Restore Your Marriage & Fall in Love Again (3 page)

BOOK: Restore Your Marriage & Fall in Love Again
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As a special symbol of a fresh start, you can renew your marriage vows or recommit your love for each other. This can be done privately or publicly at home, in a park, or anywhere you choose. There are no rules. You may want to do something similar to what you did when you first got married or something new and meaningful to you now. You may want to speak new promises to each other, re-dedicate your rings, create an exhibit, or play special music for the occasion. This type of ceremony can be very special, meaningful and reviving to a couple and their family and friends.

 

 

 

THINK ABOUT IT

 

Passion is the quickest to develop and the quickest to fade. Intimacy develops more slowly, and commitment more gradually still. ~Robert Sternberg

 

Passion can never purchase what true love desires: true intimacy, self-giving, and commitment. ~unknown

Every couple has ups and downs, every couple argues, and that’s the thing—you’re a couple, and couples can’t function without trust. ~Nicholas Sparks,
At First Sight
I'd rather have bad times with you, than good times with someone else. I'd rather be beside you in a storm, than safe and warm by myself. I'd rather have hard times together, than to have it easy apart. I'd rather have the one who holds my heart. ~unknown

 
RELATIONSHIP BUILDER THREE
 
Stop Blaming and Know When to Take Responsibility

 

One of the most common causes of tension and division in relationships is blame. Although our feelings may be well justified, blaming is an unproductive approach to dealing with problems. Instead of creating positive change or resolving issues, blaming creates more problems - walls are erected, tension increases, anger and resentment build, and emotional and physical distancing occur.

 

When Brandon got the credit card bill and saw that Nikki over-charged hundreds of dollars, he confronted her in his anger. “No wonder we are in debt. This is all your fault. I knew you would be too irresponsible to be trusted with a credit card.” However frustrated and justified Brandon may have been, his approach can result in additional relationship problems. Even if Nikki cuts up her credit card and stops using it, this will not resolve other problems that may result. Anger and resentment may develop. Guilt and shame may linger.

 

Whether intended or not, blaming words can be very hurtful. We may blame our partners for mistakes, problems, losses or disappointments. We say things like: This is all your fault. I knew I couldn’t trust you. I should have known you would not be responsible. Look at what you did. You always… You never… If it wasn’t for you….

 

Brandon’s disappointment in Nikki can be handled in a way that does not hurt their relationship, but instead opens it up to discussion and collaboration. He may say something like, “I’m really upset about the overcharge on the credit card bill. We made a plan and agreed to limit the use of the card.” This approach will allow Nikki to respond without feeling she has to defend herself against an attack.

 

Sometimes it seems to be a more natural response to blame one another. Actually, blaming is inherent in human nature and is a defense we hope to resort to less often as we grow and mature. Instead we can take responsibility for our own actions. We can choose to humble ourselves and admit when something is our fault, when we have been wrong, or when we have made a mistake. We can apologize and say “I am sorry” or “It’s my mistake”. When we do, we are much more likely to be met with understanding, forgiveness, and grace. And, as we face our own imperfections and mistakes and take responsibility for what we do and say, we will tend to put less blame on our spouse and others.

 

SAY IT & BELIEVE IT

Read aloud (individually or together):

 

Today I choose to take responsibility for my own thoughts, words, and actions. If I believe
(
spouse’s name
)
is to blame for a problem, mistake, or loss that has occurred, I will not attack him/her with words of blame and anger. I will keep from saying hurtful things that can cause _____ to feel guilt or shame. Instead, I will approach the situation with a heart of grace, an openness to listen and understand, and a willingness to forgive.

 

If I am tempted to respond in anger, I will allow myself a time-out to release and redirect my anger. I will not address the situation until I feel I can approach _____ without blaming him/her. I remind myself that I am imperfect and prone to make mistakes, make poor choices, and contribute to problems. I choose to release _____ and forgive him/her. I will do my best to work with _____ to resolve issues that may cause tension between us. Instead of pointing out one another’s faults, we can choose to focus on our strengths as we find the best solutions.

 

Instead of blaming my partner, I will take responsibility for my own actions.

 

 

PUT IT INTO PRACTICE

 

Throughout the week, take note of every time you and your partner have a disagreement.

 

Were any “blaming words” spoken?

 

Whether you were blamed or the one doing the blaming, take turns and take responsibility for your part in the problem.

I take responsibility for my thoughts and actions. This is how I contributed to the problem__________.

 

Example:

 

Andrea: I take responsibility for my thoughts and actions. I made some wrong assumptions. I said things I should not have said that probably made you feel I lost confidence in you.

 

Jeremy: I take responsibility for my actions. I was wrong to tell you something I might not be able to follow through on. I know you counted on me. It was my responsibility to do what I said I would do, or at least let you know if things changed and I was not able to.

