A spouse relationship can be the most intimate, warm, and beneficial relationships you ever have. However, being that close to someone inherently opens you up to heartache. Being close to someone requires vulnerability and openness. When that vulnerability and transparency are abused or betrayed, this can lead to intense pain and grief.
However, when a relationship is worth saving , worth fighting for, (and most are people!) forgiveness and healing is the key to getting things back on track. Forgiveness can restore a broken relationship and help you find that place of happiness and harmony once again.
The problem comes when the pain and grief are still too raw. Forgiving can be extremely difficult when the hurt caused can’t be forgotten. Today, we are going to share with you ways that you can move toward a restored relationship through forgiveness, even when you can’t forget.
Begin by Believing
The first step in any significant change happens within your mindset. If you do not believe that something can happen, chances are, you will not truly invest all that you can to try and make it happen.
It is essential that you begin by believing that rebuilding is possible. Elsewhere on the MarriageWorks.com.au blog, you will find an excellent piece about this very topic.
They offer some much-needed hope for people struggling with reconciliation after a spouse has betrayed their trust. On their blog, they say that with professional help, reconciliation is not only possible, but it is also probable.
When you sincerely believe that something is possible, those positive thoughts will inspire positive actions. And what is rebuilding but a series of positive actions encouraged by positive thinking?
Even if rebuilding your marriage is not possible, believing that forgiveness that moving on and enjoying life again is possible will go a long way in helping you reach those goals.
Stop Trying to Forget
When a spouse hurts us, the pain can seem unbearable at times. Since they are often our closest friend, our spouse can hurt us more than anyone else. Dwelling on this pain can be extremely damaging, however trying like mad to forget can also be detrimental.
The way our brains work, trying to forget rarely works. Often, actively attempting to get rid of a memory will lead to that memory cement itself in our brains. And in the case of pain and heartache, that is the last thing that you want.
Sometimes people will work themselves into a rut where they try to forget; the memory comes back, they try to ignore it, the memory reasserts itself stronger yet. This leads to intense frustration and can drag out the healing process for much longer than necessary.
So, stop trying to forget. Stop focusing on the wrong and turn your attention to the things that bring you joy. The memory will fade away in time, but not if you are always trying to forget it.
Forgive for Yourself First
Forgiveness is a powerful thing. Studies have shown that people who forgive often can lead happier, healthier, and more productive, meaningful lives. Is that the kind of life you want to live? I think most of us would have to say ‘yes.’ We all want to have abundant lives that make a difference and allow us to enjoy the moments that we are here on earth.
Often forgiveness is viewed as something we must do so for the benefit of the person who wronged us. However, if you shift your perspective and realize that forgiveness has perhaps more to do with your quality of life than anything else, you will begin to see that not only is forgiveness important, it is vital to you living the life that you want to live.
A life free from bitterness, a life that releases the hurt and pain, is a life that is enjoyable to live. Forgiveness is the path to this kind of life. But if you can’t forget, remember that you owe it to yourself to forgive so that you can live the best life that you possibly can.
Remember, Forgiveness is a Choice, Not a Feeling
There are many things in life that we may not feel like doing. However, we do them, knowing that they are the right thing to do. Sometimes, forgiveness is one of those things.
If you are waiting for a feeling to come before you forgive, chances are you will be waiting for a long time. Instead, take the proactive approach and choose forgiveness even if you may not feel like it.
There are few things as painful as a broken relationship. However, our goal today was to provide you with some hope, knowing that forgiveness is possible.
Another thing to keep in mind is that professional guidance is sometimes needed. For most of us, this kind of heartbreak is all brand-new territory. Having someone with the experience and training to guide you through the process can make a world of difference.
Note: Many thanks to Danielle over at RP Emery Legal Kits for sharing these tips with us. Protecting yourself ahead of time before getting into any new relationship is always a good idea.
Love to hear your thoughts, feelings and experiences on this topic please add comment in the box below.
It’s a lovely piece. Perhaps you have a story about your pet? Please share your experiences.
Chris and I love our rescue cat Taneis
ha to bits. She is 16 years old and still going strong. She’s on my lap as I write this the little darling. She offers unconditional love and it is so nice to stroke her soft fur and hear a purr emit from her belly. The simple things!
Please add your story below in the comments section. Love to see pictures too.
Doggy Love -The Joys of a sharing together.
Buying a dog in any relationship is a huge step. That’s because it essentially means you’re adding a new family member. It’s a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. A lot of thought, research, and careful planning needs to go into choosing a special pet. It’s always a smart idea to make lists of the pros before running to a shelter and grabbing the first dog you see. After careful consideration, you’ll find that a dog is a great asset to any marriage and any family.
