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Improve Relationships Through Communication

Updated on October 15, 2013
Bev and I are learning to communicate
Bev and I are learning to communicate | Source
I have a long way to go but I am learning and I am willing
I have a long way to go but I am learning and I am willing | Source
Communication is the gift that keeps on giving.
Communication is the gift that keeps on giving. | Source

In most surveys conducted about the reasons for divorce, lack of communication is inevitably in the top five. Man and woman, gifted with the power of speech, are seemingly incapable of communicating at times. Why is that? Go to any public place and you can see people conversing non-stop about the weather, the price of gasoline, their health and a myriad of other subjects. Why, then, are we so tongue-tied when it comes to communicating with our mate? Perhaps it is not lack of communication that is the problem in so much as lack of meaningful communication.

With a divorce rate in the United States above 50% it appears that there needs to be a National Communication Advocacy Group to aid our citizens in the lost art of communicating properly. Just what we need, right, the government stepping into the fray! If ever there was a dysfunctional group it would be the U.S. Congress so perhaps we should leave them out of this discussion. Still we are left with the question of why? Courtships are undertaken, promises made, vows pronounced and yet somewhere down the road of marriage couples find it difficult if not impossible to communicate.

No, it is not just in marriage that we see this problem. Friends argue, siblings break off family ties, nations threaten and cajole, wars are fought and feelings on an individual level are irrevocably hurt, all because the most loquacious species on earth cannot properly communicate. So again, what seems to be the reason?

LOOKING BACK IN TIME

I speak, of course, from vast experience on this subject. I was raised, although not intentionally, to keep feelings tucked deep inside. When we are young we learn from watching our parents and we naturally copy that which we see. My dad was a loving father but was completely incapable of expressing his feelings until the inevitable time would come when anger would be the only response available to him. He could not communicate what he was feeling and by extension no one would know what he was feeling. The natural product of that would be frustration and eventually anger. Unspoken words would lead to a torrent of inner turmoil until the only outlet was anger. It was as predictable as Old Faithful. You could see it happening in his expressions and then sullenness would follow; once sullen the anger was soon to erupt.

For quite a few decades I followed this pattern. I knew it was coming; I could feel the rising temperatures inside of me but unlike my father I could not release it.

Looking back on It now I can see the reasons why. Of course, part of the puzzle had to do with behavior I had witnesses as a child. I do not blame my dad; he was dealing with his anger in the only way he knew how just as I did in later years. My reluctance to communicate my feelings, whether they be sadness or anger, had its origins in a fear of showing weakness. If I did not show my emotions then I would appear strong and men should always be strong. Add to that the fact that I felt by hiding my feelings I was preventing anyone from getting close enough to hurt me. Put the two together and you have a recipe for disaster; put them all together in an alcoholic and you have the recipe for a very slow death.

You could not hurt me if I did not allow you inside of my psyche and the best way to do that was to let everything roll off of me like rain off a duck’s back. Dad dies? Carry on like a good soldier! Lost a marriage? Carry on like the brave man you are! Feeling the stress of the job? Fake it until you make it and for God’s sake don’t let on that you are afraid and incapable! Alcohol kicking your butt? Strap on some balls and be a man! It was a simple formula that appeared, to those on the periphery of my life, to be working for me; but inside of me, in my heart and soul, the feelings of emptiness, fear and insecurity were overwhelming me. I was losing control and my formula for success was failing miserably.

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS

I finally found safety in those who loved me. Through their acceptance I found that I could express myself without worrying about repercussions or judgments. Through their love I found the freedom to just be me and that led, or course, to the freedom to speak openly about my feelings. Make no mistake about it: this all took years to happen. One does not immediately break down walls overnight; one does not toss away a lifetime of defensive barriers simply by willing them to crumble and disappear. It takes time and effort to do so; it takes a willingness to do so; it takes hard emotional struggle to do so. We have all heard of Pavlov and his programming of dogs; that is, in effect, what I had to do to myself. I had to program my thinking so that I offered my feelings to others and risked the outcome, whatever it might be, in order to free myself of the self-imposed chains that constricted my emotional growth.

