When it comes to your marriage, clarity is especially important because the lack of clarity causes so many fights. What do you want? It’s a simple question, but let’s face it: we all regularly want mutually exclusive things. You want to stay up late relaxing with a movie and get a good night’s sleep, for example.
This article will give you tools to get clear about what you value and what you want so you can communicate clearly in your marriage.
Clarity comes when we’re willing to deal with reality. But there are lots of times we don’t want to do that. We wanna stay up late watching a movie and we don’t want to struggle with the early alarm clock.
In your marriage, you have a convenient person to blame when things don’t go your way. It doesn’t make sense that you’re angry at your sweetheart when the alarm clock goes off so early, but you do it anyway.
This is because we want it all. We want a fulfilling career and oodles of time with our family. We want to eat ice cream out of the carton and we want to look amazing in a swimsuit.
Ain’t gonna happen.
So how do you know what you truly want? And how do you reconcile that with reality?
Do you argue with reality?
Actions have consequences. We don’t like the consequences, and we try to get out of them. Blaming your sweetheart is one of the best ways to avoid clarity. When you can blame someone else, you don’t have to take responsibility, and that is a huge relief.
But reality is patient and persistent, and consequences will catch up with you.
When you stay up late and then oversleep, it’s tempting to stumble out into the kitchen and say, “Why didn’t you wake me up?” But this is reminiscent of when you lived at your mom’s house and she was willing to be responsible for your every move.
Not a great recipe for a grown-up marriage.
The first step in getting clear is accepting the world as it is, including the unpleasant consequences. You can stay out late partying, but that choice comes with a twin: You feel pretty lousy the next day.
Obviously, when you feel lousy you blame your sweetheart. “You shouldn’t have let me drink so much.” Responsibility is a drag, so you blame your other half. Why is this? The answer is romantic: having sex with your sweetheart gives you that glorious feeling that you are blended. You may even say, “I feel like we’re the same person.”
That same-person phenomenon is what inspires you to treat your sweetheart as lousy as you treat yourself.
Establish what is real. Clarity 101 is learning to accept consequences for your own actions rather than blaming your sweetheart.
- Notice and name the truth that’s bringing you unease. Example: I’m grumpy in the morning and I don’t want to be.
- Ask yourself, Who told me this is the way life ought to be? Example: Bob Marley, Don’t Worry. Be Happy.
- Consider, Why might this truth not be so true in your life? Example: Maybe worrying a little about happiness the night before will be more likely to offer happiness in the morning.
The world is full of voices that tell us to argue with the consequences of our choices. It’s fun to dodge the rules of reality. Just be aware that’s what you’re doing and don’t blame your sweetheart.
When are you most likely to argue with reality?
How does that argument turn into blaming your sweetheart?
Want more on this topic? Next time we’ll talk about how the word “should” is alienating you from your sweetheart. Sign up for my FREE COURSE below to receive all 5 installments of “Get Clear” (and be sure to check out my other essays on Improving Your Marriage Communication).
*If this clarifying exercise helped you, please forward it to a friend.