Hate is a strong emotion; it’s intense and passionate. But, we can also define love, especially in its initial stage, using the same words. So, it makes sense how those emotions can quickly turn from love to hate, given the right circumstances. But what can you do when your spouse hates you? How can you overcome hate from your spouse? Is your marriage over? No, most definitely not. But it is a long process that takes patience and consistency. We will give you some key points on what you can do to start bringing love back into your marriage on this episode of Relationship Radio.
How Did Our Marriage Turn To Hate?
Marriages are a delicate balance. While there may be many reasons your relationship has deteriorated into hate, the most common we deal with is because of infidelity. The anger your spouse feels after discovering your affair can manifest in many forms ranging from cold hate to hot hate. Having initial feelings of hatred in this situation is a normal psychological response.
Conversely, there could be hate from the person who had an affair. The cheating spouse could be so infatuated, or in limerence, as we call it, that they develop hatred towards their spouse. This hate springs from the feeling that their spouse is preventing them from committing to their new limerent partner. This anger can be confusing to their spouse, who might not even realize there has been infidelity yet.
No matter which partner is angry, the steps to recover love are the same. Dr. Robert Sternberg writes that there are three roots of love – intimacy, passion, and commitment. Similarly, those same three emotions are the roots of hate.
Intimacy brings feelings of closeness and attachment with another person; it strengthens your bond with each other. Intimacy is the defining factor between compassionate love and a passionate one, like your marriage. When there is a lack of intimacy, those bonds begin to weaken, allowing infidelities to happen. Passion can boil down to excitement, sexual feelings, or in its hate form, anger. Commitment is a promise, such as your vows to your spouse. It takes time for you to decide to make that long-term commitment, just as it will take time to repair it once it’s broken.
Perception Is Reality
Your spouse perceives you and your love for them based on stories that they have of you in their mind. Those stories are built from the experiences you have together and can be interpreted differently by each of you. A positive experience to you might have been neutral or bad in your spouse’s mind. Right or wrong, whatever they perceive is their reality.
If you’ve cheated on your spouse, the current story that’s being written is a negative one. Once enough of those negative stories build-up, their mind can begin to rewrite even the positive ones in a bad light. All the good times that you shared can be pushed aside and replaced by negative ones. So the first step in rebuilding love in your relationship is to start building more positive stories with your spouse.
This can be a challenging task if you have limited access to your spouse at this time. They will often want space to process the affair and might very well say they never want to see you again. Do not panic if that’s the case. This process takes patience and consistency. Take any opportunity given to start building new stories. An example of this would be if you only see your spouse when you exchange visitation for your kids, make that a positive experience, and don’t push to work on other issues.
Demonstrate Change Through Consistency
While you are the primary source of the stories in your spouse’s head, there can be others that influence them as well. People such as their parents, friends, coworkers, and others might be feeding into their negative stories of you. It could be as simple as them voicing their opinion that you’ll never change, or they could be retelling negative stories from their interactions with you. While that might make the situation more complicated, it doesn’t change how you should handle it.
You can’t force your spouse to change their perception of you. Trying to convince them that their perception of you is wrong or arguing that they are misremembering facts will only have the opposite effect. The only real thing you can do is learn from anything you did in the past and then change your behavior for the future so they can hopefully write positive stories about you going forward.
You should admit your wrong-doing, any of your flaws, the times you’ve mistreated them in the past, and apologize. But be careful not to take the apologizing to the extreme. Apologizing constantly and for every small thing can reinforce your spouse’s perception that you’re a terrible person. While it’s essential to admit your mistakes, apologize for them once and move forward. Hold respect for yourself, but commit to changing for the better.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Hate is a parallel to love. While the situation might seem dire now, you can absolutely turn the hate in your marriage back to love again. You can’t force the change to happen; you can only do the things needed to prove to your spouse that you have changed. Patience and consistency are the keys to making this happen. Show your spouse by your consistent actions that they can trust you again and start to repair your marriage.
Marriage Helper is here to give any assistance that we can in this process. You can look at all of our courses here, and explore our workshop for marriages in trouble here. We also recommend you look at our course, “Why Does My Spouse Hate Me?”. That toolkit has seven different videos explaining different aspects and dimensions of hate. We also discuss how that hate comes from the negation of intimacy, passion, and commitment.
Contact us today so we can help you put your marriage back on the LovePath.
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