5 Ways to Face Your Relationship Issues with Honesty
- Dr. David B. Hawkins The Marriage Recovery Center
- 2015 17 Nov
Out of sight, out of mind!
How often have you heard that phrase mentioned? And how tempting it is to believe it. If we don’t think about something troubling us, then it doesn’t exist. Right? Wrong!
Fact of the matter is, those very issues that you try to push out of your awareness will cause you more damage than those you do think about. Why is that the case?
Think about this. Denial has been said to stand for Don’t Even Notice I Am Lying to Myself. I’ve written extensively about the detrimental impact of denial, and will do so once again. After doing that, I’m going to exclaim the virtues of keeping issues in plain view.
Out of sight, out of mind! If only it were that simple. Another way to think about this problem is what has been commonly referred to as blind spots. These are those often self-defeating traits that play havoc in our relationships, such as being sarcastic when angry, pouting or stonewalling, snapping at someone when we are feeling hurt. Each of these will cause no end of problems in a relationship.
So, out of sight can mean we’re not thinking about those problems or character traits, but it does NOT mean they are out of our minds. They remain in our minds only to come out the next time we are trigger in some way!
Now let's consider the possibility of keeping our issues in plain view. At first and second glance this may seem like a very strange thing to do. But Scripture tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). This certainly implies that we will hold our problems not only before us but before the Lord. We come humbly to him asking for his guidance.
Now, am I suggesting we anxiously grasp our problems? Not at all. Should we worry and fret? No. But, we must honestly face our issues. We must know the hidden character traits that continue to trip us up. We must honestly face the relational problems that keep our marriages from being all they could be. We must name them, claim them and reframe them.
Let’s look a little more closely at this issue and its application to us.
First, share honestly with your mate about your relationship problems. Many couples have a time every week where they “check in,” to ensure nothing is mounting of which they are not aware. They vow to keep their slate clean.
Second, have the courage to be candid with your mate. We often “sugar coat” problems so as to not create a ripple in our relationships. We don’t “rock the boat,” enjoying today’s tranquility but at the same time ensuring the future will be disturbed by problems not effectively solved. Sharing candidly, but gently, is a better path.
Third, we cannot change what we cannot see. Ensnared by denial, we cannot change those issues outside our awareness. Our mate, and those close to us, are in the best position to give us 360 degree views of ourselves. Blind spots will hurt us and we need others to give us candid feedback. Direct feedback at least gives us the opportunity to make changes.
Fourth, we must cultivate an atmosphere in our relationships where candor is valued. We give out subtle, or not so subtle messages, about the use of candor in our relationships. We let others know we either welcome or resist feedback. If, for example, we are defensive every time our mate comes to us with an issue, it won’t be long before they keep their thoughts to themselves. Your issues now remain with you, out of sight, but causing great damage.
Finally, celebrate how sharing openly, but gently, creates connection, growth and problem resolution. Yes, by letting your mate know that you want to know what you don’t really want to hear, you promote trust and respect. Have the courage to say, “Please tell me the things I might otherwise not want to hear, but must hear for my growth.” Thank your mate for sharing with you. Vow together to keep your issues before you so they don’t sneak up and wreak havoc behind you.
Learning how to feel your feelings and make good decisions about them is part of a process we call Core Self Integration. If you would like to learn more about Core Self Integration and how it can helpful to you, please go to our website, www.marriagerecoverycenter.com and discover more information about this topic, watching my video series, 30 Days to Relational Fitness. Please send responses to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and also read more about The Marriage Recovery Center on our website. You’ll find videos and podcasts on sexual addiction, emotionally destructive marriages, codependency and affair-proofing your marriage.
Publication date: November 11, 2014