AFFAIRCARE

…nouthetic, Christian care after an affair.

14days3x2


2 Comments

14 Days of Love After an Affair

14days3x2

This is a tough period for many married couples recovering after an affair. For some Loyal Spouses, this day is now tainted. For many, Valentines Day isn’t special anymore or it’s a day full of triggers and bad memories instead of love.  For some Disloyal Spouses, they don’t really quite feel “in love” yet, but they know that their spouse has expectations…probably expectations they can’t meet.

So I’ve put together 14 Days of Love for a couples who are reconciling after infidelity.

Day 1–LOVE OTHERS! Chances are you aren’t the only person feeling weird about Valentines Day. Reach out to those around you who would otherwise spend their day alone. This may mean getting your friends together for a dinner. Or, it may mean finding a way to volunteer.

Day 2–RELIVE YOUR WEDDING DAY! Renew your vows even if only to each other. Then relive the honeymoon!

Day 3–Learn to have FUN with each other again. Tonight, play a game together. Just relax and have fun.

Day 4–Start retraining your mind. When you think about the Other Person (whether you’re the Loyal or Disloyal) just STOP…and think of something positive about your spouse instead.

Day 5–Sex after an affair can be hard, but fill your mind with God’s perspective on sex. Read I Corinthians 7:1-9 and Song of Solomon and enjoy your spouse.

Day 6–To help retraining your mind, write a list of 100 Things you love about your spouse.

Day 7–Thank God It’s Friday! Your work week is over, so PUT YOUR WORK ASIDE and pay attention to your spouse.

Day 8–Date Night IN. Go to the local bookstore, pick a marriage book together, and read it to each other.

Day 9–Day of Rest, so take a break from the affair… give each other the day off.

Day 10–’Playing’ to a man and ‘playing’ to a woman can be two very different things. Tonight spend time finding out what your spouse thinks is “playful” and then play together a little…their way.

Day 11–Do the Five Love Languages quiz and tell your spouse what your love language is. LISTEN when your spouse tells you their love language.

Day 12–Even though it may feel awkward, this one time you be the one to initiate some kind of physical intimacy. It doesn’t have to be sex, but if it goes there, that’s cool.

Day 13–The stress of having to have a perfect love on Valentines Day, the expectations, the fear of doing the wrong thing can be very frustrating. Let your spouse off the hook. This year, talk to each other ahead of time, reach an agreement on what you both want to do, and then…go one extra mile and give your spouse one additional kindness or little show of affection.

Day 14 (Valentines Day)–You two are just rebuilding so don’t expect too much yet. Your spouse may not be ready to be all “over the moon” romantic yet. But take time today to purposefully put effort into showing your spouse that you value them above all others.

Purple heart in the hands

  • Greater Love
  • What’s your love language?
Enhanced by Zemanta


4 Comments

Disloyal Dizzy Talk? What’s that?

dizzyHave you ever been speaking with your Disloyal Spouse while they are active in their affair and heard their mouth say something that just makes NO SENSE?  Have you heard your Disloyal say something that left you feeling like: “Did you even HEAR what you just SAID?”

I call that Disloyal Dizzy Talk.  It’s from all the spinning they do to justify their affair.  In their head they want to proceed with the affair because it feels good.  They get an affair ZING from all the positive brain chemicals.  But in their head they also know that adultery is wrong!  So they TWIST and TWIST reality to justify continuing, until they say things with about 1% truth in them and 99% DIZZINESS!

Now let me translate some examples of Disloyal Dizzy Talk for you. I will write what it REALLY means and what you can reply to the dizzy talk.

I can’t give up the OP even though s/he keeps me at arms length.
MEANS: Can’t=won’t, so this means “I want to behave immorally and I don’t really care who it hurts. I won’t stop even though I know it’s wrong.”
ANSWER: Oh you’re right! You are unwilling to live a moral life and that’s why I am protecting myself from you.

I still want the excitement of other person.
MEANS: “I’m so immature, I follow my hormones rather than honoring my commitment to my family like an adult.”
ANSWER: Oh you’re right, you are so blinded by the pleasure, who needs to think of the veneral diseases the exciting women may have? I choose to have a pure marriage bed.

Don’t pin your hopes on me.
MEANS: “I’m undependable, immature, and self-centered.”
ANSWER: Oh I have no hope for you.

I don’t want the same old stale relationship.
MEANS: “I want what I want and I want it NOW but I’m not willing to work for it at all.”
ANSWER: Oh you’re right, I would never accept that neglectful relationship we had in the past. Now I expect a mature partner who’s willing to keep his promise to keep working at it until death parted us.

