Why I Tell My Husband Everything

"I can't tell him that or he'll think I'm this."

"I can't just say that to her, she'll take it the wrong way."

These are oft-used lines in TV shows and movies that really bug me. I get so frustrated that an entire 30 minute sitcom can be filled with people talking to everyone except the person they need to talk to. Portrayals of married couples are the worst. I guess I've been watching too much, b/c this has been on my mind lately.

It took us probably 8 months into our dating relationship before we were completely comfortable telling each other everything. I've mentioned before how we try to talk through every issue, large and small. But it took us a while to get into that rhythm. Once we had painful conflict that stemmed from withholding information and feelings, to the point we almost ended our relationship. From then on we got a lot better at sharing everything.

I tell Eric the most banal details of my day, and he recounts the smallest anecdotes of his routine. That leads to talking about people and life and ideals and deep things that don't seem connected to any of it. I share what I'm frustrated about, what I'm afraid of, what I don't understand about him or our marriage. He asks questions and asks for assurance and indicates disappointment. Often, whatever it is that feels so big in my head feels a lot smaller when I talk to him about it.

It's a tricky balance. I want to own my feelings, which sometimes means I have to process them internally first, and that can be frustrating for my partner. Sometimes I just want to be quiet. We're still developing a way to effectively non-verbally communicate: "I love you but I need to be silent and figure this out. It's not about you. And if it is I still love you." A wink doesn't quite do the trick. And then there's pushing through the selfish temptation to assume I get to keep things to myself and not let him in.

What frees us to share everything, I guess, is a basis of trust and unconditional love. Even the times we can't stand how the other isn't meeting our expectations or we grapple with what it means to really be one, we know our love is bigger than it. That's why we can dig through it. Even when doubt the other's trustworthiness (or our own), we cling to the foundation of trust.

So a Friends episode might be 5 minutes long if Monica and Chandler went straight to each other and actually communicated their issues and feelings, but boy would their marriage be more healthy!

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