Recovery Tools: Love Kindlers and Extinguishers– Why They Are Important [Podcast]

During the month of June, we are going to explore the tools that a couple can use to reconcile their marriage after an affair.

So in this week’s episode, we discuss Love Kindlers and Love Extinguishers–but rather than going over the list (we have plenty of articles and blogs from the past for that), this time we’re discussing WHY they are important, and how to use them at the beginning of reconciliation.

URL’s IN THIS PODCAST:

Love Kindlers-What Are They?
http://affaircare.com/articles/love-kindlers-what-are-they/

Love Kindlers Quiz:
http://form.jotform.us/form/40890590616156

Blog posts about Love Kindlers:
http://affaircare.com/category/love-kindlers/

Love Extinguishers-What Are They?
http://affaircare.com/articles/love-extinguishers-what-are-they/

Love Extinguishers Quiz:
http://form.jotform.us/form/40181103830137

Blog Posts about Love Extinguishers:
http://affaircare.com/category/love-extinguishers/

Please join us next week as we continue our June series reviewing tools you can use to recover after an affair. Next week we will be discussing one of my favorite tools: the Myers-Briggs Personality Quiz, and why it’s so important to reconciliation!

Who do men and women have affairs with? Why do they have affairs?

An interesting infographic based on a poll, conducted by YouGov on behalf of The Sun:

affairs_3322099b

Women have their affairs with “friends” (55%) and with work colleagues (32%).

Men have their affairs with work colleagues (45%), “friends” (32%) and strangers (28%)!

affairs3

According to the same poll, women have their affairs almost equally becasue they felt flattered by the attention and because they felt emotionally disconnected in their marriage!

Men have their affairs pretty equally for three reasons: flattered by the attention, emotionally disconnected in their marriage, and dissatisfied with their sex life in their marriage.

What can we learn about infidelity from this poll?

Is Abuse Grounds for Divorce? [Podcast]

ABUSE: “An ongoing pattern of behavior designed to control, manipulate and subjugate another that usually occurs behind closed doors.”

The word abuse has taken many meanings over time, and now is used to describe the mistreatment or misuse of virtually anything. People having an affair use “abuse” as a justification for their choices; people who’s spouse had an affair use “abuse” as a reason for their anger.

So in this week’s episode, we discuss what abuse is, what the Bible has to say about abuse, how we (Christians) are supposed to address it, types of abuse, and whether or not abuse an acceptable reason for divorce.

1. What does the Bible say?

Let’s be clear. Scripture reveals that the marriage relationship is to reflect Christ’s relationship with his church—one of sacrificial love. A wife is called to respond to her husband’s biblical headship, not to his destructive and sinful behavior, just as the wife’s mandate is to respect her husband.

The Bible condemns violence and violent men

The word “man” here does not mean husbands only or even males necessarily, but HUMANS. A wife can also be abusive!

Many passages in the Bible speak out on the issue of violence, and GOD’s attitude toward those that repeatedly use violence:

Psalms 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

Zephaniah 1:9 In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit.

Psalms 37:9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.

Malachi 2:16-17 “I hate […] a man’s covering his wife with violence, as well as with his garment.” says the Lord Almighty….”You have wearied the Lord with your words.” “How have we wearied him?” you ask. By saying “all who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased with them,” or “Where is the God of justice?”. (NIV)

Scripture also shows us that the very words we speak can be considered as a form of violence:

Proverbs 10:6 Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.

Proverbs 10:11 The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.

Matthew 5:21,22 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire

As followers of Christ we are encouraged to consider everything we say to one another, whether it stands the test of being for the benefit of the hearer – verbal abuse surely does not qualify:

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

James 3:10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

2. How are we (Christians) supposed to address abuse?

Firstly, the Church – and each individual follower of Christ – has a responsibility to offer comfort and help to those who are oppressed (by their partner), needy (of reassurance and protection), weak (due to the constant onslaught of abuse) and in distress. Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 12:12; Hebrews 13:3; Isaiah 1:17; Proverbs 31:9; Jeremiah 22:3; Genesis 42:21; Isaiah 35:3,4

Secondly, the Church also has a responsibility to hold the abuser accountable, to admonish him, to judge (that is, to investigate and discern right from wrong) and to encourage the abuser to change his/her ways: Romans 15:14; James 5:19,20; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 1 Corinthians 6:1-3

Thirdly, the manner in which the abuser is to be admonished (i.e. the spirit in which to approach him/her) is also spelled out for us Not one of us is perfect – our aim is not to condemn the person – whom Christ has called – but to condemn the actions, and try to encourage recognition of the sin, repentance and a change in ways: 2 Thessalonians 3:15; Galatians 6:1; Luke 15:7
3. What are the different Types of Abuse?

Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Emotional/Mental Abuse, Verbal Abuse, Financial Abuse

Types of abuse http://affaircare.com/types-of-abuse/

Examples of Abuse http://affaircare.com/examples-of-abuse/
4. Sooo…is abuse an acceptable reason for divorce?

