5 Regrets From His First Marriage by James Russell Lingerfelt
I hung out with my pal Robert the other day. He was married when he was 21 and she was 19. They divorced eight years later. It's been over a year now, and he's dating again. We talked a good while about his past marriage, and I pulled 5 insights from our conversation.
1. He wished he understood that he's in control of his reactions.
No one can make us angry or irritable or short-tempered. These are all reactions we choose.
2. He wished he understood the "emotional bank account."
We all have this emotional bank account. We make deposits. Our spouse makes deposits. We take withdrawals and our spouse takes withdrawals.
We must have the humility to give and receive. And when both partners are giving, receiving, and have decided to be committed to each other, no matter what happens, it seems to work.
3. He wished he understood that psychological assaults are not forgotten.
They're forgiven, but not forgotten.
Emotional attacks are psychological. And the deeper the wounds from the attack, the longer it takes the wounds to heal. These are wounds with tender scabs. And when future psychological attacks occur, the old wounds are irritated and they bleed again.
Psychological wounds are hidden. We can't see them, therefore if I'm the person who inflicted them, I may never know they exist in my loved one. Maybe I did know, apologized, and forgot. But my loved one didn't.
Don't misunderstand the difference between anger and cruelty. Healthy anger lets our loved ones know their behavior isn't permissible. It incites movement for change. But cruelty is intentionally hurting someone because of our own unhappiness.
I have very deep, loving relationships with family members, and I can tell you when and where we were when I was hurt. Have I forgiven them? Yes. Am I there for them? Yes. Have I forgotten it? No.
4. He wished he had paid more attention to his instincts.
If something doesn't feel right, there's usually a reason. You know what normal is in your life. So when something doesn't feel right, it's time to ask questions.
5. He wished he hadn't let the abnormal become the normal.
After we're stuck in dysfunctional relationships for a long period of time, we tolerate the assaults and make excuses for them. "That's just how he/she is," we say. Or we might say, "I knew that would set him/her off, so it's probably my fault."
It's possible to come to a place where we don't know what normal is anymore.
My brother Wayne was in sales for a number of years. He said they were taught that people are generally only comfortable in stepping outside their boundaries by 15%.
It's like this: "Introduce them to the idea. Plant the seed. Don't blindside them with it. Don't push. Then when that 15% becomes 0%, push for the next 15%."
If we can accomplish the following, we're accomplishing a lot: When both partners place the other's desires and needs above their own, and there's a mutual decision from both to remain committed to each other no matter what happens, a healthy marriage can be sustained.
Read another popular post: Don’t Ever Apologize For Loving Someone – Not Ever!
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