Relationships: Steps towards a smooth reconciliation with your spouse

If the source of conflict is repeated infidelity, cut your losses.

If the source of conflict is repeated infidelity, cut your losses.

What you need to know:

  • Once the damage has occurred, one of the inevitable results is a disconnection between you.
  • Beginning to find solutions for your current problems or potential future difficulties is one of the most efficient ways you can go through reconciliation.
  • Your relationship will hit the rocks again if there is no mutual respect between you.

Even where apology and forgiveness have been offered and accepted, it can still be difficult to patch up a broken relationship. Here are ways you can use to have a smooth and workable reconciliation with your partner.

Reconnecting

Once damage has occurred, one of the inevitable results is a disconnection between you. Anchor reconciliation on renewed emotional, physical and intimate connection. “You will not only be hurt, but also bored by being around your partner,” says Peg Streep, the author of Daughter Detox.  She suggests you start by reinvigorating your conversations. “Bring back the pleasure of conversations that bound you together in your early, happy days. Make fresh discoveries about each other through gentle talk and your dried-out feelings and closeness will germinate afresh,” she says. Dr. Lisa Firestone, the author of Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice adds that you must know how to communicate what you feel as well as listen to your partner’s perspectives. “Get to know your partner on a deeper level. This will open both of you to each other’s individual struggles in the relationship,” she says.

Beneath the surface

Beginning to find solutions for your current problems or potential future difficulties is one of the most efficient ways you can go through reconciliation. Robert Taibbi, the author of Doing Couple Therapy says this will require you to be curious about how a certain issue, behavior or thing occurred and what fuelled it. “Look beneath the surface to see what drives your relationship problems. For example, are you concerned about his anger? Could his anger be a reaction to yet another issue or problem he’s concerned about but which you aren’t?” he says. Be careful in the way you express your concerns. “If you want to know what’s driving his anger, don’t shoot off the hip and say, ‘Why are you always pissed off?’. Instead, asking ‘What are you worried about?’ will be more effective because anger is commonly driven by fear,” he says.

Respect

Your relationship will hit the rocks again if there is no mutual respect between you. Family therapist Susan Gacheru says respect is the balm that will soothe your bruised egos during reconciliation. “You will only grow together if you are respectful towards each other. Quickly learn how to respect your individuality and personal space, emotions, speech, and decisions,” she says.

Professional help

If you are afraid that you might tilt towards more fights during the reconciliation period, get assistance from a professional counselor. Gacheru says you should not shy away from seeking professional help to balance your perspectives or arrive at a point of solution and agreement. “Going for counseling is not a sign of weakness, desperation, or unworkability of the relationship. It will come in handy, especially in communicating the difficulties that put you asunder,” she says.

Future troubles

Letting a conflict go or expressing remorse does not entirely prevent future conflicts in the relationship. Dr. Firestone says the trick is not in seeing reconciliation as a clean slate for your relationship, but as a tool that should help you manage similar or related troubles in future. “The key is to recognise it takes two to tango, and to know how to stop being reactive. These will stop future fights, arguments and conflicts from accelerating,” she says. At the same time, note what your source of conflict is and the method of reconciliation that you use. For example, reconciling in the face of repeated abuse is not worth it. The abuse will get worse because the abuser knows they can buy their way out through an apology, reconciliation, and make up sex. Similarly, if the source of conflict is repeated infidelity, you may as well cut your losses as repetition will be an indication that cheating will not end regardless of the forgiveness offered.

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