The Bible gives two acceptable reasons for divorce: the first is abandonment of a Christian by an unbelieving spouse (1 Corinthians 7:15), and the second is adultery (Matthew 5:32). Although God allows divorce in these circumstances, He does not command it. It is far better, in the case of infidelity, for two Bible-believing Christians to reconcile, extending the forgiveness and love that God freely gives us. However, in abusive situations, the circumstances are far different. While reconciliation with an abusive partner would be wonderful, it depends completely on the abuser proving his or her reliability, which could take years—if it happens at all—never on the abused party.

So abuse is not adultery. But if you initiate separation for saftey and then go through the steps of Matthew 18 to admonish a sinning brother or sister, and they refuse to repent, then Matthew 18 tells us they are considered a non-believer. And if they refuse to stop abusing, they have already abandoned the marriage.

5 Tools to Help You Decide If You Should Stay or Go [Podcast]

“Should I stay in my marriage? Or should I go?” “Can God even restore my marriage?” “How am I supposed to know if I should stand or divorce?”

These are questions that people ask us every day, and the same questions that keep Loyal Spouse’s stuck in limbo–sometimes for years!

We aren’t going to tell you what to do–you two are both adults and personally responsible for your choices. If you choose to stay, do so because you have made a decision to stand firm and then stand firm. If you choose to go, do so because the natural consequence of adultery is breaking the marriage covenant. Thus, if the adulterer BROKE it, they would have to be the one to REPAIR IT by coming to themselves and truly repenting. If they don’t, then divorcing is just one of the natural consequences of the choice that they made to break the marriage covenant.

In the end, the decision is yours and you will reap both the benefits and pay the costs of whatever you choose. EVERY choice–every decision–has both a benefit and a cost, and usually people make their choices because ‘the perceived benefit’ is more valuable than ‘the perceived cost.’ Now we all know that people are sinful and that the qualities that sinful people value are not the qualities that bring glory and honor to God! Thus, a selfish person may “value” the ego-boosting flattery of opposite sex attention over the godly commitment to the spouse of their youth.

So since we are not going to tell you what to decide, how about if we look at what the Bible tells us and help you to figure out how to make your own decision?

1. What did Jesus say about Divorce? Well…let’s look! Matthew 19:3-9

“Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

So straight from Jesus’ mouth, He says you CAN divorce for sexual immorality–that is to say, you are ‘allowed’–but notice that He doesn’t say you MUST. It’s not a commandment. So if you don’t want to divorce after your spouse is unfaithful, God doesn’t require it of us, but He does allow divorce for that one exception: sexual immorality.

Also note, that in these verse, Jesus says that divorce is permitted because of the hardness of the heart. When someone is unfaithful and refuses to end their affair, they harden their heart and DECIDE to commit infidelity. When someone has an unfaithful spouse who just will not end their adultery, eventually they harden their heart and DECIDE they can’t take it anymore. In these verses, Jesus acknowledges that people divorce because their heart hardens. Nonetheless, in the case of sexual immorality, divorce is a moral option.

2. “Can God Restore My Marriage?”  Obviously God CAN restore–He has the ability to do anything. He is God! He can choose to suspend the law of gravity or choose to make the sun stand still if He wills! So the question is not “CAN God restore this marriage?” but rather “Will He? Is it His will?” It can feel very difficult to determine God’s will sometimes, but knowing God’s will is not some enigmatic hocus pocus only revealed to the special, ultra-holy through some mysterious Spirit. One of the best suggestions I can give you to decide what IS and IS NOT God’s will is to read the Bible. The more you read the Bible, the more you have the opportunity to get to know God’s mind. The more you know God mind, and what He has commanded us to do, and what pleases Him that He would like us to do, and what HE is like, and what qualities HE finds admirable…why the easier it is to determine if something is God’s will or not!

One thing I can say that will help is that God is utterly, 100%, always consistent. He does not tell us to be one way in the Old Testament and then change His mind and tell us to be the opposite way in the New Testament. So one easy way to tell if something is God’s will is that if there is something in the Bible that says ____ does not please God, then He will not have us do that displeasing thing! As an example, I’ve heard of married people who are in some ministry together at church, and they are unfaithful and claim that [quote]”God WANTED them to commit adultery so they could be together and serve Him in this ministry.”[end quote] No He didn’t. Affairs and sexual immorality displease God-period. He would not want us to have an affair in order to minister to Him!!

I’ll give one more example that will help demonstrate how reading the Bible can clarify if you should stay or go. Let’s say you were ‘young and foolish’ and married a non-christian even though you are a Christian and God clearly tells us that we should marry other Christians (II Cor. 6:14). So you rebelled, made a vow, and intended to keep it–but your non-christian spouse had an affair, refuses to end the affair, and wants to leave you. You can know God’s will because of I Cor. 7: 15

“But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.”

