Every marriage goes through ups and downs over time. But when wounds and hurts from the bitter phases fester for too long, they can poison a marriage from within. The good news however is that it is never too late to begin the healing process. Here are a few tips to heal old emotional scars and have a happy marriage.
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Begin on a clean slate.
It is not possible to heal your marriage of past bitterness if you continue to scratch old emotional wounds. Try to let the fights, recriminations and hurts be where they belong – in the past. Offer and seek forgiveness of all the hurt and pain you and your partner have caused each other. Lugging around all this emotional baggage will not only prevent you from finding peace within yourself but in turn drag down every new initiative and discussion in your marriage into the bog of past issues. So begin afresh and let the past bury its dead.
Remember how it was
Remember how it was for you and your spouse when you first started dating or in the early days of your marriage. Try to think of the all the special things you did for your partner like baking his favorite cake once a week or taking her out to her favorite nightclub every Friday night. Refresh memories of happy times and the fun things you did with each other. All these will help you to reach deep within yourself and bring back the feelings of love and respect for your spouse which is necessary for the survival of any marriage.
Most of the emotional scars in a marriage are the result of angry words and hasty responses. When you are under stress, it is easy to say and do things which may appear unwarranted when things have cooled down. So if you sincerely want to heal your marriage, both you and your partner have to consciously decide to refrain from making bitter or hurtful comments about each other. Remember to keep your voice down during disagreements and don’t forget to treat each other with respect and courtesy at all times. Even if there are issues that need to be resolved, use a polite and constructive way to get your views across instead of raking up old wounds and inflicting new ones.
Take the initiative.
How often have you wished to go the extra mile in loving and serving your spouse but held back for fear of disinterest or worse rejection? Let this be the day when you buy a romantic card for your spouse or write a letter telling how much you love him/her. Compliment your partner on his/her dress, hairstyle or perfume and not only will that make him/her feel special but perhaps also encourage him/her to do the same for you. Use small gestures to show your love for your partner like picking up a bouquet of her favorite flowers on your way home or offering to rub his shoulders after a hard day at work. And even if he/she does not reciprocate at first, keep up your efforts and sooner or later your spouse will realize your sincerity in healing the marriage of its past hurts.
While it is necessary to do show your love in many ways, it is equally important to ask yourself what aspects of your behavior annoy or distress your partner and be responsible enough to avoid those in your relationship. Every human being has some flaw or other in their personality – one partner may be slow to shoulder responsibilities while another may be have a quick temper – but unless they decide to make some positive changes and modify their negative aspects, no amount of romantic gestures or sweet-talk will be able to make a marriage truly happy.
Revive intimacy with your partner.
Marital intimacy is one of the first areas to suffer when spouses stop treating each other with love and respect. Years or even months of repeated accusations, fights and insults may sully the feelings of sexual attraction that you and your spouse initially had for one another with the result that making love no longer comes naturally. If this is the case, try to come close to your partner in a non-sexual way at first – like enjoying a quiet, candle-lit dinner together or giving him/her a relaxing back massage. Once you are comfortable being physically close to one another again, you can take the intimacy a step further, guided by your mutual desires.
Control what you can.
However despite your best efforts at rebuilding your marriage, you may find that your spouse continues to treat you with indifference or worse contempt. If a marriage is to be a happy one, it needs both partners to make an active effort. In a situation where your spouse is simply not interested in making things work, there is little that you can do to other than to provide an environment in which your spouse will not feel attacked when you ask him/her to make positive changes to save your marriage. It is not possible to force somebody to love you but remember you can control how you treat them. Behave with respect and dignity when interacting with your spouse and make it clear that you expect the same from him/her.
Seek professional help.
A marriage counselor or therapist is the best bet when you are unable to repair the marriage on your own. Often the emotional scars from a bitter marriage are so deep that they need a trained and impartial hand to put things in the proper perspective and offer the first healing touch. Even if you cannot convince your spouse to see a therapist, go on your own. The effect of the counseling will without doubt soothe your own wounds and later even your spouse may feel ready enough to accompany you.
Finally you need to have patience to let your marriage heal from old emotional scars. So no matter how painful the past, make every effort to save your marriage and the end result may well be worth the wait and efforts.