How to End the Lies: Learning to Be Transparent Part 5
What you want most is to develop an open, honest relationship with your spouse that you can count on. You want to open the doors of communication and trust once more and keep them open so you’re marriage can flourish.
But how do you do this?
It’s an interesting question, and the answer involves a lot of different components. But if you have started employing the techniques for being transparent you learned in the last few articles, you should begin to sense a shift in your marriage.
It may feel like it takes you forever to get there. It will surely take a lot of work from both of you. But if you keep at it, eventually the tide will turn and the environment in your marriage will go from one of deceit to one of understanding and trust.
The shift may be subtle, almost undetectable at first. It may be more of a feeling than an actual event. As one client said,
“After working the program for several months, one day I was sitting down to dinner with my spouse and I realized I didn’t completely distrust him anymore. I can’t say I was totally in love with him again . at least not yet. But he had done a lot of work to become transparent and I had been working on it too, and when we sat down together that night it was like, ‘I don’t hate this man and I don’t have to worry about whether or not he is telling me the truth. I know he is.’
That was a huge turning point for me. This moment of peace came over me. I felt quiet for the first time in months.”
As you work through the building blocks to a transparent relationship, you slowly rebuild the trust that was shattered by the affair. With time and patience you can begin to rebuild your marriage and restore the trust.
When you do, by all means, protect the work you have done.
This is where the final building block to transparency comes in. You don’t actually employ this one until the other building blocks are in place. It’s meant as a way to protect your marriage and keep it open for all the years to come.
Transparency Building Block #5: Keep the Door Open
The concept is simple. Once you’ve opened the door to a transparent relationship, keep that door open. That’s all you have to do to maintain an environment of trust for many years to come.
However, as we all know “simple” doesn’t always mean “easy.” While the concept is straight forward, the execution can be difficult.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of unwittingly shutting your partner out. Couples who are in the early stages after the revelation or discovery of an affair make a real effort to open up to one another, but when they begin to move past the affair they forget the importance of transparency and they close one another out again.
Usually this happens in relatively subtle ways. You see, there are all kinds of verbal and nonverbal ways to shut out your spouse.
Here are a few verbal examples:
. “You’re not my mother.”
. “That’s not important.”
. “Nothing. Nothing’s wrong.”
. “I don’t have to report to you.”
Here are a few nonverbal examples:
. A growling “Hmmpf!”
. Ignoring the person.
. Rolling your eyes.
Words or actions like these shut down the lines of open communication you have worked hard to establish. They close your spouse out and tell her she isn’t important to you.
Remember, the key to maintaining an environment of trust in your marriage is to keep the lines of communication open. This is one of the most critical things you can do to repair the damage to your relationship and keep it happy and healthy for years to come.
If you’ve worked through the previous steps outlined in this series, I strongly encourage you to take time to analyze behaviors that may shut your spouse out and eliminate those distancing behaviors. Your marriage is too important, and you’ve done too much work to simply shut your spouse out again.
Keep the door open. It won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it.
In the meantime, let me know how it goes with you. I’d love to hear about your marriage.
Have you employed the building blocks to a transparent relationship? What was the outcome?
What kind of stumbling blocks have you encountered?
Have you worked through any of my programs mentioned above? What was the effect on your marriage?
What steps do you have yet to take?
Have you protected your marriage by keeping the door open? How does that feel?
Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,