More often than not, the truth can set you free, but sometimes it can kill you if you can’t take it. And this might be one of those times.
What you’re about to read and try is likely to blow such a big hole through you and your spouse’s denial that your relationship may not survive. And truly, if you have one of the above conditions, it could actually kill you.*
On the other hand, it also has a very good chance of bringing back trust, intimacy and love that has been dormant rather than dead for decades. If it does that, one or both of you are likely to begin convulsing — and I am serious — as you reawaken it.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
As I looked out at the marital and relationship landscape I saw at first the leak and then the hemorrhaging of trust, intimacy and love out of them. I saw relationships have all the relating leave them and turn into arrangements. I saw couples who didn’t want that to happen but had no way to stop it and no way to bring back the trust, love and intimacy.
The tragedy of something that could have been preventable or retrievable has caused me to search for an elixir and antidote.
And here it is.
The Three Most Powerful Questions
To do this, you will find a private and quiet place to ask these questions of each other looking deeply and intently into each other eyes with a sincere desire to hear what the other person says. When they respond, you will not react, become defensive or take what they say personally, but rather you will see them as finally getting something off their chest that has been weighing them down and pulling them away from relating to you for a long time.
When you are set to start, flip a coin and the winner gets to go first asking them of your partner or having your partner ask you for you to answer. If you are the one answering the questions, provide both answers and instances to further explain and do not hold anything back.
- What have you been most disappointed about regarding me, yourself and us during our marriage? Explain and give me some examples.
- In each case did you feel more hurt or more anger and how much? Explain and give me some examples.
- What did you do about it and what do you now want to do about it? Explain and give me some examples.
Simple but incredibly daunting questions.
If you are too afraid to ask them or answer them, you don’t have to, but your relationship in which you have already grown apart will continue to do so and no amount of buying things, having children, collecting pets or just frenetically keeping busy will stop it.
You can still continue in it, but you know as well as I do that loving and liking each other will have died and your relationship will have become an arrangement and at best a marriage of convenience.
Resources: If you have done this exercise and reached this point, some additional reading:
- Power Relationships – 26 Irrefutable Laws for Building Extraordinary Relationshipsby Andrew Panas and Jerold Panas
- The 6 Secrets of a Lasting Relationship: How to Fall in Love Again… and Stay There– discover the formula to CREATE love (C = Chemistry; R = Respect; E = Enjoyment; A = Acceptance; T = Trust; E = Empathy)
- “Just Listen” The Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone– an empathy toolkit and guide, the top book on listening in the world.
- Talking to Crazy: How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life – “a Swiss army knife” for dealing with the people that drive you crazy, but what’s also been driving you crazy is the loss of trust, intimacy and love in your life and no way to bring them back.
*MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS IF YOU HAVE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, HEART DISEASE OR ARE PRONE TO STROKES
This story first appeared at Psychology Today.