There is an entire category of people that are hurting in this month of “love,” and seeing these representations can bring about pain for some. Whether their relationship or marriage recently ended, experienced infidelity, or is stuck in a destructive cycle, making one feel hopeless, the bubbly concept of romance can be nauseating.
Outside the stores, the media doesn’t give you a break either. Movies and shows switch from Christmas classics to romantic comedy overload. And, if that isn’t enough, the people in your life flood your feed with the best parts of their relationships. Notice how I said the best parts.
The problem is, the message of Valentine’s Day doesn’t acknowledge the pain that can come with being in love or in a relationship.
More than likely, your friends’ posts won’t show the tears they have shed over their relationships. Stores probably won’t place a collection of heartbreak albums at the check-out counter. And, Netflix probably won’t feature the romantic tragedies genre.
So, what do you do if your marriage is hurting and all this noise surrounds you? I’d suggest a few of these tips:
- Acknowledge – Acknowledge the state of your marriage/relationship. Instead of forcing a romantic date or avoiding the painful reality, try acknowledging what is. It may not be helpful to reflect on your relationship’s past state during this month, or force it to speed into the future to the end of the healing process, or compare it to your best friend’s social media. You may find relief in acknowledging the state of your relationship is what it is right now.
- Validate – We often try to force ourselves to feel differently or avoid how we are feeling entirely. Practice validating how you are feeling and what you are experiencing by naming your emotions and allowing space to feel them.
- Affirm – Remind yourself that all you can do is the best you can for today and that you can take the next right step for your marriage—one step at a time.
- Accept – Accept that you can’t wave a wand today and jump to the end of the healing process. Accept that it may be painful and you may feel stuck, but you can take steps. And accept the state of what is vs. what “should be,” “could be,” “or what was.”
Through acknowledging, validating, affirming, and accepting, you may feel relief and be better able to move towards change.
If you are in the healing process, keep going. Continue taking it one day at a time.
If you want to begin the road to healing your marriage, consider professional help. Sometimes it is helpful to have an unbiased perspective or mediator when you feel stuck and in the same cycles or patterns in your relationship.
Here are some helpful resources to consider:
- The Four Horsemen: Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling
- Managing vs. Resolving Conflict in Relationships: The Blueprints for Success
Written by: Courtney Salter