Ground Rules for Restoring Broken Trust

Share Button

broken repaired

Ground Rules for Restoring Broken Trust

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

When trust has been damaged or destroyed in a marriage, the rebuilding process takes a huge amount of patience, skill, and–above all–time. After your very foundation has been shaken, restoring trust in your marriage is literally a relationship makeover.

You and your spouse must work together over time to rebuild the trust you lost, and both of you have a lot of work to do to get there. But with determination and an absolute commitment to restoration, your marriage can be healthy again.

You might not realize it now, but if you’ve been betrayed by your spouse, you can begin to trust them again. And if you betrayed your spouse, it is possible to restore their faith in you.

In today’s post, we’ll discuss some of the steps both of you will need to take in order to rebuild the trust in your marriage. It won’t be easy, but it will definitely be worth it.

FOR THE BETRAYED

As the betrayed spouse, you must be willing to forgive your husband or wife. It’s a bitterly painful experience to be betrayed by the person you love most in the world, and the betrayal can wreak havoc on your life.

Taking on the hard task of forgiveness is, at best, a huge challenge. Forgiveness happens gradually, in stages. You can’t snap your fingers and suddenly erase what your spouse has done, just because you’ve decided to forgive. You must allow yourself the time to grieve, heal, and name the hurts in order to surrender your need to inflict hurt in retaliation.

In addition to maintaining a forgiving attitude toward your spouse, you must be open about the anxiety your spouse’s betrayal has caused. Be honest about the times that you are most likely not to trust your spouse, and tell them the things that trigger your sense of betrayal.

Although it’s important to name your spouse’s offenses and be open about your triggers, it’s also important to know when to start stepping away from the painful memories. As your spouse begins to prove his or her trustworthiness over again, you’ll have to discern when it’s time to start letting go of the offenses, a little at a time. This is part of your forgiveness process.

In order to truly forgive, heal, and avoid the seeds of bitterness and contempt taking root in your own soul, it’s critical for you to be able to know when to let go and allow your spirit to heal.

Take care of yourself and do whatever it takes in order to recover. As the betrayed spouse, it’s tempting to focus all your attention on what your spouse did and what they’re doing to set things right. A huge part of you is very invested in your spouse’s efforts to right the wrongs they inflicted. But if you don’t care for your own health and wellbeing in the process, your emotional and spiritual healing will be prolonged–or could even be prevented.

Above all else, stay in God’s word and keep your prayer life active. Surround yourself with support and love. And take comfort in the fact that your spouse is doing whatever it takes to make things right between you again.

FOR THE BETRAYER

No matter what you have done to hurt your spouse, you must make yourself open and willing to answer any questions they may have regarding your betrayal. The more serious your offense, the more likely it is that you’ll have to answer a lot of questions. And those questions may come up repeatedly over a period of time.

When you’ve betrayed the person who loves you most, assume that you have inflicted a great deal of anxiety, insecurity, and pain upon them. Since the two of you are working together to restore trust, you’ll need to be willing to provide reassurance and security any time your spouse expresses a need for it–and then some.

For a time, you’ll need to make yourself accountable for your time and actions, particularly surrounding your offense. This will feel invasive, but extra accountability is non-negotiable.

Accountability can hurt your pride, but leave your ego at the door. It’s hard to have to earn your spouse’s trust after you have injured them. You’d rather them just take you at your word and begin trusting you again since you’ve apologized for your actions, but you have to be willing to surrender that.

You and your spouse will have to agree on boundaries that surround the offending people, activities, or places. Keep temptations for repeat offenses completely off limits.

If you had an affair, have no further contact whatsoever with that person. Have no presence near the things or places that are tempting to you. You must be 100% determined to stay accountable. With effort and time, accountability will play a major part in the restoration of your marriage.

Reconnecting with God and healing yourself spiritually will also go a long way toward helping you and your spouse grow closer again. Spending time in prayer, reading the Bible, and seeking Christian counsel (either from others in your church or a trusted professional counselor) will help you to resist temptation and strengthen you for the days ahead.

IN CONCLUSION

Don’t lose heart. The season of rebuilding trust and restoring your relationship is a very trying, painful time for both of you. But with grace, hope, kindness, and a lot of patience, the two of you will come out on the other side stronger than ever.

