Restore Your Marriage & Fall in Love Again (4 page)

BOOK: Restore Your Marriage & Fall in Love Again
3.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads
RELATIONSHIP BUILDER FIVE
 
Take Your Partner’s Side

 

You want to get along, but sometimes if feels like your spouse is not on your side. You begin to share something that has caused you some frustration and your spouse seems to side with the opposition. For example, you were given a poor job review, and you feel discouraged and hurt. Knowing that someone is on your side would be comforting. Maybe a hug would help and some assurance that you are not alone. But instead of getting the support you need from your spouse, you hear him say, "Well, maybe you need to try harder next time," or "You shouldn't expect so much from everyone."

 

You may not see things the same way as your spouse does, and you do not have to in order to be supportive. Sometimes simply having emotional support is all he or she needs from you. But oftentimes, partners tend to respond with advice or judgment. This, of course, leads the vulnerable person feeling that he has to defend his position. Defensive walls come up and can lead to distancing and/or arguments.

 

The next time your partner has something to share with you, take his or her side! Let your partner know that you are on the same team. Instead of offering advice, solutions, or opposing views and opinions, show your support. Let your spouse know you are not against him/her, but you are for him/her!

 

SAY IT & BELIEVE IT

Read aloud (individually or together):

 

To be a strong team,
(
spouse’s name
)
and I must come in agreement. When we are in unity, we are like an impenetrable force that blocks anything that can come between us. Whenever _____ needs my support, I will be there right by his/her side. I will not give him/her any reason to think I am siding with the opposition. I will not push my opinions and advice on him/her. Instead, I will respond to _____ dilemmas and concerns with gentleness and understanding.

 

In times when _____ is clearly wrong and I cannot come in agreement with something he/she says or does, I will stand my ground without judging, condemning or demanding. I do not have to compromise my values or ignore my conscience to be loving and supportive of _____, but I can accept his/her differences. I will show _____ support by being unconditionally loving and accepting of him/her.

 

I will work toward being in unity with my spouse by supporting him/her and being on the same side.

 

 

PUT IT INTO PRACTICE

 

The wise King Solomon said that two are better than one because when one falls the other can help lift him up. When one is cold the other can help to keep him warm. We count on one another in many ways. We especially want to know that we can count on our spouse to be on our side.

 

Consider the following scenarios and take turns answering the questions:

 

Husband: Your mother feels hurt that your spouse declined her invitation to a Tupperware party. Your wife tells you that she is not interested in going to this event. Frustrated, she proceeds to explain all the reasons why. How can you be on her side and still respect your mother?

 

Wife: Your father is upset because your spouse did not pick up a part from the hardware store and stop by his house to help him fix some cabinets. Your husband tells you that he had an extremely busy day at work and was already late coming home. He was tired and simply forgot. How can you be on his side without giving him advice or opposing views?

 

Think of some of your own experiences and talk about the times you felt supported and on the same team. How did you know your spouse was on your side?

 

THINK ABOUT IT

 

When two are of one mind, their strength can cut gold. ~Chinese Proverb

 

Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look at what they can do when they stick together. ~unknown

 

The key elements in the art of working together are how to deal with change, how to deal with conflict, and how to reach our potential...the needs of the team are best met when we meet the needs of individuals persons. ~Max De Pree

 

Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half sorrow. ~Swedish Proverb

 

The greatest virtues are those which are most useful to other persons. ~Aristotle

RELATIONSHIP BUILDER SIX
 
Listen with Your Heart and Mind

 

It’s the end of the day and there are things you can share with your partner about your day’s events and how they have affected you. Sometimes you might simply vent and other times you might want to celebrate your successes. Simply taking turns to talk about how your day went can be a big stress reliever. It is actually one of the most beneficial ways to connect emotionally with your partner.

 

There are several things to keep in mind when you share how your day went:

 

1. Topics of discussion can generally be anything on the person’s mind aside from the marriage relationship. In order to develop emotional support and strengthen the marriage, discussions of things that do not stir up issues with one another are vital. For example, when Jessie shared the events of her stressful day in having to deal with little Johnny’s temper tantrums, she did not bring up marital issues such as her husband not doing enough to help her.

 

2. Take turns. Give each other a reasonable amount of time to talk (maybe 15 to 20 minutes) while the other partner provides a listening ear, support, and understanding. Allow the person talking to freely vent feelings, share thoughts and opinions, and express hopes and frustrations without feeling judged or evaluated. Openness and honesty always emerge in a safe and understanding environment.

 

3. Timing is important. If Brad just walked in the door and had not even taken his jacket off when his wife Jen begins discussing her day, he probably is not ready to be very attentive to her. If she allows him the time he needs to unwind, he will be in a much better position to listen to her and share how his day went as well.

 

Devoting time to communicate with one another every day about the day’s events and experience keeps couples closely connected to what is going on in the other’s life. It strengthens the relationship and bond. The partners draw closer as friends. They begin to share more of themselves and disclose what they are really thinking and feeling.

