5 Ways To Heal Your Marriage After Illness Or Trauma (& Move On With Your Life)

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how to heal marriage

Relax! You two can get through this.

There are many support systems and resources for healing our bodies from physical trauma and medical conditions.

However, not much attention is given to how long it takes to heal a marriage or readjust and reconnect to our lives after surviving a stressful situation or physical trauma. While most trauma symptoms gradually fade as you process the event, the disruption in your life from a trauma or disease can be massive, coming in waves — particularly in response to triggers, such as reminders or an anniversary of the event.

You have to put all your energy into healing your body and mind. It is a very inner-directed process. When you have survived that, God willing, you are expected to resume your life as before.

However, much has been lost during that time that must be rejuvenated and recharged. Even when the traumatic event does not include death, there is an experience of grief and loss. In her landmark book, On Death and Dying, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross notes that it generally takes an entire year and many hours of tears to go through the grieving process. 

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Of course, there is the obvious need to re-organize your home and work life and environment. Make sure to give yourself time to do this and not to be too hard on yourself when it doesn't all work out smoothly at first. It may be helpful to ask a friend or hire someone to help you with the process. 

Just as crucial as managing your physical space is the need to reconnect with your relationships and learn how to heal your marriage.

During the time of illness and healing, you need to pull into yourself and focus on building up and maintaining energy and strength to get well. That is a very individual and inner-directed process, which is necessary at that time.

You may assume that you can go right back into your relationships and resume them immediately as before. But there has been a change during that time, and you and your partner, your spouse, your friends have moved in their own direction, as well.

We have found in our own life after going through Phyllis's recovery from a medical condition that lasted several months — as well as in seeing couples who have experienced similar things — that it takes focusing on redirecting your energy back into the relationship. It's almost like there needs to be a grieving process that acknowledges the time that was given and lost to dealing with the illness, the journey of coming to acceptance of that, and then the process of re-creating your couple as a priority again.

The good news is that going through the grieving creates space to create something new. 

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Here are 5 ways you can heal your marriage after trauma or illness:

  • Take some time to talk about what you have both experienced during the time of the illness.
  • Set aside time to re-organize your schedules together.
  • Talk about what each of you has been missing and what you need now; make clear requests of each other.
  • See a professional counselor together or individually, and share with each other what you are feeling.
  • Take some time to go away together, even if for just a few days. You have probably missed several of your vacation times during the illness, and you need to make up for that loss. Think of it as an opportunity to work from a blank canvas with open space to create something new. 

As soon as Phyllis was able to travel, we took some timeshare points we had not been able to use and went to a new place close by together for a few days. It was as exciting and rejuvenating as if we had gone to some faraway exotic place! Even if you cannot travel, you could plan your own "couple retreat" by setting aside a day or two to stay at home together sitting by the fire, going on walks, watching a good movie and rekindling your physical intimacy. This might be a nice thing to do at any time! 

Finally, remember to commit again to your relationship and to the life you love.

It is not lost! It just needs to be renewed and rejuvenated. That kind of recommitment is something to do every so often no matter what life brings.

Some adversity is a natural part of life. You do not need to be stopped by feelings of resignation or despair. Every adversity is an opportunity for developing resilience and rediscovering yourself and your relationships. Use the ten R's to help you remember how to get there! 

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If you want help recovering from the stress or trauma in your relationship, contact us to set up a consult or couple intensive by calling our office at 434-971-4701 or emailing us at sherfam@aol.com or through our website www.couplepower.com.