Funday Friday: Physics Cow Humor

Share Button

Here is a little nursery rhyme physics humor for your Funday Friday:

cow moon

If you would like to add some more humor into your life, please call CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

5 Myths About Depression Men (and Everyone) Need to Stop Believing

Share Button

depression

5 Myths About Depression Men (and Everyone) Need to Stop Believing

By Joshua Beharry

There are many misconceptions about depression that make it difficult for men to talk to others and take charge of their health. So, I’m going to expose some of the most common myths — with images made by HeadsUpGuys — in hopes to encourage men to take action and fight depression.

Here are some myths about depression men need to stop believing:

Myth #1: Depression is a sign of personal weakness.

Depression can affect anyone including professional athletes, musicians, actors, lawyers, businessmen, writers, tradesmen, teachers, men in the military and everyone in between. Being depressed has nothing to do with personal weakness. It takes strength to fight depression.

Myth #2: Depression is a life sentence.

When you’re depressed it may not seem like recovery is possible, but depression is clouding your thoughts. The fact is that many guys, including men who have tried to end their lives, have recovered from depression and suicidal thoughts. Using medicinal cannabis has been one way people have managed to overcome this. Finding cannabis in michigan is a very simple task.

Myth #3: Real men don’t ask for help.

Many guys feel the need to solve things on their own and don’t like to ask for support whenever it can be avoided. But in other situations, like sports or physiotherapy, the same guys are more open to seeking the advice of professionals. Make the most of the services and supports available in your area.

Myth #4: If I can find a way to plough through, I can defeat depression on my own.

You win no awards for fighting depression on your own. Friends and family members are valuable supports in a guy’s recovery and often want nothing more than to support a man they care about.

Myth #5: Talking to a guy about depression will make things worse.

Better health starts with a conversation. Though it may be difficult or awkward at first, talking about depression could actually end up changing a man’s life. Take the initiative to be a key step in his recovery, if he isn’t ready let him know you’re there whenever he needs.

**********

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please call CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach. If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please call 911 or Netcare at 614-276-2273.

Infertility Etiquette

Share Button

empty swing

Infertility Etiquette

By Resolve.org

Chances are, you know someone who is struggling with infertility. More than seven million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility. Yet, as a society, we are woefully uninformed about how to best provide emotional support for our loved ones during this painful time.

Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy’s nose and daddy’s eyes. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. There are some couples who try pills to get pregnant fast and increase the chances. Even though this is the case, it is always best to be supportive of whatever happens. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal.

As the couple moves into infertility treatments, the pain increases while the bank account depletes. The tests are invasive and embarrassing to both parties, and you feel like the doctor has taken over your bedroom. And for all of this discomfort, you pay a lot of money. Sometimes even the best urologist can’t help you, but will always try to help you through your pain!

A couple will eventually resolve the infertility problem in one of three ways:

  • They will eventually conceive a baby.
  • They will stop the infertility treatments and choose to live without children.
  • They will find an alternative way to parent, such as by adopting a child or becoming a foster parent.

Reaching a resolution can take years, so your infertile loved ones need your emotional support during this journey. Most people don’t know what to say, so they wind up saying the wrong thing, which only makes the journey so much harder for their loved ones. Knowing what not to say is half of the battle to providing support.

Don’t Tell Them to Relax

Everyone knows someone who had trouble conceiving but then finally became pregnant once she “relaxed.” Couples who are able to conceive after a few months of “relaxing” are not infertile. By definition, a couple is not diagnosed as “infertile” until they have tried unsuccessfully to become pregnant for a full year. In fact, most infertility specialists will not treat a couple for infertility until they have tried to become pregnant for a year. This year weeds out the people who aren’t infertile but just need to “relax.” Those that remain are truly infertile.

Comments such as “just relax” or “try going on a cruise” create even more stress for the infertile couple, particularly the woman. The woman feels like she is doing something wrong when, in fact, there is a good chance that there is a physical problem preventing her from becoming pregnant.

These comments can also reach the point of absurdity. As a couple, my husband and I underwent two surgeries, numerous inseminations, hormone treatments, and four years of poking and prodding by doctors. Yet, people still continued to say things like, “If you just relaxed on a cruise . . .” Infertility is a diagnosable medical problem that must be treated by a doctor, and even with treatment, many couples will NEVER successfully conceive a child. Relaxation itself does not cure medical infertility.

