New challenges brought new levels to communication in our marriage

Life is good: You and your spouse are communicating well. There’s this beautiful flow and state of bliss in your relationship.

And then – just when you think you got it – life has a way of humbling you, right?

Do you know that feeling that when you THINK you “know” something, you’re very quickly presented with a new lesson, from a different situation, which allows you to go deeper?

We’ve recently had a couple of those ‘learning moments’ to encounter.

One time was when we lost the car keys and the other time was when we lost our backpack.
For more details we gladly guide you to the Facebook Live session of January 16th 2021.

“Whenever life seems to treat us with setbacks, try to be grateful.”

That way, the bridge to the ‘why’ can be revealed as our innate “learning device” gets triggered.

This time it is my wish for you to learn from my ‘misfortunes’, so that together we can have even more reasons to be grateful.

“It is when looking in hindsight, that we know better.”

And now when I look back on these two very specific situations, I now know that I (1) had to step up like a dad and say “No, we’re not doing that”; maybe for the hundredth time in twenty days, and (2) wasn’t being a good team member with my wife. I failed the team because I didn’t involve them and thought: “I got this”. After all, I am a man.

No need to guess again there, but God made it clear to me that I DO need to ‘think again’.

Why do I feel a resistance to stepping up as a father should?
And why do I have to feel that “as a man, I got this”, while (potentially) failing the team?

It wasn’t about me. Where we were going, wasn’t about me. What we were doing, was for all of us. And because of me, we all couldn’t.

I had failed us.
Twice.

One of the things I like most of being married, is that I find myself constantly surrounded in an environment that allows me to be me, truly the most authentic me that I could ever be.
There’s absolutely no reason to fake or be-what-you’re-not or try-harder-to-deserve-love .

It is my humble opinion that we can only thrive in a situation like that: knowing that whatever we do or feel or find or think, we are loved even harder than before.

I know that I am very happy to have found my one true love after all, but I had to put in quite a lot of years of patience, trial & also error. But in the end, love is always worth all the wait.

In the time leading up to our marriage, I had plenty of opportunity to start healing old wounds.
During those years, I had time to work on the relationship I had with myself.

Now that I find myself in this amazing marriage, I now can work on the relationship I have with myself even better. I get to practice to accept myself the way I am, and even love myself through it.

This is only because the person I admire most in the world, loves me more with every hard fought step I take.

As human beings, we will always fall short.
No matter what we do, there is no such thing as “perfect”.

In fact; trying to be so, or claiming to be so, will only highlight how we are not.

It is however, to my humble opinion, the greatest blessing in the world, to learn how to ‘love unconditionally’. No matter what someone does or doesn’t do, says or doesn’t say, I will (still) love (you). I will love you through it.

               My loving you does not depend on you doing a certain thing.

To me this is a shortcut to being closer to God, for He loves us all alike.
And He does so unconditionally.

This practice allows us to lead a more peaceful life.

That’s why I always tell Chey to be “the youest of yous”.
Pure you-ness.

No fake, no fluff, no acting-better-than-you-think-you-oughta-be.

You will always be loved for who you are,
Not for who I want you to be.

So we got to find out the hard way that there are ‘Levels to Communication’.

For we may think we’re good at it because we do it all the time.
Or maybe we even did a great job for about a hundred consecutive times.

But there’s always more to learn,
and ways to get better.

To “Master the Art of Communication”, it’s not about learning complicated, advanced ‘ninja’ stealthy communication tactics.
It is more important that we remain humble and open, and keep going back to the basics.

For we all change,
and everybody does.

This means that both the person that is speaking, as the person that is being spoken to, are not the same person as they were when they last spoke about a certain topic.

Growing up, I used to think that ‘people don’t change’. They maybe ‘can’t be changed’ from the outside in, but I sure know I’ve changed (big time), from the inside out.

What a boring ride life would be if we would remain exactly the same for all our life.

At the same time it is this openness and curiosity to discovering this new amazing person that’s next to me when I wake up that keeps things interesting, even though we’ve been married for years.

The moment we think we know someone and think we can predict their behavior and even their speech, is the moment we (both) stop learning and growing.

Hence the importance of remaining humble and open-to-learn: allow yourself to fall in love with your partner all over again. Allow yourself to see their magical beauty. Allow them to rediscover themselves and fall in love with life all over again.

Not only is it important to remain open to learn from and with others, such as your spouse or your children, at the same time, we want to remain open enough to allow growth from within.
By doing this, we can keep clear communication channels with ourselves and allow imperfections to rise to the surface.
Why did I feel the need, as a dad, to ‘not say no all the time’?

What is it within me that makes me want to handle things ‘like a man’ and not share responsibilities with my wife?

What unresolved issues do I have lingering around in me and come to the surface, without my being aware of them?
Because if it weren’t for these setbacks, I wouldn’t be as aware of them as I am now.
This does not imply that I’ve reached a stage of complete healing and integration, but at least I became a bit more aware of the subconscious junk that I carry around.
This subconscious remains a mystery to me.

This always reminds me of the fish.
Do they know that they are surrounded by water, or is it maybe so obvious that they don’t see it, don’t know it and don’t even realize it?
Are they unconscious of the water that surrounds them at all time?
Hence the fish says: “Where’s the water? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

               What is it about us that is so obvious, yet we are not aware of?

Marriage offers us an excellent opportunity to allow those unresolved issues to come into our consciousness. When we share our lives, we cannot but be confronted with each other’s imperfections, and our owns.

My wife and I would like to offer you and your family these questions that arose in our own recent conversations. We hope that by having some intentional, question-led conversations, your partnership will get even stronger and more united. We hope that they can form the start of a deeper understanding of both your partner as yourself, so that you too can develop a stronger and more intimate relationship within your marriage.

   Q1 – Where do you find yourself holding back?

   Q2 – What behavior have you stopped doing, because someone from your past gave you slack about it?

   Q3 – Would you like your spouse / partner to forgive you when you’re processing old wounds?

   Q4 – How do you define “team”? What do you expect from the ‘(marital) team you’re in”?

IF you do these questions with your spouse, let us know how it went

What did you learn….

What different questions did you both answer and discover in the process…

Please reach out and share,

-Kim

Published by Kim & Cheyanne Cleyman

Married Belgian-American couple living in Europe helping families connect through fitness across cultures and continents; with a passion for well-being - mind, body, heart and soul.

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