SAY IT & BELIEVE IT
Read aloud (individually or together):

 

With all of our daily tasks and work responsibilities, it takes some effort for me and
(
spouse’s name
)
to set aside quality time to talk with one another. But when we do, we have plenty to share about our day. These are times we can look forward to and appreciate. They allow us the opportunity to connect with each other. During these special times, I will talk about things unrelated to marital problems. Sometimes I may need to vent, and talking things out relieves me of stress. At other times, I might have some good news or something that blessed my day that I am excited to share.

 

I will make myself available to listen to _____ with all my heart and mind. I will take turns and not dominate the conversation. I will show interest when _____ shares what is on his/her mind. I will do my best to provide a safe environment for _____ to talk openly with no fear of being criticized or shut down. Sometimes in my eagerness to share something on my mind, I might be insensitive about the timing. I will be patient and wait for when he/she is ready. I want to share more with ____ and make time with him/her a very important part of my day.

 

When my partner and I communicate, I will devote special attention to how I listen. And I will make every effort to listen with my whole heart and mind.

 

 

PUT IT INTO PRACTICE

 

This week, make plans to set aside at least half an hour each day to talk with each other about your day. It might be soon after you are home from work, during or after dinner, or before bed.

 

Take turns and practice listening with your heart and mind. Give your spouse your undivided attention. Empathize with what your partner is saying. Listen to understand. Connect with the emotions and tone of what is being said.

 

Do you hear frustration? Contentment? Anticipation? Dread? Joy? Sadness?

Does your spouse look stressed? Relaxed? Happy? Sad? Agitated? Tired?

 

As you listen with your heart and mind, what subtle things do you observe that can be easily overlooked? Do you notice yourself feeling greater understanding, increased compassion or love for your spouse?

 

THINK ABOUT IT

What most people really want is to be listened to, respected, and understood. The moment people see that they are being understood, they become more motivated to understand your point of view. ~David Burns

 

When we talk about understanding, surely it takes place only when the mind listens completely -- the mind being your heart, your nerves, your ears- when you give your whole attention to it. ~Jiddu Krishnamurti

 

You learn to like someone when you find out what makes them laugh, but you can never truly love someone until you find out what makes them cry. ~unknown

 

If you love it enough, anything will talk with you. ~George Washington Carver

 

We really have to understand the person we want to love. If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. ~Epictetus

RELATIONSHIP BUILDER SEVEN
 
Validate Your Partner’s Feelings

 

You have heard it said that no one knows what someone is really going through unless they have walked in that person’s shoes. We are not always going to know or understand what our spouse is feeling. We all have our individual experiences and reactions to people and events around us. However, that does not mean that we cannot validate our partner’s emotions.

 

To validate someone is to confirm that his or her feelings make sense and there is good reason for them. For example, a dispute with a co-worker may have annoyed your wife. You can validate her by saying something like, “I can see why you would be annoyed. That would be annoying!” Or your wife has concerns about a family member that has her worried. Even if you think she worries too much sometimes, you can still validate her and be honest. You can tell her that you understand that she has concerns and why they would make her worried.

 

A report in the news may have angered your husband. If you want to validate him, let him know that his feelings make sense. Even if your experience and perspective are different from his, he has reasons for feeling and thinking the way he does about the matter. Having your understanding and support can provide validity to his experience and emotions. Maybe your spouse’s feelings are hurt because he believes his progress at work has not been acknowledged or appreciated. You can validate him without joining him in a pity party or time of complaining. You may say something like, “Yeah, it is hurtful to feel unappreciated.”

 

Couples sometimes tend to shut down their partner’s expression of emotion by not communicating acceptance and understanding. Letting our partners know that their feelings are not foolish, but make sense to us, helps them to feel safe to express themselves openly with us.

 

SAY IT & BELIEVE IT
Read aloud (individually or together):

 

I understand the significance of emotions in our daily lives. They are inherent in who we are though their intensity and expression vary. When
(
spouse’s name
)
shares his/her feelings with me, I will remember that there are good reasons for feeling the way he/she does. I will not reject, judge or dispute _____’s emotional experience. Rather, I will accept his/her feelings as making sense to him/her.

 

I want _____ to feel safe when sharing anything with me. I will do my best to provide a safe environment for _____ to be open and honest about what he/she is thinking and feeling. If I ever think that _____ is overreacting or too sensitive, I will remind myself that feelings cannot be controlled in the same way that thoughts can be. And validating _____ can help to positively influence his/her thoughts that can lead to positive and healthy reactions.

BOOK: Restore Your Marriage & Fall in Love Again
3.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Mass Effect. Revelación by Drew Karpyshyn
Full of Life by John Fante
Grandes esperanzas by Charles Dickens
Steamed by Katie Macalister
Summer Storm by Joan Wolf
The Act of Love by Howard Jacobson