Dr.Marcu Abreu Relationship Evolution Program
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Understanding and Healing After Hurt: A Journey Through Love Languages and Communication

Life is filled with moments that test our relationships, and sometimes, despite our best intentions, we make mistakes that hurt our partners deeply. As a relationship coach, I've seen firsthand how these situations unfold, and today, I'm sharing a personal story that underscores just how important understanding, patience, and communication are, especially when dealing with shifting love languages.

The Unexpected Shift in Love Languages

Love languages are the ways we express and experience love – acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, physical touch, and words of affirmation are the ones DR.Chapman categorizes but they are as varied as people are. One crucial insight that has emerged through my journey is that love languages can shift based on circumstances. This realization hit me hard when a significant mistake on my part impacted my relationship.

The Moment I Screwed Up

I want to paint a picture of what happened. From a guy's perspective, I thought I was doing everything right. I had a card, we planned a sweet dinner, and I had been working extra hard around the house to make sure she could take some time off. But then it happened – a misstep on a Mother's day. See, the way I was brought up, we didn't celebrate birthdays or holidays. In fact, I didn't even know my own birthday until I was 14. I grew up showing love and appreciation daily rather than on specific, "Hallmark" days. 

However, that's where I missed a key point: despite our intentions and background, what we do needs to resonate with our partner's needs and expectations.

A depressed woman is sitting on the floor in the living room. Sorrow and regret.

Recognizing the Hurt

She was hurt. Very hurt. Her pain was palpable, and I felt her retract. I felt the openness she shared in her smile; the sharing and connection were replaced with sadness. It was as if our connection was severed.

My Defensive Instincts

Every time I saw her sadness, I felt a deep urge to explain – to defend myself. "But I show you I love you every day!" I wanted to say. But every time I tried, it made things worse. Defending my position wasn't helping; it was erecting walls between us. And so, for days, we both moped around the house, immersed in a cloud of misunderstanding and hurt feelings. I felt punished, though I knew she didn't intend it that way. She was just deeply wounded.

When she would explain, "I do a lot here, I am always doing special things for you and our daughter. And on special occasions, I just ask to be acknowledged," I had to fight the urge of saying, "But I appreciate you every day." After all, it is one of the four pillars I talk to my clients about as daily habits they should have – to express appreciation for the special things their partners do for them daily.

Even though I am a relationship coach, I felt like a failure. How could I help others if I screwed up this badly? How can others, who are dealing with far worse problems, find their way out when I, someone who usually has a very passionate and growing relationship, now felt like the worst husband ever? This feeling of failure was all-consuming. As a man, I am not accustomed to so many emotions, but I knew I had broken her heart, and that is the opposite of what any of us who love our partners want to do.

I've helped people go through much worse betrayals than not acknowledging their partner. Why is it such a big deal? Because it's not just about the act itself but about what it signifies. It's about the feeling of being seen, valued, and appreciated. It's about recognizing that sometimes the smallest gestures matter the most.

The Long Road to Healing

I realized that sometimes, healing requires time. No matter how we slice it, time is an essential component. During such moments, becoming defensive or trying to explain 'why' won't help. It can make things worse. 

Here's what I learned and what I want to share with you:

  1. Acknowledge the Hurt: Recognize and acknowledge the pain you've caused. Say it aloud, "I realize I hurt you, and I'm so sorry."- don't expect it to change immediately. 
  2. Resist Defensiveness: Fighting the urge to defend yourself is crucial. This isn't about your intent but about her experience. In this instance, think about her pain, not yourself. 
  3. Apologize Sincerely: Offer a heartfelt apology without qualifiers. "I'm sorry, but…" isn't an apology; it's a justification.
  4. Give Her Space and Time: Healing takes time. Give her the space she needs to process her emotions.
  5. Show Consistent Love: Continue to show love and appreciation in ways that resonate with her current love language.
  6. Communicate: Once she's ready, talk about what happened without turning it into a defense of your actions. Understand her perspective fully.
  7. Learn and Grow: Use this experience to understand each other better and grow together as a couple.

In the end, relationships are about navigating through these challenging waters together. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to be there, acknowledge the hurt, and give it time. Healing is possible, and from that pain, a stronger, more understanding bond can emerge.

Remember, our love languages may shift, and that's okay. What matters is our willingness to adapt, understand, and make amends. Whenever you find yourself in a similar situation, remember this: it's not about defending your actions but about loving your partner enough to change and grow together.

If you're looking for more support and insights into navigating your relationships, I invite you to join our Facebook group or subscribe to our newsletter. Together, we can share experiences, offer advice, and grow stronger in our relationships.

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