Don’t Minimize the Problem

Failure to conceive a baby is a very painful journey. Infertile couples are surrounded by families with children. These couples watch their friends give birth to two or three children, and they watch those children grow while the couple goes home to the silence of an empty house. These couples see all of the joy that a child brings into someone’s life, and they feel the emptiness of not being able to experience the same joy.

Comments like, “Just enjoy being able to sleep late . . . .travel . . etc.,” do not offer comfort. Instead, these comments make infertile people feel like you are minimizing their pain. You wouldn’t tell somebody whose parent just died to be thankful that he no longer has to buy Father’s Day or Mother’s Day cards. Losing that one obligation doesn’t even begin to compensate for the incredible loss of losing a parent. In the same vein, being able to sleep late or travel does not provide comfort to somebody who desperately wants a child.

Don’t Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen

Along the same lines, don’t tell your friend that there are worse things that she could be going through. Who is the final authority on what is the “worst” thing that could happen to someone? Is it going through a divorce? Watching a loved one die? Getting raped? Losing a job?

Different people react to different life experiences in different ways. To someone who has trained his whole life for the Olympics, the “worst” thing might be experiencing an injury the week before the event. To someone who has walked away from her career to become a stay-at-home wife for 40 years, watching her husband leave her for a younger woman might be the “worst” thing. And, to a woman whose sole goal in life has been to love and nurture a child, infertility may indeed be the “worst” thing that could happen.

People wouldn’t dream of telling someone whose parent just died, “It could be worse: both of your parents could be dead.” Such a comment would be considered cruel rather than comforting. In the same vein, don’t tell your friend that she could be going through worse things than infertility.

Don’t Say They Aren’t Meant to Be Parents

One of the cruelest things anyone ever said to me is, “Maybe God doesn’t intend for you to be a mother.” How incredibly insensitive to imply that I would be such a bad mother that God felt the need to divinely sterilize me. If God were in the business of divinely sterilizing women, don’t you think he would prevent the pregnancies that end in abortions? Or wouldn’t he sterilize the women who wind up neglecting and abusing their children? Even if you aren’t religious, the “maybe it’s not meant to be” comments are not comforting. Infertility is a medical condition, not a punishment from God or Mother Nature.

Don’t Ask Why They Aren’t Trying IVF

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a method in which the woman harvests multiple eggs, which are then combined with the man’s sperm in a petri dish. This is a method that can produce multiple births. People frequently ask, “Why don’t you just try IVF?” in the same casual tone they would use to ask, “Why don’t you try shopping at another store?”

Don’t Be Crude

It is appalling that I even have to include this paragraph, but some of you need to hear this-Don’t make crude jokes about your friend’s vulnerable position. Crude comments like “I’ll donate the sperm” or “Make sure the doctor uses your sperm for the insemination” are not funny, and they only irritate your friends.

Don’t Complain About Your Pregnancy

This message is for pregnant women-Just being around you is painful for your infertile friends. Seeing your belly grow is a constant reminder of what your infertile friend cannot have. Unless an infertile women plans to spend her life in a cave, she has to find a way to interact with pregnant women. However, there are things you can do as her friend to make it easier.

The number one rule is DON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY. I understand from my friends that, when you are pregnant, your hormones are going crazy and you experience a lot of discomfort, such as queasiness, stretch marks, and fatigue. You have every right to vent about the discomforts to any one else in your life, but don’t put your infertile friend in the position of comforting you.

Your infertile friend would give anything to experience the discomforts you are enduring because those discomforts come from a baby growing inside of you. When I heard a pregnant woman complain about morning sickness, I would think, “I’d gladly throw up for nine straight months if it meant I could have a baby.” When a pregnant woman would complain about her weight gain, I would think, “I would cut off my arm if I could be in your shoes.”

I managed to go to baby showers and hospitals to welcome my friends’ new babies, but it was hard. Without exception, it was hard. Stay sensitive to your infertile friend’s emotions, and give her the leeway that she needs to be happy for you while she cries for herself. If she can’t bring herself to hold your new baby, give her time. She isn’t rejecting you or your new baby; she is just trying to work her way through her pain to show sincere joy for you. The fact that she is willing to endure such pain in order to celebrate your new baby with you speaks volumes about how much your friendship means to her.

