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Home » Blogs » Building Relationship Skills » It’s Never Too Late 
to Repair Damaged Trust

It’s Never Too Late 
to Repair Damaged Trust

There is no statute of limitations regarding hurt feelings or wounded trust. The bad news is that the pain of unfinished business can continue for years; the good news is that it’s never too late to heal old wounds, even if they happened long ago.

Rose was sixty-nine and Harry was seventy-eight when he suffered a serious heart attack. For nearly two years, Rose devoted herself to Harry’s recovery. They both agreed that her devoted care literally saved his life. However, in the process of being Harry’s caretaker, Rose had overextended herself and was suffering from “compassion fatigue.” Shortly after Harry’s recovery, Rose fell into ill health and became depressed. She and Harry had been partners in a successful business, and now they were facing the possibility of losing it due to their deteriorating health. Not yet ready to transition into retirement, they both kept struggling to save the business, despite Rose’s unhappiness, exhaustion, and growing resentment.

Harry welcomed the opportunity to reciprocate Rose’s devotion, and he threw himself into caring for her as his strength slowly returned. Things, however, did not go according to plan. Rose didn’t trust the depth of Harry’s feelings for her. She feared that if she really needed him, he wouldn’t be there for her. As a result, Harry often felt that in Rose’s eyes he couldn’t do anything right, and he was frustrated that his efforts didn’t succeed in making her happy. Rose acknowledged that they had never created a foundation of deep intimacy in their marriage, and she feared it was too late.

Together, they decided to seek couple counseling. Harry learned to be more responsive to Rose and more patient with himself. Rather than argue with her, which had fueled a power struggle, he committed himself to demonstrating his love and gratitude, regardless of how it might be received. As a way of showing his love, Harry came every week to either couple or individual therapy sessions. He also shopped, cooked, and told Rose that he loved her each day. He searched for prospective buyers for their business, took her to Hawaii, listened patiently to her distress, and became less reactive to her outbursts and criticisms. He even cooked chicken soup for the first time in his life!

Harry and Rose had not had an active sex life for six years. His snoring and tossing and turning had led them to sleep in separate rooms. They agreed to try a ritual of lying down beside each other in bed to be close before going to their separate rooms. Gradually, a feeling of kindness and gentleness came back into their marriage. Over the months, their intimacy grew. Rose eventually accepted Harry’s efforts and softened into her love for him. The months of focused attention to their relationship paid off with a sweetness and trust greater than anything they had previously known. In their sunset years, they developed the love they had always longed for.

 

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It’s Never Too Late 
to Repair Damaged Trust

Bloomwork

Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW are considered experts in the field of relationships. They have been married since 1972. They have both been trained as seminar leaders, therapists and relationship counselors and have been working with individuals, couples, and groups since 1975. They have been featured presenters at numerous conferences, universities, and institutions of learning throughout the country and overseas as well. They have appeared on over two hundred radio and TV programs. Linda and Charlie are co-authors of the widely acclaimed books: 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last (over 100,000 copies sold) Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love, and Happily Ever After...and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams. The Blooms are excited to announce the release of their fourth book, That Which Doesn't Kill Us: How One Couple Became Stronger at the Broken Places. They live in Santa Cruz, California, near their two children and three grandchildren. To view our upcoming events and to sign up for our free newsletter, visit our website at: www.Bloomwork.com


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APA Reference
Bloom, L. (2018). It’s Never Too Late 
to Repair Damaged Trust. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 17, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/relationship-skills/2018/07/its-never-too-late-%e2%80%a8to-repair-damaged-trust/

 

Last updated: 13 Nov 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Nov 2018
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.