It was difficult to do; it was frightening to do; it was liberating to do. Of course it wasn’t always well-received by others but there were enough times where it was and it was upon those positive reactions that I was able to build a foundation for a better life.

TODAY THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT

I am in a deeply satisfying love affair with a beautiful woman today. We have both had to work at communicating for the old barriers still surface for both of us, preventing at times open communication and sharing of feelings, but we are committed to making this relationship work and last a lifetime so we do the hard work. We are willing to push aside the fear and open our hearts to each other. We are willing to push aside our egos and truly hear what each other is saying and feeling. We do not play the Blame Game but rather make the attempt to see issues through the eyes and hearts of each other. It does not always go smoothly but that is a part of the process that is to be expected and it will pay benefits for years to come.

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/The-Woman-I-love

I have found great peace today! It is not necessary that everyone agree with me nor is it necessary that everyone approve of me or even like me. It is only necessary for my growth that I speak my feelings and not let them stay bottled up inside of me where they will inevitably fester and fuel my dis-ease! I absolutely refuse to return to my old way of thinking and responding. I have found happiness and that happiness is fueled by love. In love there is safety! In love there is freedom. In love there is finally, for this man, peace of mind.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I cannot solve the world’s problems regarding communication. I cannot, in fact, lessen the divorce rate in this country or counsel others on proper communication. I can only work on myself. I know today that the major roadblocks to communication for me are ego and fear. I have to be willing to face that fear and push aside my ego in order to properly communicate. I have to be willing to admit that someone else’s opinions are every bit as valid as mine and when they are sharing it is not my job to pass judgment but to simply listen to them. I have to hold onto the realization that life is not all about me and that I am just a small piece to a very large puzzle. Yes, my feelings are valid, but so are the feelings of those I interact with, and as such they deserve to be heard and understood.

If I am willing to make that effort then perhaps others will be willing to make a similar effort towards me and that, my friends, is the beginning of communication.

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Love....your comment had me laughing. Despite the odds, we men do have the capability of learning, don't we? LOL Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

    • Mr Love Doctor profile image

      Mr Love Doctor 5 years ago from Puerto Rico

      This article is good because it treats communication as a skill that can be learned. Too often men are made to feel like the fifth wheel in the emotional equation of relationships, as though women were the true evolved angels of things of the heart and men are one step from cavemen. Thanks for giving men hope. Hope! Ah, yes, and some steps to follow because we love our grubby little checklists too.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Donna, thank you again! These are lessons it took me a very long time to learn but thank goodness I did learn them.

    • donnaisabella profile image

      Donaisabella 5 years ago from Fort Myers

      A very important piece of communication for all of us. "I have to hold onto the realization that life is not all about me and that I am just a small piece to a very large puzzle. Yes, my feelings are valid, but so are the feelings of those I interact with, and as such they deserve to be heard and understood." This is a brilliant conclusion because that is what we all have to learn to communicate better, that it is not just about us, others deserve to be heard too! Thanks for sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Theresa, I knew I could entice you!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Lately, I have gotten terribly behind in reading and commenting (not that it is possible to read and comment on everything), so I have been systematically tackling the daily summaries of hubs posted by the people I follow, but its slow going. But since you say I have been "mentioned" I will abandon "my system" and read it right away. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Theresa, I hope you stop by the hub I did today; you are mentioned. Thank you as always for your meaningful comment and your loyalty to my efforts.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      You are so right, ego and fear are the great barriers to communication and good relationships. We are not responsible for our upbringing and the patterns it created in us, but as adults we can take on the hard work you describe and work toward constructive change and healing. This is a positive and very encouraging hub. Blessings!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Chris, you humble me. I can't begin to tell you how much your words mean to me. Thank you my friend and blessings and peace to you and yours..

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      billy, you ONCE again have nailed it, spot on!

