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Save Your Marriage

"Can trust be rebuilt when I'm doing all the work?"

By Susie and Otto Collins

Joyce and Rick are trying to save their marriage. After Rick had an affair, Joyce immediately took him back. Her attitude has been that Rick and their relationship are worth fighting for.

She has been reading books, taking courses and thinking a lot about how to rebuild trust. Rick has grudgingly made some changes too. He apologized for cheating and he's given Joyce access to his main e-mail account.

Unfortunately, these efforts have not been enough.

Joyce still feels a huge distance between she and Rick. It seems like she's trying so hard and he's doing the bare minimum for their marriage.

Rick keeps telling Joyce that she's forcing things and he also accuses her of fixating on their problems.

Joyce is becoming more resentful and angry about Rick's apparent unwillingness to truly do the work necessary to repair their marriage. "After all," she thinks to herself, "he's the one who cheated!"

Does it seem to you like YOU are the one doing all of the work trying to heal your relationship after infidelity?

If so, you're not alone.

It happens for many couples. For various reasons, there appears to be an unequal effort to repair the relationship after an affair.

One person dives into books about rebuilding trust or takes communication workshops and his or her partner chooses not to do these things.

The perception that your partner is doing little or nothing can be a cause of irritation and resentment.

This can be even more intense if your partner is the one who cheated and you see the affair as the main source of your marital troubles.

When you feel like you're the only one putting any real effort into improving your marriage, this can be yet another wedge that drives distance between you and your partner.

But, what can be done?

You might believe that if you don't take the steps to save your marriage, it will fall apart. It could seem as if it's all up to you...especially because your mate isn't joining you in this essential work.

If you're in a difficult and painful situation like this, we've got three pieces of advice for you...

Take some time to expand your perception of what's going on right now in your relationship.

As certain as you may be that you are doing all the work and your spouse is doing little or nothing, there might be more happening than you are perceiving.

It's easy to become fixed on a particular point of view or belief.

Invite yourself to consider that there could be different ways of "working on your relationship" than you might have previously recognized.

For example, it could the case that your mate isn't
interested in reading relationship books but he or she has started to communicate with you more honestly and openly.

This might not happen all of the time, but it could be happening...and you're not acknowledging it because it's not the kind of relationship effort that you are focused upon.

Open your awareness to the unique ways that your partner may be trying to improve your relationship that you could join in with and support.

What's really important here is to acknowledge the positive changes that you notice-- and to notice them in the first place.

If you only do this, you will most likely experience a lessening of resentment and frustration.

There could be residual anger about the affair itself or other past hurts. If so, allow these feelings. Find ways to release them so that you can more fully be in the present moment.

As you do whatever it is that you are doing in an effort to rebuild trust, be willing to share your
A-HA moments with your mate.

This might be a passage from a book you're reading, it could be an insight that came up in your therapy session or it may be a point of clarity that came to you as you wrote in your journal.

When you share this information about your healing process, first let your partner know that you are not trying to get him or her to therapy, to read the book or write in a journal.

Be clear that this particular quote or insight really resonates with you and that you want your partner to know about it too.

Keep in mind that it is the sharing and connecting that is the priority.

It is not so much that the insight or words from a book are so profound that your partner HAS to read, hear or believe them. It's the interchange of respectful and open speaking and listening that
can bring the most benefit to you two.

The conversation about whatever you have shared that might result is a vital part of the healing process.

There are cases in which one person sets about learning new strategies and changing old habits while the other person tries to pretend that the affair never happened and attempts to just go back to "normal."

This is not conducive to healing, rebuilding trust or saving your marriage.

While it's not impossible for a marriage to be restored when there is literally no effort on one person's part to improve the relationship, it's extremely difficult.

It's up to you to determine what's true for your unique situation.

You need to make that all-important decision about whether or not it is in your best interests to stay in this marriage.


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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins
PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling 614-459-8121.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email

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