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You Can Help Your Spouse Open Up

By: Abigale Hassel 

A friend of mine recently asked me how she can help someone in whom she is interested learn to trust again. You see, he went through a very contentious divorce. She did not specify, but apparently, his ex-wife betrayed him in some way. She shared that she has watched him struggle with anger, resentment and deep hurt and all she has known to do is pray for him. She asked me how I counsel people to trust and open themselves up emotionally and how I counsel their partners who are in a relationship with them. Good questions.

For the sake of this discussion, I am going to direct my comments to those of you who are the partners of people who are closed off emotionally, who are unemotional, and/or who are untrusting. If your partner is a good person, but just does not know how to express his or her feelings, then please continue reading. Let me share that I completely understand what this is like, because my husband used to have the same difficulty with opening up and sharing his emotions with me. He was able to express his love and he was sure able to express his anger, but it was the more vulnerable emotions in between that had him stumped. He was very walled off from the emotions that he believed made him appear “weak”. After several years of maturing and hard relationship work between the two of us, he has learned what I hope to teach you all now. In a nutshell, there is nothing braver than opening yourself up, expressing your deep felt emotions and risking getting hurt in the process. This is not weakness; it is vulnerability. To be vulnerable is not weak; it is strong.

Your partner is either afraid of his or her more vulnerable emotions or he or she is unable to identify them because they have been suppressed for so long. Suppressed emotions always find their way out in some fashion and, sometimes, that way can be very detrimental to a relationship. These people use what I refer to as the anger shield. I like to use the analogy that anger acts like a suit of armor. We wear this armor to protect ourselves from the hurts of shame, guilt, sadness, rejection, and so on. The problem is that when we constantly walk around with anger armor on, we may be keeping some bad stuff out, but we are also keeping good stuff out, like love, affection, and the closeness that comes with a healthy relationship. Furthermore, the armor hides our inner most feelings from the outside world, thereby keeping us from getting the support we may really need. After all, you cannot hug a suit of metal! We have to help our partner take off that suit of armor and feel more comfortable to walk around in his or her underwear, exposed and vulnerable.

How then can we, as the partner of the armor clad person, help him or her be able to open up to us? How can we make him or her feel comfortable to walk around in his or her underwear? We do this by making it safe to be exposed. First, we lead by example. Really look at your level of personal expression of emotion. Are you able to allow yourself to be vulnerable with your partner? Are you yourself wearing an anger shield? If you are, then how can you expect your partner to take off his or hers? We must take the risk of being vulnerable ourselves so that we can show our partner he or she will be safe to do the same. If you show your spouse that you trust him or her with your inner most feelings, then your partner will eventually be able to do the same.

We must also refrain from attacking our partner when he or she finally starts removing the armor. I will share a situation with which a couple I used to counsel dealt. The husband in this case was the one who was emotionally closed off and this frustrated his wife. It took a while for him to decide that he would take the risk and attempt to express himself more. Unfortunately, his attempts were met with criticism and cynicism by his wife. She said things like, “Yes this is nice and all, but I doubt it will last.” Comments like that completely set him back and, eventually, he felt that it was not worth the effort to continue trying. People, if you see your spouse starts opening up to you, even if it is not exactly to the extent you had in mind, do not shut down the effort with criticism or skepticism. Provide positive feedback and continue to model the behavior you would like to see. Be patient but consistent and that is how change happens.

Finally, start to understand your partner’s love language. I highly recommend the book The 5 Love Languages, by Dr. Gary Chapman. According to Chapman, there are 5 primary types of love languages, which are as follows: words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, physical touch and gifts. We each have one predominant love language that we need our partner to “speak” in order for us to feel loved. We must know our own love language and we must also know our spouse’s love language, for 2 reasons. First and foremost, we need to speak it to him or her so that he or she feels loved, but we must also be able to recognize when our partner is expressing his or her love and affection. Sometimes, no words are even needed to feel your partner’s emotions. Take my husband, for example.  His primary love language is physical touch. He has no problem telling me “I love you” in words, but when he holds my hand, initiates cuddling, offers to massage my neck, hugs me tightly, and so on, that is when I feel his love the most. The point is this. Look for your partner’s emotions in other ways besides his or her words. You will be amazed at what you will find.

If you are frustrated by your partner’s armor, I want you to keep this in mind. I can almost guarantee there are emotions under the metal, probably a lot of them. To be human is to have emotions. Remember, still waters run deep. All you can do is take responsibility for your behavior. Model the behavior you would like in return, regardless of the reaction you receive. I know it is hard to open yourself up only to feel rejected or unnoticed, but someone has to take off the armor first, or else nothing will change. You may have to be the brave one and walk around in your underwear first. Little by little, you will start to see your partner’s armor coming off. Look for that in ways other than just words. Eventually, you will both be brave enough to be naked with one another and you know the fun you can have when you are naked! Be brave, be vulnerable and God bless!

Abigale Hassel

Abigale S. Hassel is a licensed Clinical Social Worker, and individual and couples counselor. MSW, LCSW, OSW-C.

