Courage
I've written a lot of posts about pain and lies. This post is a little more positive. I'm sure most can agree, we can go from angry and bitter to loving all in the same day, and even hour.
As I mentioned in the recommended resources- retreat section, my husband and I went to an amazing weekend on marriage recovery- back in October. We continue to attend a support group twice a month . We went last night, and let me tell you, I was not in the frame of mind to go. I spent the last two days feeling very angry.
The meeting runs something like this. A couple volunteers to present ahead of time and they have something ready for the meeting. It's always about ways to strengthen your marriage. Last nights topic was how do we incorporate the 3 p's into our marriage:
1. Plan - planning special couple time
2. Praise- praising our spouses everyday
3. Pray

After their brief presentation, they present us with a question to write about. The dialogue question was, What can I do to incorporate the three p's into our marriage. How do I feel about my answer?
We are given 10 minutes to write independently . There is a format we learned at our marriage recovery weekend that we must follow when writing. Firstly we start with thanking our spouse for something they have done. Next we answer the question.
The third part is the feeling we have about our answer-it could be excited, hopeful, angry, skeptical etc... Whatever the feeling, we write it. Then we rate the feeling out of 10. Next we use a physical sensation to describe the feeling- my nervous feeling is like butterflies are fluttering in my stomach. We do some more imagery writing to describe our feeling. The closing is a shared memory of when we both may have experienced that feeling.
When 10 minutes are up, each couple finds a quiet place to share their writing- we have 10 minutes to do this. We read each other's entries and we take turns describing and clarifying what our spouse feels. So, " you feel hopeful about praising me more often because this is something tangible for you to do. Your hopefulness makes your heart feel that little bit lighter....." The goal here is to clarify your spouses feeling- not to criticize- just to understand. This creates a safe way to communicate and it creates a connection, softens our hearts. After our 10 minutes in private we reconvene as a group and share our thoughts , what we learned etc. sharing is optional. Then to end the meeting we go around the table and take turns talking about our spouses specialness that week. Then we end the meeting and have a little social afterwards.

So last night when we left our meeting, we were holding hands. We were barely talking two hours before when we walked in.

These meeting have become very important to us in our attempts to recover our marriage.

Just thought id share that although I have lots of pain and anger, my husband and I are putting in the effort to save our marriage. We have moments where sometimes we feel we are communicating better than we ever have. Those are the moments I feel forgiveness is possible and the anger and pain disapates for a bit. Gives me hope in those dark moments.
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Anna26
Courage, what a wonderfully optimistic post from you.  I'm so happy that you have found something that is helping you both to connect again little by little.
I'm guessing it was a really difficult thing to do at first, I know I would find it to be so at the moment, even if my husband were open to going somehere like this.  I really admire you (if that's the right word) for making this huge effort to make your marriage work. Thinking of you both walking hand in hand together brought a litle lump to my throat, hope things continue to improve for you...
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TimeToFly
Courage wrote:
  So last night when we left our meeting, we were holding hands. We were barely talking two hours before when we walked in. These meeting have become very important to us in our attempts to recover our marriage. Just thought id share that although I have lots of pain and anger, my husband and I are putting in the effort to save our marriage. We have moments where sometimes we feel we are communicating better than we ever have. Those are the moments I feel forgiveness is possible and the anger and pain disapates for a bit. Gives me hope in those dark moments.


It was wonderful reading your post! It sounds like you are making some really good progress towards working on your marriage. The line that struck me the most was "my husband and I are putting in the effort to save our marriage." The fact that both of you are doing this is so important as it can't be just one person doing all the work or one person saying they will work with you but their actions don't end up reflecting that at all.

My ex-husband kept saying he wanted to "come back to our marriage" & that he would go to counseling (again) & really work on things. The problem was he was great at saying all of this but when it came to doing things it was all very short-lived. 

I'm sure it felt so good to be holding hands & making that connection with one another. Even though it is too late for my marriage I'm hoping that you (and others) will be able to rebuild your marriage & make it even better with time. 




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HonestWife
Wow!!! That's anazing. Glad to hear you're connecting and making progress!! Thank you for the hope.
Trying to make marriage work after my husband's 15 years of affairs. Just found out. Currently in house separation.
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Courage
Thank you everyone for your support and encouraging words. I wanted to share one more story. I did a writing exercise last week that my husbands councelor suggested and it was powerful. I wrote a chart- on one side it was a timeline- 3 months, 6 months a year and 5 years. The other part was life apart and life together. The categories were financial, special occasions, vacations, day to day life, social life and relationships. I wrote extensively in where I thought I would be for each category if we were not together and if we sated together. It took me 3 hours. The point of the exercise was to see where I wanted my life to go. At the end of five years I determined that I would find happiness either way, but the alone was painful and the together was too at first, but being together made me feel the ultimate happiness. I read it all to my H. At the end of 5 years together I wrote " you are my best friend. I can't believe we could have possibly given up. Our journey has brought us to a happiness I never could have imagined. I love you so much". My husband got teary when I read that. He said, " that sounds awesome- I want to get there too" It was an amazing exercise and we both felt hopeful about our future together. For anyone who is trying to work on their marriage together, I would strongly recommend you try this. My husband is working on his list. I look forward to hearing it.
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TimT
Courage wrote:
...I did a writing exercise last week that my husbands councelor suggested and it was powerful. I wrote a chart- on one side it was a timeline- 3 months, 6 months a year and 5 years. The other part was life apart and life together...


Great exercise, Courage. Thank you for sharing it. And I support your recommendation that other couples try it, too.
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TimeToFly
Courage wrote:
Thank you everyone for your support and encouraging words. I wanted to share one more story. I did a writing exercise last week that my husbands councelor suggested and it was powerful. I wrote a chart- on one side it was a timeline- 3 months, 6 months a year and 5 years. The other part was life apart and life together. The categories were financial, special occasions, vacations, day to day life, social life and relationships. I wrote extensively in where I thought I would be for each category if we were not together and if we sated together. It took me 3 hours. The point of the exercise was to see where I wanted my life to go. At the end of five years I determined that I would find happiness either way, but the alone was painful and the together was too at first, but being together made me feel the ultimate happiness. I read it all to my H. At the end of 5 years together I wrote " you are my best friend. I can't believe we could have possibly given up. Our journey has brought us to a happiness I never could have imagined. I love you so much". My husband got teary when I read that. He said, " that sounds awesome- I want to get there too" It was an amazing exercise and we both felt hopeful about our future together. For anyone who is trying to work on their marriage together, I would strongly recommend you try this. My husband is working on his list. I look forward to hearing it.


That sounds like it certainly would be a powerful exercise. It's good that you were able to find happiness from either place but I would probably say that the alone place (which is where I'm standing) is the more painful one. 

When you wrote "you are my best friend" that really hit home for me. I remember telling my ex that I was losing "my best friend" if we ended up divorcing & he said he felt the same way. I thought why would you want to lose something that is so hard to find but in the end he was willing to do just that. I'll probably never understand that part.

Maybe I will try the writing exercise & see where it leads me. I'm already in the "life apart category" but I suppose it could be helpful to see where I think my life might be in the various time frames.

Thank you for sharing this.  
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TimT
Courage wrote:
I did a writing exercise last week that my husbands counselor suggested and it was powerful. I wrote a chart- on one side it was a timeline- 3 months, 6 months a year and 5 years. The other part was life apart and life together...

Based on Courage's description of this exercise, I created my own version to use with clients and uploaded a copy of it to this forum, in case you want to use it yourself.

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