Are times of busyness, like the holiday season, a distraction or a diversion? In other words, does it bless your marriage to have a momentary change of course, or does it harm your marriage by derailing your healing process? In our marriage, I have seen both, and it is so important to manage this idea with care. So what's the difference between a distraction and a diversion?
During times when our calendar becomes more and more overloaded, it has sometimes hampered our healing because it doesn't leave time for the necessary conversations and quiet moments. Early in our healing process, if we got so busy that it prevented us from communicating about our burdens, it would really set us back emotionally. All of a sudden, our dialogue was off-track. We got sidelined, and that's not good. Take a holiday for example -- the victim of infidelity may often feel like they can't talk about their sorrows because they don't want to spoil the mood of the occasion. This is counter-intuitive though, because holding those thoughts or fears in makes them turn toxic, only to come out magnified at a later time.
Don't bottle it up and don't sweep it under the rug. If your marriage is having issues, you should always be able to find the time to discuss it. If you are with family for the holidays, step out for a bit to have some alone time. If you can't comfortably talk out loud with family near, text or write one another. Do whatever it takes to keep the cogs of communication turning. To the victims of an affair: we know your pain doesn't take a day off, and your marriage's healing process shouldn't either.
DiversionFor some couples, a temporary change of pace can be a beautiful thing. If we are not careful, our whole lives can become consumed by the sorrow of our past. There's got to be more than never-ending convalescence. You can bring peace to your marriage by simply providing a new focal point for your time together -- don't just stew on your past, do something. Make your marriage more than a place of sorrow.
The power of diversion is a huge reason why we think it's important for couples in healing to create new memories together. Take trips, try new things, share experiences. Your marriage may feel defined by infidelity, but it doesn't have to be. In fact, for you to truly find reconciliation, you have to one day allow your marriage to blossom beyond what you're dealing with now. You need a marriage that points to something higher. Focusing inward forever will weaken you.
Does your marriage need a diversion, or does it need to avoid the dangers of distraction? That's the question to answer. Perhaps you need to walk into the holidays with a strategy in place. Either you need to plan on communicating despite the odds, or you need to let the tide of this season just sweep you away for a bit. Find out what your marriage needs and embrace it wholeheartedly.
I have a challenge for you today. If you are reading this and you don't know where you stand, share this article with your spouse right now and just simply tell them, "I want to talk about this. I want to have clarity." No matter where your relationship stands right now, it will be strengthened by the communication that will come from this much-needed conversation. Happy Holidays, and we'll see you in the new year.
You are reading The Meaning of Repentance, a blog about The Hartsfields and their journey to recovery from infidelity. We encourage you to subscribe via e-mail for regular updates or follow us on Facebook!