Vulnerability & Marriage (go together like a horse and carriage?)

I’m pretty grateful that I married Dave. 

We’re best buds, have a lot of fun doing life together and really find a lot of peace and comfort with each other.

I’ve become increasingly well aware that this is just not the case for everyone.  There are no less than 8 married couples that I know that have split up in the last year.  That’s 16 people who have had their apparent future turned inside out.  As Ive heard about this I’ve felt myself getting really really sad and asking a lot of questions about what really makes a marriage work.

You’ll be glad to know I am NOT going to write some smug post about the secret of it all (just a smug picture of me fawning over him).  I’ve only been married 5 years.  That’s like the waitress thinking she can take over the kitchen (or some other non-gender-sterotyped example).  I do not know any answers and I expect there are many or maybe even none.

Still, I feel sad about it all. 

This video is from the TED talks and is 20 minutes long but worth watching every second.  In it, Brene Brown unearths the power of vulnerability in connection with others and highlights the hold that shame has on true connection happening in relationships.   (That’s my really shoddy synopsis of the video…I promise, it really is powerful.)

Something in me clicked the other day when I first watched this. Something whispered to me that this message is really important for marriages these days. 

I totally believe we can’t do marriage alone.  The couple who cocoon themselves away in a little love bubble are heading directly to a cactus.

At our wedding we said our vows, but we really wanted to mark the act of us saying those vows in front of our nearest and dearest as a significant thing (because if it wasn’t important that we did it in front of other people everyone would just go and sign a paper and be done with it, right?) so we wrote out some vows that we asked our wedding guests to read aloud together as part of the service. 

We asked our friends and family to commit to being there for us as a couple, to pray for us, encourage us in our love for each other.  It was a really special moment for me and I’m really glad we made a point of doing that because community is something that we feel really strongly about and try to cultivate in our family.

I have no doubt that marriage thrives in community. So, I guess when you pick that apart, true community only really happens when true vulnerability with each other exists; the sharing of ups and downs, picking up the pieces of each others messy decisions, being accountable, being generous, being real. 

I wonder how much time we really give to vulnerability in our relationships and if we really got the hang of it, would it make a difference?

Have a watch and a think.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.