Expressing Your Feelings is Works to Build Your Relationship
You've been feeling very hurt about the affair or abuse in your marriage. Now, it's time to express your feelings and make a plan at the same time to work on your marriage. You need to be able to make some requests which will bring real healing and growth in your relationship.
Write out what you are disappointed with.
1. Describe the issue that has hurt you and your marriage. Also, describe the process you are going through such as this Example: "I have been thinking about how hurt I feel over the ___________(affair, abuse) and I know the memory of it must be very painful for you as well. I may need to sometimes explain to you how this has hurt me just to get the feelings out. All that I ask is that you listen and support me. I am not trying to punish you. I am determined to work on getting through this and putting it in the past. It will take me some time though."
2. Make a list of requests and goals which will help you improve your relationship right now. "I would like to make some requests which will help our marriage and trust grow now such as: Dating once a week, going to marriage counseling, going to a marriage retreat, reading a marriage book together."
You may make other more practical requests such as planning a time to talk about how to discipline children, what chores to complete around the house, social and recreational activities, or planning a budget.
You may ask that he/she attend an anger class if there has been abuse. This is really a necessary step for your relationship when anger and abuse are the issues in your marriage. See the Anger Management Institute: What's Good About Anger? resources, DVDs, courses & coaching.
3. Learn to work through conflict together. Negotiation is one of the keys to restoring your communication and learning to collaborate on decisions.
Negotiation starts with the premise that the other person's needs are just as important to him or her as your needs are to you. Nagging, shouting, or being angry or coldly rational usually won't get others to change their view. Negotiation allows you to find a middle ground when you have a conflict of needs or goals so each person can get something and you can actually work together to achieve the goal.
Know exactly what it is that you want. State it in behavioral terms- what you want the other person to do or not do. "I want you to return the children by 6:30 Sunday night." or "I don't want you to use our driveway to change the oil in your car."
Listen to the other person's objections. The purpose is to understand his/her position; not to argue or try to convince him/her to give up his/her needs. Be an active listener by using open responses, asking questions, clarifying, and paraphrasing what you understand the other position to be. Don't be afraid to hear and show support or even empathy for the other person's view. Just because you understand it doesn't mean that you have to agree with the point or accept the opposing position. From the information you have gathered, you can take the next step.
**Make a proposal. Your proposal should take into consideration what the other person needs or wants in this situation. If he/she accommodates you, is there something in it for him/her? Be creative and flexible, breaking through the constraints of rules or traditions.
**Make a counterproposal. If the other person won't accept your proposal, encourage him/her to come up with a different solution. People unfamiliar with negotiation and collaboration may need some help getting started. Remind them that your objective is to understand their position and to find a compromise that both of you can live with.
Here are some typical compromise solutions:
• "My way this time, your way next time."
• "My way when I'm doing it, your way when you're doing it."
• "If you do_____________for me, I'll do____________for you."
• "Part of what I want with part of what you want."
• "Try it my way for a week and see. If you don't like it, we'll go back to the old way."
• "Split the difference."
You might even say, "I really want to go to Hawaii after this seminar. This is really important to me. What would you need me to do to make it worth your while to go along this time?" I'll get a second job to afford it or.... Obviously, compromising doesn't include compromising your values….
After an affair or abuse, you need to set boundaries and goals:
1. Your spouse must break off the relationship completely. This is mandatory. Your spouse can no longer have contact with the former lover. A final letter of closure to the relationship can be written.... ask your spouse to show it to you. Maybe you need to consider getting all new phone numbers. Maybe your spouse will have to change jobs, because he or she cannot be seeing this person at work anymore...... that will be too tempting.
In the Old Testament, Joseph ran from Potiphar's wife who tried to seduce him. That is a principle: run from temptation and don't put yourself in a situation where you will be tempted. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (NIV) God can and will help us escape temptation. But, we must be willing to obey Him and let Him control our lives so, we have spiritual power to overcome and avoid temptation.
2. Your spouse must end the abuse. This is also mandatory. Your relationship cannot weather more abuse. If this abuse is verbal, then, you both need to attend marriage counseling to learn to change communication. If it is physical abuse, then, your spouse must learn anger control as suggested above..... take a class, go to counseling, take a seminar, go to an anger control support group. And it would be helpful for you to learn how to stop provoking his/her anger and how to bring up problems and issues in an honest, direct yet loving way.
3. You and your spouse need to work on your marriage by going to counseling and to a marriage seminar. If he or she is not willing to do this and you have evidence that he/she lying about seeing another woman or man, then, you must ask him/her to move out and seek legal as well as counseling advice.
You and your spouse can rebuild the romance in your marriage when you move through grief, forgive, begin to restore trust and build your communication together.
You can decide to become your mate's greatest encourager..
1. Make a decision to never again be critical of your partner. Turn your complaints and criticisms into requests.
2. Spend time developing a sensitivity to your spouse's needs and build up those areas.
3. Spend time thinking daily of positive qualities and behavior you admire and appreciate in him or her.
4. Consistently express your praise and appreciation for your spouse.
5. Recognize your spouse's accomplishments.
6. Husbands, publicly and privately show wife how special she is.
7. Wives, show your husband how important he is in your life. Ask his opinion and value his judgments.
8. Respond to each other physically & facially.
9. Be courteous to each other privately & publically.
© copyright 2007 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC
Lynette J. Hoy is a Marriage and Family Counselor with CounselCare Connection, P.C. in Oak Brook, Illinois. Lynette regularly presents seminars on: women's issues, assertiveness, "What's Good About Anger?", stress and conflict management, PREP's "Fighting for Your Marriage", grief and divorce recovery. Lynette is a National Certified Counselor and and credentialed by the National Anger Management Association as a: Certified Anger Management Specialist-IV, Diplomate, Supervisor and Consultant. Contact her for seminars, articles or counseling needs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 708-524-3333. See web sites: www.counselcareconnection.org and www.angermanagementinstitute.org .