3. What about forgiveness? Many times people think that “forgiveness” means “forgetting” or “approving” — and nothing could be further from the truth. We are never, ever told to approve of known sin, nor to just forget about it as if it never happened. What ARE we told about forgiveness then? Well let’s look at Luke 17:3-4

“So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

The “forgiveness verses” command us to forgive, even up to seven times in one day…but when does it become a command? These two verses tell us the exact order in which we are to do things:

  1. they sin
  2. we rebuke them (“rebuke” here means “I value you so much that I’m going to guide you back into doing the right thing”)
  3. they COME TO THEMSELVES and repent (180 degrees different)…
  4. THEN we must forgive.

If they sin, and truly repent–even 7 times in one day–we are told we MUST forgive, so that is when it becomes a commandment. But what if they don’t “come to themselves” or repent? What if they don’t act and think 180 differently and stop their sin? Do we have to forgive then? It doesn’t say we MUST–but it also doesn’t say we shouldn’t if we want to. So we are allowed to forgive even if they don’t ask!

So we are still not going to tell you what to decide. Instead we pray that this look at what the Bible tells us has helped you to figure out how to make your own decision.

4. What are you committed to? Marriage is an entity established by God in which two people commit to treating the other with love as long as they live. Put another way, the vows promise to forsake all others and to ACT in a loving way toward your spouse–which means getting to know your spouse so intimately that you learn what means “I love you” to them–and then you agree to DO THAT for them as long as you are alive! Nowhere in the marriage covenant is there a mention of “as long as I’m happy” or “as long as it’s easy” and yet in reality many people do place a commitment to their own happiness ahead of their commitment to their spouse. Sadly, many people put their commitment to ease ahead of the covenant they made before God to put the effort into loving their spouse!

So one way you can decide whether to Stay or Go…is to consider “What are you committed to?” I realize that your own spouse may not be living up to their commitment, but your spouse isn’t here and you are. What are YOU committed to? Honoring your promise? Forsaking all others? Acting in love? -OR- Your own happiness? Deuteronomy 23:23 is the verse upon which Affaircare is built:

“Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the LORD your God with your own mouth.”

5. But what if there is addiction or abuse?  If there is physical abuse, you get to safety first, and then decide if you should ‘stay or go.’ In the instance of physical abuse, I don’t know of a Bible verse that requires someone to part from their spouse, but we can logically deduce that God would want us to take care of our saftey, and thus it’s just wisdom to be apart from the person who is physically harming you or the children.

But what about addictions or “emotional abuse”? These are justifications that people often use as a reason to leave a marriage. Well, those are serious, deeply painful issues that are going to harm the marriage, but there is no requirement to physically move apart from each other. In fact, I do see several instances of marriage in the Bible that were “difficult marriages” and when the person stayed and honored their vow despite the difficulty, God was pleased. That being said, if you are staying because you “hope” that “this time it will be different” or “this time s/he means it” just bear in mind that YOU can not change anyone other than yourself–and for an addict of any kind or an abuser to want to change of their own free will, there usually has to be a foundation-rocking-event that makes ‘changing’ less painful than ‘staying the same.’

So rather than “hoping” that your addicted or abusive spouse will change (which would make the marriage better, no doubt!), I would challenge you to focus on the person you CAN change, and that’s YOU!! Look in the mirror and examine what things you are doing to enable the addiction and stop doing the enabling. Examine yourself and discover the ways you are interacting with your spouse to allow abuse–for example, if they do “dance step #1” of the same old song and dance, do you do “dance Step #2” and play into the pattern? What if you stopped doing “dance step #2” and did something completely opposite instead? Are you covering for the abuse and mopping up after the destruction? What if you called it by name and let them deal with the fallout? In other words, this is not about “blaming the victim” but rather looking at changing the dynamic and changing YOURSELF so you are a more godly person.

URL’s in this podcast:

The Affaircare Blog
http://affaircare.com/

Ask Affaircare: Should I Stay or Go? Can God Restore This Marriage?
http://affaircare.com/2015/05/13/ask-affaircare-should-i-stay-or-go-can-god-restore-this-marriage/

Please join us next week as we continue our “series” for the month of May just discussing topics about infidelity that we find a little intriguing! Next week we will be discussing the music that can help in the 3 phases of recovery after an affair!  We would LOVE it if you’d tell us about the songs that meant something to you as you were dealing with the infidelity!

Ask Affaircare: Should I Stay or Go? Can God Restore This Marriage?

AskAffaircare

The Ask Affaircare Series started because our readers have questions. About Affairs. Reconciling. Marriage. Divorce. Christianity. The Bible. And God.  Initially, we tried to answer each question through e-mail, but we quickly realized that there were many people asking many similar questions, so we started this weekly series!

It’s not our goal to make you agree with us, but rather to explore what the Bible says in thoughtful, and clear manner. Additionally, we try to write our answers in a loving but truthful manner (Ephesians 4:15) because we know there is a real person – with real struggles and dreams – behind every single question. Thank for you visiting Affaircare. Keep those questions coming!