**The advice provided represents the opinions of the author.  It is not to be considered therapy or professional advice of any kind.  If you require such advice, you should consult an appropriate professional.  Refer to the Marriage Rocks Website Terms and Conditions (link in page footer) for other applicable terms and conditions.**

Website: embracingthenow.com

14 comments

  • MONJAZHEL Comment Link
    MONJAZHEL
    Wednesday, 06 May 2020
    Hi Selina



    i am Montoya Jazhel from the philiphines ,i was in a big problem in my marital life so i read your testimony on how Dr Ikhide help you get your husband back and i said i will give it a try and i contacted the Dr Ikhide to help me and he promised to help me get my problem solved. now am so happy with my life because all my problems are over. Thanks to the great Dr Ikhide for the help and Thanks to you Selina.

    You can reach him with this email:- dr.ikhide@gmail.com and i promise he will not disappoint you.



    I AM SO HAPPY…… remember here is his email:- dr.ikhide@gmail.com or whatsapp :- +2349058825081















































































    Kumusta Selina



    ako si Montoya Jazhel mula sa pilipinas, ako ay nasa malaking problema sa aking buhay sa pag-aasawa kaya nabasa ko ang iyong patotoo sa kung paano tulungan si Dr Ikhide na maibalik ang iyong asawa at sinabi kong susubukan ko ito at makipag-ugnay sa Dr Ikhide upang matulungan ako at nangako siyang tulungan ako na malulutas ang aking problema. ngayon masaya ako sa aking buhay dahil ang lahat ng aking mga problema ay tapos na. Salamat sa mahusay na Dr Ikhide para sa tulong at Salamat sa iyo Selina.

    Maabot mo siya sa email na ito: - dr.ikhide@gmail.com at ipinapangako ko na hindi ka niya bibiguin.



    AKO KAYA NAKAKITA …… tandaan dito ay ang kanyang email: - dr.ikhide@gmail.com or whatsapp :- +2349058825081
  • Caroline Magdy Comment Link
    Caroline Magdy
    Friday, 20 March 2020
    Some ladies are just so heartless and wicked, Gratitude to Priest Aziba who broke the black magic spell that was placed on my man over 5 months ago, my Man started acting so arrogant,rude and shows no more love and care to neither me nor the kids, so i took to the internet to get a review of what went wrong and how i could put an end to all the dramas with him and i saw a review about a Love Dr who is specific in FAMILY REUNIONS by name PRIEST AZIBA who then discovered that my Man was placed under a black magic spell (VOODOO) by his Ex so PRIEST AZIBA broke the black magic spell (VOODOO) out from him within 48Hours and made a love spell for us to Restore the lost love we once had and over some few days ago he did the spell all has been so cool and lovely like it was from the beginning so i know lots of women has lost there home or losing it already, seat up its not too late get that divorced Marriage or broken relationship back again, fight for your home and take the step i took and i will equally write down his direct contacts so y'all who's having same issues in your home or Relationship can do like i did to fight for what's yours.
    CONTACT PRIEST AZIBA ON
    Email: priestazibasolutioncenter@gmail.com
    WhatsApp : +2348100368288
  • Caroline Magdy Comment Link
    Caroline Magdy
    Friday, 20 March 2020
    Some ladies are just so heartless and wicked, Gratitude to Priest Aziba who broke the black magic spell that was placed on my man over 5 months ago, my Man started acting so arrogant,rude and shows no more love and care to neither me nor the kids, so i took to the internet to get a review of what went wrong and how i could put an end to all the dramas with him and i saw a review about a Love Dr who is specific in FAMILY REUNIONS by name PRIEST AZIBA who then discovered that my Man was placed under a black magic spell (VOODOO) by his Ex so PRIEST AZIBA broke the black magic spell (VOODOO) out from him within 48Hours and made a love spell for us to Restore the lost love we once had and over some few days ago he did the spell all has been so cool and lovely like it was from the beginning so i know lots of women has lost there home or losing it already, seat up its not too late get that divorced Marriage or broken relationship back again, fight for your home and take the step i took and i will equally write down his direct contacts so y'all who's having same issues in your home or Relationship can do like i did to fight for what's yours.
    CONTACT PRIEST AZIBA ON
    Email: priestazibasolutioncenter@gmail.com
    WhatsApp : +2348100368288
  • Caroline Magdy Comment Link
    Caroline Magdy
    Friday, 20 March 2020
    Some ladies are just so heartless and wicked, Gratitude to Priest Aziba who broke the black magic spell that was placed on my man over 5 months ago, my Man started acting so arrogant,rude and shows no more love and care to neither me nor the kids, so i took to the internet to get a review of what went wrong and how i could put an end to all the dramas with him and i saw a review about a Love Dr who is specific in FAMILY REUNIONS by name PRIEST AZIBA who then discovered that my Man was placed under a black magic spell (VOODOO) by his Ex so PRIEST AZIBA broke the black magic spell (VOODOO) out from him within 48Hours and made a love spell for us to Restore the lost love we once had and over some few days ago he did the spell all has been so cool and lovely like it was from the beginning so i know lots of women has lost there home or losing it already, seat up its not too late get that divorced Marriage or broken relationship back again, fight for your home and take the step i took and i will equally write down his direct contacts so y'all who's having same issues in your home or Relationship can do like i did to fight for what's yours.
    CONTACT PRIEST AZIBA ON
    Email: priestazibasolutioncenter@gmail.com
    WhatsApp : +2348100368288
  • Caroline Magdy Comment Link
    Caroline Magdy
    Friday, 20 March 2020
    Some ladies are just so heartless and wicked, Gratitude to Priest Aziba who broke the black magic spell that was placed on my man over 5 months ago, my Man started acting so arrogant,rude and shows no more love and care to neither me nor the kids, so i took to the internet to get a review of what went wrong and how i could put an end to all the dramas with him and i saw a review about a Love Dr who is specific in FAMILY REUNIONS by name PRIEST AZIBA who then discovered that my Man was placed under a black magic spell (VOODOO) by his Ex so PRIEST AZIBA broke the black magic spell (VOODOO) out from him within 48Hours and made a love spell for us to Restore the lost love we once had and over some few days ago he did the spell all has been so cool and lovely like it was from the beginning so i know lots of women has lost there home or losing it already, seat up its not too late get that divorced Marriage or broken relationship back again, fight for your home and take the step i took and i will equally write down his direct contacts so y'all who's having same issues in your home or Relationship can do like i did to fight for what's yours.
    CONTACT PRIEST AZIBA ON
    Email: priestazibasolutioncenter@gmail.com
    WhatsApp : +2348100368288
  • Alicia Leonard Comment Link
    Alicia Leonard
    Tuesday, 03 March 2020
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  • Alicia Leonard Comment Link
    Alicia Leonard
    Tuesday, 03 March 2020
    Divorce and marital breakthrough save your marriage / relationship from breakup and Divorce? you can contact Dr. Raypower through email Urgentspellcast@gmail.com or call him directly or WhatsApp on +1 (424) 330-8109

