By Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC
You know something is wrong in your marriage. Love is not the problem. You love each other although you do not always act like it. Commitment to the relationship and to stay together through hardships may not be the problem either. But, there is something that continues to keep you apart emotionally, physically, intimately.
There was a time when you felt secure and safe together. If you hurt each other, you apologized or showed somehow that you were really sorry. You did not let tensions build or hold grudges. You wanted to continue getting along and enjoying being together. But over time, some conflicts never really got resolved. They could have been pushed under the rug or become triggers to major blowouts. Over time, habits and differences became more annoying and more difficult to accept. Blame instead of shared responsibility became the norm. Personal attacks or insults became the more common reaction to feeling rejected, angry, or hurt. Instead of going to each other for support, comfort, and love, you began to distance yourselves from each other. It is as though your hearts were growing cold.
Distancing in a relationship keeps people apart on all levels. You do not have the trust you once had for your partner so you do not draw close emotionally. You do not feel the same affection and attraction because there is greater focus on what you do not like, respect, or appreciate about your partner. Distancing leads to greater problems if couples do not make efforts to draw close to one another.
What keeps couples in this dangerous state? It might start with pride or a sense of self-sufficiency, but it eventually becomes a hardened heart. A heart that is hardened blocks the flow of love. It forfeits peace and acceptance. It holds on to unforgiveness. Unforgiveness is detrimental to any marriage or relationship. With unforgiveness, there is an underlying attitude that “you owe me.” Yes, perhaps, an apology was never given that should have been or you were not treated right. Maybe you were terribly wronged, mistreated, and hurt. Forgiving someone does not make it okay. What it does is set you free, free to love unconditionally, free to know inner peace, free to connect with others on a deeper level, free to enjoy life.
Offenses and injustices need to be discussed and resolved. If they are not addressed in a relationship, they can lead to serious problems and keep a couple in a state of discontent. Think about anything that you have been holding on to that has blocked the flow of love in your heart. A hard heart can be softened, but you must choose to let love in. Will you open your heart? Will you face what has hurt you and work through it until you can release the hold it has on you?
Can a marriage be saved when there is unforgiveness and hardened hearts? Yes, it can when you decide to open your heart by releasing all that is holding love back. Let love in. Love is a healing balm that makes you whole—emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Love unites. If softens and fills you with hope and peace. It lifts the heaviness that weighed you down for far too long. Marriages can be restored when offenses are released and forgiveness takes place. Soften your hearts towards one another and make room for love to grow. Love has always been there, but it was blocked. Let forgiveness unblock its flow today and save your marriage!