“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it to other people.” Virginia Woolf
When I’m meeting with a new client for the first time, I always ask them about their relationship when they first met and when they got married. Although how they felt about their husband at that time is different than how they feel about him today, it’s not uncommon for them to express to me that, on some level, they knew. Many women have shared with me that, even on the day they were walking down the aisle, they knew they might be making a mistake.
My client Gabriele shared with me that the week she returned from her honeymoon, she and her husband had a big discussion and made an agreement with each other that neither was ever going to spend more than $500 without talking to the other one first.
The stakes in their lives aren’t $500 anymore; sometimes they’re tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, but the problem remains. And now when he makes large financial decisions without her is an enormous issue in their marriage.
She didn’t realize that not everyone feels the need to sit down, have a conversation, and make an agreement like they did. She didn’t realize that with many couples it’s understood that you make big financial decisions together.
At some level, even the week after her honeymoon, she knew she needed to have that conversation with her husband.
She knew she needed to say out loud and have him agree that he wouldn’t do the very thing she feared most that he would do.
Another client, Alison, told me the story about how she and her husband wrote letters to each other to read on the day of their wedding before walking down the aisle. She can’t remember exactly what she wrote or what his letter specifically said to her, but she distinctly remembers thinking, back there in the little room in the back of the church, “He loves me more than I love him.”
Even then, on their wedding day, at some level, she knew.
In my own first marriage, I was the one that pursued the relationship and the marriage. I was going to make it work because I knew he wouldn’t ever hurt me, lie to me or cheat on me. If I was being really honest with myself at that time, I knew I wasn’t madly in love; I just felt safe.
On some level, did you know?