Shopping Together for the Dog
Before you pick out a dog for your relationship, you’ll need to do some planning. This helps to make sure that everything goes smoothly and there’s no unexpected hiccups or arguments later on. Do your research on what type of dog you’d like to add to your home. Different breeds have different wants, needs, and activity levels. Find a reputable dog shelter or breeder, choose dog food that fosters their growth, toys for fun and learning, and dog treats that are healthy.
Dogs Can Save Your Marriage
If you’re having problems in your relationship or marriage, adding a dog may just be what the doctor ordered. Dogs can help save a marriage because it gives both people involved something positive to focus their energy on. Dogs also provide love to a relationship that may be struggling. They’re an outlet for positive energy and something that couples can focus their time on together.
Picking Out a Dog is a Bonding Experience
Choosing a dog, their food, their toys, and everything else is a bonding experience in itself. Couples can come together and learn a little bit about each other by learning what type of dogs and characteristics each other fancies. When a couple decides on what type of dog they’d like to adopt, they can make a day out of getting things ready for the dog. Not only does this entail picking out supplies and creating a safe place at home for the dog, it also means picking out the dog itself. Couples get a chance to meet different dogs in a small room or while going for a walk. This helps them find the one that is right for their family.
More Fun Activities For Couples Thanks to Our Dogs
If you are looking to improve your marriage, simply add a dog. That’s because if you are having marriage troubles, you’re most likely bored, frustrated, or unhappy with the routine that you’re stuck in. A dog can fix this because it completely changes your life. Instead of waking up, going to work, making dinner, and going to bed; there are now new possibilities. You can bond in the following ways with your spouse and the dog:
By going for a walk to see the scenery
Going for a hike anywhere that’s dog-friendly
Taking a trip to the dog park
Cuddling up together on the couch
This breaks that routine that married couples feel they were stuck in. Dogs mean that everyday will be something different for you and your spouse. If you’re ever feeling frustrated, take some time alone with the dog.
Dogs Give Love Which in Turn Creates More Love
In conclusion, dogs provide love. If you’re marriage is struggling, it might be because it’s lacking love. A dog can come along and change everything. They can show that they have so much love to give which, in turn, can inspire you and your spouse. Dogs are also happy creatures. It’s hard to be upset when there’s a happy, panting, tail-wagging friend that is waiting for you every day. Overall, dogs can boost your morale, give you hope, and inspire you to do better not just in your marriage but in all aspects of your life.
This piece is written by Professional dog walker – Bruce Dwyer. He also runs dog treats business at https://www.healthydogtreats.com.au/. He strongly believes in having a dog to improve your marriage.
Thanks ever so much Bruce for your guest contribution, dogs can be our guides for unconditional love, a truly wonderful thing.
We love all animals at Marriage Works and I am Grandma to Tyson the Staffy!
Have a helpful contribution you want to make ? Please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you feeling trapped in a cycle of negativity with you and your partner getting stuck in the same old fights. You know the ones – where you experience the loop like a noose tightening around your throat and all you can think is “here we go again”… another argument, but can’t think what to do. Well let me help you. First take a big breath and take a time out. Stop and use it.
This can be a chance for change.
At this stage you are at a choice point. Decide to act in the old routine, with typically the same dance steps.
You know how that pans out right? I’d guess you can cake walk the outcome with your eyes closed. Play with me do it on your own now. Not great huh?
Or you can choose a new move.
Here’s an option for variety, which I call taking a turn down memory lane. It involves purposeful distraction. Parent’s are the master of directing children’s attention to away from distress – simply get them to focus on something else and look at you. New stimulation, different mood equals peace for you, sigh of relief. You remind them of the fun time they had playing soccer or whatever it was they enjoy doing.
I was coaching a husband the other day. He wanted to break out of the old habits of relating to his wife. So I suggested my distraction technique, which is really using Resource Therapy’s powerful methods for change. It’s so simple and yet effective.
I call it –Take a turn down into Memory Lane.
This is where it’s time to stroll back in history. Where you get to go to those earlier days in dating relationship, remember we used to call in courting. The idea is to foster a reconnection with your past successes – as The Cars sang “Let the good times roll.”
You are going for the treasure pot of gold. It’s not at the end of the rainbow but at the beginning of your partnership.
Actually it’s any time you felt warm, loved, connected and light being in each others presence. Where you are delighted and so are they. The happy relaxed carefree times. Not suprising it’s often pre-kids!
You reminisce on the first holiday, kiss, date, your proposal or walking down the aisle staring with hope and joy into each others eyes. Whatever the time was where you were really into each other, feeling connected and cared for. Those love drugs where pumping. We want to bring this back into sharp focus.
