Before there can be reconciliation, there are three things that need to happen for true growth and rebuilding to occur:
- No Contact,
- Transparent Honesty,
- Agreement to work on yourself and your marriage
I will write about those three topics in the Affaircare newsletter this coming weekend–Sunday October 14th! If you want to hear more, please feel free to subscribe right there on the right sidebar. But TODAY, the topic is how to rebuild after the affair has ended. How do you pick up the pieces and build a new marriage? What steps should we take to start making a marriage that is mature, healthy, loving and happy for both of us?
Step Four: Mutual United Understanding
When an issue arises in your marriage, there are two viewpoints involved. Often both viewpoints are the same, and no discussion is necessary. But sometimes there is a difference of opinion – or, one spouse is not even aware of the issue. This is where discussion needs to occur until some sort of solution is reached. This solution ideally should be agreeable to both spouses. In order to facilitate the ideal solution, we use a process we call the M.U.U. – Mutual United Understanding.
The solution must be understood – often in conversation people will reach a conclusion based on assumptions rather than taking the time to investigate. Later, one of the people will do something that entirely surprises the other(s). Arguments or confusion result, because someone acted in way that seemed to show they entirely ignored the agreement. While that can be the case, it is also quite possible that there was not a full understanding of what was agreed.
Hence, it is important to make sure, when there is a discussion, that both spouses fully understand what the agreement actually is. To this end, ask a lot of questions, and explain your points fully. It is not only not fair to your partner to leave out important details, but it is also damaging to the relationship.
The solution must be united – that is, both parties must agree to the solution. It is harmful to your marriage to simply assign a solution to a problem, and then demand your spouse fulfill your demand. It won’t help for both spouses to come up with their own solutions and then try to implement them. Often this arranges to create an even bigger mess (one partner pushing the car forward, the other pushing it backward.) The solution to any dilemma must be the same one for both partners.
The most important element of this method is contained in the word mutual. Although this is essentially a synonym for “united” we use the word to indicate a different shade of meaning. We mean you both must enthusiastically agree to the solution. Unless this seems to be the right decision for both of you, unless the assurance that this is the correct path to take, we suggest you do not proceed at all. Do not use an alternate solution, instead, keep working, talking, discussing – even to the point of involving a third party to help see things objectively if necessary. Keep doing this until you reach a solution to which you both are quite willing to agree and agree with enthusiasm!
One suggestion we do have regarding this Mutual United Understanding is regarding child discipline. Since you two are both individuals, it is likely that one day you will have a difference of opinion about a decision for the children – whether that be just a “yes” or “no” decision or a decision about when and/or how to discipline. In this one specific area we suggest that the two of you agree now that you will always present a united front in front of the children, so they do not try to ask dad, he says “no” so let’s go ask mom. Even if you disagree with your spouse, in front of the children, be united. Then have the understanding between the two of you that if you do disagree, you will go to the other parent, use the next step (W-T-F-S) to explain your reasoning, and reach a consensus. Then the parent who originally made the declaration is the one who goes in front of the child and changes the declaration. That way the children do not play the parents against each other and add another layer of strife and discord.
This is nearly identical to the Policy of Joint Agreement (POJA) used by the Harleys at MarriageBuilders. We have no intention of stealing the idea. It is just so good that it needs to be repeated, so all credit is due to them.
This is post #11 in the CMBA 1/2 Marathon Blogging Challenge to post everyday for 13 days in October … AND is part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge!
And on Thursdays I also join this Godly Link-up:
- How to Rebuild After an Affair: Step 3 Take Some Time (affaircare.com)
- How to Rebuild After an Affair: Step 2 Commitment (affaircare.com)
- How to Rebuild After an Affair: Step 1 Forgiveness (affaircare.com)