3 Things to Heal a Broken Heart and Stay Married
Have you ever broken a bone? I fractured my tibia during the freshman year of high school, while playing football. I remember that we thought that I had just pulled a muscle. After a few weeks had passed my dad told my mom to take me to the doctor to see why I kept limping. The doctor explained that there was a fracture in my tibia, which was causing me to limp. Luckily I didn’t have to have a cast or crutches (a fear of any high school kid) but was unable to finish the football season. My body had already begun to heal itself, without really doing anything different. However, to ensure that it continued to heal quickly and correctly I had to change some things I did. I have since come to realize that healing a broken heart is similar to healing a broken bone. Sometimes it begins to heal on its own. Sometimes we do some work first. But often we have to change some things to make it heal correctly.
In society, there is a cliche about forgiveness: “I can forgive, but I will never forget.” How can one actually forgive like this? The point of forgiveness is letting go, not holding onto offenses. I am not saying that when you forgive someone you will not remember the injury, but I do feel the cliche supports a false sense of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not about forgiving someone for their offense, but it is for the person that was injured. It is a way to let go of the toxic thoughts that hold you imprisoned. Our thoughts and feelings will continue to cycle about what went wrong until we take the time to address it. Letting it go allows us to move forward not backward.
Growing up we are taught that when you make a mistake like hitting a sibling that you have to apologize for your actions and then the person injured says I accept your apology and forgive you. We are still left with the pain from the injury. I know that when my brother and I would get into an argument/ fight when we apologized and forgave we were able to get back to a closer relationship faster than when didn’t address the injury.
So how do you forgive someone who has hurt you?
I have seen through Couples Counseling, that when we change our perspective on the situation it does not excuse what happened, but it does allow us to come to a place where we are able to forgive.
Change Your Perspective
Changing your perspective is not meant to devalue what has happened. It is a tool to help you get to a place where you can forgive. Something happens to us when we are able to put our thoughts and feelings aside and view the world from another’s perspective. We are able to get to a place of understanding how something could’ve happened. It does not mean that it was the correct course of action on the other’s part, but that you can at least understand how it happened from their point of view.
Have you ever noticed how it seems easier to have grace with someone when you see what they were dealing with? Remember, I am not saying that forgiveness means that their perspective or circumstance was right. I am saying that we can’t control other people’s actions, what we can control is our own thoughts and feelings. And by viewing the offense through the other person’s perspective, I have learned that myself and others I’ve worked with have been able to get to a place of forgiveness that lets the toxic thoughts and feelings go. Allowing us to move past the hurt and begin the healing process.
By no mean am I suggesting that someone that has had something heinous happen to them would take a similar course of action. What I am suggesting is that in a marriage even one with infidelity there is healing that can occur from understanding the other’s perspective and changing what we can control.
Remember The Good
Have you ever noticed how in our friendships we can have a major fight or disagreement and yet the relationship is able to forgive and move past the incident? What makes it so much easier with friendships than in an intimate relationship? Maybe it’s the amount of stress and responsibilities we put on ourselves. Didn’t we start the relationship off as friends first? I believe that somewhere along the way we lose sight of our friendship in our relationship. Things become more surface level within the relationship. We begin to focus on all of the “have to’s” of the relationship and ignore the little things that we do in our friendships. How often do you reach out to a friend? What do you talk about? Do some of your friendships have that unique ability to go long amounts of time without talking and then when you do it is like no time has passed since you last talked?
I think there are several factors that contribute to why this is. One of these factors is that we think to ourselves that we “know” the other person. We provide them with grace and understanding that sometimes life gets busy. We think about them and remember times from the past, but we don’t always reach out. I believe because we are able to think about them and remember events it helps us feel like we are connected. When was the last time you thought about your spouse or remembered events that brought you happiness? Sometimes these thoughts and memories are able to remind us of what is important. When things are important to us we are more likely to push through pain and discomfort to make changes that benefit the relationship.
Change Your Relationship
By remembering the good in each other and the relationship, changing our perspective, and focusing on forgiveness we are able to make changes to our relationship. There’s good in both of you. You will continue to have good times in the future just as you’ve had good times in your past. It will require you to work at it though. This journey you are on is not about getting from point A to point B. This journey is about the times in between A and B. By looking at the other’s perspective you will begin to see what you can do to change what you can control. Which is yourself. Try new things, ask your partner about what you have tried. Did it help any? Did it make the other person feel differently? The more you do these two things the easier it becomes to practice forgiveness. Which frees you from the prison, and allows you to enjoy the relationship and make adjustments that strengthen the relationship. Making it more fulfilling.