Commit to the Process

More times than I care to admit, I see couples falter and squabble over whether or not to save the marriage, and I think that is putting the cart way before the horse.

Early on, the fight shouldn’t be whether or not to save the marriage. The fight should be over whether or not we are going to commit to the process. Through the process you will eventually decide on whether or not to save the marriage or go separate ways. Trying to grind it out on your own is guaranteed disaster. Or getting help from someone who has never gone through it before who can’t understand either side with any significance, professionalism or expertise is also going to guarantee frustration.

If there was one hang up Samantha and I had when we first started out in our recovery, it was that we didn’t understand we needed to be faithful to the process. The process hurts. The process is tough. The process will wear you both out for sure. But it’s a process. It’s designed to get at what needs to be gotten after (as we say in Texas). If it’s not “gotten after” it will for sure, one day, get after you.

From personal experience, I assure you this is the case.

Early on, one must commit to the process. That process is not staying or going in the marriage, per se. It’s not deciding right now what we must do ultimately, but committing to a process, however long. This involves getting the right help to decide what we are going to do to ensure little to no regrets (although in life, I have learned there will always be regrets and the best we can hope to do is minimize them with all our might).

If we can commit to the process and THEN make a decision, it will help alleviate the trauma and pain of the decision-making process and ensures you are committing to getting healthy first and foremost. Some just don’t want to get healthy, and I will give you that. But many do, and just don’t know how to get there. A proven process is the right next step to decide what is best for you, your spouse, kids, and all other valid concerns regarding the marriage.

Once Samantha and I committed to the process and allowed the process to begin to work, we gained momentum and understanding in a way that changed our daily interaction by as much as 50%. We also began to shift our expectations of the entire process. We realized Samantha needed time to go through her grieving and hurting, and I needed time to get reprogrammed in terms of shame, guilt, grief and pride. (And honestly, my pride took longer to understand than almost anything.)

It wasn’t going to be easy, but we finally knew it was part of what needed to happen and we were no longer surprised by it. We understood it. We embraced it. We allowed it to work and bring clarity and healing throughout the timeline we gave.

Samantha gave it a year to see if I would do what Rick said I needed to do and put into practice the lifestyle changes that needed to happen. Within 8 months she would tell me that she never thought I could change the way I had changed, and that she wanted to remain married to me. Watching me begin to “get it” and implementing what I was learning through the process helped give her security and understanding. She felt safe, and was changing in her own right as well. That is part of what the process is meant to deliver if restoration is possible.

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