Our question today comes two Loyal Spouses who essentially ask the same question.  Stay or Go wrote:

My man is cheating on me. I have caught him more than once but he continues to do it. Do I stay or do I go now?

and Can God Restore This Marriage wrote:

…so my husband has had several affairs over our 18-year relationship. I found out about them all at once we started going to counseling with our pastor and his wife. during that time he began cheating again. I just found out and while my pastor believes that god can restore this marriage I wonder if we have messed this up so bad. at first I was feeling like I cannot deal with this at all so I will just pretend to not know and move on. It’s been a few days and now I don’t know if I will ever be able to trust him again!

First, we have to say that when we answered “Ask Affaircare” last week, it was just a wee bit long.  This week we will endeavor to keep it shorter!

Dear Stay or Go and Can God Restore This,

We aren’t going to tell you what to do–you two are both adults and personally responsible for your choices. If you choose to stay, do so because you have made a decision to stand firm and then stand firm. If you choose to go, do so because the natural consequence of adultery is breaking the marriage covenant. Thus, if the adulterer BROKE it, they would have to be the one to REPAIR IT by coming to themselves and truly repenting. If they don’t, then divorcing is just one of the natural consequences of the choice that they made to break the marriage covenant.

In the end, the decision is yours and you will reap both the benefits and pay the costs of whatever you choose.  EVERY choice–every decision–has both a benefit and a cost, and usually people make their choices because ‘the perceived benefit’ is more valuable than ‘the perceived cost.’  Now we all know that people are sinful and that the qualities that sinful people value are not the qualities that bring glory and honor to God!  Thus, a selfish person may “value” the ego-boosting flattery of opposite sex attention over the godly commitment to the spouse of their youth.

So since we are not going to tell you what to decide, how about if we look at what the Bible tells us and help you to figure out how to make your own decision?

1.  What are you committed to?  Many people place a commitment to their own happiness ahead of their commitment to their spouse.  Many people put their commitment to ease ahead of the covenant they made before God to put the effort into loving their spouse!

So one way you can decide whether to Stay or Go…is to consider “What are YOU committed to?” Honoring your promise?  -OR- Your own happiness?

2. What did Jesus say about Divorce?  Well…let’s look! Matthew 19:8-9: Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.   I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

So straight from Jesus’ mouth, He says you CAN divorce for sexual immorality–that is to say, you are ‘allowed’–but notice that He doesn’t say you MUST.  It’s not a commandment. So if you don’t want to divorce after your spouse is unfaithful, God doesn’t require it of us, but He does allow divorce for that one exception: sexual immorality.

3. Obviously God CAN restore–He has the ability to do anything.  He is God!  He can choose to suspend the law of gravity or choose to make the sun stand still if He wills!  So the question is not “CAN God restore this marriage?” but rather “Will He? Is it His will?”  One of the best suggestions we can give you to decide what IS and IS NOT God’s will is to read the Bible.  The more you read the Bible, the more you have the opportunity to get to know God’s mind.  The more you know God mind, the easier it is to determine if something is God’s will or not!

4.  What about forgiveness?  Many times people think that “forgiveness” means “forgetting” or “approving” — and nothing could be further from the truth.  We are never, ever told to approve of known sin, nor to just forget about it as if it never happened.  What ARE we told about forgiveness then?  Well let’s look at Luke 17:3-4 “So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

But what if they don’t “come to themselves” or repent (meaning, act and think 180 differently and stop their sin)?  Do we have to forgive then? It doesn’t say we MUST–but it also doesn’t say we can’t! So we are allowed to forgive even if they don’t ask!

So we are still not going to tell you what to decide.  Instead we pray that this look at what the Bible tells us has helped you to figure out how to make your own decision.  We would also like to invite you to come back on Friday to listen to the podcast–either on the Affaircare YouTube channel, on iTunes or Stitcher, or here on the blog–because we’ll be going into even more detail on how to decide if you should stay…or you should go.

10 Signs Your Spouse is Unhappy [Podcast]

Are you and your spouse the dining dead?  Are they rude and always irritated?  Did you hear “We’ve through this already!” and get shut down?  Is your spouse drinking more, over-eating, buying new gadgets, or turning to porn?

These are signs that your spouse is unhappy. It may be that they are unhappy about something in the marriage, and it may be that something else is causing your spouse to feel unhappy.

In this week’s episode, we discuss ten signs that your spouse is feeling miserable and is no longer satisfied in the marriage. How many of these signs do you see in YOUR spouse? To learn more, and #Affairproof Your Marriage, here are the ten signs you should look for:

1.  Your spouse isn’t talking to you anymore.  The two of you are “the dining dead” and sit next to each other without saying a word because the two of you no longer have anything in common.  You know the setting: you haven’t been spending time with your spouse and you finally get them to agree to “talk”… and your spouse says “We’ve been through this already!”  If you don’t talk, if your spouse answer with “yep” and “no” and that’s it, or If your spouse is shutting down your attempts to talk…it is a sign they are unhappy.

