Pardon the delay between Steps 3.3 and 3.4. Back on track now…
We shared four of the steps for reconciliation in previous blogs. We conclude now with steps 4, 5, and 6. If you put all the blogs together, you have one of the most effective ways to reconcile — or help others reconcile — available today. No brag meant. Instead this is based on great research.
Step Four: Reverse the negative cascade
Reconciliation cannot occur…and will ultimately fail…if each of you continue to employ the actions or patterns of communication that led to the problem. Anger, biting words, sarcasm, criticism, blaming, and the like will lead to more problems and keep you from healing your relationship from the existing problem. Rather than repeatedly hashing out the past that was bad, spend time focusing on the past that was good. Together remember and talk about the good times you’ve had.
Learn to talk with each other, not at each other, or about each other.
Step Five: Deal with failures
Failures are inevitable. Asking for or granting forgiveness does NOT make either person perfect from that point on. Eventually one, or both, will do or say something stupid, hurtful, or extremely selfish. If a stumble occurs, don’t think that means that nothing has changed. People take time to change old habits. While it is possible that one or both may revert to bad behavior, don’t automatically assume that when one of you messes up.
Concentrate on progress in your relationship rather than focusing on imperfections or failures. You’ve heard the old saying, “three steps forward and two steps back.” Sometimes life is like that. If you focus on the “two steps back” you’ll not realize the major significance of that residual one step forward. If you reward the right behavior in each other, that behavior will be repeated. Point out the things done well. Give affirmation for the progress. Be determined to proceed to great success, remembering that all great successes come with patience, time, and work.
Be aware that you, too, are imperfect and sometimes fail. If you wish to be realistic, pay more attention to fixing your flaws than to fixing the flaws in the other person.
Step Six: Actively build love
Avoid devaluing behaviors. Don’t put each other down. Don’t be hard to live with. Don’t be conceited, “holier than thou,” or anything else that makes you appear to be selfish and uncaring. Treat each other with care, courtesy, and love.
Increase behaviors that communicate value to the partner. Show him or her how valuable they are to you. Go the second mile. Don’t worry that you may give more than the other. Through reciprocity, you likely will witness the other person going the second mile for you as well.
Add these steps to the ones from previous blogs and you can reconcile, no matter how deep the hurt.