Who’s sleeping in your bed? It may be the day after the wedding or five years into your marriage when you wake up and that question seems to be looming. However, the direction of the question may be from you looking at yourself in the mirror! For many couples, the idea of truly being known to another person is so terrifying that they bring a “representative” of themselves into a real marriage. Often, (usually sooner than later) they wonder why they feel neglected, lonely and fearful in a relationship that is meant to be intimate.
Being known, really allowing others to see and know your authentic self is not just a marriage issue it’s a societal one. We are often persuaded throughout our lives to put on masks and to play the role in order to get the job, get along, or to get the guy or the girl. But when we spend so much time “faking the funk”, how do we develop true relationships? Marriage, by design is a place where at some point you cannot hide who you really are. A marriage is one relationship designed by God where you should be the most intimate and emotionally naked. All your habits, idiosyncrasies, good and bad qualities are exposed no matter how you may fight against it. It’s your willingness to be known for who you really are not who you present that will either strengthen or erode the quality and depth of your marriage.
In a world that tells you to “fake it till you make it” and discourages authenticity by telling you to be “hard” & “don’t let them see you cry” being authentic can be almost impossible! We relish in believing old wives tales like “a women should never love a man as much as he loves you” and “men can never be with just one woman” only to discover that believing these things is antithetical to whole and fulfilling relationships. So how can you be courageous enough to bring your true self into your relationship with your spouse?
Here are five tips to avoid stranger danger:
- To thine own self be true – Taking a long hard look in the mirror of reality helps you be authentic. This may sound simple but for a lot of people being honest with themselves about their strengths, weaknesses, hurts and failures is difficult. Telling yourself the truth about who you really are and learning to accept that truth can help you to be authentically engaged with others.
- Truth serum – Stop lying!! Stop telling yourself things are ok when it is not. Stop telling others what you think they want to hear. Treat your conversations with yourself and with others like someone injected you with truth serum and allow yourself to be brave enough to be honest.
- Learn to listen – Learn to listen more than you speak! Listening allows you to get to really know someone else. Rather than you presenting your story to give yourself props, allow yourself to be quiet, ask questions about the other person and focus on really listening and hearing their story.
- Don’t entertain foolishness – Stop ingesting garbage, hanging out with foolish people or allowing people with jacked up lives to dictate what your life should look like. Listening to the media and paying attention to the latest trends will get you caught up. No shade, but if you are patterning your life after reality TV shows stop it!! Fake has become the new black!!
- Don’t hijack someone else’s life – Most of us have a nagging sense of what we really should do but we will try to make ourselves look better than we are to impress. Be you. Being someone else or trying to be something you are not is exhausting and will lead to your partner asking you one day “who are you”? Be known so the real YOU truly can be loved, appreciated and you can be free to love and appreciate your mate!
Don’t be accused of “bait and switch” in your relationship. Switch your bait to the Truth!
Dale and Venessa Harewood