Just to confirm our commitment to the power of vulnerability and love of Brene Brown’s reserach, this week’s Flashback Friday is all about laying down your emotional armor and taking a chance to let love in. 

For most of us, relationships start out lovingly… date nights, hand-holding, whispers of sweet nothings in your ear. And then one day you wake up and find that what was once a gentle nurturing garden has turned into guerrilla warfare with each of you strategically planning the next jab or figuring out new ways to protect your vulnerabilities.

Even in a “good” relationship, partners often find that over time they have begun to craft armor to protect their softest spots. Often our requests for connection and intimacy get lost in sharp tones and indirect messages because we are too afraid, or so out of touch with, our true emotions.

Careless comments, busy schedules, and changing life circumstances make it so easy for couples to fall into a pattern of negativity and failed attempts at emotional connection. The challenge to maintaining a strong emotional bond is to allow yourself to be vulnerable with the person who knows how to hurt you the most.

The more we love someone, the greater the impact of their words and actions on our sense of self.   {<– tweetable}

Yet so often in relationships we underestimate the power we have over each other, we begin to wonder if the other person is hearing us or even cares about our opinion. As courtship fades and we slip into the sometimes monotonous routine of daily life, we forget to be gentle with each other and before you know it we have saved the worst part of ourselves for the people whom we love the most.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

We can learn to lay down our armor and open ourselves up to our partners again. It takes great courage to put away your shield and let your partner see your most vulnerable side. Instead of snapping when your significant other doesn’t make it home in time for dinner, ask yourself, “what I am I really feeling right now?” Are you irritated by their “selfishness” or are you really just disappointed because you were looking forward to sharing some time together?

When you shut down during an argument, ask yourself why. Maybe it’s not because you are “too angry” but because you are scared that one day these arguments will end with someone walking out the door. These are examples of the emotions that we are hiding behind our armor. These are the feelings that when acknowledged, help to bring us closer together.

This week I challenge to put down your armor. I know that it is not easy. There are going to be times that your loved one is so hidden behind their own layers of protection that they can’t even see that you are opening your heart to them. They will say things and do things that disappoint and hurt you. But in time, as you work to let them closer to your heart, they will also learn to lay down their armor. And it is in the moments when we are least protected that we are able to feel the most loved.