Recently when my wife and I decided to start pancakesandcider.com, like many couples, we were going through our own relationship issues. It's one of the reasons we decided to start the site - to document our issues as well as our triumphs. We already run our own blogs at isomkuadejournal.com and notyourmomsgenes.com (I'll let you guess who is the publisher of each one), where we document many of our personal interests and internal struggles. As we move into the next phases of our life and business, we decided to join powers for the intent of good by airing out our bad and everything in between. Maybe someone will be able to learn from our exposure.
Maybe we will learn how to teach each other to be better partners - better parents - better business people - better people.
After one of our most recent miscommunications [we rarely argue - we often don't understand one another], my wife asked me to put together a list of my needs and some suggestions we could take to fill those needs.
That was weeks ago.
I still haven't delivered.
The truth is that as excited as I am to hear that she finally wants me to outline my needs as well as my suggestions, I'm just as terrified to give them to her.
I must have rewritten them five times by now. I had a table, then changed it to a chart, simplified it to a spreadsheet, trashed all of those versions, then wrote a freestyle-esque essay just getting all of my emotions out on paper - only to scrap that as well.
I want to give her something clear - something that explicitly expresses not simply my what's, but my why's as well. I need her to see it and understand it. I need her to see me for who I am.
But I'm afraid she won't see any of that.
I'm afraid after I divulge everything I truly need in a relationship, everything will go back to the status quo.
I'm afraid I'll be judged for my honesty.
I'm afraid I won't be taken seriously.
I'm afraid she simply won't believe me.
She has a way of dismissing things, people and emotions she doesn't feel are valid.
I'm afraid she won't see my needs as valid.
I'm afraid of rejection.
What do I do then? Another conversation? Another 9 years of hoping things will change for the better? Another vice to fill the void? Another nine years of trying to find better ways to express myself? Another nine years of unexpressed angst manifesting itself in physical welts on my skin? Another nine years to convince someone to simply believe me?
The short answer is 'Yes', as that's marriage.
But the fear keeps me from handing over my needs. It's the same thing that makes communication so difficult in the first place. It's not the act of doing it - it's the consequences from exposing oneself. Once you open your mouth the words can't be stuffed back in your brain.
It's true that everything we truly want in life is on the other side of fear, so I'll get over it soon. Then it's on to the next phase of our marriage.
We can only hope that through active intent, tomorrow will be better than yesterday. I'm still lucky I have a wife who truly wants to hear my point of view.
I'll let you know how it goes.