One of the hardest steps to take in a marriage is to let go of old hurts and the pain that you have been hanging onto over past offenses and slights. However, letting go of that hurt is also one of the most essential steps you must take to save a marriage that is in trouble.
Marriage and Family Therapist Sharon Rivkin has an excellent article on Hitched.com called “5 Steps for Letting Go Of Hurt in Your Marriage” and she explains what you need to do to put that old pain away for good and start getting on with both your marriage and your life.
Rivkin explains very well the problems that can come from hanging onto past hurts in a relationship.
After being hurt many times over, your emotions tend to close up, and your heart, in turn, shuts down your ability to be intimate, both sexually and verbally. Your partner then becomes more of a roommate than a spouse.”
If this situation sounds familiar, read on to find out the five steps that can help you move past old pain and rebuild your marriage.
1. Identify the hurt.
Go back to the first time you were hurt and remember exactly how you reacted, how or if you communicated with your spouse and what his or her response was. Once you identify the first incident of a specific type of hurt, look for patterns as the hurt was repeated. Was the situation the same, were you or your spouse under the same stressors?
2. Set a time to talk to your spouse.
Let them know that you’re still going through problems because of this hurt but you’re ready and willing to put it in the past for good.
Rivkin suggests that “rather than having a dialogue, you should have two monologues.” This means taking turns talking, without interruption, and letting each person say everything they need to.
4. Bring yourself into the present time.
Now that you have both really listened to each other, communication is reopened.
Often hurts start from a miscommunication or misunderstanding. Because you feel so hurt, you forget to check in with your partner to see if you heard him right. So check in, and by doing this, you will begin to rebuild trust with your partner because you’re listening and talking in a new way.”
5. Make a plan to keep your relationship current.
Agree to leave the past in the past and to move forward with the commitment to discussing (and letting go of) new hurts as they come up.
With these five steps, you can not only heal your heart but heal your marriage!