We all know life is about finding happiness and experiencing joy. But as much as we know that, we also know life is about managing the inevitable: pain. None of us enjoy it, and many of us aren’t sure how to deal with it, but we know that we have to face it at some point. And even though many of us
know painful experiences will come and go throughout the course of our lifetime, we often aren’t as prepared for them as we should be.
As much as painful experiences can hurt, they don’t have to destroy your marriage. There is hope, and you can recover from the pain. It takes time and work, but it is possible.
Here are a few tips that can help you and your spouse begin the process of working through what
happened (or is currently happening) and help you create the marriage that you both deserve.
Accept what happened.
This may seem cliché, but the reality is that we cannot change the past. Hindsight is 20/20, and it’s easy to wish that things worked out differently, but we often have very little control over how our
painful situation came to be. And even if you did have control over it, it’s done, and beating yourself up over what you wish you did differently isn’t serving you or your marriage.
Express your emotions.
Try to find a way to express what you are feeling. Keeping it bottled up not only damages your marriage, but it can cause your harm and damage your strength of spirit, making it more difficult for you to deal with the next painful experience that may come along. If you just can’t talk to your spouse yet, write a letter and hand it to him or her. If you aren’t ready for that, consider a counselor or a pastor, so you can ensure that what you say is confidential, but you have an outlet to get it off of your chest.
Easier said than done, I know. However, forgiveness really does set you free, and it enables you to move on. Having trouble with forgiveness is normal, but if you are truly unwilling to forgive, you have to ask yourself if you really want your marriage to work. Release the anger, resentment, and
bitterness, and make the choice to forgive and move on.
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Appreciate your differences.
Your spouse does not have to handle pain the same way that you do. Recognize that everyone handles pain differently, and as long as your spouse isn’t doing anything that may cause harm (e.g.
drinking, behaving recklessly, etc.), give them space to just be and figure things out for a bit. Forcing someone to manage pain the way that you do can potentially cause him or her more pain.
This may not apply, depending on what your painful experience is, but if you feel like your spouse did something wrong that has caused a great deal of pain and damaged your relationship, you will only be able to start a journey towards recovery if you are truly able to let go. Holding on to what was done wrong and bringing it up constantly shows that you haven’t forgiven and you simply are not ready to move on.
Empathy and sympathy are very different emotions. To express sympathy means that you feel sorry for what someone is going through. Empathy, however, means that you are taking the time to mentally place yourself in someone else’s shoes in an attempt to truly understand their pain and perspective. It is easy to show sympathy, but expressing empathy towards your partner does a lot more in terms of moving past the pain and working on your relationship.
Seek professional help.
Oftentimes, implementing all of the best strategies is not enough. Your relationship needs more. This is where professional help should become a consideration. Consider seeing a counselor or therapist to help you and your spouse work through the pain. Also, remember that you may need more than couples therapy. There may be a need for individual therapy as well. We have to strengthen 0urselves if we want to strengthen our marriages.
When you are in the midst of a painful experience, it’s incredibly difficult to recognize how much the experience will strengthen you. Yet, with time, perseverance, and hard work, most marriages can truly survive experiences that have the potential to break your spirit and leave you lost. Most
marriages can come out stronger with the right advice and a strong will to move forward and find joy again.
BMWK, for a more in-depth look at moving beyond the pain, get your copy of the E-book above!