      I have been married for going on 29 years. And communication is vital.

      I am fortunate, but for me, my wife is honestly my best friend.

      We can talk about ANYTHING, and EVERYTHING, and we often do.

      billy your hubs are the most honest and fulfilling I have ever read.

      I deeply appreciate your work,

      Chris

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kelly, it's been a long road to finally reach this point in life where communication is important and necessary for me. Good luck to you as well.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Well people could learn a thing or two from you. Communication is tricky - as easy as it is - it can be incredibly hard to do it right:) lol. Sounds like you have a very bright future:) good luck to you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well thank you Deborah; there is a new one coming tomorrow. I appreciate you very much!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

      I've enjoyed your Lifestyle Choices series and didn't want to miss the latest.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Deborah and thanks for not giving up on this hub and returning to it.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

      I love the last line of this hub, Bill. Sums it up perfectly. I'm happy for you and Bev and the happiness you have found together.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Caroline, thank you! I think the world could use a little inspiration now and then, don't you? Have a marvelous day my friend!

    • carolinemd21 profile image

      Caroline Marie 5 years ago from Close to Heaven

      Hi Billy good for you and your love. It's nice to hear about people in relationships who are happy. Your hubs are always so inspirational.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Audra, I am ecstatic which is way beyond happy! :) Thank you my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ruchira; it is such an easy habit to fall into, emailing and texting. I find myself doing it almost daily because of convenience.

      Thank you as alway and have a wonderful evening.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Bill, you are such a gentle, wonderful soul. I see that through your writing each time I stop by to read. You are making efforts to communicate better with Bev and that is what really matters. Open up your heart, be open to being hurt, and you will receive so much happiness in the end. I vote up your hub and smile as I type this comment.

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      iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

      Communication is hard. I am glas you are happier now :)

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Beautiful topic Bill. We all lack doing this esp with the person we love. Dunno why though...maybe we take the other for granted but care to talk and chat with outsiders on just about anything...hmm

      Good pointers though..sad but true me and better half usually either email each other or text each other of any to-do stuff 'cause by the end of the day..brain is dead :(

      gotta learn something now from this hub...beautiful/useful/interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tams, I'm glad the redhead thing is a fallacy but in this case, for your sake, I wish it were not. It sounds like you are pretty aware of the problems associated with stuffing it inside so I'll shut my mouth.

      Have a peaceful day my friend and I greatly appreciate you.

    • Tams R profile image

      Tams R 5 years ago from Missouri

      Great Hub yet again Bill.

      I know I have trouble communicating because in my family it was yell it out or don't say anything. I chose the latter.

      Don't get me wrong....I have plenty to say. I talk quite a bit.

      One day early on in my marriage, my husband sat me down and said, "You have a lot of things to say, but you never say anything."

      Oh man was I hurt. Once I got over my pride I knew exactly what he meant. I work on it, but truthfully I have a long way to go.

      I think if I ever learnt to express my anger or discontent I'd be far better off, but I can't seem to let it out. I just find something positive to say and keep on going until I burn out and then I say nothing at all.

      That's pretty much been my issue the last few weeks. I'm burnt out!

      You'd think as a redhead I could let it fly, but in my opinion that stereotype is a fallacy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ardie, fingers are crossed for sure! I think that you and I and many like us have learned a valuable lesson that only helps us in raising children. We can build a positive legacy in their lives and that's a pretty cool thing.

      Thank you my friend!

      bill

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      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      Hi Bill, I loved reading this! I also value communication - meaningful communication - and I go out of my way to share my feelings now. BUT when I was younger I did the same thing you did. I kept everything bottled up until it ate me alive from the inside and I had no choice but to let it out...usually in a rage. I learned the poor communication skills at home as well and I can only hope I am passing along great communication skills to my own kids. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Ruby! There are a lot of us walking around who grew up holding everything inside. I love the freedom that comes with opening up and being real. I greatly appreciate your honesty and obvious character.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, I was just talking to my nephew the other day; he had called me to ask me why his mother had a different name on her birth certificate than the one we always knew her by...just another of the endless secrets in our family when I was growing up.

