When we imagine true love, we generally think of uninterrupted bliss. Of being with someone who knows us completely, inside and out. Of soul mates.
This is an aspect of true love.
True love also includes heart break, disappointment, sadness, and loneliness. These are inevitable and expected. A relationship joins two people, not robots or idealized versions of ourselves.
We come to love as we are. Just as we sometimes let ourselves down, we will let down those closest to us, as well. It is naïve to think we can always bring our best selves to our love relationships.
How do we mess up?
There are so many ways. We can:
We need to actively avoid hurting our partners. It is vital that we make heroic efforts to avoid hurting the ones we love.
However, even with our best efforts, we are going to miss things, misread situations, or enact our own issues.
When we hurt our partner, our partner gets to decide how deep the injury was. They get the strongest voice in deciding how much work needs to be done.
One more time, if you hurt someone, the one who was hurt gets to decide when the relationship is repaired. That doesn’t mean you become their slave for life. The punishment needs to fit the crime.
Why? Because we always think our thoughtless behavior is less hurtful than the one who actually experienced the injury. Think about it, who can better estimate the pain of a broken leg? The doctor or the one with the broken leg? We need to recognize that our partner gets a say in when the repair work is done.
How do we make repairs? There are an infinite number of ways to repair a relationship.The most important factors are:
Here are a few tried-and-true steps to making things right.
Remember, all couples face this problem of hurting one another. Usually, we have small relationship injuries. But even small things can build up over time. Make sure that you repair those small incidents so they don't build up into resentment and bitterness. Resentment and bitterness can poison true love.
One of the most powerful relationship repairs is to go forward and never hurt your partner that way again. Of course, you can only prove that through action, not intention. Most people will find their partner to be gracious, generous, and forgiving. Especially if the hurtful behavior does not form a pattern or if you are able to stop hurting them.
Need help cleaning up messes in your relationship? Schedule a free phone consultation today. Learn how Couples Relationship Coaching can help your relationship.
Cheri Timko is the creator of Synergy Coaching, an online community helping committed couples have great relationships. Learn more about how to get involved in this movement of couples who don't just want to stay together but want to thrive together here.