Every once in a while, Mike and I ask each other, "How happy are you in our marriage?"
Stemming off a tip from my brother and sister-in-law (check out their sweet blog on their monster home remodel here), we try to "rank" our marriage out on a 1-10 scale and then talk about why and how we can improve it. We've been married for ten months now, and to be honest, we've been blessed to almost always be ranking on the 8 - 10 part. (I believe on my birthday I gave it a 12 million - it was a pretty good day.)
Recently, after a "check-in," our conversation consisted of, "I don't think there's anything to work on - we're perfect, you're perfect, I'm perfect." And, "Maybe I just need you to give me a few more back rubs and it'll bump my happiness scale up from a 9.75 to a 10. Can you work on that?"
Kidding aside, we know there will be days ahead where together or individually, we'll be sitting on the low end of the scale and neither of us will even feel like working it out. On those days, if Mike even cracked a back rub joke, I'd pry want to strangle him.
That's why we're working so hard on building good habits in open communication now. I'm not a marriage expert by any means, but what I do know is - when Mike and I don't talk about things, everything starts to spiral downward. I start holding my emotions, needs and desires inside, and I get selfish, bitter, grumpy and just plain ugly (my heart, not my face - okay, well my face too - grumpy isn't a good look for me). And on top of it all, Mike gets the same way - and then it's just two uglies doing ugly things.
It's an ugly sight. Trust me.
But when we're open with each other and purposeful in our conversations, we're able to combat the ugliness before it even happens. No, it doesn't make us a perfect couple. Mike and I still disagree, hurt each other's feelings and act downright selfish towards each other, but having these check-in's forces us to work hard at being honest - being willing to admit that we don't like this or that, feel that this need isn't being met, or that one of us needs forgiveness for something. It gives us a safe zone to talk about how we're feeling and chance to not let the hurts build up until they really do turn us into uglies.
On that note, here's to open communication and beautification!