.

 

THINK ABOUT IT

 

You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. ~Jim Rohn
You are not responsible for the programming you picked up in childhood. However, as an adult, you are one hundred percent responsible for fixing it. ~Ken Keyes, Jr.

 

We have not passed that subtle line between childhood and adulthood until... we have stopped saying "It got lost," and say "I lost it." ~Sidney J. Harris

 

When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that four of his fingers are pointing at himself. ~Louis Nizer

 

When you blame others, you give up your power to change. ~unknown

 

The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny. ~Albert Ellis

RELATIONSHIP BUILDER FOUR
 
Let Go of Offenses

 

Relationships can provide us with the greatest joy and deepest pain we may ever experience. When we feel hurt by our partners, we may respond in many different ways. We might become angry, vengeful, or argumentative. Not knowing how to deal with the pain, we may retaliate by withdrawing and distancing ourselves from the relationship. These reactions only make problems worse and are damaging to the relationship.

 

What kinds of things offend us?

 

We sometimes become offended when our partner unintentionally ignores our needs. We somehow assume that our partner knows what we need and when we need it. He or she also has needs just as we do, and we are not always aware of them if they are not shared. It is unfair to allow our unmet expectations get us upset with our spouse if we have not clearly expressed the need. When thoughts like: “She must not care about my need for affection.” Or “He does not want to spend time together” go unchallenged, there is an open door to hurt feelings, misunderstanding, and anger.

 

We may hold on to offenses when issues are not resolved. Amy has been having conflicts with her mother-in-law that is affecting her marriage. She and David discussed the problem many times with no resolutions. So the issue becomes a topic of discussion again and again. A clear indication that something is not resolved is that it is brought up over and over again. In this situation, working out a plan to make some changes may be necessary. Relationships require teamwork. If either partner is unhappy about a matter and has unresolved issues or unmet needs, it is something that must be addressed. Otherwise, grudges are held, distancing occurs and it hurts the relationship. As Amy’s frustration continues, she may become argumentative and rejecting of David and he may withdraw from her. Working together to resolve issues helps couples to let go of their offenses and anger.

 

When couples address their offenses, let go of them, forgive, and reconnect, they strengthen their bond and restore their unity with one another. They also become less likely to underestimate their partner’s loving intentions. Instead of drawing away from one another, they draw closer.

 

 

SAY IT & BELIEVE IT

Read aloud (individually or together):

 

Every day allows me the opportunity to get offended by something
(
spouse’s name
)
says or does. Regardless of his/her actions or intentions, I am accountable for my own response. I remind myself today that some things that hurt my feelings or make me angry are done unintentionally and with no malice in mind. I choose to let go of assumptions that lead me to think _____ is against me. If I have unmet needs and am offended that _____ is not meeting them, I will not nurse my anger or hold a grudge against him/her.

I want to guard my marriage against offenses that can develop from ongoing frustrations. I will be open to signs of unresolved issues _____ may have. If _____ brings up a matter that is bothering him/her I will not ignore, neglect, or minimize it. Instead, I will work through it with him/her.

 

I choose to not allow offenses to block and hinder my marriage in any way. Today I choose to release _____ of any offenses I may have harbored in my heart against him/her. I choose to forgive _____ when he/she is insensitive to my needs. I remind myself that I also may overlook his/her needs and not meet them at times. Instead of argue, retaliate, or withdraw from _____ when offended, I will aim to reconnect and restore my marriage.

 

I will not hold on to offenses or grudges against my partner, but instead I will choose to release them.

 

 

PUT IT INTO PRACTICE

 

Throughout each day this week, be aware of the things that offend you. It could be your spouse’s attitude, conversations, comments, mannerisms, habits, things he/she says or does not say, or things he/she does or does not do. Ask yourself:

 

1. Which of these things offended me most and why?

Were my feelings hurt? Did I feel rejected? Misunderstood?

 

2. How did I respond (my thoughts, words, actions)?

3. Did I make any assumptions about my partner’s intentions or motives?

 

4. Did I have expectations that were disappointed?

Was I able to let go of the offense?
Did I choose to forgive my partner?
If not, what is holding me back?

 

Share with your partner one thing that offended you in your relationship or during the last week that you have been able to release and forgive. Talk about how the experience has helped you to accept, understand and love your partner.

 

 

THINK ABOUT IT

When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger. ~Epictetus

 

Forgiveness is the needle that knows how to mend. ~ Jewel

 

Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future. ~Paul Boese

 

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; ...Forgive them anyway.~ Kent Keith

 

Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Love me when I least deserve it, because that's when I really need it. ~Swedish Proverb

BOOK: Restore Your Marriage & Fall in Love Again
9.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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