If we look around our neighborhood, we can easily assume that all is well with the couple next door.
In fact, most of our neighbors put on a happy face each and every day. When we see them, we might wonder, what’s wrong with us? Why are they so happy? What’s wrong with my marriage?
But if we take off the blinders and use our other senses, we’ll notice their fake smiles are actually a smoke screen.
So, I want to encourage all of us not to compare ourselves to the couple next door, or other people’s relationships.
Because most couples are wearing a mask, only putting their best face on when they go outside. If we followed them home and put a spy camera on them for a few days, we’d see that they are no different from the rest of us: struggling to connect, living in a haze of tension, connecting on a surface level, tackling logistics, brushing things under the rug, avoiding, blaming, having scheduled sex, avoiding sex, having some great moments and having some sh*tty ones.
Once the Super Bowl party is over, they all head back to their sexless marriages or their resentment-ridden hellhole of a relationship.
Yet, these couples have done a great job making it look like they are just fine.
But, another kind of couple exists.
They are the smart couple, and they are brave.
Yes. The truly courageous couple is willing to talk openly about their problems and challenges. Plus, by admitting weaknesses, we have no choice but to work on them. And working on our relationship problems is an awesome undertaking because our life-force may depend on it.
When we keep hiding and avoiding the truth of what’s really going on, we trap ourselves in a no-win model because we’re showing no respect for the struggle. We are demonstrating that we are caught in the fantasy that says we shouldn’t be struggling. And we won’t allow ourselves the dignity of asking for help. We’ll buy roses and chocolates for Valentine’s Day and but it won’t work.
The smart couple, on the other hand, admits that partnership is quite hard. They are willing to discuss the struggle and even seek support and guidance when they get stuck. They have the grit to say, “Yes, we’re not doing so well.” This couple understands that unless they are willing to learn and grow, they probably don’t stand a chance of making it. This couple chooses to face and overcome challenges, so they can find their way into a thriving, mutually-loving partnership.
So, remember the secret truth about the couple next door.
Don’t buy the cheesy grins. They are just like us, struggling in their relationships.
But you can be different, by telling the truth. That’s right. Go ahead, have the difficult conversation with your partner and admit you have some problems. Then, if you feel extra courageous, tell your neighbor. Or, better yet, tell a close, trusted friend who can handle the fact that you’re struggling.
Once we do this, we buy a ticket out of the fearful status quo and begin the journey of earning a fulfilling partnership, which includes and honors the struggle.
Author: Jayson Gaddis
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock