Repairing a Broken Relationship with Patience, Perseverance and Love
Can a broken relationship be repaired? It may seem unlikely, but with hard work and dedication, it is possible. Elaine Earl knows firsthand the implications of a communication breakdown and the work required to establish a meaningful connection.
Not so long ago Elaine’s relationship with her stepson, Ted, was struggling. Looking back, Elaine recognizes the root of the problem: “I unintentionally put distance between us; therefore, we never became very close.” Elaine hadn’t wanted to interfere with the positive father-son dynamic her husband Don had with Ted, so she chose to remain mostly silent whenever the three of them were together. But her lack of engagement with Ted was slowly fueling a tension that was bound to surface. Three years ago, when the family was gathered at Ted’s home, a controversial topic came up in conversation. Ted said something to Elaine that she viewed as an attack, and she fired back. Elaine and Don cut their trip short, leaving the next day.
A few weeks later Elaine wrote a letter to Ted and apologized for the clash. Ted was still upset. As time went by, the rift with Ted grew increasingly painful for Elaine and Don. The couple reached out to MacklinConnection for help and enrolled in a Macklin Method Workshop. “In the Workshop you learn about a man who tames wild horses by letting the horse set the pace. He waits for the horse to be comfortable enough to come to him,” explains Elaine. “MacklinConnection helped me remain patient as I worked over the next couple of years to try and repair my relationship with Ted.”
Immersing herself in the Macklin Method, Elaine felt newly motivated. She reached out to another family member who advised her to wait because Ted did not want to talk. Elaine did not give up. She wrote to Ted again to see if he was open to talking. This time he engaged, saying: “Let’s just talk about food and sports.” This was Ted setting the pace. Elaine didn’t know anything about sports but was committed to connecting meaningfully: “In the Workshop, I learned how to be more centered in a conversation, how to be a better listener and accept that everyone has their own opinions and beliefs. I wanted the chance to apply this approach to my relationship with Ted and our future conversations.”
After not seeing one another for more than two and a half years, Elaine and Don got the OK for a visit. “Right away I could sense something was different because he hugged us. He seemed to be comfortable enough to come to us,” says Elaine. “And then Don blurted out that I was learning about sports! When Ted asked why, I told him, ‘Because I want to be able to talk with you.’ He didn't say anything, but I could see his whole face soften.” Throughout the trip, Elaine could see that both she and Ted had become more open and vulnerable, which allowed them to truly communicate. “We had some of the best conversations we had ever had.”
MacklinConnection helped Elaine find her stand. A “stand,” according to the Macklin Method, determines how one acts in any given situation. “On this trip to visit Ted, my stand was that I was going to treat him as my son, and show him the love and care that I would have for my son,” says Elaine. “I was committed to giving him lots of space and asking him questions.”
Elaine’s story is testament to the transformative power of effective communication and the importance of establishing solid, trusting relationships. The tools and resources provided in the Macklin Method Workshop offer the potential to mend ties and change lives through communication: “Having this skill set will improve your relationships with anyone in your life. You just have to be willing to learn it and use it.”