Tag Archives: Marriage

Finding Out: What It Feels Like to Hear that Your Spouse is Having an Affair

As someone who works every day trying to save marriages that are rocked by an affair, I’ve often thought that somehow there is a disconnect between the Disloyal Spouse thinking “Yes I understand that it hurt you but I was hurt too” and the true understanding of what it is like for the Loyal Spouse when they first find out.  Speaking as someone who understands both sides, I can also say that no matter what adjectives a Loyal Spouse may choose to describe it (like “devastating” or “heartbreaking”) there just are not words to explain the bomb that’s been dropped and all the harm that’s been done.  Language is insufficient to convey the full depth of it and it certainly feels as if the Disloyal doesn’t “get it.”  I’ve often wished there was some way to communicate to a Disloyal what it’s like to hear your spouse is having an affair, and yet every different method or wording I’ve tried has fallen short…

…until today.

Dear Hubby and I are taking classes to become certified nouthetic counselors in addition to our marriage coaching.  If you’re wondering, the term “Nouthetic” comes from the Greek verb “noutheteo” (or the noun “nouthesis”) and means “to admonish, to warn, to teach or to counsel.”  The word is found in numerous passages of Scripture and describes the manner in which we are to counsel and help other Christians.  Biblical (nouthetic) Counseling seeks to change the heart, not just alter behavior (Mk. 7:21-23; Prov. 4:23).  One of our classes was given by a man who is a law enforcement chaplain and his class was basically how to tell if it is an urgent situation, an emergency, or a crisis…and what to expect in a crisis situation.  For example, often the person appears disoriented, becomes hypersensitive or confused, has poor concentration, may shake or shiver, and might go into shock.  It was during this class that I heard an example that hit so close to home that I realized it was very similar to the shock one experiences when you hear about the affair for the first time.

Your 17 year old gets his driver’s license and asks you for the car keys to go to the football game.  He’s going to meet his friends there, but he will not be driving any of them in the car and they don’t plan to go out afterward, so you trust him and give him the keys.  He’s responsible and returns home in a timely manner, and pretty soon you have faith in his maturity.  One day he calls and says there’s been a minor fender bender, but no one is injured and information has been exchanged.  There’s a small ding in the trust and it’s urgent but still–he handled it well and these things do happen.  A year goes by with no incident and this time the hospital calls.  There has been an accident and your son was in a car accident; but he just broke his leg and the other driver was at fault.  This is an emergency and is serious, but again all things considered, car accidents do occur…injuries do occur…

Then comes the day you give your son the keys and he says he’ll be home at 11pm, but midnight,1am, 2am, roll around and he doesn’t answer his cell phone.  You’re worried sick and wonder what happened.  At 3am you get a knock on the door and see two uniformed men, one with a chaplains badge on your porch and you know….

…and that moment right there is what it’s like to find out your spouse is having an affair.  That immediate “NOOOOOOO!” and the world dropping out from under your feet.  Everything you loved and lived for is dead, and the initial numbness and disbelief are quickly overshadowed with an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and loss.  The pain of hearing your spouse is having an affair has been reported as being greater than a spouse or child dying, and having been there, I’d agree that’s a true statement.  So next time you’re thinking “…I know I hurt you but I hurt too…” just remember the two uniformed officers at the door.

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Tiger Woods, Brad & Angelina….Why do they do it?

Tiger Woods is all the gossip recently for admitting to “transgressions” while married, and he is hardly the first celebrity who seems to have it all and ends up having an affair. Before Tiger there was Charles and Camilla, Brad and Angelina…even the AMAZINGLY beautiful Halle Berry had infidelity in her marriage! To us it seems like these people had everything: Tiger is a world-class golfer and could marry anyone; Charles had Princess Diana for heaven’s sake; Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were the golden couple; and if Halle Berry couldn’t keep her husband it couldn’t possibly be about looks or sex. So the nagging question has to be this: “Why do they do it?”

Affairs are very rarely about looks or sex. I mean, look at Camilla and Princess Di–Prince Charles SURELY is not “trading up” in the looks department there so it couldn’t be about looks! Yet somehow Charles just could not give up Camilla. Why? In a nutshell, it’s because the Other Person (I call them OP) does things that KINDLE love at the same time that the loyal spouse (LS) is doing things to EXTINGUISH love. And we’re all human–we tend to all do that. We get used to each other, the kids come, then the bills… and pretty soon we forget to take the time to do the things we used to do when we were dating.

The first thing I would say about the whole Tiger Woods affair–John Q. Public should give Tiger a break. We are not there and we do not know the facts, so to keep it on the rumor mill like this shows our worst tendencies, not his. Second, it is between him and his wife and family and it’s none of our business! Third, we aren’t there and we don’t know the facts, so let’s not assume that Tiger’s the bad guy and his wife is somehow the victim. In my years of experience in this field what I’ve discovered is that this can happen to anyone if they don’t guard themselves and that usually there was some sort of major relationship breakdown before this that set things in motion to get to where they are today. I’d say we should look at it like Tiger’s hurting, his spouse is hurting, probably the other involved party is hurting, and now they have to go through all that in public too. In order to save their marriage, both parties will need to look at themselves, admit what they did to contribute to this mess, and then do the work necessary to change than and become a better person. If they both stop the actions that extinguish love and start again to do the things that kindle love–well honestly they could have a whole new, more intimate, more wonderful marriage!!

Welcome to the Affaircare Blog

Like a lighthouse guiding you home after an affair

I know some of you are here because you are having trouble in your marriage and you’re looking for a lighthouse to guide you through the darkness of infidelity. You’ve found help. For more than ten years now I’ve been involved with helping couples recover after the storm of an affair. I offer Christian care and guidance, and I’ll listen to you with compassion, whether you are the loyal spouse or the one who was disloyal and now you want to save your marriage.

We often hear people say, “If s/he ever cheated on me, I’d kick ’em to the curb!” but in real life, the breakdown of a marriage can have unexpected costs. There are heavy physical, emotional, mental, financial, and spiritual costs for divorce, and it’s felt by everyone in the couples’ lives: the spouses, their children, their immediate family, the extended family, employers and co-workers, friends, people in school and church–the devastation can be FAR REACHING. So it’s wise to consider and reconsider forgiving yourself, forgiving your spouse and repairing the damage that’s been done so you can build a new, stronger, more loving marriage! And that’s why I’m here…to help you do just that.

I feel hopeful and confident that you *can* recover and that your marriage can be rescued from the storm, because I’ve helped so many people reconcile and grow. You’ll find a lot of help here if you start on the Affaircare Home Page, and if you’d like you can follow Affaircare on Facebook or on Twitter.  But come here regularly–come often–and let’s bring your marriage back to safe harbor.