I have too much baggage with you.
MEANS: “I’m not willing to forgive you or let go of the negative memories.”
ANSWER: Oh you’re right you do have too much baggage for me to accept you.

I don’t want to be committed to anyone at the moment.
MEANS: “I’m selfish.”
ANSWER: I can see that you’re only willing to consider yourself and can’t see the damage you’re doing.

I don’t want to be your one and only person.
MEANS: “I know this is wrong but I want to do it, so I want you to do it too so it’s legitimate.”
ANSWER: I can see that you don’t want to be a person who honors their commitments.

You are not my spouse anymore.
MEANS: “I’m looking for a way to make my cheating okay.”
ANSWER: (I can see going two ways with this one) #1–You’re right. Until you start treating me better I don’t choose to let you be my husband. #2–My promise to you was to keep working at it until death parted us and I’m not dead, so I’m your wife.

I can’t say if I’m definitely not coming home because I don’t know yet.
MEANS: “I want to have the freedom to be sexually immoral and have a safety net just in case.”
ANSWER: “You’re right you can’t say, and right now I’d say you are not invited to come home. I’m not sure yet.”

… be more encouraging to me because I might be interested in having a relationship – I don’t know.
MEANS: “I want to have my cake and eat it too.”
ANSWER: You’re right. YOU should be more encouraging to ME because I may be interesting trying to revive our relationship…I’m not sure.

Go to the dance with me and just have fun, they’re baby steps we can take together and might lead to doing more fun things.
MEANS: “Nobody else seems to want me right now so I’ll turn to you as a last resort.”
ANSWER: Are you ready to give up other person in your life? I’m not willing to be second best.

If we can have fun, you might be the one I want to be with.
MEANS: “I’m unwilling to do the right, honorable thing unless it’s FUN!”
ANSWER: You’re right, if you were fun you might be the one I wanted to be with.

You might be one of the other people I’m interested in.
MEANS: “I’ll string you along as long as possible.”
ANSWER: Look me up when you’re ready to give up having or looking for other people in your life and dedicate your affection and loyalty only to me

If you don’t want contact with me you will be burying any chance there is of a relationship.
MEANS: “I’ll threaten you with something I know scares you, if you won’t do things my way.”
ANSWER: You’re right. Your unwillingness to give up other women in your life buries any chance this marriage has.

Enhanced by Zemanta


6 Comments

Giving Thanks

give-thanks-in-everything

 

This week it’s Thanksgiving here in the USA, so this week it’s popular to do something like a daily blog about “One Thing for which We are Thankful” or a list of “Things for which We are Thankful”…but I’m going to make one short blog about I Thessalonians 5:18.

The image above rearranges the words a little, but in the King James version, that verse says “In EVERYTHING give thanks, for this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus, concerning you.”  The word I want to think about today is EVERYTHING.

Here in the USA we’ve been taught that God wants us to be rich and successful, and that if we are are wealthy and prosperous, that we are to “pray for it” and God will grant us the desires of our hearts.  But I’ll be blunt–that’s just plain false.  The Bible doesn’t promise christians anywhere that they will have lots of money, lots of possessions, or a life of joy and ease!  In fact, the Bible does tell us that we will be 100% DIFFERENT from the world and our whole world-view will be so contradictory to the natural, sinful inclination that it will be like a candle in a dark room–shining light on people who would rather slink in the dark and have their sin hidden.

The desire of our heart, if we are elect Christian children of the most high God, will be one thing: that God’s Will be done.  Period.  Sometimes His will requires us to be tested until death–do you thing that’s “prosperous and joyful”?  Sometimes His will means giving up all our possessions and giving them to HIM.  Sometimes His will means to be humble and serve OTHERS–does that sound like the vending machine God you’ve been taught about?  And sometimes His will means that we need to go through trials in order to grow more like Him and love HIM.  Does “trials” sound like the U.S. idea of success and wealth?  NO!!

And here, in I Thessalonians 5:18, God is very clear.  It is His will that we give thanks in EVERYTHING.  The term “everything” is all inclusive–it does not leave room for “some thing but not others.”  So it is God’s will for us to give thanks when things are hard…when it hurts…when it’s not easy…when we are poor…when we are struggling…when we fail…when life is not what we want.

