Do You Hold Your Spouse's Heart?

Author:
Sharon May, Ph.D.


In the Germanic language of Afrikaans, "I love you" is expressed by the words, "Ek het jou lief." Which literally means, "I hold your heart." What a powerful way to say, "You know I love you because I will hold your heart."

Nearly all couples silently ask each other: "Will you be a safe haven for me? Can I trust you to be there for me when I reach for you? Despite all our differences, will you always care for me?"

Many couples suffer in silence the hurt of a disconnected marriage. Years of arguing, unresolved differences and the build up of resentment can make a couple feel far from a safe haven for each other's hearts and more like isolated roommates.

Is your marriage over if you and your spouse are constantly at odds and slipping apart? Can an emotionally disconnected marriage be saved?

Yes. There is hope. You can heal your hurting marriage.

Where do you start your journey toward healing and reconnecting?

First, remember the safe haven. It is hard to believe but true, both you and your spouse long to find in each other a safe haven.

All couples long to find in their spouse a safe person who loves and cares for them. This deep longing to be valued is a God-given desire. It is the way a couple relates with one another, deals with differences and argues that keeps them either caring and connected or stuck and disconnected.

I remember when Gene turned to his wife Sandra during a couple's intensive and with tears in his eyes said, "I did not marry you to grow old arguing, defending our views and guarding our hearts."

Sandra stopped midsentence and looked at him wide eyed, "Neither did I! I don't intend to hurt you. I actually want to feel safe with you."

All couples long to put their heart into their spouse's hand, knowing they will be cared for. In the middle of an argument this is often difficult to remember.

Second, start by stopping. Start by stopping the negative cycle you and your spouse are stuck in. Start with stopping your part. Remember these four steps.

1. Stop.
2. Back up and out of your old negative way of responding.
3. Think through what you really want your spouse to understand.
4. Say it kindly.

No matter how disconnected you are you spouse are, there is hope. When two people are willing to look at themselves and the way they relate and argue, change is possible.

Remember that to foster a safe haven marriage, you need to be a safe haven for your spouse.

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