“What is one of your biggest challenges in your marriage?” I asked a newly married young woman.
“Learning to communicate. Neither one of us learned how to do that very well.”
“What happens?” I inquired to understand a little more.
“I have a tendency to withdraw when I’m hurt rather than talk about it.”
This is a common reaction in relationships whether it’s in marriage, family or friendships. The problem with this approach is that hurt feelings don’t go away, they get buried alive. If they are not dealt with, they will cause stress and even illness or come out in a destructive way to the relationship.
What to do then when you are hurt?
7 Tips to Deal with Hurts in a Healthy Way
- Take some time to figure out what about the interaction hurt you. If it is something minor, you can address it immediately. If it is something bigger or you lack courage, you may need some quiet time to process your thoughts and feelings. Once you know what hurt or offended you, you can better share it.
- Press past into the fear. It takes courage to share your feelings especially if you are not used to doing so. Courage is not the absence of fear but the willingness to do it despite them. The more you do what you fear, the stronger you become.
- Look for an appropriate time to share your thoughts and feelings with the other person.
- Don’t be accusatory. They may not have meant to hurt you purposefully. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
- Take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings. One way to share them with the other person is to say, “When you did or said this, I felt hurt.” Check out the post on talking and sharing feelings for more tips.
- Keep it simple and to the point and don’t bring up a lot of other issues at the same time.
- Let it go. Don’t continue to harp on it. If the situation comes up again, you can address it each time.
Sometimes the person will receive your thoughts and feelings and sometimes not. I have found regardless of their response, once I share, it helps me to let go of the hurt or offense. I can then forgive and go on. It’s not my responsibility to change the other person.
Sharing your feelings is healthy for you, the other person and the relationship. Withdrawal hinders close relationships. When you bring things into the light, you come closer to the person, your load is lighter and you find more peace.
“If your brother sins against you,go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.” Matthew 18:15 (NIV 1984) Remember that the definition for sin is simply to “miss the mark.” It means to fall short of what the best thing would have been to do.
How about you? Can you relate to this? What do you do? Share your thoughts in the comments below.