Love means many things. It means giving. It means sharing. It means forgiving. It means understanding. It means patient. It means learning. And you must always consider the other side, the other person. You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving. – John Wooden
When here are possible hurricane’s in our marriage, some of us heed the warnings signs and do what we can minimize the damage. Some of us feel that it won’t happen to us anddo nothing. Hurricane Sandy, hit late Monday night and did major damage that still lingers as I post this blog. Millions of people are still without power, thousands more are standing in long lines for hours trying to get gasoline for their cars and generators, and emotions are frayed.
If you didn’t trust your gut and follow-up on the warning signs that were prevalent in your marriage, a hurricane such as infidelity, mistrust, financial hardship, or emotional and domestic violence ends up causing major damage.
Like Hurricane Sandy, all is not lost, we can rebuild, but it will take time, patience and hard work. Here is some of the damage that occurs when a marriage hurricane enters your life.
Currently, your emotions are overflowing at this point. There are two ways you can handle it. If the flooding was minor, you can take care of it yourself first by taking deep breaths, a step back, and assessing the situation. Analyze these factors:
- When did the relationship start to change?
- What could you have done to communicate your feelings about the situation?
- Now that the situation is out in the open, what are you feelings currently?
- What adjustments will you make to ensure the situation doesn’t happen again?
If the flooding is too severe, you may have to break out the heavy equipment. Talking to a marriage/relationship coach, can go a long way and they can see the situation for what it is and offer solutions based on the present and not the past. Often when hurricane of this magnitude happens personally, we will bring up things that happened in our past that doesn’t help to solve the problem.
- Internal Structural Damage
A hurricane can lead to some internal structural damage that if left untreated can affect you moving forward in your marriage. The loss of trust which is the backbone of any marriage can easily be damaged.
In this very informative website, Truth by Deception, it’s very important that your partner understands your feelings and your point of view in this situation and that you make the effort to try to make sure they understand. The other alternative such as revenge will only compound the negative feelings that already exist.
Consider these steps when trying to regain trust:
- 1. Understanding your partner’s feelings – By acknowledging and validating your partner feelings will do more to start and regain trust more than apologizing, explaining, or withdrawing. These strategies do not offer real understanding.
- 2. Saying your sorry with no strings attached. – We always avert to doing this too quickly like we do when we are kids to prevent us from getting a spanking from our parents. In relationships though, the quick apology only appeases your partner and doesn’t seem thoughtful or genuine. Since you did wrong, take the heat and let it linger before you offer apologies.
- Communicate the reasons behind the situation – At some point, your partner will want to know what happened. Do your best to explain emotionally what was going on, and not blaming your partner. Trying to deflect the problem onto your partner will only create a bigger wedge.
- In order to avoid the same type of hurricane, promises need to be made. These promises need to be:
- mutually agreed upon – both parties must be satisfied with the promises offered
- reasonable – promises need to involve things that one can actually live up to (broken promises are one of the worse things that could happen when trying to rebuild trust)
- explicitly clear – both parties should double-check their understanding of the promises being made
- related to the betrayal that occurred – promises about future behavior need to be related to how trust was violated
- The promises have to be kept at all cost, otherwise greater damage can occur.
- Communicate on both sides how the promises are being kept. By acknowledging the partner that did the wrong is doing better helps them to understand you aren’t holding them hostage.
- External Structural Damage
In some cases the hurricane will cause external damage that may be irreparable. In the case of verbal abuse and/or domestic violence the outward scars may have to force you to leave the situation.
- Make sure your children are taken care of. – They automatically won’t understand and may need to talk out their feelings.
- Find a counselor. – After your kids are settled, you will definitely need to get support for yourself.
- Rebuild your self-esteem. – I’m sure this will be done in your counseling sessions, but you will have to set personal goals, in order to feel confident that you are moving past the situation.
- Don’t rush into a new relationship – you don’t want to fall into the same negative situation you don’t got out of.
- Utilize your resources – maintain a good support system long after your relationship has ended. The stronger the support the better.
Strivers, let’s start to repair not only our lives affected by this week’s storm, but our marriages that have been damaged as well. Remember this month, is Gratitude month.
Over the past week we have experienced some real frustration, anxiety, etc…Let’s not forget about the things we should be grateful, for, so I am re-posting my popular series from last year.