They don’t call it re-membering for nothing!
Here you are bringing out your partner’s Loving Resource state, the part of their personality which enjoys you and their choice of spouse. And you are also bringing forth the same part which found them cute and fun to be with.
The way you do this is to really paint the picture, describe the time of day, where you were, the surroundings, the sounds, the sensations, images and warm emotions. Keep doing this until your spouse joins in and you see the light in their eyes, the softness in their voice and gentleness in their features. Play with it. Get some serious fun happening.
It’s so simple.
The only proviso is it must only be happy times with nothing negative attached. Now if things have been rough recently you may need to be tenacious and keep reaching.
All I need to do with Chris is say remember what fun we had Bali? What great meals we had there. Bali is where we took our first overseas holiday and it was magical, it still is a favourite destination.
Then I say how good was our first night’s dinner at the Cafe Wayan in Ubud?
What did you have again? You see Chris enjoys his food and if I get him talking about something delicious I can almost see him drool. His eyes get a dreamy look – I can see he is back there in the warm glades, hearing the tinkle of the music.
Having this conversation about our shared joy makes us closer and brings out the loving parts of us. It sets us up for a great night.
So do yourself a favour and take a walk down memory lane today. And you needn’t wait to use it to staunch an argument. Practice it prior. Use it any time you want to feel connected and inspire love. with your partner.
Please tell me your thoughts on this technique and even better how it went for you. Love to hear your experiences, so please share.
I love psychology especially when it explains for us what is inexplicable. In a lot of readers comments there is a coomon thread of why do I behave like this toward my partner. I push him away one minute and then when he leaves I feel like I am going to die!
As you can hear it is a very young part responding to the threat of them leaving. This younger self can feel abandoned, paralyzed and hopeless.
John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth who gave us Attachment theory which are formed in childhood with our caretakers. This attachment helps us to survive as infants. We are totally dependent on others for life. We develop our ways of connection – our attachment style in relation to the way our parents or those responsible for our care were available to us.
There are four types of attachment –
1. Secure: A child with this type of attachment will feel easily soothed and safe when with their main caregiver. If they are distressed, they will turn towards their caregiver, or seek them out in some way. This attachment is formed when a child knows they can count on their caregiver to be there for them when they cry, soothe them, and care for them. They will use this secure attachment as a safe base from which they can explore all that’s around them.
2. Insecure-Avoidant: Children do not attach to their caregiver because they don’t feel they can rely on them. This usually means that their primary caregiver either hasn’t been there for them when they needed it or has been rejecting or dismissive of their needs altogether. When a child is in distress and has this type of attachment they will not seek contact with their primary attachment figure.
3. Insecure Ambivalent: Children with this type of attachment will be clingy and needy of their caregiver, but when the caregiver comes to their aid they are rejecting of them and not easily soothed.
4. Disorganized: Children with this type of attachment will show a confusing mix of attachment behaviors and may even appear to be confused or disoriented. They believe that this attachment style is caused by inconsistency from their caregivers. Meaning that a parent may be soothing and helpful, but also fear-inducing and hurtful.
Below is a very famous example of what a baby will do to make their care giver respond. It’s so amazing.
A huge thanks to Bethany Hatton for our guest article on addiction:
ADrugRehab.org states, “Addiction is tricky and calculating, and it’s the only disease that can take more than one person down with it, if it is left unchallenged. Addiction dramatically alters the lives of not just the addicted person, but of everyone within his or her vicinity, namely family and friends.”
Addiction in Australia
Millions of Australians are affected by drug addiction and alcohol dependency, either directly or indirectly. There are dozens of different drugs that can have a significant impact on a person’s life. ABC reports that the number of drug overdose deaths in the country has risen to the highest levels in nearly 20 years. It can be difficult, however, to determine if your loved one has a drug problem because different drugs have different symptoms, and people react to drugs in ways unique to them.
Identifying a substance abuse problem
Addiction to anything, whether it is drugs, sex, gambling, or food, can leave a person feeling socially isolated. According to ReachOut.com, a few social signs of a substance abuse problem include:
Avoiding non-users becoming isiolated
Feeling uncomfortable when unable to access their drug of choice
Going into debt to fund habit
Other indications include:
Poor attention span
Depression, often severe
Declining health, specifically heart problems
If you suspect that a friend or family member has an alcohol or drug problem, the first step is to help them recognize and admit it. Understand that you cannot force them to undergo treatment, but they may be more willing to get help if they are sure that they have a strong support network. Once they are willing to consider treatment, reach out to their doctor or healthcare provider.