2. Your spouse starts to act rude, disrespectful, easily irritated, offensive.  Usually two adults in a mutually happy relationship treat each other kindly and with some manners: saying “pleases” and “thank yous” for example.  So when you start to notice that your spouse isn’t being as polite, or is being insulting and doesn’t care if they offend you, that is a sure sign that they are not happy.

3. Your spouse is “away”–distracted, not mentally “present” in the present.   People who are committed to loving their spouse make the time to pay attention to their spouse. They will listen to and observe the one they love, and it will be enjoyable!  But for someone who is unhappy, their thoughts are elsewhere. They are distracted thinking about whatever it is that does make them happy, and they do not actively listen to their spouse. Even if your spouse is an introvert, if they don’t pay attention or they  are constantly distracted by something (or someone!) else, it may be a sign of unhappiness in the relationship.

4. Your spouse isn’t fulfilling your needs–they’re less affectionate.  If you know our Basic Concepts, you’ll know that we believe that when people first meet and feel that “in love” feeling, it’s because the person they love piles on the Love Kindlers and naturally does the things that build the fire of love.  So when your spouse seems to be less and less interested in doing the things that kindle the fire, and stops being affectionate, it is a sign that they are not happy.

5. Your spouse is compensating for the unhappiness with some addictive behavior.  Some typical examples of a spouse covering the pain of being unhappy are drinking more, over-eating, watching porn, or over-spending.  For the fellas, over-spending looks different than it does for the ladies.  Men will come home with the latest gadget, the latest game, the latest “man toy” over and over again…whereas the ladies will buy shoes, handbags, clothes, facials, hairdos, or chocolate to try to feel better.

6. Your spouse is following you around like a puppy dog.  When you spouse is clingy and looking for any crumb of attention that you might throw their way, that is a SURE SIGN that they are feeling neglected and unhappy in the marriage!  Time to give your spouse some uninterrupted adult time, and we don’t just mean sex either.  We mean having a whole day to focus on them and treat them as if they are valuable.

7. Your spouse is “away” — and we mean they  are physically NOT THERE.  They work long hours and don’t seem bothered but be gone so much.  They leave you, go out, and have other friends.  They go to church–go to class–go to the gym–ANYWHERE but be with you.  They are not happy at home so they go someplace where they are happy.

8. Your spouse’s sexual desire changes.  Let’s say you and your spouse had an average sex life–not something to write to Playboy about, but it was mutually satisfying and pretty regular, 3 times a week, with various positions and techniques.  Then gradually, you notice a change in your spouse’s sexual desire that doesn’t seem to be related to a medical issue.  It can go one of two ways: either they turn into “NoNookie of the North” (frigid, unresponsive, unenthusiastic) or constantly trying to be seductive and provocative.  Either way, your spouse isn’t feeling connected to you sexually, and they are either punishing you by withholding sex…or they are trying desperately to reconnect with you by turning you on.  Either way-they are not happy!

9. Your spouse lets snide comments about you “accidentally slip out” especially when with friends.  When people love each other, from the love in the hearts and the bounty of their thoughts, their mouth sings the praises of their loved one.  When the fire is being extinguished and the thoughts are beginning to be less positive, your spouse will occasionally let the sarcastic, hurtful comment come out …and try to pass it off as a joke. But make no mistake, this is a serious sign that your spouse is not happy and the truth is leaking out.

10. Your spouse starts to EXCLUDE you.  Married people are indeed two individuated beings–that is to say, you can distinguish one from the other.  They are distinct, and they are UNITED, not FUSED.  “Fused” would be where one of the married people loses their own identity, or they both do, and they say things like: “I can’t live without you!”  “United” would be where both of the married people keep their own identity but also operate as a team or unit. But when your spouse–who is part of a unit with you–begins to exclude you from their life, their friends, their activities or their interests, they are connecting with someone else and do not want you to be involved in their thoughts and feelings. This is probably the most dangerous sign that they are deeply unhappy and about to plunge down that slippery slope toward an affair.

Please join us next week as we continue our “series” for the month of May just discussing topics about infidelity that we find a little intriguing! Aren’t you curious?

Ask Affaircare: I Don’t Know How to Move Forward! Help!

AskAffaircare

The Ask Affaircare Series started because our readers have questions. About Affairs. Reconciling. Marriage. Divorce. Christianity. The Bible. And God.  Initially, we tried to answer each question through e-mail, but we quickly realized that there were many people asking many similar questions, so we started this weekly series!

It’s not our goal to make you agree with us, but rather to explore what the Bible says in thoughtful, and clear manner. Additionally, we try to write our answers in a loving but truthful manner (Ephesians 4:15) because we know there is a real person – with real struggles and dreams – behind every single question. Thank for you visiting Affaircare. Keep those questions coming!


