Judith & Jim
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No matter how much two people have in common, they will always be different in many ways. And that can be challenging.

Do you feel you can speak up about issues that bug you, hurt you, scare you when your partner behaves in ways you don’t like? Or are you afraid that speaking up will threaten your relationship?

If you fear that speaking up will make too big a problem, then you’re voting for your fear and your lack of value. Your fear won’t let you talk about changes you want (and we ALL want some changes in a long term relationship) and you’re insisting you aren’t worthy of having a voice — only your partner’s ways count!

The other day Jim was touching up paint on molding he’d put up in our hallway upstairs — and he was standing on an antique carpet runner we’d purchased at an auction here.

Judith was horrified of a potential paint spill and shocked Jim would take the risk. So she said, “Jim, please don’t leave anything valuable around when you’re painting.” And Jim said, “I’m being careful.” Judith replied, “OK, but most accidents happen when we’re being careful. Please don’t do it.” In response Jim rolled up the rug and vowed he’d never do it again. He wanted her to be comfortable and not worried.

If Judith hadn’t spoken she would have stewed over how dumb Jim can be, how his parents were dumb not to teach him to protect things and she would have built a private case against Jim, distrusting him more and more, undermining our relationship. That’s the destructive power of not speaking up!

In the new intimacy, love is based on continually creating the relationship. Both people are loved for who they are and feel safe to speak up.

Don’t cheat your love by hiding your complaints or desires — it needs the fertilizer of your speaking up!