I met a new couple recently. They wanted to see if I could help them “fix” their relationship. They had been estranged for a while, but were hoping they could work through their issues for the kids.
I listened to each of them and I was struck with the hardness they both felt for each other. Each had been holding on to what was done to them in the years they had tried to make their relationship work. She felt betrayed. He felt attacked. Both were sad and disappointed.
Years of Difficulty Build a Gap Between You and Your Loved One
I wondered what I could do to help them. I hoped I could bridge their gap and bring them closer. I believe that if we can understand our partners and ourselves at a deep level we can repair and improve any relationship. I was hoping I could help this couple along that road so they could feel better with each other.
Unfortunately, sometimes when a couple has been feeling angry or cut off from the other for a length of time each might just believe it is not possible to feel the love they had once felt. Each might also believe it would take a miracle for the love to just reappear.
It’s Hard Coming Back to Love, From Despair and Fatigue
When both people look to me to get relief, I know something in my gut tells me this is a hard case. This couple has been at war with each other longer than they have been in love. The war has made both feel battle fatigued and there is no replenishing them back to health.
Each need more than the other can give. Each is so wounded that the idea of being loving to the other is not even something they can consider. Each has come into counseling to get something from their partner and they both look at me as if I can instruct the other to provide it for them.
When I experience a couple in such distress I always feel sadness. I know they each need to feel love from the other. I feel their despair. I know they are good people and just want to feel as if their partner loves them. And I also can feel the walls that are built up to protect each other.
Walls Keep Us Safe, But Also Further Apart
The hurt is so visible the walls have become too high to overcome. Walls around our hearts get built to protect us from pain. And while we are safe behind these walls, the protection keeps out any attempt by the other to improve the relationship. This is what I witnessed. One person who is desperate for healing, the other one who had built a wall. Both were suffering. Both were unhappy. Both were left in the same position they came in with, wanting more from the one they love and not getting it.
Hard positions always leave us wanting more. More love, more understanding, more connection. Learn how to be a good mate by giving these elements to the one you love. Now that’s a concept that works.
What Can You Do When Love Feels Like War?
Attend a Talk About Relationships
On the 1st and 3rd Monday each month, you can attend FREE relationship talks from marriage and family specialists. Come learn how to create a good relationship and understand problems that get in the way.
Come join the conversation. No reservations needed.
- Mondays: 6:30–7:30pm
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Long Beach, CA 90807.
Read a Book About Relationships
Tired of feeling like you’re fighting a losing battle? Try reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It just might help you and your loved one communicate better, helping you mend your relationship and grow closer again. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.