Five Habits of Couples in Strong Relationships

With a seemingly high divorce rate in our world today, and friends or family whose marriages may be falling apart, it might be hard to believe that there are relationships out there that are good, strong, and healthy. Happy relationships and marriages do exist, but not without the hard work that’s put into them. By making a conscious, thoughtful effort to do the work every day, people in relationships can thrive and be happy. If you want to be one of those people, take into consideration these five habits:

  1. Spend quality time together.

 Quality time together is one of the key ingredients to a happy marriage or relationship. Notice that it’s quality time, not just time. Quality means more than quantity when it comes to spending time with your significant other. For instance, watching television together on the couch while looking at your phones doesn’t count as quality time together. Neither does eating together and not talking or interacting. Quality time is time spent doing things that will help you engage, communicate, and maintain a deep connection. Here are some examples of ways you can spend quality time together:

  • Cooking a meal you both love
  • Playing a fun game that gets you to think and talk
  • Going on a hike to a pretty destination
  • Working on a house renovating project
  • Taking an art class or a workout class
  1. Express appreciation and give compliments to one another every day.

 One of the worst things you can do in a relationship is assume your partner knows how much you appreciate him and what he does for you and your family. You must verbally express how much your partner means to you. Say, “I appreciate you and how hard you work to provide for the family,” or something similar to that. In addition to saying the words, it can mean even more if you show your appreciation, too. Here are some ways you can show your appreciation (in addition to expressing it):

  • Make a favorite meal or dessert
  • Do the laundry or clean the kitchen
  • Get a meaningful, thoughtful gift
  • Plan a fun date night
  • Offer a massage or a nice shoulder rub

 

It’s also important to give each other sincere compliments (ones you really mean) about a cute outfit, a personality trait, or a cute quirk. Think about it—when you receive a genuine compliment from someone, doesn’t it boost your confidence and make you feel better about yourself? Why wouldn’t you want to make your spouse to feel that way? A little compliment can go a long way.

3. Focus more on what is done right than what is done wrong.

 Everyone makes mistakes. Does the one wrong thing discount everything right your partner has done? Granted, sometimes those “mistakes” are bad choices a person knowingly makes, like infidelity or constant relapsing of an addiction. When something extremely hurtful has been done to you, can be difficult to work out the betrayal, forgive and move on, but it is possible, if you really want it. Remembering all the good things your significant other has done in the span of your relationship can help dissolve some of the anger and hurt. It can help you see if you truly want to salvage the relationship.

 In the case of everyday things your partner does that you may consider to be “wrong,” like not loading the dishes or leaving clothes scattered everywhere, take a deep breath and stop seeing the negative. It’s so easy to get irritated when you feel like you’re free of faults and your partner isn’t. Remember that you’re not perfect either and that your spouse does so many good things. Do your best to always accentuate the positive.

     4. Make an effort to be physically affectionate throughout the day.

 It’s interesting how for some couples, the longer they’ve been married, the less they touch—hold hands, rub a back, kiss. The things that came so easily when you were dating may seem kind of awkward and uncomfortable now. If that’s the case for you, take it one small step at a time. Try to do one small physical gesture of love a day, whether it’s a quick peck on the lips, a shoulder squeeze, or an arm rub. The more often you do it, the easier it will get and the more it will become second nature.

If you already do these things, keep up the good work! See if you can do even more, like kissing and hugging each other before work in the morning. Hold hands when you’re sitting on the couch, or even just squeeze his shoulder when you’re passing each other in the hall. Also, make sex a priority. Talk to your partner about how often you both want it and what you’re both willing to do to make it a better experience for both of you.

 

  1. Try new things together and cultivate common interests.

 Remember that exciting feeling you got when you were first dating and about to go on a fun date? You can get that feeling back by trying new things together. Not only will it bring back those feelings of excitement, but it will also help you discover some new interests that you both like doing together. That way, when you’re bored and both wanting to do something fun, you’ll have common interests to lean back on. Here are some activity ideas:

  • Go on a scary rollercoaster together
  • Go mountain biking
  • Go to a classical music concert
  • Go river rafting
  • Go figure skating

 The key is to figure out what you both love to do together and to find ways to start new hobbies together. This doesn’t mean you need to do everything together all the time. In fact, it’s important to spend time apart doing things that you enjoy on your own time. It’s just critical to remember that if you want to keep growing together in the right direction, you need to find new, fun things to do together to liven up your relationship.