Rather than making a list this week of all the things for which we are thankful, let’s do this.  Let’s answer these questions:

  1. What is REALLY hard for you?  Give thanks for that.
  2. What is REALLY painful?  Give thanks for that.
  3. What has hurt you?  Give thanks for that.
  4. Are you poor?  Give thanks for that.
  5. Are you ill or in poor health?  Give thanks for that.
  6. What are you struggling with?  Give thanks for that.
  7. What have you failed at recently?  Give thanks for that.

Those of us who have lived through an affair realize that when it’s first discovered, the pain is so deep and unbearable that the idea of giving thanks is unthinkable!  How could you POSSIBLY give thanks for that?  Well, I’ll tell you how: God loves you enough to want you to grow in HIM and He just gave you a big, old lesson to learn to lean on Him and not your spouse or yourself.

Those of us who have committed adultery realize that when you end the affair and choose to reconcile, the guilt and shame are so deep and unbearable that the idea of giving thanks is unthinkable!  How could you POSSIBLY give thanks for that?  Well, I’ll tell you how: God love you enough to want you to grow in HIM and He just gave you a big, old lesson to learn to take the focus off yourself and put the focus on HIM and humbly serving others.

So what do you give thanks for this week?

  • A Bible Verse for Women and Men Thankfulness in Spite of Troubles and Tragedies
  • Always Be Thankful
  • Giving Thanks
Enhanced by Zemanta


1 Comment

Cheaters use cognitive tricks to feel good about themselves

infidelity

This article was originally written by Benjamin Le and published at The Conversation. Read the original article.  I just thought it was so good, that I’m posting it here in its entirety.

—————————————————-

Most people believe that they are moral and good. They also believe cheating on a partner is wrong. So how do cheaters live with themselves after their infidelity? Understanding how they reconcile their indiscretions with their beliefs about themselves can help us figure out why “good people” cheat.

Dissonance theory predicts that when individuals’ thoughts and behaviours are inconsistent, something has to give. Have you ever wondered why anyone would be a smoker these days, given what we know about the link between “cancer sticks” and cancer? A smoker knows that smoking causes cancer, but might rationalise it by saying “I don’t smoke very much” or “My grandma smoked two packs a day and lived to be 90 years old!” By coming up with these rationalisations, people are able to preserve the impression that their behaviours and attitudes are consistent.

Similarly, cheaters might minimise the significance of their infidelity as a way to cope with knowing they did something wrong. The authors of a new study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships propose that cheaters feel bad about their indiscretions, but try to feel better by reframing their past infidelities as uncharacteristic or out-of-the-ordinary behaviour.

The experiment

To test this idea, the researchers randomly assigned people to be either “faithful” or “unfaithful” in four different lab experiments. Now, you are probably wondering how you make someone cheat on their partner (or not) in a psychology study. Even if researchers could create such groups in the lab, you may think that they probably should not do it anyway (you know, for ethical reasons). The researchers got around these problems by ingeniously banking on the fact that when you are in a relationship, you might still interact with other people you find attractive, and the degree to which you interact with attractive others could count as a mild form of infidelity.

Participants were instructed to think about a past romantic relationship and then to think about someone, other than their past partner, whom they were attracted to while they were in that relationship. For example, if Ted from “How I Met Your Mother” was a participant in this study, he would have been asked to think back on his (now terminated) relationship with Victoria, and reflect on how much he thought about Robin, interacted with her, and flirted with her while he was with Victoria by answering questions on an “infidelity scale”.

Here is the really clever part: Participants were given “false feedback” (or inaccurate information) to make them think that they were higher or lower than average regarding past infidelity compared to other participants. So, if Ted was assigned to the “unfaithful” condition in this study, he would have been made to believe that his past interactions with Robin were especially frequent and intimate – essentially, that he was relatively unfaithful to Victoria compared to other people who completed the infidelity scale.

The results showed that participants who were made to feel unfaithful had more negative emotions than those in the “faithful” condition. Those made to feel unfaithful were also more likely to report that they did not like themselves. In short, they experienced discomfort about their infidelity. They also tended to downplay their infidelity, reporting that it was not important and did not represent them (“It’s not who I typically am”).

In short, people know that infidelity is wrong, but some still do it. And when they do, they usually feel pretty bad about it. But through various forms of cognitive gymnastics, cheaters are able to discount their past indiscretions to feel better about themselves. Since the negative consequences, at least in terms of how they feel about themselves, are diminished, maybe they do not learn from their mistakes – and might be susceptible to cheating again in the future.

  • Cheating Men And The Way They Rationalize Infidelity
  • Infidelity, Cheating, Betrayal…now What?
Enhanced by Zemanta


Leave a comment

Adultery, Abuse and Addiction

praying

I’ve read three articles recently about the topic of pro-marriage, church and pastors not addressing the issue of difficult marriages well:

1.  “Help!” by elisabeth klein corcoran

2. “Enough with the Divorce Shame” by Chump Lady

3. “Pastors: Send a Different Message to Struggling Wives” on Crosswalk (also by elisabeth klein corcoran)

All three articles are written about one overall theme: the pro-marriage community…the Christian community…is not dealing with adultery, addiction or abuse in marriages.  The messages perceived by those who are hurting are “Pay me $199.99 and you can save your marriage all by yourself!”,  “If you tell anyone what’s really going on, you’ll be judged for it”, “Asking for help results in you being blamed for your spouse’s choices”, and “If you only ____ more (fill in the blank with prayed, submitted, cooked, had sex, or forgave) then your spouse wouldn’t ____.”

As a nouthetic counselor, I wanted to look at these articles and ask myself two things.  First, I want to do an honest assessment: Do we–the Christian, pro-marriage community–do an injustice to those who come to us, hurting and in a difficult marriage?  How do we need to change?  What do we need to learn?  I want to take an honest look in the mirror and see what we need to do differently … and better!  But second and MOST IMPORTANTLY, I want to look at the Bible and what God says in the Bible, because I am duty-bound to obey God and encourage others to do the same.  It has been my experience that obeying God and doing what He wants is not always easy and is not always painless, nor is it usually what we want to hear!

The first thing that I’d like to address is the pastor himself.  I’ve heard many times of people going to their pastor or their counselor as if the person is a mind-reader and can magically tell what is “the truth” and what is a lie!  So I want to remind everyone who does go to a pastor, preacher, minister, or spiritual leader…they are a human being with the same human limitations that you have.  Can you just “detect” what is the truth and what is a lie?  No.  And neither can they.  Furthermore, they often only have one side of the story, and my guess would be that your version of what has occurred differs GREATLY from your spouse’s version of what has occurred.  Even in strong, godly marriages, each individual in the marriage has a different personality, different personal strengths and weaknesses, and the way they view things is entirely different–so it is just common sense that in a painful marriage that differing point of view is even more different!  Finally, any pastor or church is an imperfect, SINFUL representation of what God intends His bride, The Church, to be.  Pastors can have their own (sinful) agendas; churches can be anything but christian and just be basically social action committees, and sometimes people are afraid to stand up strongly against a sin because they don’t want to be accused of being judgmental–especially if the sin is a popular one!  So part of the issue here is that we expect “the pastor” to be a lie detector and then basically scold the cheating spouse (and come down on your side) — and those expectations are unrealistic.

The second thing that comes to my mind is that when one spouse goes to any kind of professional–whether they are a coach, minister, counselor or therapist–people who are professionally-trained are going to address the person in the room with them.  Your spouse is not there; you are.  Your spouse didn’t make the effort to make the appointment, figure out childcare, and get their behind end to the office; you did.  And the professional person (who is not a lie detector and can not just tell “the truth”) is not going to tell you “how to get your spouse to do it your way” or scold them if they don’t.  Again, that is an unrealistic expectation.  On this same topic, it is just one of those universal truths that no one can control another person.  Period.  The only person at the appointment is YOU and the only person you can control is YOU.  So the professional is going to help you look at and address YOUR issues…not your spouse’s.  What I’m trying to say is that as a pro-marriage Christian coach, when I have a loyal spouse in session with me whose disloyal spouse is wantonly flaunting adultery in their face, I can show the Loyal in the room how a loving spouse “should” act according to the Bible, but there are no magic words to MAKE the Disloyal do that.  We may be in complete agreement that a godly spouse would not do X, Y or Z, but if their Disloyal is bound and determined to sin–I can’t stop them and neither can the Loyal who took the time to come talk to me!  I can’t even change the spouse who came to me!  The only person who can change is the person who came can change themselves and even then it’s with God working in them, not through sheer will.  Thus, I can maybe confirm for the Loyal “Well, when your Disloyal expects to be able to sin with no natural consequence, that’s unrealistic, so you are okay in acting in a way that allows consequences.” But otherwise my options are limited to addressing the person in front of me: what ways they may have contributed (if any), how they handle it, how they decide to act, tools they can use to understand, and what they do to grow as a person due to this circumstance.

Soooo…we’ve addressed two unrealistic expectations: 1) Pastors/professionals can tell “the truth” and will do a perfect job doing the godly thing, and 2) Pastors will come down on my side when I tell them the sin my spouse is committing, and they will tell me how to get my spouse to stop it.

Next, let’s address some major errors I think the Christian community is making, and what we can do differently.

One of the MAJOR mistakes I see is when a hurting spouse comes to their pastor/priest/minister and reveals that there is adultery, abuse or addiction, and the pastoral response is basically a cliche…something like “Well you go right on back there and just submit more.”  Yes, as I said above, when you go to a professional they realize you can not change your spouse, so they may focus on you and what you can change, but it’s my experience that by the time someone gathers the courage to say “Ummm…I think something is wrong here” they are usually hurt so badly you better react as if you’re in the emergency room and they just came in with a gunshot to the head.  When it’s just “somewhat bad” people keep trying, keep their mouths shut, wonder if it’s just them, and try to just bear it (of course, not EVERYONE is that way, but many/most).  And when someone makes all the effort to set up an appointment and get to the office and says “It’s not going very well” that really means much, MUCH more.  Sending someone back into a home that is harming them via mental, emotional, spiritual or physical abuse is cruelty, frankly…and both adulterers and addicts DEFINITELY employ abuse!

Thus it seems to me that one area pastors REALLY need to do better, is to take the time to find out if it is a case of adultery, abuse or addiction, and if it is… to protect the spouse who is being abused! Now, this does not mean “end your marriage immediately” or encouraging divorce even–but it does mean taking the time to do true investigation, because often abusers are masters of deception.  And it does mean giving the abused spouse–whether that is a man or a woman–the support of finding safety.  As much as Malachi 2:16 is used to force “God hates divorce” down people’s throats, listen to the WHOLE VERSE: ” ‘The man who hates and divorces his wife,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel,  ‘does violence to the one he should protect,’  says the Lord Almighty.  So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful. 

One thing that is extremely important–and I mean EXTREMELY–is that the shepherd should “take the time to find out if it is a case of adultery, abuse or addiction”.  The reason that is so important is because there are times when a spouse will claim “abuse” when their spouse disagrees with them…or claim “abuse” as the justification for why they are doing the sin they are doing!  Since pastors are not lie detectors and do not live behind closed doors with you, they can’t “just tell” that one spouse is sitting in their office lying their head off, and outside the office they are a completely different person.  But too often I think one spouse comes in, the pastor hears one side of the story and does not investigate, and just believes whatever is told to them.

I’ll give you one crazy example … and then another the other way.  Once a lady came to her mentor and told him all about how her husband screamed at her last night for THREE HOURS and then threw some china at the wall that smashed it to smitereens.  Naturally the mentor told her the husband was abusive and no way was it acceptable for him to scream for three hours and break things…and the mentor encouraged her to leave him.  Only problem?  The wife didn’t mention that her husband screamed for three hours BECAUSE HE HAD FOUND HER IN THEIR MARITAL BED WITH ANOTHER MAN!!!  She “forgot” that little detail and when asked why she didn’t tell him, she told the mentor she didn’t think it was relevant!

Okay here’s the second example.  A spouse goes to her pastor and tells the pastor her husband has been drinking, been abusive and calls her names.  The pastor calls a meeting with the husband and tells him how wrong he is to be abusive and that calling your wife names is sinful and that he has to stop drinking immediately.  Well obviously “abuse is sinful” and “drinking is sinful,” right?  And they are…but what the wife didn’t tell the pastor was that she was having an affair and finding fault with everything about her husband, telling him he didn’t earn enough money, he wasn’t a good father, he wasn’t a good husband, having him do literally all the housework all the while screaming at him…and to escape the pain of being told how worthless he was, he would drink so he’d feel numb.  Okay not a SMART solution but it was a way to cope.  And finally, after getting abused all night long, he’d tell her, “Leave me alone you witch!” and off she run to the pastor waving the “abuse”word …who then called the husband and told him how wrong he was without ever investigating or dealing with the real issue: the affair.

  • Ongoing Pastoral Counseling of an Abuser is a Formula for Trouble
  • It Takes Three: A Wholistic View of Marriage
Enhanced by Zemanta


3 Comments

What It Feels Like to Discover That Your Spouse is Cheating

mourning

I recently re-read this blog I wrote back in 2010, and it so accurately describes that moment when you discover your spouse has cheated, that I thought I would post it again.  So without further adieu, here is “What It Feels Like to Discover that Your Spouse is Cheating.” 

________________________________________________________

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 discover 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.

  • [5-6] Rage Therapy in Affair Counselling
  • Have You Lost Trust In Your Relationship?
  • Perspectives on biblical counseling from two leaders
Enhanced by Zemanta


10 Comments

Are Affairs About Sex?

People have a misguided idea that when people commit adultery, they “affair up.”  Think of the many movies we’ve seen where the good-looking, well-to-do man sees the woman of his dreams across a crowded room, and against all odds they overcome obstacles like being married because they were “meant to be.”  Think of the romance novels where the wife is a frigid nag, and the poor husband has to endure her abuse until one day he meets the young, beautiful, charming, sympathetic heroine of the story.  Or the songs about leaving to be with their “destiny”!  It’s no wonder people get the wrong message.

But,  if affairs really were about looks and money, it seems logical that the most beautiful women would have the absolutely most loyal husbands.  See these women?  They are as close to our definition of beauty here in the USA as anyone possibly achieve, and each one of these stunningly beautiful women had their husband not only cheat on them, but leave them cold!

halleberry  jennifer

76th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals by Gregg DeGuire            demi_moore

divider

 

See these men?  They are good looking, rich and powerful, and each one of them had their wives leave them cold too (or did you forget about Ben and J’lo?).

 

 RP   Ben Affleck  shaq  quaid

Affairs are not about “looks” “money” “sex” or “affairing up.”  The Other Person is not sexier, doesn’t look better, isn’t richer, and isn’t a better lover…usually.  That’s because affairs are not about improving as a person or about love!  Affairs can not be “love stories” because love literally means committing to one person and thereafter treating that person in a kind, caring way.   It’s an action, not a feeling.

In real life people usually have affairs with someone a little under them, because it makes them feel better about themselves.  Men have affairs with the secretary; women with the co-worker at work.  It’s not at all unusual for the Affair Partner to have had an affair before or to have a police record, and yet people overlook the facts in order to continue their fantasy.  And that’s because affairs are about unmet needs.  Men fall for the secretary because she listens to him like he’s interesting, she acts like she desires him, and she wants to spend time with him–she acts like she understands what he’s going through.  And women fall for the man at work because she respects him, he pursues her, he acts like he wants her and like he thinks she is smart, funny, and interesting–he acts like he understands what she’s going through.

Are affairs about sex?  99 times out of 100 the answer is “No.”

  • Just Friends?
  • Infidelity Survey Reveals Top 10 Stores Where Cheating Wives Shop
Enhanced by Zemanta


3 Comments

When people say “God is my Husband” or “Jesus is Enough”

 Heart Puzzle

I was reading “Is Jesus Really Enough?” by Lilly Grace, and her blog really got me thinking.  In fact, it inspired me so much I wanted to write about it!  

My “blog sister” Lilly Grace is in a difficult marriage–her husband reminds me of Abigail’s first husband, Nabal.  He is not loving and gentle and kind toward her, but she doesn’t give up.  I would say I’m in a difficult marriage, but not because my husband is abusive or because our marriage is sexless!  Nope, my Dear Hubby who writes here often is a WONDERFUL man and a loving husband, but my Dear Hubby is very ill and so I do have many things I have to do “by myself” where others might have their spouse to support them.  And I’m sure that many of you here who read my blog can relate–if your spouse is committing adultery, whether it’s an emotional affair or a physical affair, your marriage is DIFFICULT.  It can feel very lonely.  You may not have your spouse there for you.  Your Disloyal Spouse is probably angry, abusive, deceptive, dishonest, and hurtful.  Chances are good that your sex life is suffering, and you miss the hugs and kisses and loving physical touches.  

But I still hate it when people say cliche kind of responses like these because they don’t really HELP. I don’t need some meaningless cliche–I need some understanding, sympathy or at least something that’s actually helpful! LOL I will say one thing about these sayings though: they aren’t utterly inaccurate.

To me, when I think of “God is my husband” what I truly, honestly think of in my head is that as a woman, I want a male person to treat me with love and kindness and gentleness, and God is not a male human in flesh and blood in front of me. But when I think about marriage, I think that it is an image of the way God wants to be with us…with ME. Marriage reflects the intimate knowledge of one male person to one female person–full, deep, true KNOWING and BEING KNOWN with covenant commitment to each other. This is what God wants: He wants me to fully, deeply, truly know Him and been known by Him.  He wants covenant commitment to each other. And in that sense, He is my Husband.  

Likewise, I think of “Jesus is enough” I think of Jesus, who is fully the Maker and Creator of the Universe, but who humbled Himself and took on flesh. He was fully GOD, but he experienced the hunger, tiredness, frustration, limitation and yes physical sexual hormones and everything that comes with a human body…and He voluntarily gave Himself to torture and death to atone for us! If He can endure that for us, then yes, I can endure what physical discomforts this short time here on earth  may give me, even if it’s being horny or without sex.  After all, the point of sex is not “to relieve my horny physical itch” but to physically share in the pleasure of my spouse and serve them!  My focus in sex is on intimacy and on my spouse.  

And the last thing I think of is actually adultery, and I think of that because so often we think of our little pain or our loneliness or our lack of sex and try to justify to ourselves “Well, God would want me to be happy” or some such nonsense.  But in real life, marriage is a mirror of our relationship to God (as the Bride of Christ)…and adultery is a mirror of our relationship to God before Christ!  He loved us, as a husband loves his bride, and we “cheated” on Him by loving other gods and chasing them rather than being faithful to Him.  We were rageful, hateful, deceptive, dishonest, and followed our lusts–and despite all that, God kept His covenant with us and sent Jesus to pay the price in our place.  

So at times, the frustration and loneliness and longing for just loving physical touch can feel overwhelming and be very hard to bear–but then I think of what marriage is, what a covenant commitment means, and how God loved me (His Bride) when I was committing adultery.  And with His help, I can endure this small trial here.  

  • How the Gospel Works in My Marriage
  • The Forgiving Husband
  • Can She Leave Him?
Enhanced by Zemanta


6 Comments

What if the grass really is greener?

greener-grab1

 

On the occasion, I have had Disloyal Spouses ask me, “What if the grass really is greener on the other side?” when speaking of their affair.  I think the answer may surprise you.

I assume that what a Disloyal Spouse is really asking is this: “What if the Affair Partner is a better match?” or “What if they are younger, make more money, or make me happier?”  Something like that–wouldn’t you think?  “What if I’m ‘affairing up’?  Does that make any difference?”

First, there is no one perfect match for you or for anyone.  You can choose someone who is exactly like you in every way and they may understand you easier and speak your Love Language, but in no way will you learn or grow or appreciate other personality types or qualities if they are exactly like you.  You can choose someone who is your exact opposite in every way and they may be very hard to understand and not “get” your Love Language at all, but in every way you will learn and grow and learn to appreciate the other personality types and qualities.  One way is “easier”–one is “harder” but which leads to a better person?  Which is a “better match”?  The best match for you may not be someone who is easy, but someone who challenges you!

Second, the vow you made was that YOU promised to spend your life learning how to love one and only one person: your spouse.  Your marriage vows did not say that now this other person would love you “exactly the way you like” or “meet all your needs the rest of your life”–your vows were YOU promising to love THEM.  YOU promised to investigate them the rest of your whole life…to learn to understand them…to learn what they find loving and do that…to learn what pleases them and do that…and to treat them in a loving way as long as you still draw breath.  People often confuse marriage with “YAY, now I have someone to love me and meet all my needs instinctively forever,” and what it really means is that you will love someone and meet ALL THEIR NEEDS and get to know them so well that you know just what to do to love them!  So if you are looking to someone else to “love you” and “make you happy” then no matter who you choose, you are going to be disappointed and break your promises to them.

Third, it’s impossible to ‘affair up’ because that is someone who has the personal values and morals that it’s okay to commit adultery.  If someone is actually an honest, moral, loving, upright person, the moment they found out you were married, they would say “You have an obligation to another person, and no matter what I may think or feel, I will not be involved in that kind of dishonest behavior.”  Instead, they found out you had a commitment to another and communicated to you through their actions that in their value system, it is okay to be dishonest, to betray trust, to put selfish personal needs ahead of the needs of those you love.  If that is their value system, how could you possibly ‘affair up’?  They may indeed be younger or have more money, but those things do not make them a better person.

Finally, let me just remind you of this: from your side of the fence it may appear as if the grass on the other side is very green and lush, but that’s because you’re thinking that you would get to take  everything on your side with you to that side.  In real life, that grass may look green because it’s painted (fake), because it’s astroturf (deception) or because there is a LOT of “fertilizer” over there…but there is no depth to the roots.  Once you move to that side of the fence, you LOSE what you have on this side of the fence (your home, half your time with your children, any needs your spouse met, any of your spouse’s finances, your dreams of retirement or vacations, even personal items!).  Then you get to the supposedly greener grass, find out it has no root, and since you now no longer have the home and the free time and the funds, the greener grass no longer wants YOU.   No matter how alluring the green grass may look, there is always a cost, and the cost is EXTREMELY HIGH.

