When you get married you’re starting a conversation that never ends, a conversation that includes all of the everyday details about bringing in the recycling bin and stopping by the vet to get those pills, and did you call the electrician? And at a much deeper level it’s a conversation in which you never stop figuring it out.

You’re going to try things that don’t work.
You’re going to say yes to things that you later regret.
You’re going to spend money on something and then later realize that wasn’t the best decision.
You’re going to have lots of conversations in which you say to each other, Let’s not do that again. You’re both unique, your marriage is unique, and learning what works for you will require lots and lots of talking.

And to keep talking, you have to be honest.

K: That house in the other part of town that Rob wanted to move into? We moved there, and I tried to make it work, but I had to admit that it wasn’t working. I remember taking a trip to Arizona during that time and sitting outside on the patio and realizing that I didn’t want to go back. I knew how much Rob loved living there, but I couldn’t do it anymore, and that meant I had to tell him the truth. The thought of having that conversation was gut wrenching.

R: And so she told me. And once I got through my initial shock, I had lots of questions.

K: Which is really important. Because it’s easy to have an immediate, emotional reaction when someone is honest without hearing the whole story and trying to see what they see and understand where they’re coming from.

R: And so we talked. And talked some more. And unexpectedly, the more I listened and the more Kristen explained, the more we ended up discussing not just the house, but the process that led us to moving in the first place.

K: And that led us into some new territory—because up until then, when we’d risked or jumped or taken a leap, we’d done it together, both of us in it all the way. Rob has a history of taking risks, and for the most part they’d turned out well. So when he started talking about this move and I had serious misgivings, I wondered whether this was just one of those times when I had to trust that he was seeing something I was missing.

R: She started talking about where we were living, but in a short time we found ourselves talking about how we were living, because it turns out that when she started telling the truth, there were a number of other truths behind that truth.

Moving, wishing you hadn’t moved, conversations you didn’t see coming, honesty loaded with implications, talking about issues that lead to more issues—with the two of you occupying the same space with your unique mix of personalities, let alone financial pressures and health concerns and work and family—you never stop figuring it out.

Excerpted from The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage by Rob and Kristen Bell. Copyright © 2014 by WORB, Inc. Published by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.