 

How to Keep Resentment From Ruining Your Relationship (Part 2)

  1. Be Empathetic

Even though resentment is a human emotion, that doesn’t make it a healthy one. Never berate yourself for feeling a flash of resentment, but recognize it as a signal that there is some work to be done. That might include finding forgiveness for your partner, even when you think they might not deserve it. 

When all you see is your side of things, it’s much easier to get riled up and angry every time you think of an issue that’s bothering you. To keep this from happening, try putting yourself in his shoes. See things from his perspective and be understanding. Using our example from the previous post, getting up early to go to work isn’t always easy and maybe that’s why he has a hard time getting the baby in the middle of the night.

 The more compassion and empathy you have for your spouse, the easier it will be to let the resentment subside and to talk things out in a loving and understanding manner. You’ll be surprised at how much your heart and attitude can soften if you truly put yourself in your spouse’s shoes. The next time you’re having a moment of irritation and anger, pause for a second and try to see things from his perspective. It might alleviate all the tension you’re feeling, but it will definitely help to bring your frustration down a few notches. 

  1. Realize that You’re Not Perfect Either

 Take a good, long look at yourself and acknowledge that you have weaknesses too. Is it possible that you may be doing something that your spouse doesn’t like or is resentful about?

 You need to take responsibility for your imperfections and for the role you might play in certain marital issues. Knowing that you wouldn’t want your spouse to rub your mistakes in your face will make you think twice about lashing out at your spouse for something he did or didn’t do. As you are accountable for your part, your partner will feel safer to take their own responsibility as well. 

  1. Practice Being Vulnerable

 One of the reasons it’s so hard to communicate your feelings of anger and bitterness in a moment when your spouse is doing something that’s really bugging you is that expressing means being vulnerable. Communicating your feelings means admitting you’re not perfect and that you need something from your spouse.

It can sometimes make you feel weak and helpless to admit unpleasant emotions, but the irony is that strength comes from being vulnerable. How? You’re admitting you need your spouse’s help, companionship, and teamwork. Once you ask for help, you’ll more than likely receive it, and when you have your spouse’s hands and heart alongside yours, you’re that much stronger.

It’s also important to note that regularly scheduling a meeting between you and your spouse is a key tool for preventing resentment from growing. Making time each day or week to sit down and talk will help you to consistently address the important issues currently happening in your relationship. Schedule this meeting on the same day and at the same time every week so that it becomes a permanent part of your life. It should become so second nature that if you didn’t do it, it would feel like not eating breakfast that day. Regularly communicating with your spouse about important issues is an integral part of thriving relationships.

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terry-gaspard-msw-licsw/is-resentment-ruining-your-marriage_b_5531600.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-therapist-is-in/201103/10-steps-letting-go-resentment

http://www.doctornerdlove.com/5-behaviors-ruin-relationships/all/1/

How to Keep Resentment from Ruining Your Relationship (Part 1)

What does it mean to resent someone? Here are some synonyms of resent to give you a better understanding: feel bitter about, be annoyed at, take offense at, harbor a grudge about. It’s probably not hard to think of the last time you felt resentful about something. 

You’re not a bad person for feeling resentful but it’s definitely not a pleasant feeling, and it’s one you want to avoid, especially when it comes to your marriage. Resentment has a way of starting out as a small crack in your composure and ending up as a full-blown crevice that separates you and your spouse. If you want to keep this resentment rift from forming, follow these tips:

1. Express Yourself

Resentment is often a result of you feeling mad about something your spouse did or didn’t do and keeping the feeling bottled up inside. As your anger and bitterness start to fester and grow, you get to that breaking point that, once you snap, always comes out explosive. To keep yourself from becoming a loose cannon, you need to communicate your feelings, in a considerate and respectful way, when you feel them—not two days later.

Learning how to express yourself in a productive, kind manner is one of the simplest and most effective ways of mitigating resentment. If it’s so simple, then why is it so hard, you may ask? Communicating, in theory, should be easy because all you’re doing is talking to someone.

The physical act of talking is the easy part. What makes expressing yourself so hard is that so many emotions are involved, like fear of hurting your spouse’s feelings, anger at being hurt yourself, or irritation at your spouse’s obliviousness. When you have so many not-so-pleasant emotions coursing through your veins, it’s difficult to talk to your spouse in a caring and compassionate way.

