I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
They would say, “But I just don’t know how to tell him.”
And I would always respond, “Just tell him exactly what you’re telling me right now.”
“But like how would I say it?”
And I always said, “Say it like you’re talking to me.”
I find it interesting how we can easily tell our concerns, troubles, and relationships issues to our trusted friends but we have such difficulty communicating our feelings to the ones we are in love with. It’s almost counterintuitive. Shouldn’t the person we open our hearts to, the person we trust with our love, and the person we share a bed with – well, shouldn’t they be the last person we have trouble telling our feelings?
Is it because we are trying to project an image?
Is it because we don’t want to rock the boat?
Or offend them by questioning their behavior?
Or because they have guilted us or made us feel like we are doing something wrong when we voice our concerns?
If your answer is “yes” to any of the above, this should be a huge red flag. Because the most crucial aspect of any relationship is an ability to communicate. You should be able to voice a concern at any point and have them want to listen to what is troubling you, right? I mean, the words, “I love you,” should go so much further than a simple reassurance.
Because the definition of “I love you” really means, “Because we are a team, because we share a bond, a deep connection of souls – it is my job, my welcome obligation to do whatever I can to ensure you are happy and your soul is fulfilled and if you find that I am not doing my job well, please, I welcome constructive criticisms. Well, because, you know – I love you.” Because half of communication is voicing what weighs heavy on our hearts, but the other equally as important half is listening and doing what you can to carry their load when it gets too rough. And while we might not understand your struggle, it should be our job to do our best to help you understand your baggage.
It’s so easy to look at our partner and blame them for making communication difficult. And sure, maybe they don’t make it the easiest but if there’s one thing I have learned along the way is that everyone needs to hear things differently. Some people need the direct approach. Some need the subject to handled with kid gloves. Some need it to be injected into an analogy, and some need you to hold their hands, look into their eyes, and reassure them that no matter what, you still love them. There are so many variables and each is dependent upon the subject that you can’t just simply treat everyone the same. You need to learn about your partner and how they take what news the best. Because communication is not only knowing the words to say, but more importantly, how to say them.
But if there is one thing you should never stand for in a healthy relationship is accepting the words “I don’t know.” You’re an adult, learn to use your words. Learn how to rationally tell the person you love why you love them. Learn how to use your words to say what it is that you believe you have earned from them. To not only demand respect but to be able to explain what that means and how they could more effectively make us feel loved. That is what we owe to our partners and that is certainly what we owe ourselves. Make “I don’t know” unacceptable. Because if you are putting in the work, if you are doing your best to hold someone’s heart, then you most certainly have earned the right to ask your partner to do the same. And they should not only want to know how to love you more effectively, but be excited to do so. Because they love you.