Dr. Deb’s Mental Health Vitamin: Repairing broken relationships
By Dr. Deb Wade
GCU Vice President, Counseling and Psychological Services
Remember that old song from the Righteous Brothers? The lyrics begin …
“You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips
And there’s no tenderness like before in your fingertips
You’re trying hard not to show it
But baby, baby I know it
You lost that lovin’ feelin’
Whoa, that lovin’ feelin’
You lost that lovin’ feelin’
Now it’s gone, gone, gone, woh-oh-oh …”
Sadly, many folks look at the state of their relationships and wonder this very thing … have we grown so far apart that there is no repair for us? Have the little things we once did for one another died a slow death, so that the big things are even bigger than before? Have we forever lost that “lovin’ feelin’”?
I believe that if a couple has reached a stale and unfulfilling place, they absolutely can repair their marriage and make it vibrant once again. What does it take?
It takes two willing partners who agree to put selves last and mate first, who will, figuratively speaking, put on the hard hat, who will examine self first before a finger is pointed, and who will champion any progress that made so that it is reinforced and will give hope for further progress.
That may seem like a tall order, but the bottom line is … marriage can rise from the doldrums and can, with work, become fiery, exciting and fulfilling once again.
How does a couple rekindle the connection? Try these nuggets:
Put each other at the TOP of the list …
- With your time
- With your kind words
- With your investment of emotions
- With your undivided attention
Confess and forgive past grievances …
- Each has brought forward some mistakes and errors from past behaviors, choices, words, actions.
- Each has slighted the other.
- Each needs to set aside time to thoughtfully and earnestly talk about past hurt and pain; then, when all has been said, each needs to choose to forgive and move forward.
- Most importantly, each needs to KEEP facing forward and refuse to revisit those issues that already have been discussed and forgiven.
Get to know each other again …
- Spend time talking about some fresh ideas for entertainment.
- Talk about dreams, passions, worries, fantasies.
- Talk about individual growth.
- Reintroduce your favorites – color, food, movie, song, person, movie star, athlete, etc.
Change your thinking …
- If you begin to believe that the person before you is NOT the person you should have married and that in fact there is a better one, your marriage will not EVER be what you dream of.
- BUT if you begin to recall that THIS is the person who is EXACTLY right for you and is the ONLY person that you can spend your life with, he/she will become just that!
Rekindle the romance …
- Talk about ways to have fun, spontaneity and spunk in your marriage.
- S*T*R*E*T*C*H your thinking to include some quality romantic time.
- Dress up for one another. Put your best foot forward. Plan for some surprise, some energy, then EXECUTE the action plan!
Remember, NOTHING happens by accident and a great marriage is NOT about luck …
- Be purposeful in your efforts to refuel your marriage.
- Remember that nothing is as precious horizontally as the home you have created – and that begins with YOUR spouse.
- Great marriages are not about chance – they are by design (God’s design) and by our hard, consistent, persistent work!
Consider: Your home, spouse, children should get the BEST of you, and then the world can get the REST of you! Why? Because that marriage and that home you’ve created should always be first!
Yes, the dying embers can be stoked, and a huge fire can erupt … let that be the picture of your renewed and refreshed and fulfilling marriage! Yes, that “lovin’ feelin’” CAN be revived!