      I have finally reached the point where I am very much like you; if people don't want to hear my real answer then they would be well-advised not to ask me a question.

      Thanks for dropping by my friend; hope you are well...for sure you are sassy. :)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is a great hub. I am just learning to open up and discuss emotions held in for years. I have this community of writers to thank for that. Thank you for sharing again....

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      bill....I had the exact opposite experience, growing up with my parent's child-rearing style. We were encouraged to speak up, express our opinions and openly share our feelings....clearly, properly and respectfully, of course....

      but keeping emotions pent-up was frowned upon and private resentments were not allowed. We were a talkative, demonstrative bunch, that's for sure. Our mother was a point-blank sort of person while Dad used a bit more tact and diplomacy.

      Either way, throughout our lives, very few people ever had to wonder or guess how we felt or what we thought.

      Dad always said, "Not EVERYONE is always going to like you.....that's just the way it is. If they're going to dislike you...better that it's because you are honest and forthright, rather than a liar or a phony. Would you actually want to associate with someone who can't handle or appreciate honesty?....and if they're going to like you, then it's best they know WHO you are and what you stand for......makes life a whole lot simpler for all involved"

      Needless to say, it's a bit of a shock when I encounter those who do not speak their mind, or worse, say only what is expected or "accepted."....(in other words, lie or play the game) I might add...I am SOOOOO good at spotting the game-players quickly.

      I have my shortcomings as all we mortals do...."communication" is NOT one of them.

      If there's one sure thing my friends know, without a doubt....it's to never ask my opinion, unless they want MY opinion, as oppossed to a bunch of sugar-coated, insincere baby-talk....that they may PREFER to hear.

      I ask you...what the hell is the point to that? The TRUTH always always finds us.!! Good hub, Sir!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I will indeed, Sha, and one coming right back atcha!

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      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I appreciate your words, my friend, but my comment is definitely not better than your hub! Your hub led to my comment, so I quess the question is, which came first, the chicken or the egg! Ha ha. I love how you and I feed off each other, Bill!

      Hugs to Bev and give one to yourself from me!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I think your comment was better than my hub! Everyone out there, just read Sha's comment and skip the hub! :)

      You are so right of course and it is harder after you have been married before and suffered through endless arguments and blaming....it is so hard to trust someone again and hope to be heard.

      But making the effort is so worth it if it works out.

      Thank you dear one! Have a wonderful, relaxing evening.

      bill

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Billy, communication is indeed the key. Especially when you're in the more "mature" hemisphere of life. When 2 people who have had wives/husbands/children in a previous stage of life, come together, it's hard because each has his/her way of doing things. Each has his/her attributes and attitudes they will not tolerate in future relationships. I, myself, have been married and divorced twice. I'm now in my mid 50's and am once again trying the relationship thing. It's not easy when each of you has had a "previous" life! Finding someone with whom you're not afraid to share and who will genuinely listen, is a very important stepping stone. Probably the most important if there's any real hope of finding a life-long mate! Without it, you might as well keep to yourself and don't waste each other's time. We don't know how much is left, so we need to make the best of it!

      Voted up, as always, my good friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Express, I hope I always live up to those kind words. Thank you very much!

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      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      I really enjoyed reading this. You are honest, sincere, and bring real experience to a very important topic.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Gail! Thank you! I happen to love this series too; I tend to get away from it by choice because I don't want to just be a writer of deep subjects and I try to expand my horizons and set new limits, but I always return to this because this is where my passion is.

      Thank you my friend and may you have a wonderful week.

      your friend,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mekenzie, thank you so much for dropping by and visiting my site. I'm so happy that you and your husband (who sounds like a great guy) have found a way to communicate openly. I love stories with happy endings, don't you?

      bill....p.s. thanks for the follow

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      I love this series on lifestyle choices because it is so empowering. There was much hard learned wisdom and honesty in this hub and I think you summed it all up well in your final thoughts.

