When you’ve had a falling out or feel distance between you, how do you come back together and reconcile? The following might help:
- Ask yourself if there are unfinished issues with your parents that you have super-imposed on this issue with your partner?
- Talk it out using the Speaker-Listener technique. (One person speaks, the other listens and then paraphrases what they heard. The speaker confirms whether the listener heard correctly. Only after the listener gets it right does the speaker go on, or the listener asks for “the floor” and shares his/her own thoughts.) Remember the rules. Don’t jump prematurely into identifying a specific solution until you’ve respectfully heard and been heard.
- Put out the Unity Candle you used at your wedding or reception (or use another symbolic item) to signify that you’re calm enough to talk.
- Apologize for your part. This doesn’t mean that your beloved is blameless, just that you are expressing sorrow for any way that your actions or words may have hurt your relationship, even unintentionally.
- The Sacrament of Reconciliation can help you to forgive yourself and heal.
- Seek professional counseling when the two of you aren’t making any headway in resolving the issue and it is infecting other parts of your marriage; you are feeling hopeless; you tend to distance rather than tackle the issue and the distance is growing; physical or verbal violence is being used (in this case, go to counseling separately).
- In marriage, using lovemaking as a substitute for talking things out can bury the issue instead of resolving it. However, lovemaking after you have reconciled is a wonderful way to celebrate.
Susan Stith is the Family Life Director – Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, PA.