John and I recently found ourselves discussing how much we have progressed as a couple.
How we’ve pushed ourselves to respond differently to issues that in the past would have produced self destructive reactions. How both of us wanted to be better for each other. We took habitual reactions and replaced them with much more loving responses.
For us, our relationship was worth the effort. We leaned towards one another. When one felt weak the other gathered strength enough to support us both. We stayed loving, even when we didn’t feel worthy of love. We did this by being honest.
We welcomed transparency. Even if that meant we were huddled together on the floor in the closet. We took those things about ourselves we feared the most and laid them at the feet of our partner.
Time and time again, those “gifts” were accepted. We were loved. We were safe. We were not going to abandon one another. I told John things about myself I’d never told another soul. He shared his own hidden tales. We never once thought of using those moments of revelation as weapons. We honored each other.
We seemed to grasp the enormity of what was happening. We were shedding our armor and we sat at a level of vulnerability that was a turning point in our relationship.
Because we chose to be loving in those moments of revelation, we proved we could be entrusted with each other’s wounds. Wounds that could now heal. This healing was conscious and full of intent. We were both changing the stories we told ourselves. We were both altering our definitions of self. We were giving ourselves permission to let go of baggage we had long carried.
Sure we had roadblocks and moments of regression…habits are hard to change. But we stuck with it. We didn’t give up. John showed me I didn’t have to automatically go down a negative path. I showed John that I wasn’t going to abandon him for being honest.
Topics normally relegated to the shadows, were allowed to shine in the light of day. We embraced our consensually non monogamous relationship, even if that meant butting heads with religion or society or government. We weren’t going to be guilted, shamed or discriminated from following a relationship path we knew we were supposed to travel.
We believed in what we were doing, even if it meant others wouldn’t understand or would question our motives. We’d done the work, we’d risked ourselves and our relationship and ended up bringing our union to a place of reverence.
A place of honor and truth and acceptance. Unconditional acceptance.
We took the controlling teachings of old and turned them on their heads. If I truly loved my husband and myself, then the need for control became mute and vice versa. Why?
Because we were operating from love. Love for ourselves, each other and the relationship. We wanted the best for ourselves, our partner, and the marriage. We were committed at the highest level. I’ve seen this commitment everyday.
Even in those early days when we regressed back into old habits, we never lost sight of what we wanted from the partnership. And what we wanted was both of us all in. We said, “throw everything in the pot!” Show me who you are in the safety of love.
When we said we trusted each other, we meant what we said. We trusted that both of us would make choices in reverence of our relationship. I didn’t have to keep “tabs,” on John, he was doing that himself. We treated each other with the same love and respect we would want.
How did unlocking our honesty grow the marriage?
Well for one thing, it created an enormous safe zone for the both of us. We both knew we could be vulnerable in our honesty and let me tell you, there is nothing quite so freeing as a partner who receives your honesty with open arms.
Honesty breeds honesty, no doubt about it. But in order to invoke this multiplying effect, we’ve got to learn to accept our partners honesty with love and empathy.
How on earth can we ever expect to have the open and honest communication we all desire if we aren’t willing to listen to our partner’s truth?!
This unlocking of our honesty has been where John and I have seen the biggest growth in our marriage. It has been those times that we’ve been able to see how our continued receiving and giving of honesty in love built a foundation strong enough for us both to stand upon.
John and Jackie Melfi are in a consensually non monogamous marriage. They have been featured in ABC News Nightline Special Report “Getting Naughty In N’awlins”, Inside a New Orleans Swingers Convention, and CNN “This Is Life” with Lisa Ling. The Melfis are the force behind the industry famous colette swingers clubs in New Orleans, Dallas, Houston, and Austin. With over 20 years of combined experience, this powerhouse couple coaches thousands of singles and couples through their award winning blog Openlove101.com.