When you look back to the moments that you hurt your partner, it’s common to wish that you could go back in time and do things differently. Sadly, what’s done is done; both of you need to live with the consequences.
We’re only human, and it’s in our nature to make mistakes. But how to do you rectify the hurtful actions in order to heal the pain?
Start With Yourself
As difficult as it sounds, you need to forgive yourself first. Otherwise, you’re going dwell on the past (which you can’t change) instead of taking the steps towards reconciliation.
You need to remember that everyone makes bad decisions; if you had another chance to do it again, you wouldn’t have hurt your partner. But there’s no point in mulling over that now.
Would you rather stay miserable and refuse to move forward?
Or acknowledge what happened and learn from it instead?
The choice is simple. The sooner you choose to be constructive, the quicker you can take the next step: taking responsibility.
Learning From The Past
As I like to tell my clients, it takes two to tango. In any given marriage, each spouse is responsible for taking care of the relationship.
So, you need to look within and understand your own role in the relationship. Although I said earlier that you shouldn’t punish yourself for your mistakes, you also have to take an objective look at how your past actions have shaped the current state of your marriage.
This is not about blaming yourself or your partner, but rather gathering useful insights from what has happened:
– What do your mistakes say about your limits as a person?
– How can you overcome these limits?
– What are the core issues in your marriage that drove you to make those judgment errors?
– Do you have personal issues which have been inadvertently brought into the marriage? If so, how has this impacted your relationship with your spouse?
– What measures can you take to work on your issues and help you become a better spouse?
The last question is especially important. By acknowledging your weaknesses and committing to work on them, you are taking a pro-active approach to fixing the damage that has been wrought.
Counseling, along with self-help courses and reading material, are examples of ways you can make a long-term change in your behavior. These are very concrete ways to tell your spouse that you’re truly repentant and want to make things right.
This also shows that you are a person of action, and not just words. The problem with some partners is that they resort to making short-sighted promises to change for the better.
Rushing to make everything right without any forethought will only aggravate the situation. It doesn’t show a genuine desire to fix your marital issues for good. All it does is overlook the REAL reasons why your marriage is troubled.
Restoring The Connection
As you work on yourself, remain loving towards your spouse. Think of little ways you can express your love, like making their favorite snack or sending them a short email during the day.
Words of kindness will also help reaffirm your place in your partner’s heart. When the opportunity arises, be generous with your praise, appreciation and gratitude.
Try to remember the kinds of activities you enjoyed when you first started dating. Think of things you can together, like going to a concert, watching funny movies, or having a picnic by the lake.
Act without expecting your spouse to reciprocate your actions. Loving someone sometimes means doing so even if that person may not be ready to return the favor.
Give it time for your gestures to sink in. Don’t pressure your partner into loving you once more and give without expecting anything back.
Focus on being as positive and non-needy as you can be, so that you’ll be much more pleasant to be around.
Eventually, an estranged spouse will learn to accept the past and open their heart to the friendship that you offer.