The end goal of drug treatment is for the user to have the self-control their use if possible or to avoid taking drugs in the first place. But quitting cold turkey can be very tough and is often not a good idea. Withdrawal, the body’s response to craving a specific substance, can have debilitating symptoms including high blood pressure, anxiety, and shakiness. A person with an addiction to alcohol or a benzodiazepine, such as Valium, may even be at risk of death due to a sudden shock to the system if they quit using unexpectedly. The National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre in Sydney reports that opiate withdrawal, which was previously believed to be non-life-threatening, can result in death due to dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea.
Approaching an addicted person
Opening up a line of communication is an important part of helping your friend or family member seek treatment for their addiction. PositiveChoices.org.au explains that you must prepare ahead of time, however, before beginning the conversation about substance abuse. Gather information about the drug and decide exactly what you want to say about how you feel that the drugs have affected your loved one’s life. Come at them with compassion but be ready for some push back and negative reactions. More than anything, stay calm and be willing to listen to what they have to say. If you are intimidated or believe approaching them on your own may put you at risk, have a friend, family member, or mental health professional join you. You could also work with other close friends or family members to stage an intervention.
Type of treatment
There are dozens of residential treatment centres throughout Australia and even more outpatient facilities that can help. Long-term treatment, those programs designed to last between six and 12 months, offer 24-hour care and begin with a thorough medical detox. Community counselliing and support groups are also of offer.
Throughout treatment, patients are taught both how to live independent of chemical dependency and how to reenter society in recovery. The type of treatment your friend or relative seeks will be dictated by number of factors including their willingness to undergo treatment, time constraints, and finances.
For more information on alcohol and drug treatment, contact the Alcohol and Drug Foundation at 1300 85 85 84, your doctor or a psychologist. If it is a life-threatening emergency, call 000 or seek immediate medical intervention.
If your bedroom has gone dead, you need to address this. You know your partner and your frequency. If it’s gone off the boil, you may need to light the fire again.
Intimate connection, begins with understanding and appreciation. We get caught up in the daily grind. You ignore your relationship and your partner at your peril.
If you start looking outside for the answers – accusing your spouse of infidelity then you only lose control. Even if there is an affair your best bet is to work on your marriage.
Both men and women need an emotional and safe place to experience their connection. Are you providing this? If so great. You are probably having sex. If not you may need to get on top of this pronto. Reconnect with your partner today. Do something nice, share yourself with love.
This is a good question you need to ask yourself. Let’s think about this now.
How much have you invested in your relationship? Perhaps you have years together with all the ups and downs a real history of companionship brings. Through the highs and lows of togetherness, you got through it.
You may have children together, who you have watched being born – happy days. With whom you witnessed growing up and how tough that can be at times.
Perhaps your family is a blended family and you already know the stress and suffering separation and divorce takes on your children’s lives. The upheaval and challenge of co-parenting are not easy.
Maybe this is just your latest relationship, where in the past it hasn’t worked out and you are sick of the merry go round pattern. Where you go for few years with a person and it’s great and then it suddenly seems to go kaput. And weh it all seems to go awry and it’s like you don’t even know your partner. Sorry to say they really haven’t changed it’s the love drugs have worn off and you are seeing them for all they are flaws and all.
So is relationship counselling worth it? Should you work on your marriage? Why bother you may say after slogging away for so many years it seems hopeless.
So here’s the deal:
If you work on your relationship and it cannot be saved, you have lost nothing.
If you work on your relationship and save it, you have gained your relationship.
If you do not work on your relationship, you have lost the relationship.
From this logic it is perfectly reasonable to work on your partnership. You have nothing to lose and every thing to gain!
So what is the works that can happen? And if doesn’t help you, you’re only out a buck. At least you can say you tried and that’s worth it.
Give it a go. Call us today to begin your gains Call us at 0434 559 011 or 0411 144 646 to begin the changes that will help salvage your partnership from the brink.
You may also email Philipa Thornton at email@example.com or Chris Paulin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Marriage Works we want to support your relationship to new heights. Unfortunately many of us leave it until our spouses hand is on the doorknob, or get the divorce papers in the mail.
The LAST Resort Technique Blog is for exactly this type of scenario. It’s your best bet and may be your only chance to get your relationship back.
I am so impressed with the good people who write in and share their stories of pain, hope and healing, thank you!
I want to share their advice and success for those of you struggling with relationship despair and heartbreak. There truly is genuine hope with the LAST Resort Technique (LRT). Please read on to be inspired.