Don’t Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant

For some reason, some people seem to think that infertility causes a person to become unrealistic about the responsibilities of parenthood. I don’t follow the logic, but several people told me that I wouldn’t ache for a baby so much if I appreciated how much responsibility was involved in parenting.

Let’s face it-no one can fully appreciate the responsibilities involved in parenting until they are, themselves, parents. That is true whether you successfully conceived after one month or after 10 years. The length of time you spend waiting for that baby does not factor in to your appreciation of responsibility. If anything, people who have been trying to become pregnant longer have had more time to think about those responsibilities. They have also probably been around lots of babies as their friends started their families.

Perhaps part of what fuels this perception is that infertile couples have a longer time to “dream” about what being a parent will be like. Like every other couple, we have our fantasies-my child will sleep through the night, would never have a tantrum in public, and will always eat his vegetables. Let us have our fantasies. Those fantasies are some of the few parent-to-be perks that we have-let us have them. You can give us your knowing looks when we discover the truth later.

Don’t Gossip About Your Friend’s Condition

Infertility treatments are very private and embarrassing, which is why many couples choose to undergo these treatments in secret. Men especially are very sensitive to letting people know about infertility testing, such as sperm counts. Gossiping about infertility is not usually done in a malicious manner. The gossipers are usually well-meaning people who are only trying to find out more about infertility so they can help their loved ones.

Regardless of why you are sharing this information with someone else, it hurts and embarrasses your friend to find out that Madge the bank teller knows what your husband’s sperm count is and when your next period is expected. Infertility is something that should be kept as private as your friend wants to keep it. Respect your friend’s privacy, and don’t share any information that your friend hasn’t authorized.

Don’t Push Adoption (Yet)

Adoption is a wonderful way for infertile people to become parents. (As an adoptive parent, I can fully vouch for this!!) However, the couple needs to work through many issues before they will be ready to make an adoption decision. Before they can make the decision to love a “stranger’s baby,” they must first grieve the loss of that baby with Daddy’s eyes and Mommy’s nose. Adoption social workers recognize the importance of the grieving process. When my husband and I went for our initial adoption interview, we expected the first question to be, “Why do you want to adopt a baby?” Instead, the question was, “Have you grieved the loss of your biological child yet?” Our social worker emphasized how important it is to shut one door before you open another.

You do, indeed, need to grieve this loss before you are ready to start the adoption process. The adoption process is very long and expensive, and it is not an easy road. So, the couple needs to be very sure that they can let go of the hope of a biological child and that they can love an adopted baby. This takes time, and some couples are never able to reach this point. If your friend cannot love a baby that isn’t her “own,” then adoption isn’t the right decision for her, and it is certainly not what is best for the baby.

Mentioning adoption in passing can be a comfort to some couples. (The only words that ever offered me comfort were from my sister, who said, “Whether through pregnancy or adoption, you will be a mother one day.”) However, “pushing” the issue can frustrate your friend. So, mention the idea in passing if it seems appropriate, and then drop it. When your friend is ready to talk about adoption, she will raise the issue herself.

So, what can you say to your infertile friends? Unless you say “I am giving you this baby,” there is nothing you can say that will erase their pain. So, take that pressure off of yourself. It isn’t your job to erase their pain, but there is a lot you can do to lessen the load. Here are a few ideas.

Let Them Know That You Care

The best thing you can do is let your infertile friends know that you care. Send them cards. Let them cry on your shoulder. If they are religious, let them know you are praying for them. Offer the same support you would offer a friend who has lost a loved one. Just knowing they can count on you to be there for them lightens the load and lets them know that they aren’t going through this alone.

Remember Them on Mother’s Day

With all of the activity on Mother’s Day, people tend to forget about women who cannot become mothers. Mother’s Day is an incredibly painful time for infertile women. You cannot get away from it-There are ads on the TV, posters at the stores, church sermons devoted to celebrating motherhood, and all of the plans for celebrating with your own mother and mother-in-law.

Mother’s Day is an important celebration and one that I relish now that I am a mother. However, it was very painful while I was waiting for my baby. Remember your infertile friends on Mother’s Day, and send them a card to let them know you are thinking of them. They will appreciate knowing that you haven’t “forgotten” them.

Support Their Decision to Stop Treatments

No couple can endure infertility treatments forever. At some point, they will stop. This is an agonizing decision to make, and it involves even more grief. Even if the couple chooses to adopt a baby, they must still first grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy’s nose and daddy’s eyes.

