A month ago Lindsey and I had just returned from Connect Retreat, the incredible marriage conference that we attend in Georgia each year that’s specifically designed for creatives who are married and in business together – super niche, I know! Each year it’s been a mountain top experience for us as we get to take time away from our business and day to day life to come together and do work on our our marriage and ourselves. Even though we work together, it still becomes just as easy to settle into a rhythm where you feel more like roommates. Yet because we work together, it becomes imperative to not let it stay this way.
It’s this mindset we had when we came down from the mountain top and back into our day to day reality. We didn’t want to just settle back into the routine; we wanted to bring this attitude of vulnerability and openness into our everyday. We wanted to get emotionally naked. That’s why we started our 30 Day Naked Conversations Challenge (based on questions from Marriage 365), wherein we committed to asking each other a conversation building question every day for the month of April. Now at the end of it, I can definitely say it’s strengthened our muscles of patience, vulnerability, intimacy and more. When you commit to having a deep conversation with your spouse every day, it’s just going to naturally do that! So we just wanted to share some of our takeaways and things that we learned after a month of getting emotionally naked with each other, every day!
First though, I have to be honest and say that we weren’t perfect and did actually miss a few days here and there. It’d be easy to blame the busy month we had (being out of town twice, five weddings, etc) but the truth is that the choice to emotionally show up with your spouse is a tough one. We call it getting emotionally naked, yes because it’s attention grabbing, but also because it’s true! You’re literally exposing yourself emotionally, and there’s risk in that. In speaking on vulnerability, Brené Brown defines it as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” She makes the point that it’s risky and scary because you can’t control how you’re going to be received. Now we were blessed that the first week, our schedules made it a little easier to have time for this, but even then I realized the stretch it would be to stay consistent in it!
So despite missing some days, one of the greatest benefits of the challenge was that it made us mindful of how much time we spent connecting with each other, a mindset that we’d pushed off our radar due to busyness. In other words, challenging ourselves like this made us aware of when we weren’t opening up with each other and encouraged us to strive to do so! And some of y’all said similar things. We heard that it forced you to talk about yourselves and your relationship rather than your kids or work. We can definitely echo that!
Something it also did was help us in our ability to hold space with each other. Instead of needing to fix right away or quickly come to a conclusion, we got to practice listening. And when you finally shut up and listen, great things can happen! Understanding can be reached, differences of thought fleshed out, all things that create deeper connection. Having this space let us get curious about the deeper reasoning behind why we felt certain ways, which led to challenging certain identities and misconstrued beliefs we’d been holding onto.
Needless to say, the personal and spiritual growth for us was incredible, and I absolutely believe everyone should try it. If you’re curious about our challenge, you can view the questions on our Instagram or read about it here. We would absolutely encourage you to check out Marriage 365’s book, 365 Connecting Questions for Couples, which is where we pulled all of the questions from. I’ve also linked to some further reading and resources that relate to this and that we found incredibly useful!
- Brené Brown’s Netflix Special on Vulnerability
- Marriage 365 (they also have a Connecting Questions book for engaged couples!)
- Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller
- Connect Retreat – If you’re a married couple in business together, we cannot recommend this conference enough. Registration is currently open for next year (it’s in April 2020), and they have a payment plan so you can break it up over the course of the year!