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Monday, December 23, 2013

Miraculous Mondays: Part II: Can Writing a Letter Save a Marriage?

Thought for the Day: The holiday season is a hard time for couples struggling with marital difficulties. Often, even when they are past the point of no return, they delay telling the kids or making it a reality till after the holidays. Last week, I introduced you to Shelly and Tom, who were at an impasse in marriage counseling. I gave them an assignment, to write a letter to their spouse. They were to imagine that were writing to each other one year after they got divorced. They were not to discuss their letters till their next therapy session. Here's what happened. When I met with them the next week, I asked who would like to go first. Shelly deferred to Tom. 

Tom preempted his letter by saying, "I had a very hard time writing this. I put it off till yesterday because I did not know what to say." His voice wavered as he read it and fought back tears. He said he still could not believe that they were unable to work things out. "It kills me to see how angry, Tom Jr is and that his grades are falling." Molly, their 8 year old cries when she has to say goodbye after visits. Five year old, Scott, has started hitting kids in kindergarten and has nightmares. Tom wrote that he hardest thing for him is, "I miss you so much. You were not only my wife, but my best friend." He went on to tell Shelly he is not ready to date anyone, but wonders if she is. He closed the letter by saying that, "Not a day goes by when I wish I could turn back the clock and take back the actions which lead to the divorce."

As he read his letter, I watched Shelly's reaction. She was also close to tears. When Tom finished reading his letter, there was an awkward silence. Shelly took a piece of paper from her pocket and opened it slowly. She began to cry as she said, "My letter is blank. I tried to write it several times, but simply could not write a word. I don't want to face what will happen if we get divorced." She then told Tom that hearing his letter made her even more sure that she wants to find a way to work things out. She admitted that she still is having trouble accepting his infidelity and doesn't know when she will be able to trust him again, but she wants to try to make it work.

This was a turning point, I had witnessed another miraculous moment. It does not always turn out this way. Often, it does since it forces people to confront what they will be giving up and what the future may hold if they cannot reconcile their differences. 

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