Ask Mary Jo: Opening up to a friend & forgiveness from spouse

Hi Mary Jo,

How do you open up to a friend about something deep that you need to share with them?



If you’re a person who keeps personal things private, it’s really difficult to open up and share something, especially when it’s something that makes you feel vulnerable or you’re concerned how your friend will react. It’s best if you go over what you want to say so you feel more confident when you talk to your friend. The following suggestions will help:

  1. Give yourself permission to be vulnerable. No one expects you to be perfect. If it’s someone you trust, confiding in them about a deep issue will bring them closer to you.
  2. Give them notice you want to talk. Set up a get together in a quiet, calming place.
  3. State your concerns up front. If you’re worried they will judge you or not understand why it affects you, tell them your fears up front. An example of this would be, “I hope as you listen to this you won’t judge me harshly or think less of me.” This helps the listener understand what you feel insecure about.
  4. After sharing, ask for feedback. Whatever they tell you guard it with the same confidence and reassurance you expect from them. Work towards creating a safe place for the two of you to be honest with your feelings. That safe place is what keeps friendship tight and sacred and so important to one’s mental health.

Hi Mary Jo,

I have a lovely wife of many years, and recently we had a “befuffle” major. How do you know if you’re ever truly forgiven?



I don’t know what happened, but you told me you had made a big mistake that betrayed your wife’s trust in you. In order to move forward and feel forgiven, you’ll have to help rebuild her trust in you and the marriage again. From this point forward whenever she doesn’t hear from you or she suspects you of a lie, she will have to relive the trauma of the incident again. Therefore, it’s your job to help her feel safe and secure. You can do this by engaging in these behaviors:

  1. Make sure you leave no gaps in your relationship. Answer all texts, phone calls, and communication whenever your wife calls. No more excuses for why you didn’t get back to her. It will push her panic button and make her suspicious all over again.
  2. For healing to happen, you have to become the protector of the relationship. This means no blurred boundaries; put your wife at the center at all times. She is your number one priority.
  3. Let there be no secrets between the two of you. Share all passwords, phones, and anything else you use to keep separate from her.
  4. Find a counselor and engage in marital therapy and retreats. If you are members of a church, talk to your pastor about marriage retreats. They are helpful and encourage healing from past mistakes.

Remember that trust is the foundation of your marriage. Once trust is broken, it takes years to heal. If your spouse is able to forgive you, then live your life with the purpose of being the best spouse you can be. Mistakes happen; forgiveness is a gift we give to ourselves and each other.