Dear Dating Coach,
I am engaged and looking forward to getting married. My chosson is everything I could have ever hoped for and I feel so lucky to have made this connection. Secretly though, I still feel scared to share my more personal memories, thoughts, and fears. I am worried about sharing too much because even though I feel secure in my decision, we are so new to each other. We are still learning about each other and I can’t seem to share more. Can I just keep things to myself?
My grandmother was a class act. She was always stylishly dressed, her meals were delicious and beautifully presented, and her house gleamed. Yet, when her sticky-fingered grandchildren visited, she never worried about her décor. Plastic was her secret weapon and every couch was covered in it. “Sit, sit!” she would encourage as we skidded and slithered hoping for some traction. “Relax!” she would lovingly say as we did our best to settle on the ‘slip and slide’ of her perfectly windex’ed sofas. We valiantly tried to settle in, to find a comfortable spot, but the plastic was stubbornly unforgiving. Over time, some things needed to be replaced in her home, but the couches remained showroom perfect encased in a protective layer free of spills and snags. Sure, the living room always looked just right, but if you were looking for comfort, you were better off on the blue shag carpeting.
Sharing is Caring…
Mazel Tov on your engagement! It is the most wonderful feeling to be engaged and confident in your decision as you prepare to walk down toward the chuppah. At the same time, you worry about a deeper connection forged through sharing deeper thoughts and feeling. You are hesitant to offer that part of yourself, but sense that a lack of sharing may be preventing you both from connecting further. Still, it can be very difficult to offer your innermost thoughts to someone, without a guarantee of their reaction.
Without Comparing and Glaring…
The only way to build trust is to share. This is scary because it makes us vulnerable. When we share with someone, we are hoping that they will safeguard our secrets and never use them to hurt us. A husband and wife must be able to rely on their partner and their ability to protect the others’ honesty. A couple must do their utmost to ensure that they will never use this “weakness” against each other no matter the circumstance. Still, there is no guarantee offered when one shares. Only a strong belief that we have chosen a partner worthy of our deepest thoughts and feelings. That belief then encourages openness with our spouse, and their honest and respectful reaction honors our vulnerability.
Only Blessing and Telling…
This takes time. Marriage will offer you the security of a lasting connection. Marriage will remind you every day that you have chosen a lifetime partner. That partnership alone will indicate that this is someone who will be there for you, who will support you, and with whom you can be comfortable to share. Your ability as a couple to listen to one another respectfully, to offer kindness, and loving support will reinforce the trust that you will continue to build and cherish throughout your entire marriage.
In Your New Pairing.
While you are still engaged, feel free to share more of yourself and certainly after you are married, concentrate on providing a loving space for his feelings and he should do the same for yours. This doesn’t mean that we have to share our every thought. Even with our spouse, we can filter our words through a gentle sieve and we can hold on to hurtful words that have no bearing on our future growth. Honesty does not mean we need to share every single thought that pops into our heads. Instead, we share in order to connect, to grow as a couple, and to honor the commitment that we have made to one another. This inspires a connection that is so powerful and so strong that it bolsters every other aspect of our lives. Refusing to be vulnerable may protect you, but it will also discourage your marriage from finding that perfect spot to rest your soul.