It's no secret my relationship has gone through some things over the last 13 years. We've fallen and flown so many different times, so it's obvious we're still together because of a profound love and respect for one another. Otherwise, we wouldn't continue fighting through the bad to get to the good. I think talking openly about my relationship struggles actually saved my relationship many times from falling off a proverbial cliff. To be clear, "times" means "often"
When I met my (now) husband 13 years ago, it was evident how different we were (though I hadn't expected those differences to be much of an issue). You know, the yin to my yang, or whatever. I was naive and caught up in all the good feelings one has when first falling in love, so I couldn't anticipate the relationship souring. Early on, when communication was lacking, I should've known; should've taken that first hint that if he and I would stay together, we'd have to always work at it or we'd wither away. That sentiment is truer now than ever.
As he and I approach our 10th wedding anniversary, we're still facing a lot of the same issues we had way back when. After counseling, new starts, and endless promises that have been broken, we often turn to each other to ask, "What are we doing?" While the question (and feeling behind it) are very real, I know when one of us feels this way, it usually means, "How do we fix it?" Neither of us want to divorce or be apart and with two children, so we aim to set the example of what love is (sometimes it's not pretty).
Through all of our woes, one thing that's been beneficial is how open I've become in airing our dirty laundry. I realize it sounds counter-intuitive but, as a writer, I'm used to telling stories, be it fiction or memoir, which happens to include things I know and live—like my relationships. I've written about how we met at an open mic not long after I left my first husband (married out of high school) and how I went in with trust issues because of that experience. I've talked about my childhood and how drastically it contradicts my husband's, therefore creating issues that otherwise might not be there. I've been open about my miscarriages and how my husband was so there for me through the pains. I've talked about the time we renewed our vows.
Likewise, I've mentioned the successful pregnancy to follow was coupled with a distant partner who'd essentially leave me to myself. We've had hard times and easy times, light times and heavy times. We've detached and reattached. Through all the years of talking about our relationship from so many different vantage points, and the failed ones before, my husband and I have only gotten closer. Here are some of the ways talking about it helps us heal and come together in new ways.