In the social media world, the phrase “relationship goals” is everywhere. You see it hashtagged under photos of couples in loving embraces, on dates, with big smiles on their faces. What are “relationship goals?” How do you reach those goals? Are the photos and posts actual depictions of what is really happening in those relationships? We may never know the answer to the third question; however, I would like to provide my thoughts and experiences with how to attain those #relationshipgoals.
What works in my relationship are conversations my husband and I have in which we give and receiving feedback to each other. Typically, this feedback is related to how we are showing up for each other, what we could do more or less of, and how we can support each other. These conversations have definitely evolved since we first got together. We have been married for a little over one year, together for five. In the beginning, I felt that I was more on the receiving end of feedback from my husband. This was challenging for me mainly because this was not something that I was accustomed to experiencing. In previous relationships, I either accepted how a boyfriend showed up or I would break up with him. There were no conversations, certainly not about feedback. These conversations were also difficult because my ego would not allow me to receive the feedback. I thought, “he’s telling me what I need to change but what about all the stuff he does that I don’t like?” I took what my husband said to me personally, rather than seeing them for what they were and understanding that this type of communication is needed for the health and growth of our relationship.
Fast forward to today, the “feedback sessions” are something that I welcome and I now have feedback to give to him. I no longer run or hide from these conversations. I enter them boldly, honestly, and transparently. I have learned over the years that although these conversations may be uncomfortable, a deeper connection with my husband, our marriage, and myself is on the other side.
In order for these conversations to be successful, each partner must have a certain level of maturity and be comfortable with vulnerability, and transparency. Maturity comes into play when you refrain from personally attacking your partner and saying things to intentionally hurt each other. That type of communication gets you nowhere and can create anger and hostility. With that in mind, I would suggest not having these conversations when you are angry. It is easily to slip into attack/defense mode when anger is present. To understand that the feedback that you are giving/receiving is not a personal attack, you have to take your emotions out of it. Vulnerability is also important in these conversations. Letting your guard down enough to tell your partner what you need, how you need to be supported, and what you would like to experience more or less of is vital to these conversations. Being able to sit face to face with your partner and listen to him/her tell you what they would like to see differently from you requires that you step out of ego and into vulnerability so that you can surrender to the feedback and make shifts toward those #relationshipgoals. Transparency is especially important. Expressing how you feel, honestly, regardless of how your partner will respond or relate to it is the type of transparency that is needed in conversations like these.
We had one of these conversations today. I felt powerful giving feedback to my husband. However, transparently communicating some of my feelings was tough for me and I cried. After the conversation, I felt heard and understood. I also felt a deeper connection to my husband. Part of the discomfort I felt came from a place of fear. I know how powerful these conversations are. I have seen the results over the years. The fear is related to me thinking that things will be different between us after a feedback session. What is fascinating about this is, if growth is a goal of our relationship, things will NEVER be the way they were before. Everything remaining the same is not growth.
If you are seeking to be your own #relationshipgoals, consider having a feedback session with your partner. Keep vulnerability and transparency as priorities. It might also be helpful to write down your key points before the conversation. Talks like these can be emotional and it is easy to lose focus. It is also a great idea to jot down important things that come up during the conversation.
If you and your partner have a feedback session, let me know how it went.
Peace, love, light