Communication: The Conduit for True Love in Marriage
Nov 10, 2000
When a husband and wife pledge themselves in marriage, isn't it true that both are yearning for a long and happy relationship of true love together? Their honeymoon isn't over yet, and they both entertain a natural hope that their love will continue and grow.
After their honeymoon, couples may feel like they both have been thrown into a gigantic washing machine, bumping and jabbing against each other. They discover that they're often quite different, with different expectations about marriage, and life in general. Only their tenuous love for each other holds them together.
How can a couple's initial love for each other strengthen until they love and understand each other in such a comprehensive way that they become as inseparable as two halves of a round rubber ball? The two halves of a round rubber ball are more than "knit" together -- they're "melded" into one unit, with the particles of rubber bonded into one cohesive whole. This doesn't mean that the individuality of the husband and wife is lost. Indeed, both must become emotionally strong, mature individuals in order to love each other with unselfish and responsible love.
Newly married couples usually aren't at that stage of unity. Even more to the point, do they want to be, or have they thought about reaching that level of harmony with each other? The goal of two hearts unbreakably unified into one is a goal that needs to be clearly established when the marriage is still young and the couple's wounds are few. When a husband and wife are head over heels in love with each other, they want to be together all the time. This is normal, for why would we want to separate from someone if we really love them? Unfortunately, many young couples don't think about this particular goal. Even more unfortunately, the means to reach this goal are often not examined until difficulties arise. The time to start creating a deeper relationship of true love is long before the couple has reached a crisis.
Simply stated, the ongoing exchange of true unselfish love between the husband and wife will multiply their feelings of true love for each other until they really do feel that they share one mind and one heart. The key phrase, from the point of view of mechanics, is "ongoing exchange". One might compare this exchange to an active "conduit", much like an electrical line, that provides a pathway for the give and take of love. If the couple allows their exchange of true love to wither away, their relationship will ultimately become cold and sterile, simply because love requires this dynamic exchange and acknowledgment.
How can a husband and wife effectively exchange true love? Although some husbands try to get away with being the strong silent type, I believe that the innermost selves of the husband and wife need to meet and unite in order to build an honest and true relationship. What are the elements of a couple's "innermost selves"? We all think, we feel, we have desires -- we all yearn for love. Yet how many husbands and wives delve into each other's thoughts and feelings and desires? How many have business-like relationships that never really go that deep? How many have secrets that they don't share with each other? How many feel free to tell their spouse about the most sensitive areas of their heart?
Building a relationship of true love with our husband or wife should go beyond the varied expressions of love such as smiles or flowers, or words like "I love you." These are all valuable and inspiring. But, after giving a gift to our spouse, can we then say that we know his or her heart, or thoughts, or feelings? Not necessarily. We can communicate our thoughts and feelings through actions or facial expressions -- but ultimately, as rational people who think about many abstract concepts such as eternal love and invisible hopes and dreams, we need to express our hearts through words. We need to talk. Talking, not surprisingly, doesn't happen automatically. Some couples say that they have no time to talk with each other. It's true that schedules may be overloaded, but how much is a marriage of true love worth? Couples can communicate anywhere, whether it be at home, or in the car, or with the children playing in the next room.
My wife and I talk every day, about every conceivable thing. Nothing is off limits -- there are no secrets between us. We know each other's problems and weak points. We also know each other's hopes and dreams, down to every nuance and tender feeling. We talk sometimes for hours, late into the night. We talk about our work, our schedules, our daily tasks. But most of all, we talk about heart and feelings and true love itself. We've bared our hearts to each other entirely.
This required a great deal of trust, which took a number of years to develop. How many times have you shared your innermost heart with a friend and had it trampled upon? It's happened to me, and it's very unpleasant. My wife has never done that, for which I am profoundly grateful. Kim is my best friend, beyond any other friend that I have -- and I have many friends whom I like very, very much. I know that my heart is safe with Kim. My trust in her love is limitless.
I also know that Kim and I have many faults, and our love is still very far below the standard of true unselfish love. Therefore, we still have problems. I hurt her feelings, and she hurts mine -- which unfortunately leads to "incidents", as we euphemistically call them. These incidents of anger and hurt sometimes last two or three hours, although they're usually shorter. Overcoming them always requires mutual apologies and heartfelt repentance toward each other. We're committed to each other forever, and are equally committed to the view that when it comes to an argument, "true love is the boss."
Through it all, we've begun to realize more and more that ongoing communication -- when we feel warm and harmonious toward each other -- is the key to truly understanding each other. I want to know every aspect of Kim's thoughts and feelings and hopes and dreams. I want her to know mine, as well. I believe that in the future we really will become like two halves of a round rubber ball, virtually telepathic in our understanding of each other's hearts and minds.
Our culture hasn't lent itself very well to this type of communication. Communication is more than the external exchange of words. We can work with someone for many years, and never really know what they think or feel when it comes to the all-important topic of true love. Husbands are often very embarrassed by this topic, and may not know how to start communicating about their innermost hearts. Wives have a chance here to reach deep down into their husband's hearts and minds and help create an environment where communicating about internal things is very natural and very comfortable. Amidst an atmosphere of mutual kindness, respect, and plain good manners, trust can build, and the couple's hearts can open to each other in new ways.
It's a process that will happen gradually, based upon the couple's efforts to communicate constantly, on a daily basis, about everything. Heart and love will naturally fit in, after the ice has been broken. The vital ingredient is that the couple's communication should cover every aspect of their lives. I am endlessly teased by some of my friends because I call Kim at least twice a day when I am traveling. But I would have it no other way, for calling her, and sharing our thoughts and hearts together, is the most natural thing for me to do. I do it because I like her, I love her, and I truly enjoy her company. I want to talk with her, because the more I talk and communicate with her, the more I love her. And love, as I tell our four children, makes everyone involved very, very happy.