Steve writes: I thought I’d post a positive response to your article, to show this can work. Long story short – married to my wife of 15 years, 2 kids. I had a history of working too hard (long hours and occasionally weekends), playing sport every weekend and seeing my (male) friends. Basically whilst I provided a good lifestyle for the family I wasn’t there – mentally, emotionally or even physically – often enough.
I think you can guess what happened next. A male friend of the family became a shoulder to cry on, to help out at home, and then eventually an affair started. I knew something wasn’t right when I would come home on time from work and she would start an argument would start as soon as I walked in the door. Sometimes I would come home from work or sport and find my ( male) neighbour in our house talking to my wife in the kitchen. We nearly split up a couple of times prior to that. I used to read this article on a daily basis to give me hope.I realised that I did everything wrong (see the LRT phases), and struggled not to chase, ask questions about the relationship or check up on her. We went to counselling (together and on our own) which helped with communication between us. After many sessions, the counsellor confronted my wife – who did she want. TOP or me? Heart breaking, but she chose him.
So, why are we together now, and making vacation plans for next year?
Steve’s great advice :
1. Confront the issue early (very difficult without evidence), listen to your gut instinct.
Philipa here : Please do this without accusation and with openness to listen. Example : I feel there is something coming between us and want to help us get our marriage back to the love. What are you feeling? And really listen.
2. Listen to your partner to work out why they strayed.
3. Don’t vent on social media (as much as you want to). Only do this to trusted friends or family.
Philipa: integrity and respect are hallmarks of a great relationship. And when you are back together:
4. In the early days limit yourself to 15 mins a day asking questions, any more and it’s like pursuing.
5. Work on where you went wrong (see #2), but really be that person. They will suspect you are just doing it to keep them. Make the changes and keep doing them – even if it annoys your spouse.
Philipa: You can’t fake it til you make it you have to invest in understanding the issues.
6. In the midst of this all, don’t lose sight of who you are. You didn’t stray or cheat. You are a good person, do the LRT.
7. DON’T do the LRT too early. I did and my wife thought I was pushing her away. Its for when all else fails.
Philipa, yes it’s at desperation point, not before. Get help earlier please!
8. When the time comes do the LRT fully. It will seem wrong, but if everything has failed do it. Don’t pursue, beg, spy – just be you. And let them go.
Philipa: this has to be with an big heart and a faith you may never have had to test before in yourself.
9. The LRT prepares you for life without your spouse, but you need to continue being a parent. Remember you can’t control your spouse – they are free to make their own decisions.
Philipa : this is super important if there a children in the mix. They need you regardless. Curiously the more you let go of control the freer your spouse will be to circle back.
10. Be friendly, their best friend even, but not a doormat. Set boundaries – mine were if you want to see him I’m not being your child minder.
11. If your spouse wants to move out (mine did, but never went through with it), let them. But you need to discuss finances, and who pays for what.
Philipa: Yes Steve, this is vital. Mature relationships discuss financial issues.
12. Its their choice. Let them make it, you need to give them reasons to stay. Not to push them out or away.
Philipa: This is a real gem, exactly what is required of you.
Ultimately we stayed together – TOP gave up as my wife couldn’t make the final decision to leave. This combined with our kids wanting us to stay together, and my changes to be a better husband and parent. I also think looking at her finances provided a reality check as well.
You need to be strong, look after yourself and have trusted friends / family. You will go through hell emotionally. You will have bad days, days where you can’t function, where you want to give up and can’t take any more. Keep going. I lost 12 lbs in 3 months, felt like this was going to drive me mad or kill me. But it worked. It took 7 months from finding out to properly turning the corner. The turning point is letting go, and really, really meaning it. Then the penny will drop.
Thanks for this article Phillipa, it really did work.
Thank you Steve, glad you took the effort and energy required. Seven months is doable and not a bad investment to regain 15 years of marriage and your family.
And from another kind soul, Jetty’s remarkable work:
I have to say, that I am so impressed with the way this article helped me reign in my behavior. Following the tips here, along with some personal reflection, it seems like it has turned a corner.
The fighting has stopped. He is pursuing me. He is showing affection and effort. Just last weekend, HE asked me, to go away to Los Angles together. We hadn’t seen each other in six months and I don’t think it could have gone better. The change in myself is huge – I feel better about life, and about the way the relationship fits now. Just the fact that no fights have been had (with things coming up still) in over two months is mind blowing.
Thank you so much for this article, it really changed my perspective, and in turn, everything!
Thanks Jetty, you email will encourage others to think about their behaviour, the desired outcome and what works. Your change has offered your relationship a new beginning.
After a while when things are on stronger ground you then need to address the issues which got you to this catastrophe. Marriage therapy can fast track this. Learn Imago dialogue. Good luck and keep up the good fight!