Affair healing Blog
We Try To Control What We Can't Control
A couple came into my office wanting help to work through an argument they were unable to resolve. They were frustrated and disappointed in each other. I spent 50 minutes helping them consider the issue from their partner's point of view and to gain insight into why they each reacted so defensively.
Just before they left, I said, "The best thing you can do when you leave this office is choose to not talk about this issue right away. If you do, it may be too easy to start blaming again. Instead, take some time when you get home and think about this issue with one thing in mind: What could I have done to more effectively move toward my partner with love and truth?"
I found out today that they did not follow the advice. Instead, they each focused on the other person's responsibility and threw in "that's what Tim said you should do" to bolster their attacks. I had to remind them both. Now they're back on track.
No good marriage starts with two people trying to control each other. Most of us would run from an experience like that. So why do we think we can save a marriage (or change it) by shifting to a control strategy? It will never work; not if the goal is to experience satisfying connection.
Even when you've been deeply hurt by betrayal, you'll never get the outcome you want by trying to control the other person. You can be honest about your pain and about what you need from them, but the return to loving you should be an invitation, not a demand. If the invitation is accepted, the work of recovery can begin. If it is not, then you have another choice to make. Attempting to control, however, will only lead you to exhaustion and your partner to resentment.
You're only in control of one person: you. Focus your energy on getting yourself to a healthy place regardless of the choices your spouse is making.
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Unless otherwise noted, articles are written by Tim Tedder, a licensed counselor and creator of this site and its resources.