I woke up in the middle of the night again. Unable to get back to sleep, I lay there and looked up at the celling through the din of a pale, moonlit room. My heart ached as it called out to you:
“Where have you gone?”
The funny thing about it all, is that you were sleeping right there. But, to my heart you were oceans, valleys and mountaintops away.
“Oh lover, why did you choose hurt?”
These questions we so want to ask when we feel like we are the ones who have been wronged. However, they are not the most important pieces to clasp when we are feeling a little crumpled by love.
If we venture into relationship, we will most likely go through a few of these rougher times. Being that we are each a work in progress, it is not going to be all sunsets and smiles—even though, hopefully, we get a lot of these!
We each come to love with our own carry-on luggage from past trips, which adds funny tangents to what could sometimes have been a clear, “I’m sorry,” followed by recovery.
When we are feeling a little shattered and our partner-trust is in need of an overhaul, it is helpful to realize there are ways that our lover can learn to hold our broken heart.
There are steps to regain trust after a lie (depending on the lie) and affection after some cold nights. For we both usually want to get back to a spot where the other’s touch sets our soul into a bonfire. It will just take a little maneuvering.
First. There must be a rendering of pieces and a gluing of parts. It takes skill to weave it all back together. One thing is for certain in a relationship: if you are the one who did the breaking, you must be the one to make the repairs, at least initially.
On the receiving end, our part is to try our best to let the wound heal. We can do this by not picking at the gash that is attempting to mend. It might be hard, because forgiveness, especially when it comes to love, is a learned response.
To continue on, we may have to teach our partner some new skills and we may have to don some extra brave ones ourselves.
It is not written into our regular curriculum at school, nor do many books or parents or friends or bosses tell us how, but there is a special way to help the heart of another mend after it has broken.
It is called compassionate love.
Compassionate love sees the pain that was caused. It recognizes that any action has a consequence, and it takes responsibility for that. To be a strong partner, you must learn to say this: “I am sorry for what I have done, and here is what I am going to do about it.”
If you have broken my heart, you must realize a few things:
1) First off, Patience.
I will be cautious of you and a little scared to trust, so patience is a necessity. Don’t give up though. Keep sending me love and appreciation. You need to retie what it is that was severed. It will take time to open the pathway to my heart.
If you have lied, I will need to know that I can trust you again. If there are things you are holding back, you need to say them now. I will be able to tell if you don’t! Honesty will gradually build faith up once more.
I need sweetness right now. I need caresses and handholding. I will require hair stroking and shoulder rubbing. Dear, if you want this heart to heal with you inside of it, this is a time to be extra kind. Notes and thoughtful gestures go a long way.
4) Reach Out.
Sometimes there is a tendency, if we are the “wounder,” to pull away because we feel so bad. Please listen, this is the wrong choice. Reach out! There is a specific window that healing occurs inside. This is the time to try to make plans together and to show that you have faith in our future.
Good, deep, meaningful love doesn’t always feel like perfection. There are moments when the choices we make will hurt the person we most care about in the whole, entire world. Unfortunately, poop happens. But, with patience, honesty, tenderness and reaching out, we may be able to repair these little holes. Depending on how big they are, they don’t have to mean the end.
For love is a beautiful and messy thing. Compassion throughout this wild journey goes a long way! I believe that it is sometimes through our mistakes that we can be each other’s best teacher.
Author: Sarah Norrad
Editor: Toby Israel
Image: Meg Cheng/Flickr