That’s why you should take some time to cool off first. Don’t let your temper get the better of you. Take 10, 20, or 30 minutes to just calm your heart rate down and get your mind clear. Use that time to consider what your accountability might be in the hurtful incident, and recognize that you probably don’t really understand your partner’s perspective of the situation. Once you feel more open and under control, prepare some phrases that will help you get your feelings out in patient, safe ways. You might not get it right every time, but the more you practice expressing yourself in a productive way, the better you’ll get at it and the better results you’ll see.

2. Set Boundaries

Let’s take a look at a few examples that might leave you feeling resentful:

• You’re the one who gets the baby every time he wakes up during the night and in the morning
• Your spouse hardly ever helps clean up after dinner
• You see your spouse giving more affection to your kids than you
• You end up being the one filling up the gas tank every time
• You cook and clean every day without receiving appreciation in return

The problem with each of these examples is that you’re probably not telling your spouse that there is a problem and that you’re feeling frustrated. Recognizing that your partner might have a different perspective than you is the first step. Expressing to your spouse that you’re unhappy with a situation is much healthier when they know you are open to their side of the story, so be prepared to listen to their perspective. Once you do share your feelings and viewpoints with one another you will both be better prepared to share the responsibility and determine what is going to work best for both you.

This is where setting boundaries comes in. Learning how to set a boundary is a topic that requires its own article, but here’s the short of it: Set ground rules that that will protect you and your spouse from resentment. For example, if your spouse has to get up early for work, you get the baby when he cries in the middle of the night and your spouse gets him when he wakes up in the morning.

You could also trade off nights getting the baby or have your spouse put the baby to bed each night and you get the baby each morning. You could have your spouse take more responsibility on the weekends while you take more responsibility during the week. Whatever you decide on, make sure you’re both happy with the boundary, not just one of you, and make sure you both get time to rest.

In our next post we will take you even more deeply into dealing with resentment in healthy ways.

What Is and Isn’t Appropriate When it Comes to Opposite Sex Relationships Outside of Your Marriage (Part 2)

Situations and Circumstances You Need to Be Careful With

While this article is meant to be a guideline for you and your spouse, you both will have to decide what you’re okay with and what you’re not okay with. Maybe you’re both okay with certain things that other couples wouldn’t be, and that’s for you two decide together. However, there are some situations you should talk about even if they never happen—it’s always better to be safe than sorry. A few examples might include:

• Hiring a personal trainer of the opposite sex
• Having a business partner of the opposite sex
• Carpooling alone with the opposite sex

Any situation that would involve your spouse spending a significant amount of time alone with a person of the opposite sex is a situation to be wary about. Yes, it’s important to trust your partner and for him to trust you, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful and protect your marriage. Being too loose or comfortable with things like this in a marriage can often lead to betrayal and destroyed trust.

What To Do When Boundaries Are Crossed

If you find yourself developing feelings for a “friend” of the opposite sex, you better have some boundaries put in place for yourself, like cutting off the friendship, confiding in your spouse about the friendship, and preventing something like this from happening in the future. The sooner you stop things from progressing further, the better off all parties involved will be. As always, if you feel the need to hide what’s going on, it shouldn’t be happening, end of story.

If you have nagging feelings that your spouse might be involved in an inappropriate friendship, bring your feelings out into the open. Talk to your spouse in a way that makes him feel safe enough to be honest about it. Even if a boundary has been crossed, don’t give up on your marriage or lose hope that all is lost and your marriage is over. Start talking about what led you two apart and why this happened in the first place. If the both of you still want to make things work, there’s always hope to reconnect and rekindle your marriage. LIFE Marriage Retreats can help you have those important conversations in a place of safety and healing.

Sources:

http://firstthings.org/are-opposite-sex-friends-okay/
http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/were-a-couple-how-do-we-handle-friendships-with-the-opposite-sex/#.WN2cw2QrKRs

What Is and Isn’t Appropriate When it Comes to Opposite Sex Relationships Outside of Your Marriage (Part 1)

Imagine you just got married and you and your spouse are happily starting out your life together. However, you notice your spouse is still communicating with a close friend of the opposite gender that he had before you were married. While you know nothing is going on, you can’t help but feel ill at ease. It makes you a little anxious and you realize you’re not comfortable with it. Why is that? Read on to find out how harmful such outside relationships can be:

Close Friendships Are Not Appropriate

 In any close friendship, you share thoughts, hopes, feelings, and emotions with that person. There is an old saying that says “Don’t water the neighbor’s grass, use it on your own to make it green.” Most people who have engaged in an inappropriate emotional relationship with a member of the opposite sex confess that they confide more of themselves to that other person than to their spouse. In almost every case, had they shared more of themselves with their partner, the marriage would have been strengthened and improved. Instead, it is left to wither, leading to a cycle of feeling unfulfilled in the marriage which leads to engaging inappropriately with a member of the opposite sex, which leads to the marriage feeling even more negative, and on and on.