    Good day everybody, My names are Alicia Leonard i am out here to spread this good news to the entire world on how I got my ex husband back. It all started when my husband cheated on me with another woman unknowing to him that the woman is a wizard, the woman castes a spell on my husband which made my husband change his feelings towards me and the kids and broke our 6 years marriage. I was confused and stressed because of the pains of being a single mother, so i called a friend and explained my marital challenges to her, she instructed and directed me to contact this great powerful spell caster called Dr. Raypower, The main reason why she instructed me to contact Dr Raypower was because in recent times she have read some testimonies on the internet which some people has written about the powerful spell caster Dr Raypower and i was so pleased and i decided to seek for assistance from him which he did a perfect job by casting a spell on my husband and utilize the powers of the other woman which made him to come back to me and beg for forgiveness. I will not stop publishing his name on the net because of the good work he is doing. To everyone with marital problem, divorce issues, lost lover or any relationship related issues, you can contact Dr. Raypower the powerful urgent spell caster via details below 
    Email: Urgentspellcast@yahoo.com or Urgentspellcast@gmail.com  
    Website: https://urgentspellcast.wordpress.com/  and   http://urgentspellcast.website2.me/ 
    Blog: https://drraypower.blogspot.com/  
    Call/WhatsApp: +1 (424) 330-8109
  • Kelvin Comment Link
    Kelvin
    Friday, 24 January 2020
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    Here’s his contact.. wealthylovespell@gmail.com or +2348105150446.
  • Elisa Keily Comment Link
    Elisa Keily
    Monday, 20 January 2020
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  • sonia garry Comment Link
    sonia garry
    Tuesday, 10 September 2019
    EFFECTIVE AND POWERFUL LOVE SPELL CASTER AND LOTTERY SPELL 2019 GBOJIESPIRITUALTEMPLE@GMAIL. COM OR WHATSAPP HIM :+2349066410185

    Hi i am from USA I have just experience the wonders of Dr. gbojie love spell, that have been spread on the internet and worldwide, How he marvelously helped people all over the world to restored back their marriage life and get back lost lovers, and also help to win lottery. I contacted him after going through so many testimonies from different people how he help to bring back ex lover back, i told him about my husband that abandoned me about 8 months ago, and left home with all i had.. Dr GBOJIE only told me to smile and have a rest of mind he will handle all in just 24 hours, After the second day my husband called me, i was just so shocked, i pick the call and couldn't believe my ears, he was really begging me to forgive him and making promises on phone.. He came back home and also got me a new car just for him to proof his love for me. i was so happy and called Dr Gbojie and thanked him, he only told me to share the good news all over the world .. Well if you need an effective and real spell caster contact Dr gbojie Via email: gbojiespiritualtemple@gmail.com, gbojiespiritualtemple@yahoo.com or Call or WhatsApp: +2349066410185
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