Yesterday, my wife and I were driving home in separate cars and she looked back in the rearview mirror and caught me picking my nose. I was in my car alone and didn’t think anyone could see me, so I was really going for it (up to my second knuckle at least).
She sent me a text message making fun of me for picking, and when we got home, she lovingly told me that I needed to either stop picking my nose in the car or get tinted windows. Of course, now that I’ve shared this gross habit with the world online, I suppose I’m an “Out of the Closet Nose Picker” and I can continue doing it publicly (even without tinted windows).
We had a good laugh about this, but it got me thinking. Ashley loved me enough to point out something unpleasant. When someone loves you, they do this, right? When you have something stuck in your teeth, a real friend will tell you, while a mere acquaintance will just smile and walk away.
As we work with married couples from all over the world, I’m convinced that the healthiest couples are the ones that communicate about everything, and they do it with a loving, encouraging tone. They don’t keep secrets, they call each other out when necessary, they find reasons to laugh together (a lot) and they make honest, transparent communication a priority.
We can all grow in these areas, so to help us get started, I’ve put together a few of the messages that all married couples need to communicate with each other. Please read the list below and apply these principles to your marriage. If you have any suggestions to add to this list, please leave a comment below.
1. Your desires in the bedroom.
Sometimes, even the healthiest married couples struggle to honestly communicate their needs and desires when it comes to their sex life. I think they’re afraid of hurting their spouse’s feelings by making them feel like they’re doing something wrong, but your sex life is just another opportunity for communication and growth. Talk about it.
2. Your spouse’s “Blind spots.”
We all have “blind spots.” What I mean by that is we have certain aspects of our behavior or personality that we see one way, but everyone else sees in a different light (like nose-picking). Ashley has gently pointed out some of my blind spots over the years including my breath. I recently started developing bad breath for some reason, but I had no idea. She pointed it out. Now, I carry around breath mints and I’m sure that everyone I talk to through the day is so thankful that Ashley pointed out that “blind spot.”
3. Your dreams.
Your spouse can’t help you achieve your dreams, goals and hopes if you never communicate what they are. Talk openly about your personal goals and then have dreams you share together. Also, always have something to look forward to in your marriage. Ashley and I just planned a trip to New York City. We’ve been talking about doing it for years, but we finally realized that dreaming and hoping alone doesn’t get anything done. You have to eventually put something on the calendar, arrange childcare, and make it happen. You’ll be glad you did!
4. Your secrets.
One of the biggest roadblocks to growth in a marriage happens when spouses hide something from each other. Unless you’re planning a surprise birthday party, there’s never a reason to keep secrets from your spouse. Secrecy is an enemy of intimacy. Confess whatever you’re hiding. Get it out of the open. It might be uncomfortable at first, but eventually, your honesty will lead to transformation and growth in your marriage.
5. Your love.
Your spouse should never have to wonder how your feel about them. Tell them you love them often, but don’t just say “I love you,” also tell them specific qualities you love about them. Write love letters to each other, send flirtatious text messages through the day, and use your words to continuously build a bridge of trust and love between you and your spouse!
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