How Personal Growth Transformed Our Marriage
A Turning Point In Our Marriage
Personal growth has been instrumental in transforming our marriage…
I can remember years ago, we sat outside our favourite restaurant and I said to Melis, “I can’t do this anymore.”
He looked at me with panic and said, “What do you mean you can’t do marriage like this anymore?”
I said, “I can’t do marriage like this anymore. We just keep hurting each other. And we just keep piling hurt upon hurt.”
Then for the first time, he shared his pain with me. You see, I had been so wrapped up in our kids and in my own pain that I had missed his pain.
That night we recommitted to each other and the next day I went to his mother’s house and I pulled Making Love Last Forever by Gary Smalley off the shelf.
It catapulted us into personal growth…
Communicating In The Shallow End
We learned about the five levels of communication and how each level takes you deeper with the other person.
And we learned that we were communicating at very shallow levels. It’s kind of like having a beautiful pool to swim in but never making it out of the shallow end…
That moment was pivotal to teach us how to communicate at a deep, rich level.
The second thing Smalley taught us was that conflict is the doorway to intimacy. We hated to fight — I would say that most of us don’t like to fight — but we really avoided it.
However, we learned that the way we would fight could bring us closer together. That changed our lives. Growing in this way, learning how to fight, learning how to communicate at a deeper level… that changed our marriage.
Learning How To Love My Husband Better
Another pivotal moment in our marriage happened some years later while we were travelling to Banff in western Canada to a farm conference. As we drove to Banff toward the towering mountains, I read His Needs, Her Needs out loud.
And Melis shared with me that his number one need was for appreciation. So I asked him more about that…
I was flabbergasted to discover that my husband didn’t know how much I appreciate him.
It’s no wonder… I wasn’t expressive and I wasn’t telling him that. And although I was surprised that he didn’t know, it’s pretty obvious that if you don’t tell someone you appreciate them, they won’t know.
Andy Stanley says that ingratitude is a subtle form of rejection. So if we feel gratitude but don’t express it, then the other person doesn’t know we appreciate them and it looks to them like rejection.
That’s what was happening with Melis.
Another Pivotal Moment In Our Marriage
The minute I heard that Melis didn’t know I appreciate him, all the gratitude I was feeling started to pour out and that was another turning point in our marriage.
Learning how I could love him better has transformed our marriage.
Personal growth is pivotal to having a healthy marriage. Marriage is like a mirror… where our spouse is holding up a mirror in front of us reflecting back to us what they see in us.
It requires us to be humble to respond to what we’re seeing in our partner. And that response requires change, it requires growth.
As Melis and I continue to grow individually and together as a couple, we continue to learn how we can love each other better.
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