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5) There’s No Time Limit On Forgiveness and Healing
I’m constantly battling my own personal thoughts that there’s no time limit on healing and forgiveness with the messages society gives that partners who have been hurt and betrayed should just “get over it” and “stop harping on the past.” Adam and I have come so far, and there are few people I know who have worked harder on himself than Adam in the past few years. Our relationship is beautifully flawed and we've done such a good job putting the pieces back together, but the scars from the past have not disappeared. I’m so proud of us, and I’m so excited about our future together. However, I do still think about the past. It’s not something I do actively or even consciously. I might be watching a TV show or listening to a playlist, and in my mind, I’m back in our living room three years ago, with Adam revealing that he’s been lying to me for six months. Or, it's the middle of the night in 2016. Adam hasn’t come home and I have no idea where he is or if he’s ok. I wish there was a pill I could take that would rid me of these flashbacks and the hurt they uncover, but there’s not. Maybe there are people who have experienced relationship trauma (yes, I think it was a trauma) and are somehow able to keep the past locked away or truly release it from their mind. But that’s not my experience. Honestly, I don’t think there’s any reason why I shouldn’t bring it up and talk about it. We’re encouraged by therapists and experts to talk about painful experiences from our past throughout our lives, as a means to grow from it and not harbor all the resentment. Why, when it comes to romantic relationships, hurt and anger is supposed to just vanish? I don’t have an answer to this question. I just know I don’t agree with it.
4) Spread Support Like Confetti
We’ve been thinking about doing a follow-up to the Guilt Episode. Over the two-and-a half-years since it was released, we’ve received tons of messages asking, “how did you move on?” “How did you become so close again?” A follow-up episode would allow us to explore steps we've taken to heal, while simultaneously acknowledging the work that still has to be done. We are proof that it's completely possible to both move on and acknowledge and mourn the past. I feel such sadness and loss for how long Adam wasn’t a partner in our marriage, and the selfish period when he chose himself over us. Yet I also feel immense gratitude towards Adam, who has worked incredibly hard to cultivate all this love and trust between us again. I asked our instagram community if we should release this episode, because I truly am worried about the harsh responses saying, “enough already with making him feel bad.” Statements like that completely minimize so much work that we've done. I want to openly discuss how conflicting, passionate emotions can very much co-exist, and how that's actually how life works in most scenarios.
The feedback and support I received from so many of you was so heartwarming and overwhelming, and I am grateful. Almost 90% of you agreed that this episode would help many couples better understand the balance between hurt and forgiveness. Thank you for helping us to create such a place of comfort and acceptance. Look for the re-release of The Guilt Episode this coming Monday (for those of you who haven’t listened in a long time or at all yet), and a follow-up episode the next Monday.
3) Accounts and Resources If You’re Healing From Some Sort Of Betrayal:
In a world of “he/she is my soulmate,” public facebook posts and perfectly curated Instagram feeds, it’s so important to "follow" the people who are willing to keep it real (and just as important to UNFOLLOW those who don’t). Here are some resources that have helped me get through the hard times in our relationship:
Baggage Reclaim Blog and Podcast
The Holderness Family's Blog Post On Counseling
Mark Groves Podcast, IG Account, and Website
Esther Perel Workshops and Podcast
2) Baby Steps To Therapy
“My spouse refuses to go to counseling.” I cannot tell you how many times a week we hear this from listeners. We completely understand, because we went through the same thing. For years I begged Adam, and it took several convincing steps until he agreed to go. This is one of the many reasons we wanted to put out the Date Night Questions ebook. Getting comfortable communicating, and realizing it’s not as intimidating as one thinks is crucial in the process to agreeing to therapy. Start with our ebook, which approaches communication in a way that’s gentle, generous, and productive. (This is NOT a replacement for therapy, but can definitely help partners make progress in the meantime). Or, supplement the more serious side of therapy with the lighter, more fun questions. There are twelve topics that will spark intimacy and connection, plus “yes, no, maybe checklists” and “lightning-round questions” just to get your feet wet without the in-depth conversation if necessary. We cannot wait for you to have the chance to experience so many of the same questions Adam and I amidst the hardest time in our marriage, bringing us to the healthier, more fulfilling relationship we currently have. Click here to check out this awesome resource.
1) Date Night Questions: Healing and Growth
These questions are meant to be asked and answered back and forth. The partner who asks the question then sits back and listens and attempts to empathize before responding. If this is a topic of greater sensitivity, consider the setting for this discussion and how it might impact how you are able to communicate openly and honestly.
Something in our relationship in which we’ve made so much progress and of which I’m proud of us both for the work we’ve done:
What practices did we implement into our relationship to help make these changes and evolve?
One aspect of our relationship about which I would really like to communicate and work on more is:
I think that these three positive results would come from us openly discussing and continuing to work on this issue together in a gentle and healthy way:
If you supported me more with _______________ I would feel ______________ and ______________.
I feel most seen and heard by you when you __________________.
When I feel seen, heard and understood by you, it makes me want to __________________.
I never want to stop working together on our relationship because my ultimate goal for us is:
I promise to keep working on our relationship on my end by continuing to do and/or improving upon the following practices and actions:
You are not only my partner, you are my _________________ and my ______________.
To take the next step and commit to more in-depth communication with questions, small bonding challenges, and so much more, click here.
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