. It means that when both partners do the right kind of work, it will lead to a positive outcome. The wrong kind of work will lead to a negative outcome.
Our conversation of him expressing frustration with me lead to us both feeling understood and being affectionate with one another. Our marriage has been successful not because we do everything perfectly, but because we respect each other, are willing to talk about things that bother us, and course correct when needed.
A marriage will always feel like an uphill battle when the wrong work is present. The moment the hard work is cut out, that now clears room for heart work to be done. And when heart work is in a marriage, it will be successful.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Tracey Ferrin, 36, of Houston, Texas. Tracey’s new book “Up Struggle” is available now here. Follow her journey on Instagram here and Facebook here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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‘Honey what’s wrong?!’ He started crying. ‘Nick passed away.’ I could see his pain.’: Brother-in-law’s sudden passing brings family together closer than ever, ‘I’m here, bud’
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