Tears came to my eyes as I told my friend, Karol, how amazed and grateful I am for the relationship John and I share. We love each other more than I ever imagined possible. “How can it keep expanding and getting better?” I wondered out loud to her. Karol said she feels the same way, her 34-year marriage continues to be the best and core part of her life and their relationship continues to deepen in love and support of one another.

John and I had both experienced previous marriages, and even though we did our best to keep from projecting our past on to one another, the unhealed and non-working ways of interacting have come up as painful upsets between us. Through communication and respect, we have sorted through many issues, and now experience greater harmony in our relationship. When we couldn’t see our way through, we had a few sessions with a wonderful couple’s counselor, and she helped us see the subconscious parts of our upsets. Now instead of emotionally separating when the conversation gets too intense, we come from the space of being a team. “We are in this together,” we will say to each other at difficult times.

As we approach our anniversary, I reflect on our four years together. And I have wondered what has brought us through those rough spots? What are the key points?

Here are four things I want to share:

1. We authentically share who we are in a loving way. Our commitment to our own inner process of self-discovery is as strong as our commitment to nurture and cherish our relationship. We have found that being real and true to ourselves are as important as being true to each other.

2. Communication is as vital as breathing. It is importance for us to speak the truth; the entire truth as quickly as possible. Whatever affects the other, we strive to share immediately. Even through tears and fears, we say how we are feeling and share our perspective. And we share not just the bottom line; we share the deep inner thought process. An example would be: “I feel you want me to do this. And I want to do for you what you want because I care about you. Yet what you want me to do, I can’t do, and it is hard to tell you that.” There is all that turmoil that goes on inside us as part of the process. When we speak the truth and reveal the whole process that goes on inside of us it says….’oh, he/she has thought about my feelings and he/she does care’. When we share from the space of “the whole truth”, we are able to deal with it. If we only share part, then each of us is left to figure out what is going on and assumptions happen.

3. We daily nurture the connection we have by coming together rather than pulling apart. We include each other in the ups and downs of our experience. We support and work as a team. When we are upset with each other, we have become aware of our tendency to pull away and go into defensive communication, which makes it impossible to hear each other. Sometimes it requires clearing or releasing emotions that could otherwise be shared in unkind and destructive ways. Then after reconnecting, and saying ‘we are in this together’, it is possible to really listen.

4. It is important to accept each other and the relationship where it is. It is organic; a work in progress. We had a belief that we had to resolve issues and upsets perfectly. Our couple’s counselor, Pat Fields said, “And the real truth is an assumption on each of your parts that everything has to be perfectly resolved. And the literature really shows that in healthy marriages, there are a lot of things that actually never get resolved. But what does happen in a healthy couple is that there’s an adjustment [and an acceptance]. Sometimes they laugh about it or they joke with each other about it or they get momentarily grumpy. But they move on and it doesn’t threaten the container [the relationship].”

I woke up this morning excited to be celebrating our anniversary soon. Our plans are to spend the whole time together spontaneously creating our day. I am grateful that we enjoy each other’s company so much that this thought thrills me. I feel blessed that neither of us gave up on our dream to create a conscious loving relationship. We found each other later in life, and it has been worth the learning journey.

Author's Bio: 

Linda Radford facilitates empowering sessions of healing where she helps people reconnect to their inner strength, guidance and clarity. She encourages them to tap into their own intuition to find what is true for them, rather than mostly relying on outside opinion. Her way of authentically seeing people in their highest possibilities opens them up to discover the best in themselves. Linda is a catalyst for clarity and purpose in all aspects of life from career to personal and professional relationships.