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From Pain to Peace: A Healing Exercise In Marriage

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Changing the course of marriage strengthens the family, the Church, and culture. While many couples are in quarantine together all day, every day, it is likely they will experience some friction. One practical way to support a healthier marriage is to walk a couple through the pain and peace cycle.


 

Want to learn more about the Pain & Peace Cycle — and how it directly relates to your community during Covid-19? Watch the recently recorded on-demand webinar and Q&A: "When Hard Times Produce Pain (the Pain & Peace Cycle)"


 The pain cycle speaks to how individuals feel pain and the unhealthy ways in which they respond. Here is one tangible example from our eBook of how one struggling couple disrupted their pain cycle for peace.

Yolanda and Roberto: A Couple and Their Pain Cycle

Yolanda and Roberto have chronic marital issues. It seems they fight about everything from the way they spend their time, to parenting, to financial decisions and even their friendships. They have become so conflict-habituated that they consider their relationship a mistake and can't remember a time when they felt "in love" with one another.

Roberto grew up in a family where his father was often absent because he was always working, and Roberto's mother was highly demanding while she also worked and took care of the family. In his marriage, Roberto consistently felt he could never measure up to expectations, and he felt unimportant except for the work he could produce and withdrew from his family. When confronted, he would become angry and distance himself.

Yolanda felt she was never cared for in her family like she desired and swore to herself she would marry a man who was "able to take care of her." She consistently feels that Roberto provides for the family but is absent when it comes to her needs. She is highly critical and aggressive with her anger.

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Yolanda Feels Yolanda Copes Roberto Feels Roberto Copes

Unloved

Neglected

Criticizes

Blames

Becomes Agressive

Unimportant

That He Cannot Measure Up

Gets Angry

Withdraws

Distances Self

Moving From Pain to Peace

When Yolanda and Roberto started understanding how their Pain Cycle contributed to their current issues — how it had been present and was shaped in the families they came from — they were encouraged to take responsibility for their own truths and own actions instead of blaming one another.

Roberto worked on stabilizing his feelings around the truth that he is a good and responsible man who meets the emotional and physical needs of his family. Yolanda began to recognize that her needs and feelings associated with wanting Roberto to make her feel loved were not his responsibility and that she was the only one who could stabilize her own emotions. This led her to be able to work on being nurturing, encouraging and connecting to Roberto.

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Yolanda's Truth Yolanda's Acts Roberto's Truth Roberto's Acts

Precious and Loved

Recognized and Heard

Nurtures

Encourages

Connects

Important

Adequate (Emotionally and Physically)

Stays Emotionally Present

Connects

By moving from pain to peace, couples are able to practice emotional growth at the very heart of their problems and experience new levels of intimacy and peace. As partners learn to name their own pain cycle, they begin to root out the feelings and behaviors that drive the most toxic parts of their personalities and actions, renewing their minds in the name of God's design for marriage.

One positive outcome of quarantine stay-at-home orders across the country is the increased amount of family time in homes where people's lives are otherwise run by their calendars. Perhaps this season is a divine invitation into the restoration of our marriages and most intimate relationships.