Okay so the image and title of this post sounds horrid. I thought that too when this concept was introduced to me this past week by Dr. Brené Brown herself. Most of you know that I’ve become mildly obsessed with Audible when my schedule requires heavy travel via me driving. It helped me find value and feel productive in those long distance travel times by empowering me to plow through my reading list. One of the books that has been on the playlist since last August is Rising Strong by Dr. Brené Brown. When I recommend reading Brené to individuals, I always preface with encouraging that person to be intuitively led to the first book you will read. Each of her books reflect a significant place in her journey and research and therefore I have found that each one relates to people more strongly at different times. It’s that divine timing happening in real action! Rising Strong was the book that was waiting for it’s divine time for me. I first opened it in August, because I was seeking relevant research as preparing for my talk in Boston on vulnerability and authenticity. After I completed my talk, it sat once again with other books moving higher on my priority list and now it’s February and I just hit the play button again.
It was this past week, that I listened to Brené share her insights regarding the Rising Strong process and forgiveness. More importantly it was the correlations that she drew between heart break, grief and forgiveness that really got me. Brené noted that the connection for forgiveness to occur, or for people to move forward, something must die.
See a subject that resurfaces time and time again with my clients is relationships. This has only increased after I shared a very vulnerable story about how my marriage almost ended in my first book, From Heart to HRart. Relationships are hard, whether it’s with family, friends, co-worker or your significant other. Being vulnerable and providing permission to others to be so close and intimate is also putting ourselves at risk for the most amount of pain.
The number one question that is asked of me in regards to my marriage and how it is stronger today more than ever is, what did you do? The answer is I allowed something died, so that we could move forward and grow stronger alone and together. So, I know you’re wondering what died? And my response is going to sound possibly soul crushing, but it’s the truth. It is also what had to die for us, so it doesn’t mean it is what has to happen for you.
For us, the promise of forever had to die. For us, the promise of forever resulted in us taking each other for granted. We prioritized each other as if it was a guarantee that there would always be a tomorrow. This created a relationship that was filled with love that was draining. It became a constant battle of extreme giving and taking with no balance, leaving one of us to always feel neglected, forgotten and alone. We would fight, withdraw and leave with so much left unsaid in between us.
The day when we decided to let the promise of forever die, we were terrified. We thought this was almost a guaranteed death sentence to our marriage. But what happened, was it gave us permission to be ourselves and together. It was no longer Jomm (my horrible attempt at combining our names), but Josh and Samm together. We loved each day like it was out last and when one of us forgot that concept, we called each other out.
Things are by no means perfect in our marriage, we still have challenges. But there is not one day that goes by that I question if I am loved and a priority. I now know for certain that regardless of whatever the future holds for both of us, I have a friend and partner for life.