Engaging in intimate emotional interaction with someone of the opposite sex brings the risk developing romantic feelings for him or her. Sharing emotions with someone other than your spouse is not only dangerous, as it can lead to sexual infidelity it is extremely hurtful for your spouse who deserves to be the one you’re confiding in. A couple should realize that it is their well nurtured emotional connection that plays a powerful role in creating a warm and satisfying physical connection. It is easy for a partner to get confused, feeling that they have a connection with a person outside of the marriage in which they feel understood and accepted. They don’t consider that such a relationship does not have to deal with financial issues, parenting problems, tensions with in-laws and other distractions that are common in a committed marriage relationship, and that if they take the time to share and problem solve with their spouse, the relationship will grow into something that is unattainable outside of the marriage.

Having a close friendship with someone of the opposite sex is not worth the risk. Even if you’re not attracted to the person or you think you’re strong enough to never let anything happen, don’t put yourself at risk. Most affairs, emotional and physical, start out with two people who were “just friends” that, when confiding in each other about personal things, grew to care more for each other than was appropriate. And what’s the natural next step when you develop feelings for someone? Physical affection.

 Co-Worker Relationships Are Appropriate Within Reason

Obviously you’re going to have to work with members of the opposite sex when you’re at work and that’s completely normal and fine. However, you still need to set boundaries. Do you need to have a business “meeting” at dinner that night with just the two of you? No. Should you work on a project outside of work or after hours just you two? No. It may seem extreme to not allow such interactions, but completely avoiding the situation keeps you from putting yourself in compromising situations.

Be self-aware. Do you find yourself subtly flirting with a co-worker? While it may feel harmless, it’s dangerous all the same. Subtle flirtations can lead to emotional connections, and that’s when your red flags should go up. Think about it: When you start liking someone and begin to date, it always starts out with fun flirtations that, if reciprocated, attract you to that person. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you can’t still feel attraction—that’s exactly why having these other relationships can be dangerous.

Sometimes situations with the opposite sex arise that are out of your control. Just state your boundaries to whoever you might be in this uncomfortable situation with and make sure you’re transparent with your spouse. When everything is in the open, you won’t risk wanting to hide a relationship. (continued in Part 2)

http://erlc.com/resource-library/articles/married-couples-and-boundaries-with-the-opposite-sex

http://sixseeds.patheos.com/davewillis/3-ways-opposite-sex-friends-can-hurt-your-marriage/

How to Set Healthy Boundaries in Marriage (Part 2)

3. Use “If…Then” Statements to Create Them

 So what does a boundary look like and how do you create one? Here’s an example:

  • If my spouse starts to lose his temper and begins to lash out, then I will, verbalizing a time-out, leave his presence and choose not to engage until he cools down.
  • If my spouse does not divulge a relapse in a sexually addictive behavior, then he must sleep on the couch that night.
  • If I feel anxious or worried or intuitive that something is amiss and my spouse is hiding a bad habit (alcoholism, pornography, etc.), then I have the right to confront my spouse about these feelings.

The “if” part indicates what the boundary is or surrounds—not allowing yourself to be around an explosively angry spouse; the “then” part indicates what will happen when that boundary is crossed. The next section discusses these “then” statements (which are also often referred to as consequences) in a little more detail. If you’re still feeling confused and uncertain about how to set boundaries and what a healthy boundary looks like, you’re not alone. Learning how to set boundaries that are effective and good and true is not easy—it takes time, trial, and error, but you will eventually get it right if you keep trying.