Once the couple has made the decision to stop treatments, support their decision. Don’t encourage them to try again, and don’t discourage them from adopting, if that is their choice. Once the couple has reached resolution (whether to live without children, adopt a child, or become foster parents), they can finally put that chapter of their lives behind them. Don’t try to open that chapter again.

****************

If you are struggling with infertility and would like to talk with someone, please give CornerStone Family Services a call at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

Finding Support Through Groups

Share Button

talk group

Talking Heals: Finding Support Through Groups

By YouMatter.com

Research has proven that, through connecting with others who have experienced the same traumas as ourselves, individuals can truly do something amazing and open the door to healing — whether that be connecting with others who have struggled with depression, anxiety, self-harm or been through a loss.

Opening up can be difficult but it is the first step to recovery. When people hear others’ stories, they begin to realize that they are not alone in their journey.

For me, joining a support group has changed my life. Many people had told me to join one but I was very reluctant to, because I thought it would be a stereotypical group like the ones shown on TV. Also at the time I was in seventh grade, and struggled with talking to others about how I was feeling. It scared me. Why would I want to sit in a room full of strangers and tell them about the worst time in my life?

Two years after my mom passed, I realized that I needed extra support. After sharing my story with many counselors and teachers, I knew that I was ready to try a support group. I am so glad I did. To be completely honest, the first meeting was scary, but the time flew. It was over before I knew it and by the end I found myself wanting to stay longer.

I have been attending a support group for five months now, and in that short amount of time I can see a huge change in the way I handle my grief and also deal with other things. I am not one to openly discuss my feelings but when you are with others who are feeling the same things you are, there is a connection that provides a level of support that nothing else can.

Often times you feel a certain way and cannot put those feelings into words. But those who are going through the same struggles you are, may help you find those words. When you realize that they are feeling the same way you are, you feel like you are not alone! Groups allow you to open up and participate in life. Through them you will find that amazing experiences can happen. I encourage anyone who is struggling to reach out and try going to a support group. If you don’t feel comfortable, bring a friend or family member! All you can do is give it a try.

Does Marriage Work?

Share Button

Close-up of a young couple in love

Does Marriage Work?

By Jimmy Evans

Does marriage even work anymore? That’s one question I get pretty often as someone who teaches about marriage. Because of what’s happening in our society, that question has become a common one for young people. They are fearful of marriage.

Here’s how I answer the question: Yes. Absolutely. Marriage works one hundred percent of the time if you do it God’s way, because God never makes anything to fail. Everything He makes, He makes perfect. That includes marriage.

The reason so many marriages fail is because the husband and wife are not doing it God’s way. Their attitudes and behaviors cause the marriages to fail. Here are a few of the mistakes they make:

They don’t trust Jesus to meet their deepest needs. All of us have primary needs in our lives that no human being can meet. These include acceptance, identity, security, and purpose. Those are the things that drive us.

Jesus accepts us all the time. Meanwhile, the love of people can be conditional. Jesus knows our identity at our very core. He stitched us together in our mother’s womb. People can’t tell us who we are, but Jesus can.

God can protect us from everything, and our security is in Him. He is also our purpose. As Christians, we don’t live for popularity or money, but for Jesus and His Kingdom. That’s what drives us to get up every day. These four needs can only be met by God. Relying on a person for acceptance, identity, security, and purpose will disappoint you every time.

Another mistake is that they make marriage a contract, not a covenant. A covenant is a sacrificial, permanent relationship. It says, “I am going to surrender my rights and assume responsibilities.” But a contract is marked by self-protection. It says, “I’m going to protect my rights and limit my responsibilities.”

A contract is superficial and temporary. A covenant is strong, deep, and lasting. In the marriage covenant, we say, “For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health, until death do us part.” That’s serious. Contracts get broken when tough times hit, but covenant relationships stand strong. You’re all in.

A third reason marriages fail is because people break the laws of marriage. Genesis 2:24-25 says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

The first law is Priority—the man leaves his father and mother. The marriage has to come first. It doesn’t rank behind a job, or hobbies, or even parents or children. Marriage has to have priority.

The second law is Pursuit—the husband and wife must “be joined,” or cleave together. In the original Hebrew, that word means to pursue with all of your energy. Marriage is work. You have to work at the relationship. You can’t take each other for granted. When you both put your energy into it, the relationship will thrive.