Our question today comes from a Loyal Spouse just 9 weeks past D-Day.  He writes:

I am 9 weeks out from finding out about my wife’s 9 month affair. After individual and couples counseling, including a week-long, 20-hour session with our church, I find myself still struggling greatly. I do not know how to move forward. I need help!

Dear Don’t Know How to Move Forward,

Your email is very short and there are many facts we don’t know that would be extremely helpful, such as “Was it a physical affair or an emotional affair?” and “Is your wife showing true remorse and making the necessary changes…or is she rugsweeping and trying to get you to rugsweep too?”  If we knew the answers to some of those questions, it would really help a lot!  But since we don’t know, we’re going to reply just assuming that it was “generic” infidelity (as if there is such a thing) and, since you didn’t bring it up as an issue, assuming that she is doing the work to face herself and take full personal responsibility for her choice to commit adultery.

If either of those assumptions is NOT TRUE, then be aware that it might change the trajectory of our response.  But for now, let’s “move forward” since that it our topic.

When we received your email, three things jumped out at us:

  1. It has only 9 weeks since you discovered proof of the adultery.
  2. You and your wife are drowning in therapy: individual counseling, couples counseling, and CHURCH counseling!  And…
  3. To move forward you need to let go.

So let’s go over each one of these three topics, shall we?

First, it’s only been 9 weeks since you discovered proof of your wife’s affair.  Now, normally people suspect for a while before D-Day proves it to them, so although you may have had a gut feeling earlier, it has only been 9 weeks ago that the proof was irrefutable and/or your wife confessed.  Traditionally, those in the infidelity industry agree that  it can take YEARS sometimes for the Loyal Spouse to recover from the betrayal of adultery.  Here at Affaircare, our guideline is not blogs or pop psychology though–it’s the Bible.  We don’t know of any place in the Bible that we are told that we have to recover from a painful, life-changing event “quickly.”  God does tell us to forgive (more on that later), but He doesn’t say we have to “not feel the pain” or “be okay with it” or even to “get over the grief fast. ”

In fact, the Bible has a LOT to say about grief, and make no mistake, after discovering adultery, a Loyal Spouse goes through a GRIEF process.  That’s because there has been a death: the marriage died the moment the Disloyal Spouse was unfaithful!  Before the affair, you two were exclusive and you probably thought “Oh affairs happen to OTHER people–that will never happen to us.  We have something special.”  Now that innocent trust is dead.  The image you had of “your marriage” is dead.  And you (the Loyal Spouse) need to mourn just as surely as someone who lost their spouse–only your spouse isn’t dead!  They are right there in front of you.

Here are several verses ABOUT mourning and grief–let’s see what we can learn from them:

Psalm 31:9-10  “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.”  Wow, doesn’t the psalmist do a good job describing grief?  His eyes are SPENT from crying!  His soul is tortured and even his body is ill from the sorrow.  This verse clearly indicates that sorrow takes a while, and it wears on the psalmist!

Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”  Well this one is a promise on which we can depend!  When someone is brokenhearted…when someone’s spirit is crushed… the Lord is NEAR!  We may not “feel” Him because the truth of His nearness isn’t based on our emotions.  He promised it and so HE IS!

Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Here we learn that our hearts do fail us, and I don’t think the psalmist means cardiac disease here, do you?  I think he’s talking about feeling so deeply sorrowful that your heart HURTS.  Again, note that nowhere does it say that your flesh shouldn’t fail or that our hearts shouldn’t hurt.  In fact, we could surmise that they will! But when they do… God is our strength.

Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  Again, note that it doesn’t say we shouldn’t have a broken heart or that being wounded is a sin.  It says that when that does happen, GOD HEALS.  And since He promised, we can depend on that even if it doesn’t “feel like it.”

Isaiah 26:3 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”  We threw this one in, even though it doesn’t specifically speak about grief, because it implies that something has occurred that would create LACK of peace.  There is agitation, distress and conflict!  And this verse talks to use about how we can regain peace: by having our mind, our thoughts, our reflection, our concentration FIXED on HIM.

Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” See how it doesn’t say “Thou shalt not mourn”?  Nope, it says that mourning is going to occur, and we have a promise.  We aren’t alone in our mourning and grief–He is there to comfort us.

Here are three more verses about mourning and grieving and affliction, and you go ahead and write in the comments what you learn from these three verses:

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

1 Peter 5:7  “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

Don’t Know–this is going to take some time.  It will never be “the way it was” and you are going to have to go through a period that is very similar to the grief process for “your marriage of the past.”  Just based on our experience, we’d estimate the quickest possible timeframe would be  a time equal to her affair (9 months) and if you deal with grief slower,  it may be up to two years (roughly).  Now that doesn’t mean that for the next two years there won’t be good times or you’ll hold your wife’s affair against her, but rather it will be like someone who is mourning.  They are GRIEVING but life goes on.  They just “go through the motions” at first.  Then they learn to do a little better but feel guilty for doing a little better.  Then they deal with it and time heals a little more and even more good days sneak in.  And then one day maybe a year later they realize they are okay–they survived.  It will be very much like that.  You won’t “get better” all at once.