 4. Design Appropriate “Consequences” and Follow Through

 It’s important that you create consequences (the “then” part of a boundary statement) along with the boundaries so that if a boundary is crossed, whoever the offender is will know that it’s not okay and that it won’t go unnoticed. Creating appropriate and effective consequences is essential, but not always easy, as it should NOT be a way to punish your spouse, but should be a way of keeping you safe, secure, and at peace. Here are some tips for creating effective consequences:

  • Don’t create them when you’re feeling angry and impulsive
  • Make it realistic and related to the action
  • It should be appropriately severe for the situation
  • It should be something you can enforce every time it happens, because if you don’t, the behavior will continue
  • It should be immediate as possible
  • It should be respectful

Following through with the consequence when a boundary is crossed is absolutely essential. When you enforce the consequence, it not only keeps you from getting hurt over and over, it helps the person who hurt you to come to a self-awareness of his actions over time. Whether he chooses to change based on this self-awareness is up to him, but at least these consequences will help bring clarity to the situation.

 5. Read Books to Learn More About How to Set Boundaries

 Learning how to create, set, and follow through with boundaries and consequences is not easy for those who’ve never done it. Sometimes it’s not even easy for those who have done it before! That’s why continually researching through books, articles, and respected friends and colleagues is critical if you want to establish boundaries that will work in helping you feel safe and protected. As always, practice makes perfect, even when it comes to boundaries.

One example of an excellent book about boundaries is What Can I Do About Me? by Rhyll Croshaw. In this book, the author narrates how she went from being a happily married newlywed to a devastated and crushed wife when she discovered her husband had a sex addiction and had been soliciting prostitutes. She then goes on to explain how setting boundaries and seeking outside help and counseling eventually led to her marriage being saved. It’s a very realistic, yet hopeful book about how, if both partners are willing, a marriage can be saved despite its darkest moments.

Sources:

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_boundaries

https://utahcoalition.org/project/how-do-i-set-boundaries-in-recovery/

http://www.boundariesbooks.com/articles/boundaries-in-marriage/resolve-conflict-with-resistant-spouse/

http://www.crosswalk.com/family/marriage/paper-fences-the-boundaries-we-fail-to-set-in-marriage-1376244.html

Tips for Dealing With Tragedy in a Marriage (Part 1)

Tragedy—whatever form it may come in—has a way of bringing those affected closer together or tearing them apart. When it’s a husband and wife dealing with the tragic events, the losses can get even higher if they can’t figure out how to cope together. If you want to be the spouses that cling to each other instead of tear apart, take these tips to heart:

  • Remember that people grieve in different ways.

Whether it’s a death or the loss of a dream or a diagnosis for a serious illness, you and your spouse are going to deal with tragedy differently. One of you may openly cry and want to talk and be held, and the other one may shut off and not show emotion. He may not want to talk right away and instead may want to grieve in silence. Know that it’s OKAY if you grieve differently. Give your spouse the space he needs to figure out how to deal with such a significant loss.

If you’re the one that needs space to figure out your emotions, verbalize that. Don’t leave your spouse wondering why you’re so closed off and silent. Simply tell him that this is how you grieve and that you need some time to think and internalize things before doing a big talk. If you’re the spouse that wants to talk and be held and you feel like your partner isn’t there to listen, verbalize that, too. Tell him you need someone to talk to and a shoulder to cry on, even if he doesn’t say anything. A listening ear is often the most comfort during a hard time.

  • Look for the silver lining.

As hard as it is to feel hope and peace in the midst of a traumatic event, it is possible. You can still find some good in your life even when you feel like you’re in the depths of despair. Here are some examples of things that can help lift that often-paralyzing sadness:

  • A smile, hug, or word of encouragement from someone you love
  • A beautiful sunrise as you walk through a park
  • A happy, healthy distraction from the pain, like a feel-good movie or an uplifting book or a night out with a friend
  • A list you’ve written of all the things you’re grateful for in your life at this very moment
  • A healthy outlet—painting, music, exercising, gardening, etc.
  • A conscious plan of how you are going to personally move to higher and happier ground and keep your marriage strong through this challenging time

Don’t let yourself fall so deep into the hole of grief that you can’t seem to find a reason to crawl out. If you are feeling this way, reach out to your spouse and communicate what you’re feeling. It may be worth it to go to a counselor or a therapist who can help you deal with the heart-wrenching emotions you’re experiencing. Don’t think that you’re somehow crazy or weak if you need to see a counselor. In fact, it takes incredible strength to seek out help.

(End of Part 1)

https://www.heysigmund.com/tragedy-in-relationships/

Is Forgiveness Synonymous with Trust?

