Charlie Brown, I’m so glad your wife wants to work on the relationship and that you are working very hard to make things work. Healing hurts for her will take time, however you can help it along. It may seem daunting but if you actually write a list of ways you have hurt her, and bit by bit confess to her that you know you have missed her needs, she will begin to see that you UNDERSTAND how much hurt she carries. But that isn’t all. In your confessions you need to tell her what you INTEND to do to change that behaviour. As she sees those changes, she will see how determined you are. That is how trust is rebuilt. Trust is built when the change is seen…not simply by hearing the confession. Taking responsibility for our part is key in starting the process. Now that you understand the role ADD plays in your actions you will make great gains in this process! Identifying ADD patterns is always enlightening. We find a majority of couples coming to us have at least one person with ADD that has gone undiagnosed or ignored for a long time.
The list might feel random at first, but if you identify the top relational needs you have missed in her, you will begin to see a pattern.
Attention, Affection, Appreciation, Approval, Acceptance, Comfort, Encouragement, Respect, Security (peace) and Support are the top 10 relational needs. If you need to look up definitions to help you categorize her hurts then by all means, do! This will help you see a pattern. For me I realized respect was one I was missing in my relationship big time. Once I saw that pattern I could work on how my spouse would feel respected.
This process is usually the most eye opening for our clients, because we don’t usually understand how we have hurt our spouses…or others around us for that matter.
Keep positive about progress and changes you have made. Don’t beat yourself up for something you were unaware of. Just press on working toward your goal of becoming a better spouse!