Second, you and your wife are drowning in therapy.  What we mean by that, is that clearly you are going to a counselor to address how you are feeling and what you’re thinking and how to deal with all this and to address your own issues.  And clearly your wife is going to a counselor to address why she cheated and to face her demons so she can identify her issues and change.  And clearly you are going to couples counseling to address THE MARRIAGE’S issues and how to do better as a team/couple and how to gain the tools to be better at this whole “marriage” thing.  We totally get that!  And you are off to your church’s 20-hour intensive to try to make a grand gesture at facing and addressing your marriage problems from a Biblical point of view.  Kuddos for that!

But, Don’t Know–you are doing so much therapy that it’s all you think about!  Every second of every day is filled with either the day-to-day things like work and school and chores…or THERAPY.   A person can only do so much deep, intense, emotion-charged, vehement analysis before they start to burn out, and our guess is that a portion of your feeling like you don’t know how to move forward is because you are so overwhelmed by all this analysis that there is no real time off.  YOU are a human and so is your wife.  She can only feel as low as the dirt on the bottom of a bug’s shoe for so long and she’ll get tired just because it’s too much to handle.  Same for you–it’s just too much!  So we would make a suggestion: balance the deep, intense emotional relationship talks with an equal amount of lighter, gentler, more agreeable time together.  For example, if you have one hour of therapy every day in one way or another and then spend another hour talking about whatever went on in therapy–balance that with an equal amount of time doing pleasant, enjoyable things together.

Here’s why, Don’t Know.  When you agreed to reconcile, what you were really saying is that you agreed to build a WHOLE NEW MARRIAGE.  During her affair, your wife equated you (and thoughts of you) with unpleasant feelings and thoughts.  “Well, he was abusive so I deserved someone who treated me better”…that kind of thing.  Anyway, now that her affair is over, your wife equates you with long, painful conversations that feel like the Spanish Inquisition, and tears, and hours and hours of therapy.  Likewise you equate her with destroying your trust, destroying your world, and destroying the very foundation of everything you believed in.  And part of the challenge now is not only facing the issues that brought you to this place, but also rebuilding something loving!  Well, when people love each other, they association POSITIVE thoughts and feelings with the one they love!  They LIKE being together and ENJOY each others’ company and think their spouse makes them feel GOOD.  So right now, you need to add some of that to your new marriage.

Now, you know how many/most couple’s counselors will tell you to “date each other”. UGH, that’s silly!  You’re MARRIED why should you have to try to re-win someone who made promises to you?  So that’s not what we’re saying here.  What we ARE saying is that one piece of this puzzle that is missing is the “remembering the things I love about my spouse” piece.  It is imperative that you two sometimes put all the counseling down, and put all the affair-talk and crying down… and just agree to be each other’s friends and do something fun.  It can be something easy like just renting a video and sitting on the couch holding hands–it can be something complicated like a weekend away riding the nearest rollercoasters.  But balance–for every hour of therapy, have an hour of enjoying each other.

Third (and finally), you say that you don’t know how to move forward and you need help. We partially addressed that when we said that it’s going to take some time–like 9 months to 2 years–in order to go through the grieving process and rebuild a new marriage.  So part of “moving forward” really is just time and giving yourself time to recover.  It won’t be instantaneous and it won’t be “the way it was.”  But that doesn’t mean it can’t be REALLY GOOD!!!  You could even build an even better marriage than you had because now you’ve grown and matured and so has she!

But you know how the final step of the grieving process is “acceptance”?  In the infidelity process, the key step to moving forward is forgiveness.  At some point, if you truly commit to reconciling with your spouse, you are going to have to volunteer to lay down your claim for recompense for the hurt and damage she caused you.  Please note that forgiveness is not condoning (failing to see it was wrong), excusing (not holding her personally responsible for her choices), pardoning (removing the consequence of her debt–it’s God’s job to judge or not) or forgetting (removing awareness of the offense from your consciousness).  Forgiveness means that you KNOW you have the ace up your sleeve that you could always win an argument, you have the sword over her head that you could hold against her, and you have the weapon with which you could punish her forever…and you make a decision to lay that weapon down and let go of your legitimate claim.

Right now it may sound utterly FOOLISH to even think about forgiving.  After all, most of the blogs and psychological “wisdom” will tell you things like “you deserve better” and “once a cheater always a cheater”.  But we are not suggesting that you be a fool.  God has a lot to say about forgiveness, so let’s just look:

God tells us s that we should be willing to forgive because we are sinners too and God forgave us (Matthew 6:14-15 and Colossians 3:13).  He says when someone sins against us and is truly remorseful we should be willing to forgive over and over (Matthew 18: 21-22 and Luke 17:3-4 ).  He says we should forgive people so they don’t feel overwhelmed (2 Corinthians 2:5-8).  He tells us that forgiving is a priority–we should make things right even ahead of worshipping Him (Matthew 5:23-24).  But nowhere is there any mention of forgiveness not hurting or of forgiveness being easy and making all the struggling go away.  We are just told to DO it.

