“Everyone says that forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive”-CS Lewis. Every relationship is a work by itself. It is a conscious mind blowing movement of connection, disconnection and renewal. It is this attribute that builds intimacy. Reconciliation entails forgiving one another willingly without coercion, and forgiveness itself is often difficult.

In my work with couples I have tested the following fireproof practical steps based on my work, which I call ” THE FIVE (5) PILLARS OF RECONCILIATION AFTER A DISCONNECTION IN A RELATIONSHIP”. 

  1. ALLOW THE HURTING PARTNER TO SPEAK ABOUT PAIN:

By allowing your husband/wife/friend/family/colleague relative to speak about his/her pain with sincerity, openness and about how things went is the nucleus in conflict management and relationship as a whole. Please do not interrupt while he/she is talking. Be quiet enough to listen with care and a heart of love not a judgemental attitude. The situation that served as a catalyst for that pain and the way in which the situation affected your sense of safety in the relationship is of great significance. While expressing your pain, do not be tempted to engage in unbridled self-expression. Self-control in this regard must be adopted, your expression of what emerged from the situation and understand the true purpose of what you are communicating. Your aim should be to help the other person to understand what transpired for you. 

NOTE : ” This is not about revenge or time to pay back pain or heartaches on the other person.  As such it is useful to speak ” for your feelings” and not only from your feelings”.

It is cool to speak for your feelings and say how infuriated you were, but shouting and insulting are the unhealthy ways in which we can speak “from feelings”, and this can only lead to defensiveness in the other person. 

  1. THE HURTING PERSON MUST BE PRESENT EMOTIONALLY AND CONFESS THE PAIN CREATED BY THEIR ACTION / INACTION:

The injuring person needs to stay emotionally present and admit the wounded, hurting partner’s pain. It’s important for the hurting  partner to be cognizant, alert, cautious and sensitive of their role in creating that pain. 

NOTE: ”This makes the hurting partner understood and validated”. It engineers agreement between both parties and begins the process of reconciliation. Be cautious though. Admitting that you understand your part in that pain does not mean that you should engage in self-appeasement. You must understand that sometimes while communicating there are things we say that are misinterpreted by the other person until we explain over and over before light shall be shone on the area of discussion. 

  1. BOTH HURTING PERSONS MUST EXPRESS REMORSE :

Saying ”I am sorry for hurting you” will not change your academic preferences, taste, beauty, skin color or nick-name. A sincere, clear, hearty, peaceful apology has three components. These are ”accountability, vulnerability and empathy”. Take responsibility, admit your weaknesses and identify with the other person’s pain, hurt and emotional trauma. Do not be like a Tilapia, taken out of the sea jumping and flopping here and there. Your ego and pride will not get you that far. Shut off your well of personal interest and sincerely go into it. Apology is not just a statement of contrition it is an invitation to reconciliation.

  1. BOTH / THE HURTER AND HURTING PERSON SHOULD UTILIZE THE OPPORTUNITY TO COMMUNICATE THEIR INADEQUACIES, ASSUMPTIONS, NEEDS AND FEARS WHOLEHEARTEDLY WITHOUT ANY PREJUDICE:

In detail, the conversation now shifts to a discussion about the ”attachment injury” Hurtful occurrences in a relationship result in feelings of disconnection in a relationship. The security of the relationship was damaged. This is best repaired by being very clear now about what fears the incident evoked in the hurt partner and what needs she or he has now. NOTE ” This helps to bring closure to the trauma”. 

An example of this can be seen in the following statement: “I needed comfort and a listening ear when I was speaking to you about love making or cooking. I need that now too. My fear at the time was that I was all alone. My fear, going forward, is that when I need you to listen, you won’t be there and I will be all alone. Loneliness terrifies me!”

  1. THE COUPLE MUST REFLECT ON STORIES FROM BOTH SIDES TOGETHER: 

Reflecting on their stories encompasses the hurting events that have happened when they were disconnected or even now, how it affected both parties and how they were successful in repairing and reconnecting. This serves as an emotional deposit into the relationship.

 Watch out for part 3

Healing Wings Support. Abigail Borquaye

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