I sat in the chair hearing this couple share their story from their heart, and I couldn’t help but feel the emotion rise up within me. Tears of joy, tears of hope, tears of inspiration. You see, what made this such an emotional time for me was because literally just 1 week prior while meeting with them, they had shared that their marriage was was over and that they were going to separate. This is a tough reality in which some couples make it and others simply are unwilling or unable to put in the hard work to restore their relationship, or they the relationship is only one-sided. As they were talking about their ‘irreconcilable’ differences the week prior, they began to get a little heated with voices raised. About halfway into the session, one of them stormed out of the office and stated, ‘next time you hear from me, it will be through my lawyer.’ My heart sank because it looked like that individual had reached the point of no return in their relationship and the wife broke down into tears from the hopelessness of their situation.
What happen next honestly shocked me. Now, I have seen a lot of interesting things over my years working with couples and families. However, this took me back. As I walked to the front to see my next client, the wife, I noticed they were both in the room. Immediately, I thought this was going to turn out to be ‘fun’ session full of the unknown. As they sat down, I noticed they were sitting closely to each other and even holding hands nearly the entire hour. Amazed, I asked what happened in this past week that created such a momentum shift in their relationship.
Here are 3 things this couple did to help shift the momentum in their relationship from hopeless to hopeful.
1. Shift in perspective
Both husband and wife had a shift in their perspective. The husband left that day and over the weekend began to think about all that he was about to lose. He thought about all the positive that his wife and his family did offer instead of only focusing on the negative. The wife also shifted from being angry and resentful to being willing to offer a second chance. However, that second chance was made possible by the next thing the husband did.
2. Take full responsibility
After taking the long weekend being away from his family and shifting his perspective, he finally came back home and took full responsibility for what he did in the relationship. He apologized for being so critical and shut off, he apologized to his family for leaving. Not once did he attempt to underscore the difficulties he brought into their relationship. This next part next blew my mind and created the emotional storm within my self. She made a profound statement that few spouses ever recognize. She said, ‘it is in this moment, right here, right now, that you are the strongest I have ever seen you.’ Did you hear that? Let me tell you again what I heard. It was in this moment of weakness, that he was the strongest he has ever been in the relationship.
Change is hard, however, over the next several weeks both began to make the needed changes to help their marriage and family succeed. They communicated well and often. Both would seek to understand their spouse’s perspective instead of automatically seeing them as wrong because they disagreed. Finally, the husband became more engaged with his kids (a core concern of his wife) and the wife became less nagging (a core concern of her husband).
Take this opportunity to shift the momentum in your relationship from hopeless to hopeful. And remember that profound statement, ‘it is in this moment, right here, right now, that you are the strongest I have ever seen you.’ It is in your weakest moment (vulnerability) that you are the strongest you have ever been.