      It is risky to share our true thoughts and feelings with others, most especially with those we already love and are closest to, but it's even more risky not to do so for it is almost inevitable that resentment and anger will poison our relationships if we don't risk sharing what's really in our hearts and minds.

      Voted this hub up, useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting.

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 5 years ago from Michigan

      Hello Billy, I have seen your comments on some of the hubs I have read and decided to come for a visit. I'm so glad that you have broken the mold of your upbringing and have learned how important it is to not only allow yourself to feel what you feel but to communicate it as well.

      I too had to learn how to do that. Being a child of alcoholics I had bottled all of my emotions inside. In college I dated a young man, who is now my husband, who urged me to share my thoughts. I thank God for him because he was the first person that I dared to share my pain with ... the first time I opened up I was surprised to see tears coursing down his face as he drew me near and said, "How could anyone ever harm such a precious girl?" The light went on for me as I realized ... it wasn't me, it was them.

      He continued for years to help me verbalize my feelings. Sometimes I write it out because I, like H.C.Porter am a better writer than a talker too. Once he reads what I had to say, then we sit down and discuss it. It still works if I find myself at a loss to express my feelings through talking it through.

      Thanks for a Great Hub .. I agree ... communication is the key to a healthy relationship. voted up and useful

      Mekenzie

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Holly, your story and comments echo my own experiences and I'm sure those of many others. I have no doubt that with hard work and willingness you and many others can find the key to success in your marriage. Best of luck to you and thank you so much for taking the time to share your own experience, strength and hope.

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 5 years ago from Lone Star State

      I am much better writer than I am talker, which has made communication in all types of relationships hard. Most of my anxiety is fear, as well as, I forget to think that maybe I should share something. This is an obstacle for me. I know that my marriage is also a victim of lack of communication- but we are now trying to stop-talk- express what we need from the other, and while we work on that we have both come to realize that we no longer know the other person, so we are also doing that once again.

      Communication is a very important key to healthy relationships, perhaps our struggles as a species regarding communication are all intertwines. Thanks for the hub, and the thoughts... VOTED UP AND USEFUL!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wesman, I am at that point now, where for me communication is at times blunt but it is the truth and that's all I can guarantee anyone. As for marriage...two time loser here but I may have finally found the right one. We have been together for four years now and we continue to work at it. Thank you my friend!

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      So much can be either captured or lost with just a few words!

      Only familiarity and historical within the context of individual relationships can the subtleties be realized.

      The more you bottle in....the more pressure in the jug, and the more dangerous it is to carry around.

      ....I can't do it!!!!! I try to just be blunt about it.

      As for marriage....WHEW! I've no experience with that. I'd be willing to give it a shot exactly once.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Slacker, congratulations on 20 years of marriage. After that much time I have no doubt that you understand the value of communication. Thank you so much!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jlava, it is my pleasure. If I can help others then my job as a writer has been done and has been successful.

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      Lisa Palmer 5 years ago from Attapulgus GA

      I always enjoy your hubs and this one is no exception.Your writing is inspiring because you write on topics that so many of us can relate to. :) Communication is a staple to the growth of any relationship, I have seen what happens when it's there as well as when it's not. Learning to really talk to and listen has really made all the difference in my marriage which will enter it's 20th year next month. Great hub Voted up.

    • Jlava73 profile image

      Jennifer Vasconcelos 5 years ago from Cyberspace and My Own World

      Through your sharing and willingness to be open about such important topics, your fellow hubbers learn and reflect on some important lessons of life.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eddy, I plan on doing exactly that, traveling this wonderful road together for a very long time. You and I have some important things to share, things that can help others, and that, my friend, is my higher calling as a writer.

      I love the fact that you do not bundle it all together. It serves no purpose to do so and I choose to celebrate the fact that I have survived and learned and grown as a human being and that I now have the ability to make a difference in lives.