The third law is Possession—the two become one flesh. Marriage is about sharing. You share finances, decision-making, thoughts and emotions. You cannot be selfish and have a thriving marriage. You can’t be dominant either. A dominant spouse says, “I’m in control. I’m not sharing.” That destroys the spirit of a relationship.

God intended marriages to follow the laws of priority, pursuit, and possession.

Does marriage work? Absolutely it does. A man and woman have a one hundred percent chance of success when they both trust Jesus to meet their needs, pursue a sacrificial covenant relationship, and follow God’s laws. Those are the secrets to a healthy, thriving marriage.

Funday Friday Animal Humor

Share Button

Here is a little animal humor for your Funday Friday:

flu joke

 

If you or someone you know would like to add some more humor or joy in their lives, please give CornerStone Family Services a call at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.i

A Roadmap to Harmony in Your Blended Marriage

Share Button

roadmap

A Roadmap to Harmony in Your Blended Marriage

By Ron L. Deal

Stepfamilies naturally foster a lot of frustration. And sometimes, just the simple events of everyday life can create hurt feelings and anger that send families down the road to isolation.  But there is an exit off that road that leads to Harmony Street!

In stepfamily marriages, the road to marital isolation often begins in the land of parenting. Here’s a glance at one stepfamily home and some of the mile markers that you may find if your relationship is headed down the same path.

Mile Marker 1: the one-sided tradition. Fourteen-year-old Kari has made cupcakes for her younger brother’s birthday. It is a valued ritual she started when he was very young. Big sister makes the cupcakes, and the two of them eat them warm out of the oven—while leaving the kitchen a mess.

Mile Marker 2: the rub. Kari’s stepmother of two years, Sara, walks into the kitchen after returning home from an errand. She happens to enter the kitchen just as her husband, Kari’s father, comes in.

Upon discovering the mess, Sara gives her husband, Randy, “the look.” Randy knows exactly what she is saying and feeling. Annoyed that the kitchen was not cleaned up right away, Sara is nonverbally asking Randy—again—to get his daughter to clean up after herself.

Randy is aware that Sara basically views Kari as irresponsible. Sara has been confrontational with Kari about this in the past.

Randy views Kari as fun-loving, a good big sister, and in need of encouragement.Besides, what’s the big deal with the kitchen anyway?

Randy views Sara as negative and too controlling of his kids.

Sara views Randy as too permissive.

Mile Marker 3: choosing sides. In response to “the look” Randy speaks not to Kari, but to his wife, Sara. He fears that if Sara aggressively confronts his daughter she will inadvertently shoot herself in the foot, making acceptance by Kari all the more difficult, so he tries to detour Sara’s complaint. “Oh come on–it’s not a big deal. Besides, I’m sure you want one of those cupcakes, right?”

Sara instantly feels unheard, minimized, and unimportant. Her concerns that Kari will not learn responsibility have been ignored, which is frustrating. And Randy doesn’t realize that Sara is fearful that Kari’s feelings matter more to Randy than she does. This touches a deep bruise on Sara’s heart: being unimportant to the man she loves. She felt this growing up from her father and her first husband who left her. In her fear and frustration she reacts with anger and accusation. “You are afraid of punishing or expecting anything from her—and what I want has no value to you at all.”

Mile Marker 4: identifying your spouse as the enemy. Randy feels frustrated that Sara can’t let the dirty kitchen go. So his belief that Sara is a rigid, authoritarian parent is solidified. But even more, he feels controlled. “Sara is resorting to the same type of guilt and manipulation my parents give each other,” he shares with a friend. “She uses guilt as leverage and I really think it’s unfair.”

Determined not to make his kids go through what he endured from his parents as a child, Randy defends Kari and argues with Sara pointing out how wonderful it is that a big sister would make cupcakes for her brother. Over time, Randy and Sara argue repeatedly over parenting situations like this. In no time, not only are they polarized as parents, but they find themselves many miles down the highway of isolation and fear.

Harmony Street exit

Many things must change in order for Randy and Sara to save their marriage—and raise the likelihood that their home achieves family harmony. Here are some key aspects to exiting the road to isolation:

For the keys to exiting onto Harmony Street, please go to the original article located at Family Life.

*******************

If you would like help with your blended marriage, please give CornerStone Family Services a call at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.