 

When someone you love or care about has deeply hurt you, it can be a complicated process restoring everything you once had back to what it used to be. Contrary to what many people think, complete reconciliation doesn’t come with these three words: I forgive you. Forgiveness is but a step in the process of restoring a relationship that has been broken by betrayal. Forgiving someone does not mean you now need to completely trust him or forget what happened. Here’s a more in-depth look at the differences between trust and forgiveness:

Forgiveness and Trust Are NOT One and the Same

Simply put, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. It sets you free from the bitterness and hurt you’re feeling inside. All the pain you keep in your heart that almost feels tangible will be lifted and will evaporate once you decide to forgive.

Woman West Eternity Hands Love Trust Heart

Forgiveness is a solo endeavor. It’s something you have to work through independent of the other party. For instance, you can forgive someone who you may never see again or someone who has passed away. While a genuine apology can make forgiveness easier, ultimately, it isn’t necessary. Forgiveness is a decision you make on your own.  When you do, it will feel liberating like a weight or burden has been removed..

On the other hand, Trust is not the same as forgiveness. Trust requires consistent action by the offender in order for trust  to be granted. Trust has to be rebuilt, and while forgiveness is a part of that rebuilding process, granting forgiveness does not mean you’re granting trust, too.

If you’re the person who broke the trust, you may think that once you’ve been forgiven, things can go back to the way they were. This is not true and you should not expect this, as doing so will prolong the reconciliation process. The person who chooses to forgive you gets to set boundaries and then decide when to grant trust based on your consequent actions and if you prove you’re trustworthy.

Forgiveness is Given Freely While Trust Has to Be Earned

When you decide to forgive, you’re not letting the offender off the hook. You’re not all of a sudden alleviating the person of his accountability and responsibility toward the situation. Once again, forgiveness is for YOU, not the other person. It shouldn’t even be based on the other person’s actions. You can still choose to forgive even if the person who hurt you is not remorseful or does not want to change.

However, if you’re offering forgiveness and want to reconcile (and therefore offer trust) as the next step, you should expect the other person to show that he’s worthy of trust and reconciliation. Forgiving shouldn’t change anything when it comes to the behavior you now expect from the offender. It’s just as important for the forgiver to understand this as for the person you’re forgiving, so that more misunderstandings (like the offender thinking he doesn’t need to follow boundaries because he’s been forgiven) don’t take place.

Reconciling with someone, which is completely separate from forgiving someone, is a much more complicated and grueling process. Why? It requires participation and a willingness to change on the part of the offender. Earning trust moves beyond forgiveness. It’s an interpersonal process—a joint venture that requires the offender to apologize, to show he’s sorry, and to offer hope that there can be a future for both of you again. Sometimes, however, trust and reconciliation aren’t possible. If the two of you can’t find a way to work through the hurt and betrayal and simply can’t get along, you may have to accept that reconciliation won’t happen. But remember that forgiveness is always, always possible.

Forgiveness and Trust Are Both Processes that Take Time

Forgiveness is an internal and unilateral process based solely on your ability to do the following:

  • Gain a clear understanding of what happened
  • Work through the hurt and anger
  • Learn how to feel safe again
  • Let go of the grudge and let the memory heal
  • Be willing to remember the past with compassion and hope instead of with a sense of injustice

This is not an easy process, and the timeline for forgiveness can either be short or extremely long, based on what happened. It helps to remember that forgiveness is not an event that happens at one time, in one place, or in one moment. Forgiveness is a process, which means you shouldn’t be hard on yourself if you can’t forgive someone right away, even if you want to.

Once again, forgiveness should not be based on the offender’s actions but on your own attitude and your willingness to see that forgiveness will set you free. Holding onto the grudge isn’t punishing the offender, even though it may feel like being mad at him is a sort of revenge. “Getting back” at someone by refusing to forgive does nothing to set things right. It only makes life harder for you.

While forgiveness should be offered freely, trust should be offered slowly. Rebuilding trust, which is a part of the reconciliation process, takes the two of you. You need to talk about what happened, listen to his side of the story, express your hurt feelings, listen for his remorse, and evaluate whether you both want to get to a point where you want to reconcile and give and receive trust again. It’s a process that takes time because you need to see if he’s willing to follow the set boundaries and show that he’s trustworthy over the next few weeks, months, and years. You also need to show that you’ve truly forgiven him by not throwing what happened back in his face every time you’re feeling hurt. You need to let yourself create a new way of remembering what happened—a way that allows you to change the memory of the past into a hope for the future that has both of you in it.

