I wish I had a penny for every time I heard someone say, "You have no idea what it feels like to go through this! No one can possibly know the pain that I feel." Now in some ways, those statements are true. I may not ever know what pain feels like for another person. I may not be able to understand the pain of their situation or the problem they are facing. I may not feel what they are feeling at the exact moment they are feeling it. Those things are true. However, I do know what pain feels like and I do know the agony of hurt. 

For some reason we think that the pain we are going through is much worse than the pain other people feel. The truth of the matter is that pain is pain. I don't have to experience your pain to know what pain feels like. I don't have to be in your situation to know the depth of hurt. Pain is pain for all of us and no matter how wonderful or horrible life has been for you, if you have felt emotional pain, you have felt pain.  

I think where we get off track is in thinking that others can't identify with our situation unless they have actually experienced it themselves. This is true. If I have never lost a child then I will never be able to fully identify with someone who has. The only thing I can identify with is that I have felt pain in my life that has ripped away at my heart.  

This concept is true for our marriages too. Sometimes we think that our partner's emotion is not as significant as our own. We feel the hurt and the pain from our spouse's actions and think that our spouse can't possibly know what it feels like to be hurt in that way. The problem is that in most marriages we hurt each other and…… pain is pain. If I hurt you and you hurt me, who am I to say my pain is significant and yours is not (or the other way around). We have to get past this notion that what we are going through is reality and what our spouse is going through is less than reality. You see, if we don't, we stay stuck in patterns of behavior that just keep us hurting each other. Whether I realize it or not, my spouse's pain is just as hurtful as mine and once I grasp this, we can move to resolution of the matter.....to a place of forgiveness……a place where pain is soothed. 

Can you look at pain differently today? Can you ask yourself, “What pain have I caused my partner?” Take a moment to acknowledge this and see what happens next.