The good news is that  He even tells us HOW to forgive in Luke 17:3-4: “So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.  Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” 

Step 1–Watch YOURSELF.  Haven’t you ever been in a position of doing something REALLY WRONG and wishing that people would be kind and forgive you?  Then just like the hypocrite in Matthew 7 and Luke 6, we need to watch ourselves and treat others the way we would have liked to be treated when we sinned!

Step 2–A brother or sister (someone close to us–a fellow believer, disciple, spouse, neighbor, or family member) does something against us.  Maybe they gossip or spread a lie or offend us or actively hurt us. Whatever it is, they do wrong by us.

Step 3–Holy smoke look at that.  We are supposed to rebuke them!  Of course, the Greek word there is epitimaó, which means to admonish, or warn by instructing.  Oddly enough that word is a verb (an action) and it has a whole bunch behind it.  It means “have so much value due, that you respond in a way suitable to the situation.”  In other words, we VALUE the brother or sister.  We place due honor upon them because they mean so much to us, and thus, out of love, we go up to them directly and tell them they did wrong and encourage them to DO THE RIGHT THING.

Step 4–“if they repent….”  Note that it doesn’t say “if they are remorseless and continue to sin, you go ahead and forgive them anyway.”  it says that the next step has to be remorse or changing of the inner man.  We like to define repentance as a complete 180 degree change from what they’ve been doing!  A full U-Turn!  In other words, they have to be acting and thinking 100% different from the way they WERE acting and thinking.  They have to “come to themselves” and return to doing the right thing.  And if they do repent and do change… then on to the next step.

Step 5–“…forgive them.” Even if they do wrong by you 7 times in one day and come back to you with a changed inner man 7 times, you must forgive them.   The word for “forgive” here is aphiémi, which means “send away” or “release”–“wipe the slate clean”.  See how that fits with our definition above about putting down your legitimate claim to restitution? You make a decision in your mind to let go of that claim and you commit to never, ever picking it up again!  That’s forgiveness.  And note the word MUST!!  This isn’t a suggestion or something we do if we feel like it–we MUST.  That’s imperative, which means it is required.

Top 8 Affaircare Topics: #1 All of the Signs Your Spouse May Be Cheating Part Two [Podcast]

I just found out my spouse is cheating-what do I do? How do I do ‘no contact’ when we have children? My spouse was unfaithful and there’s going to be a child! Before you cheat here are some things you should know.

In this week’s episode, we begin the conclusion of our new our series “The 8 Most Popular Topics on Affaircare.” We’ve been doing a countdown from #8 to #1, and today we are at THE most popular topic on our blog: “All of the Signs Your Spouse May Be Cheating.” This article is so long and has so much information in it, that I decided to divide it into two parts: Part One (today’s video) is all about the first 6 categories of signs of infidelity. Next week’s final video will be about the final categories of the signs of cheating.

URL’s in this podcast:

ALL of the Signs Your Spouse May be Cheating:
http://affaircare.com/articles/all-of-the-signs-your-spouse-may-be-cheating/

Please join us next week for our a new series! Aren’t you curious?

Top 8 Affaircare Topics: #1 All of the Signs Your Spouse May Be Cheating Part One [Podcast]

I just found out my spouse is cheating-what do I do? How do I do ‘no contact’ when we have children? My spouse was unfaithful and there’s going to be a child! Before you cheat here are some things you should know.

In this week’s episode, we begin the conclusion of our new our series “The 8 Most Popular Topics on Affaircare.” We’ve been doing a countdown from #8 to #1, and today we are at THE most popular topic on our blog: “All of the Signs Your Spouse May Be Cheating.” This article is so long and has so much information in it, that I decided to divide it into two parts: Part One (today’s video) is all about the first 6 categories of signs of infidelity. Next week’s final video will be about the final categories of the signs of cheating.

URL’s in this podcast:

ALL of the Signs Your Spouse May be Cheating:
http://affaircare.com/articles/all-of-the-signs-your-spouse-may-be-cheating/

High Tech ways to discover if your spouse is cheating:
http://affaircare.com/2012/11/04/high-tech-ways-to-discover-if-your-spouse-is-cheating/

Low tech ways to check if your spouse is cheating:
http://affaircare.com/2012/11/01/low-tech-ways-to-check-if-your-spouse-is-cheating/

Please join us next week for Part Two–the conclusion of our most popular blog by reviewing the final categories of ALL the signs of a cheating spouse! In May we will begin a new series! Aren’t you curious?