First published on KSL.COM
I just read your article on Spouses Who Can’t Forgive, but when the same problem happens again after your spouse has promised that it has ended. What do you do? Trust is a huge issue, how do you ever gain trust back after the continued lies and deception? Each time, I get upset, we fight, I forgive and try to forget. But then it happens again. I'm really struggling with continuing to be a forgiving spouse, when he seems determined to repeat this pattern. How should I handle this? Continue forgiving?
This is a tricky question to answer, because everyone’s situation is very different. Some marriages are struggling because of one spouse’s bad behavior, while the other spouse is doing their part to support and love. Others have an unsupportive or unaffectionate spouse, whose unloving behavior is part of the problem. I have no idea which situation you are in, but I believe that each person must check their own behavior first.
Make sure that you have honestly asked what you can do different to help your spouse to change. Are you showing them they are wanted, appreciated, admired and respected by you? I know it is difficult when they are behaving badly, but your ability to see their intrinsic value, despite their challenges, makes a HUGE difference. You can make the process of changing much easier if you are encouraging and loving. Having said that, if you have done all these things and the bad behavior continues without much effort to change it, it may be time to get realistic.
There is nothing heroic about staying with someone who is behaving badly and making no effort to change. Also remember, you are teaching your spouse how to behave by what you allow. If you continue to allow bad behavior with no real effort to change, you are going to get more of it. You are also teaching your children, by example, how to treat you and how to treat their future spouse. So if your relationship is setting a bad example and making everyone miserable, you may want to rethink staying in it.
I strongly believe you alone, though, are the only one entitled to know if you should stay with your spouse and keep fighting to make the relationship work or get out. If you listen to your heart, you will know if your perfect classroom journey is in this marriage, or if your perfect journey is elsewhere. Listen to your heart and act on it. Don’t let me or anyone else tell you what you should do.
You will know what is right for you.
If you can’t tell what your heart is saying because there is too much fear is in the way, you may need some professional help to work through the issues. If you decide to keep working on your marriage, remember that trust is like a building, which can be completely destroyed in a minute, but takes a long time to rebuild. Rebuilding takes courage, perseverance and patience. There is no quick fix.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for this process:
f you decide melted chocolate isn’t for you and your heart says it’s time to move on, don’t be afraid to make that decision. Sometimes it's better for everyone.
Follow your heart and you will know what to do.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a popular life coach and speaker.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.