Growing up in American culture, I was taught to speak my mind honestly:
“Say what you mean.”
“Let people know what’s on your mind.”
“Don’t let anyone get away with anything—speak up!”
“Honesty is the best policy.”
“Closeness means sharing what you really think.”
These were the kinds of philosophies that I was raised with.
Lo and behold, after 25+ years of marriage, I realized that this philosophy does not hold suit. It was all a lie. So many fights and ups and downs came about through me thinking that this philosophy of honesty was critical in a marriage.
It was not.
What is important in a marriage is kindness, delicacy and respect. And these do not add up to being honest all the time. Nowadays, I am in agreement with Laura Doyle, the marriage expert I was fortunate to train with. She advises women to “put on the duct tape” often and approach issues using feminine wisdom. This is respect.
And it is this philosophy which brings peace to the home.
Your emotions have wisdom for you, are deeply connected to your body and pave the way for you to hear your inner guidance system—your intuition. This mind-body-soul connection can guide you in all your relationships. But your husband doesn’t always have to hear the nitty gritty of the process.
Does it mean keeping everything in and swallowing your thoughts, words and feelings? No…and yes. Words are best swallowed when critical, degrading and judgmental. Words can be carefully tailored when speaking to a member of the male species.
Thoughts and feelings, on the other hand, no—do not swallow those. They can always be expressed…at least to oneself and on paper. Emotions are “energy in motion”, and that energy does need to be listened to and allowed to flow. There are many mind-body techniques which I use with clients to help with emotional flow. Your emotions have wisdom for you, are deeply connected to your body and pave the way for you to hear your inner guidance system—your intuition. This mind-body-soul connection can guide you in all your relationships. But your husband doesn’t always have to hear the nitty gritty of the process.
So, next time you feel annoyed at your hubby for the socks on the floor, the mess in the bathroom or his lateness, don’t lash out in honesty. Instead, dive into your emotions. [Here is one technique to use that prevents the stuffing down of emotions—write out your angry thoughts on paper and then rip it up.]
Once you’ve allowed that emotional flow, notice if you hear an intuitive thought which will guide you in approaching the subject with your feminine wisdom. You may realize that the issue you were worked up about isn’t a big deal, and you are now able to tap into gratitude for all the amazing things your husband does do. Or you can use communication techniques which honor your feelings with a respectful kind of honesty, but don’t require attacking your man. Here are two communication tools to try:
- Numerous studies have shown that a husband’s greatest wish is to make his wife happy (unless he is a narcissist or has borderline personality disorder). I know that if your marriage is in a difficult place, it can look and feel like this isn’t accurate, but magical shifts can happen when a woman expresses her desires, without expectations and in a kind and respectful way. Try this—make a request using “I’d love” or “I’d like” without expectations and without the “you” word. Want the toilet lid down? Try: “I’d love the toilet lid to be kept down.” Want a picture hung up on the wall? Try: “I’d like this picture hung up. I love being surrounded by beautiful memories.” Then give him the space to decide the when and the how. He may choose to hire someone else to do it, but either way, he’ll know clearly what will make his wife happy and will feel respected by her “clean” approach.
- What happens if you feel criticized by your husband? Doyle suggests (and it’s a brilliant one!) saying, “Ouch.” And just leave it at that. Don’t go into the whole story and get into a back and forth. The word “ouch” is powerful enough to let your husband know that he said something hurtful to the one he loves.
Your home will be much more peaceful when you are careful with your honesty and your words.