When discussing marital problems with your spouse, it’s important to speak honestly, without keeping anything secret or quietly suffering. We don’t “close” our ears; on the contrary, we remain open for dialog and open ourselves up before our partner.
However at the same time, we don’t make a list of faults or wish to remember the bad. It’s written regarding these faults: “Love will cover all transgressions.” We only bring them out during a conversation when both speak about themselves and their partner. As a consequence, a “pile of garbage” grows between us, and then we need to rise above it. If we were to look at each other while being on the opposite sides of this garbage, we’d only see the garbage, not our partner. So what do we do?
Our only chance is to rise above this dirt. At the same time, we don’t make lifelong promises. Moreover, we know for a fact that this pile will become even bigger next time we speak. Naturally, it grows from one day to another; this is life. And this is why we’ll need this critical evaluation more than once.
And still, once we put everything out on the table, we move on to an opposite exercise, rising above the “dirty laundry.” I want to love my partner the way he appears above this pile, when I look at him with clear eyes, free of criticism. To do this, it’s as if we leave the table where all the garbage is piled up. Now, I see my wife in a different way, the way I saw her the moment I decided to tie my destiny with hers. I now want to stop at our best moment when she was my absolute perfection, and this exercise helps us move forward.
However, we do not simply rise above the dirt. As this approach makes us stronger, we tell one another how perfect she is and how perfect I am. It’s as if we were covering our garbage with a chocolate glaze, sweet pastry with layers of custard, ice cream roses, etc. All the bitterness remains inside, but there is unity on the outside: we give each other complements; tell one another about our partner’s wonderful qualities, the unique virtues of their personality. Here we can speak about the most sacred things, making them look perfect. This will affect both of us for the better and will absolutely change the entire spectrum of our relationship, including our sexual relationship.
So, we do work on the level of psychology and reasoning; we have a praising competition, without joking, make it deep and sincere. We praise the things in one another that we want to reveal to be opposite to the criticism we had in the beginning. This is no longer a discussion of criticism, but a positive analysis. It’s in this way we become stronger in our good intentions in relation to one another.
And then the next stage begins, which is the practical one. Actions support intentions and somewhat validate them. This is why we move on to the next stage of the discussion: “What would my wife want from me and what would I want from her?” Here, each partner reveals all their aspirations to the other: beginning with basic, essential things, and ending with personal and intimate things. At the same time, we try to feel the desires of our partner, their wishes and expectations.
And then the time to act comes, and we become one whole. And this leads to the next exercise that we’ll talk about a bit later which is developing the same kind of attitude towards every person in the world….
From “A New Life,” Conversation #34, 7/12/12