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 Seven: Rebuilding Tools
Ending the affair is not enough to keep your marriage together. A marriage is hard, continual work – with equally bountiful benefits. Most things that come easy aren’t worth much, and a good marriage is evidence of this. It is quite common for a couple to believe that they have ‘something special’ and that the work other people have to do to keep their relationship happy and healthy is not necessary. These are quite often the very marriages that end in divorce. Happiness is not something that is automatically yours – you have to work to achieve it. And, just as with any other type of work, tools make that work much easier, and more productive. Not only must the affair end, but you need to build a relationship that creates an environment in which an affair seems the least necessary choice. Along with the help of a third party, there are several other tools you can use to help you work toward a better marriage.
We use this as a tool with the aim of improving communication and understanding between you and your spouse. We’ve found that one of the biggest reasons marriages end is that people do not understand their personality differences, and instead spend countless hours resenting the fact that their spouse does not do things the way they expect. We’ve heard countless arguments that ‘my husband doesn’t like my friends,’ or ‘my wife never wants to be home!’ – and after just a little investigation, we’ve found that this is a personality difference. Understanding your spouse is the biggest tool to creating a healthy marriage. We can’t stress the importance of this tool enough.
Tool #2: Love Languages
Although there are many tools that we suggest a couple use to help rebuild their marriage, we are not the authors of every single tool. Some are just so good, we thought, “Why re-invent the wheel?” The 5 Love Languages at www.5lovelanguages.com is such a tool. Dr. Gary Chapman discovered there are five key categories, or five love languages, that proved to be universal and comprehensive:
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Receiving Gifts
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
Which is YOUR love language? And which is your spouse’s love language? Have you been showing your spouse love in YOUR love language and that’s why they haven’t “gotten the message”?
Tool #3: Love Kindlers Questionnaire
Back in the day, you and your spouse were drawn together like magnets! Some of HIS actions and character traits were attractive to HER…and likewise some of HER actions and character traits were attractive to HIM. Find out which actions and which traits really kindle your spouse’s love flame and really turn it into a blaze of passion! Each one of you take this Love Kindlers Questionnaire and share your answers with each other. How well does your spouse do this kindler:
1) Emotional Commitment
2) Spiritual Commitment
3) Physical Commitment
4) Financial Commitment
5) Family Commitment
6) Social Commitment
7) Security Commitment
Tool #4: Love Extinguishers Questionnaire
Have some of your actions been “extinguishing” the love flame in your marriage? Each one of you can take this Love Extinguishers Questionnaire and share your answers with each other. How much does you spouse extinguish the love in your heart by doing this extinguisher:
1) Emotional Neglect
2) Spiritual Neglect
3) Physical Neglect
4) Financial Neglect
5) Family Neglect
6) Social Neglect
7) Security Neglect
Happily Ever After: How to maintain an affair-free marriage
Ending the affair and rebuilding your marriage is not the end. Now how do you live “happily ever after”?
An affair is a severe symptom of a marriage that is suffering It is rarely, if ever, the cause of the problems in the marriage. A marriage, as a commitment between two people, is only as healthy as the work the partners put into it. Unless that work is aimed at the health of the marriage, unless that work is ongoing, the marriage will begin to suffer. You can restore your marriage from the devastation of an affair. On a practical level, in order to reach “happily ever after” you keep on building.
When you have taken the steps to end the affair, and you have worked together using all the steps to rebuild your marriage, start again. Every six months, retake the Love Kindlers and Love Extinguishers Questionnaires, and revisit your Myers-Briggs Personality types and Love Languages. You may have missed essential points or you may pick up new ones! Update your married life plan, and then work your plan together as a team.
There is no guarantee to success at ending an affair and saving your marriage, but by using the steps we’ve laid out for you here, you have the best possible chance of rebuilding a relationship that is healthy, happy and loving for both of you. In the end, isn’t that what “happily ever after” means?
This is the final post in the CMBA 1/2 Marathon Blogging Challenge to post everyday for 13 days in October … AND is part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge!
- How to Rebuild After an Affair: Step 6 Selfless, Selfish, and Self-aware mode -AND- Save Our Marriage Saturday Oct. 13th (affaircare.com)
- How to Rebuild After an Affair: Step 5 W-T-F-S (affaircare.com)
- How to Rebuild After an Affair: Step 4 M.U.U. (affaircare.com)
- 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)