We were created for face-to-face relationships.
Yes, even those like me who are introverts, still need face-to-face connection with other people. During times of illness, schedule conflicts, or financial constraints that keep you from getting together, we must find times to connect with others. Prolonged isolation is dangerous.
But what do you do when you are confined in the same place with the person who’s wounded you? These tight quarters scrape away at your frayed nerves.
Here are 7 survival tips to help you through this added layer of frustration.
Talk honestly about the elephant in the room.
If your husband has been addicted to porn, any time he accesses a computer causes fear, doubt, anger, worry, and anxiety for you. It did for me after my husband admitted his pornography addiction. To overcome these feelings, my husband and I put some boundaries in place:
- We worked on the computer in open areas like the living room, the office with the door open, on the kitchen table.
- The other person could watch what we did and look at our computer’s history at any time.
- Ask how you can help your husband recognize his triggers for looking at porn.
- Realize conversations about this might have to happen more frequently during this time.
Schedule time to discuss the issues in your marriage.
It’s not easy to open up to the one person you trusted but shattered that trust. But you need to.
To heal, you both have to honestly discuss the issues in non-judgmental ways. Start by using “I” statements that admit how you feel but don’t blame the other person. For instance, “When you spend hours on the computer, I feel unwanted and afraid to ask what you’re doing.” “When I tell you about something that bothers me and you say, ‘It’s not a big deal,’ I feel hurt and pushed aside like I don’t matter.” Each of us needs to strengthen our listening muscles and close our mouths. Try to place yourself in the other person’s place. Listen to their heart.
Spend time apart.
Seriously, we all need personal space. When you are at odds, you need to calmly discuss the issues, but then find space to be alone to process your emotions and thoughts. As an introvert, I recharge in solitude, which includes space away from my husband.
How can you create this freedom for yourself and your husband? Agree to these personal times and respect them for the other person.
Get fresh air every day.
Part of your personal space could be going for a walk alone. If you can’t leave your house, then open the windows, and allow the fresh air to flow in and around you. There are proven health benefits to daily fresh air. Florence Nightingale said, “The first canon of nursing, the first essential to the patient, is to keep the air he breaths as pure as external air, without chilling him!” Since then, medical professionals continue to prove the value of fresh air and open windows.
If you think you both would enjoy the walk together, do that. Take in some Vitamin D as a couple and recharge your batteries while you relax or workout together.
Schedule a video chat with a coach.
Even though you can’t meet in an office, video chats are a great way to get a professional perspective on the wounds in your marriage. Schedule time for yourself or you and your spouse. I meet daily with clients over video chat. If that feels too awkward, schedule a phone call.
Forced time at home together when you’re already irritated with your husband is asking a lot. Too much proximity often increases issues that need a neutral party’s assistance. If you haven’t processed the underlying issues and don’t know how, or struggle to have open conversations about the pain, then welcome an unbiased third party. Don’t wait until you’re ready to explode. Take advantage of your relaxed schedule and work on healing your marriage.
Shift your mindset.
Think of this forced time together as a gift. Ask yourself, “What is good about this? What does this time make possible for me, for my marriage, for my future?”
Focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t. Look for ways to build a bridge to your husband, especially if you know he’s broken over his addiction. And if he’s not? It’s difficult, but your mindset change allows you to search for solutions and set healthy boundaries. Too often we get stuck in the negativity surrounding an event or crisis. True healing begins when we move beyond the initial shock and pain to look for new pathways and solutions. There is a way forward if you look for it.
Commit to forward-thinking.
Yes, you’ve been betrayed, wounded, and feel rejected. Acknowledge that pain. Call it what it is. Shoving it in the corner doesn’t bring healing.
Once you identify the issues causing the rift in your marriage, you have a chance to find healing. If you can view this time as an opportunity to move forward, suddenly you see new possibilities. Trigger your RAS filter to search for remedies. Never heard of that? I hadn’t either, but it was a game-changer for me. Decide to take a step forward instead of cementing your shoes in your current position.
Here’s the truth: you are not stuck.
You are not a victim unless you choose to be one.
Romans 15:5 says, “May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other.” That’s my prayer over my marriage and yours today.
You can move forward and find healing in your marriage. Yes, it takes hard work. I know. Sometimes my marriage still requires me to choose to overcome rather than run. But it’s been worth every struggle. My marriage today is completely brand new, not perfect.
Make the decision today to use some of this forced downtime to heal the rifts in your marriage. Not sure how to start? Let’s talk. Choose to overcome.