      So let's celebrate my friend!

      Peace and happiness all days for you and yours.

      billy

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      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Oh yes yes yes Billy;again I relate to 100%; I was the master of keeping all horrific memories all feelings anger;sadness the lot undercover and the lid was crammed right down tight!!

      No one could hurt me again as long as I didn't allow them to and this is what I did. Not even my best friend knew what was going on.

      However slowly but surely I have learnt to open up and to share;my life is now an open book and I hope that as some rifle through the pages they will pick up something useful for themselves.

      Only last week an elderly gentleman who has known me since I was a little girl said "I don't know how you carry on because when you bundle it all together it is horrific!!!

      But I don't bundle them all together and I have coped and grown safely but surely.

      I don't question too much the question WHY!!!I accept that I have survived and also grown as a writer and a person. I mean to be around for a very long time to come and I look forward to a sunny and exciting future!!

      Let's move onwards and upwards together.

      Take care my very dear friend and enjoy your day.

      Eddy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Xavier; I'm working on the next Kindle book at these Lifestyle Choices hubs will be the source for that online book. I appreciate your support as always and have a wonderful week.

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      Xavier Nathan 5 years ago from Isle of Man

      Another enthralling installment and what makes it special is the humble way you convey your message. You never preach but simply offer your own life experience as reasons for people to entertain alternative ways of seeing old patterns in a new way. Thank you Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sweetie, all you say is true. I am not an advocate of marriage at all costs nor am I an advocate of keeping a marriage together simply because it is a marriage. Way too much damage can be done if the marriage is not worth saving or the couples are not willing to work to make it work. Excellent comments and thank you for stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Teaches, I bow in admiration and respect...forty years??? You have obviously learned the art of communication! Congratulations and thank you so much for stopping by.

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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sonya, my dear, you are an equally amazing friend. I hope the moving went well...have you found a new home in Wales? Can't wait to hear about it. Thank you as always and best of luck in your new place...best wishes always!

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA

      We have all these ideas about romantic love and idyllic marriages, but the reality is only in the last few hundred years have people married for love. In the past and in many cultures marriage is still a business arrangement where both parties and families are benefiting from the union, and even in western cultures where people married for love, they often had to stay married because of religious and societal expectations. Also, people used to have a much shorter life expectancy, so the reality was people often remarried because they were widowed. There were actually quite a few men and women who were widows on the American Frontier, and second marriages between widows were more common than people realize. Today I think it is sometimes unrealistic for every couple to try and make a marriage work for a life time. I think it is commendable when people can do it, but the reality is all relationships can be strained when you live with someone. Even if you are really good friends with someone and you become roommates, in many circumstances the friendship goes down hill pretty fast. It takes a lot of work to make any type of relationship work when people live together, and if some people have been married for twenty years and all they do is fight, or all they do is stone wall each other, sometimes divorce can be a healthy solution.

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      Sonya L Morley 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      Wise words Bill, you've written this with hard-won insight and that makes it well worth respecting. I have always thought that I am a good communicator, but when I look at the really tough times in my life I see that they were so hard because I was afraid of the reaction I would get by communicating honestly or listening... Many mistakes followed! Great article, you are an amazing writer.

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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Love the song! We're celebrating 40 years this month of marriage and have found the key is to keep the communication lines open. Sometimes fear keeps you from sharing, but you have to face the truth. I believe your thoughts about a man not sharing his feelings is very common. Most men think they have to remain strong, which equates to being unemotional. Great advice, reflection and encouragement in your hub. Thanks for sharing!

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      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Cyndi! It really has made all the difference this time around for Bev and I, and I don't think it's possible fora relationship to last without communication. Have a great week at school my friend!

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      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Another fabulous hub! Before I got married, I actually "researched" it - I went and found out about successful couples and how they made it work. I found a book called "The New Couple" and it has really made a difference. We are not ten years strong and he is my bestest friend EVER. :)