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Courage and Cuddling

How I Faced My Fear of Starting an Intimate Marriage Conversation

Photo Credit - Whitney Neal Photography

It’s a New Year of life, love and marriage.

It seems like everyone either has The Big Year Vision or completely opts out of the whole, “It’s a new year! I am going to make it awesome process.”

It seems to me like we often dream big or not at all.

Have you noticed that?

It’s one of the reasons I am a fan of dreaming deeper instead of bigger – deeper into the longings of your heart instead of the bigger “more is better” mindset that often doesn’t make us any happier no matter how much we achieve.

I wanted to write a really inspiring post with all my resources to make your marriage awesome for the New Year.

I started writing it.

Then I thought, you know what’s even more important?

Having a conversation about starting.

So let’s talk about that.

Starting can be so intimidating.

Where do you start?

What if it doesn’t work?

What if you are embarrassed or scared or shy, <insert really good reason not to start here>?

This is a true story.

I love my husband in that totally googlie eyed way that can either be totally inspiring or totally annoying.

We have long talks and date nights and a relationship that makes me smile every single day.

And yet I can be shy and embarrassed and nervous to tell him something if it’s really close to my heart.

It’s like every single teenage insecurity comes back and boom! I am 17 again. <In my mind. This is not a Disney movie.>

Last year there was something on my mind. I wanted to cuddle more.

We are one of the touchy-feeliest couples you will ever met, and yes, I still wanted to cuddle more.

I am also a hugger.

Physical touch must be one of my love languages.

Anyway, remember starting?

I didn’t know how to start. I didn’t know how to ask for what I wanted in a loving way and just say the words.

Wait. What?

Of course I *knew* how to start and ask and say words.

I didn’t know how to do it without fear, freak out, embarrassment, vulnerability, nervous angst, you get the idea.

So what did I do?

Nothing.

I stayed quietly cuddle-less for a very long time.

I am telling you this because I write this blog from the perspective of a happily married person, who is trained as a relationship coach and has all the tools to make a mediocre relationship good and a good relationship amazing.

I apply these tools every day.

I am boundlessly enthusiastic and completely in love.

Relationship status – 10 out of 10, I would marry you all over again.

And yet.

There I was.

Afraid of starting.

A conversation, a request, a possibility for rejection or failure.

We are all afraid of starting at some point in our lives.

And it’s the thing closest to our heart that we need to find a way to start to experience peace of mind.

So I did what any Life & Relationship Coach would do in my place.

I took my own damn advice.

I talked to the voices in my head that were holding me back and said the life coach-y equivalent of “You are not the boss of me.” Which sounds a lot like, “You are not the boss of me.” 😉

Then I lovingly told my hubby what was in my heart.

I explained how even though we have been together for years and even though I usually feel like we can talk about anything, I can still be embarrassed and shy and oh, so 17.

And he listened.

At that point it was so amazing to share something I had held in for so long that just the fact that he listened was the thing.

The thing I wanted was secondary to the thing of opening up and feeling heard.

Note to self – sometimes the path to the thing you want, takes you to places even more amazing than what you originally dreamed of, but to get there, you have to start. With fear, with love, with whatever you have, it’s the first step that will eventually get you there.

So what happened? Have we become the cuddlers of the century?

No.

It turns out we have different thresholds for that. The hubby is more of a “I like my personal space” kind of guy and I am more of a “Space? What space?” kind of girl.

It is in no way a deal breaker, but it is something called an unsolvable problem.

According to the fabulous and detailed research at The Gottman Institute – they research what makes marriages work and then report back – every couple has unsolvable problems. The marriages that stay happily married just learn to manage those.

This is important. Pause right now. Pay close attention.

Every marriage has unsolvable problems.

Isn’t that great to know?

Because I know a lot of people who think they shouldn’t have *any* problems and if they do, there is something Terribly Wrong.

Not just wrong but, Terribly Wrong.

Isn’t it a huge relief to know that research actually confirms – it’s okay, you are okay, we are all okay?

We can agree to disagree on some things and still love each other?

Phew.

I totally feel better already.

I hope you do too.

So, back to starting.

The point of starting anything – whether it’s a relationship conversation or an exercise routine, is to move you forward.

You start, you move in a direction, you keep going.

Sometimes we get to create the vision we had when we started. Sometimes, we change that vision along the way.

What is in your heart right now that you know that you want to start and you haven’t?

It could be something big or something relatively small that is big to you.

Can you give yourself permission to start with fear?

Can you find the smallest step you can take in that general direction and do it this week?

Maggie Reyes is a Life Coach, Marriage Mentor + the creator of www.ModernMarried.com. She helps smart, soulful, successful women (and a few amazing men) have healthier, happier, sexier marriages using simple tools she shares on her blog and in her personalized coaching programs. She believes you can take the love you have and make it the love you want by making simple shifts in your relationships right now. Get her free mini-guide, “The Love Upgrade: 7 Steps to a 5 Star Marriage.”

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