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-therapy/201303/forgiveness-vs-reconciliation

http://refineus.org/forgiveness-and-trust/

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/divorce-and-infidelity/forgiveness-and-restoration/forgiveness-what-it-is-and-what-it-isnt

 

5 Signs There’s Still Hope for Your Marriage

5 Signs There’s Still Hope for Your Marriageretreats for couples

Perhaps you’re at a point in your marriage where things are hanging by a thread. You’ve heard of the wonderful benefits of attending LIFE retreats for couples, but you’re still wondering if there’s any hope for your marriage. If you and your partner feel this way, don’t despair. There is still hope, and these five signs will show you why:

 

  1.    Neither of you is ready to make things final. Perhaps you have not only contemplated divorce, but also brought it up several times. So why hasn’t it happened yet? Deep down, neither of you is quite ready to make that final decision, and you both know it. The fact that the divorce hasn’t happened yet is reason enough to give you hope.
  2.    You’re both interested in attending a LIFE marriage retreat. If you’re both willing to seek outside help by going to a LIFE couples retreat, that’s a positive sign. A shared interest in participating in something that could save your marriage is certainly a sign there’s still hope.
  3.    There’s still  love left. Even if you and your spouse can only believe that there’s still some love left in your relationship, that’s enough to work with. The smallest bud of love can blossom again if it’s properly nourished. Hold on to that belief of love, no matter how small it may be.
  4.     You both want to find happiness again. Does the thought of being happy together again bring you a sense of strength? Maybe you’re not yet willing to admit it, but more than likely you do want to find happiness with your spouse again. If both of you want this, there’s still hope.
  5.     Both of you are simply looking for hope. The fact that you and your spouse are both looking for hope in your marriage is a sign in and of itself that there is hope. It’s a sign that you don’t want the relationship to end and that you aren’t ready to give up. If you’re both trying to find hope, that’s a good indication there is hope.

Remember to focus your energy on hope, especially if you’re attending one of our LIFE marital retreats. Sometimes couples think the solution is through marriage counseling Colorado Springs offers or marriage counseling Fort Collins offers. However, the best place to find hope for your marriage is at a LIFE marriage retreat. Book a retreat today by calling 877-376-7127 or by visiting lifemarriageretreats.com.

3 Human and Relationship Laws Couples Learn at LIFE Marriage Retreats

3 Human and Relationship Laws Couples Learn at LIFE Marriage Retreatsmarriage counseling coloardo springs

If your marriage is in a place that warrants you searching for marriage counseling Colorado Springs offers, take a minute to reflect what LIFE marriage retreats can offer you. At a LIFE couples retreat, you’ll be taught certain Human and Relationship Principles that, if allowed to govern your marriage, will bring you and your spouse happiness. Here are three of those principles:

1.     Trust and trustworthiness. Being able to trust and be trusted is essential, even vital, in marriage. In fact, integrity, which leads to trust and trustworthiness, is one of the most basic foundations in any relationship. A lack of integrity (keeping secrets, telling lies, having affairs) always leads to broken trust and broken hearts. If you and your spouse are dealing with this absence of truthfulness and trust in your marriage, it is time to do something about it. Fortunately, the marriage counselors at LIFE marriage retreats can teach you how to work through issues of trust and to find mutual trustworthiness once again.

2.     Forgiveness. Another fundamental element of successful marriages is forgiveness. It can be extremely difficult to apologize for something, but it can be even harder to forgive your spouse for doing that something. However, if you refuse to extend forgiveness, the bruises and wounds caused by the hurt won’t heal—they’ll get worse. In order to make your marriage happier and healthier, you must learn to forgive without holding resentment.

3.     Commitment. When two marriage partners are bound to each other by their commitment to stay together, the chances of that marriage lasting are exponentially higher. It takes a resilient, firm commitment from both of you to truly make things work. If one or both of you is lacking the resolve to be committed, things will inevitably start to fall apart. At a LIFE marriage retreat, however, you can learn how to strengthen that resolve to be committed.

Don’t give up hope if your marriage isn’t what you want it to be. By going to LIFE retreats for couples, you can learn more about these Human and Relationship Laws that will strengthen your marriage. Instead of investing in marriage counseling Fort Collins offers, invest in the marital retreats LIFE offers. You will see life-changing results if you come willingly. Book a retreat today by calling 877-376-7127 or by visiting lifemarriageretreats.com.