 

So rather than looking longingly at the grass across the fence, I have a challenge for you.  Water your own lawn.  Weed it.  Feed it.  Cultivate the grass where you are and make YOUR LAWN to lawn everyone looks at with envy.  Make your own grass greener–do not go to other grass.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta


46 Comments

A child born of adultery

baby

We had a GREAT question asked to us on our “The Purpose of No Contact” page.  It was such a great question, in fact, that I thought it would be helpful to several others in a similar situation if I wrote a post about it!   Here’s the question:

“What happens when a child is born from adultery, how do you sustain the no contact rule and do what is right for the child?”

The first thing I want you to do is to take a look at that picture at the top of this post.  Can you tell by looking at that picture if that child was conceived in love?  Can you tell if it is a child of rape or of adultery?  You can not tell, can you?  And to the baby…it can not tell either.  It is a human being whom God did not just “allow” to come into this world–He was actively involved in the conception and creating of life–even if the coming together of the sperm and the egg was through sinful circumstances.  So before we go any further, the baby — the child — is not involved in “how it was conceived.”  The child is an innocent, and the child needs love and needs a mom and dad in its life.

Now that that is out of the way, let’s jump into the actual question.  When one spouse is Disloyal and commits adultery, and the Loyal spouse is willing to reconcile, in order for the affair to truly END and the recovery to begin, there has to be complete and utter, 100% NO CONTACT with the Affair Partner.  I think when there is no child conceived, people generally understand why and how to do this.  But when a child IS conceived, what do you do?    HOW do you do it?   It seems impossible to cut all contact with the person who is the other parent of your child, and to be honest, it is extremely difficult!  BUT that is also one of the reasons why affairs are so destructive and the damage is so devastating–because the Disloyal puts the Loyal into the position of having an STD or a child that will be a constant reminder for life!

But getting beyond that, here are some practical ideas:

1.  Bear in mind that when a man and woman have children together and divorce, they may need to communicate ON THE OCCASION, but by-in-large they do not need to talk every day, they do not need to do things for each other, and they are no longer involved in each others’ day-to-day lives.  Thus, when your Disloyal Spouse claims that they need to be mettling in their Affair Partner’s life or be involved doing things on a daily basis… no they don’t.  No matter who is who, the female person had unprotected sex with someone and made a baby, and she made that choice; she’s responsible TO THE CHILD. And likewise the male person had unprotected sex with someone and made a baby, and he made that choice; he is responsible TO THE CHILD.  Now if they had been smart, they would have considered that the reason a person only has sex within a committed, lifetime marriage is for the stability it offers to their potential children!  But they were not smart, and now they do each owe THE CHILD, but neither one of them owes a thing to their adultery partner!!!!!  Their promise was to their spouse, and anything they owe (like loyalty or honor) is to their SPOUSE.

2.  Get everything about the baby/child legal and court-ordered.  Have a legal custody agreement, a legal parenting plan, and a legal child support order.  This is to protect both the Loyal and Disloyal Spouse from an Affair Partner out for revenge, and to the protect the child.  There should be a way to enforce visitation and where the child lives and when, and if there is a court-ordered custody and parenting plan, even if the Other Person goes insane, the court can help you enforce it.  Likewise there should be clearly-defined child support, which protects you by itemizing exactly how much is owed to whom and when…and can document/prove who gave how much to whom and when.  Of course, if you are the Disloyal Spouse you owe it to the child that you created to take care of its needs and provide for the child, same as if you and your spouse had a child together.  If you owe child support, YOU PAY IT–not your spouse.

3. There is absolutely no reason for either of the Affair Partners to email, chat, text or call each other.  Ever.  There can always be an intermediary, and that can be anyone: the Loyal Spouse, a pastor or mentor, a mutual friend, a parent, an attorney, or a day-care person.  The Affair Partner can send any communication to the intermediary, and the intermediary can get  the message to the Disloyal Spouse.  Period.  NO CONTACT.

4.  Exchanging the child does not require contact either!  There is no reason why the child could not be left at an intermediary or neutral place, and this works better as the child gets older.  For example, the “mom” leaves the baby at day care on Wednesday morning and goes to her work…the “dad” picks up the baby at day care Wednesday night on his way home from work.  Then he keeps the child until Sunday, when “dad” drives the child to Sunday School and “mom” picks up the child after Sunday School at church.   The drop off point could be McDonald’s, school, a sport (like if the child is in baseball) or practice, or a park!  When the child is just an infant baby, it may require more time with mom, but even as an infant, the baby could be dropped off and picked up at day care or a mutual friend’s house. Either way… NO CONTACT!

5.  The hardest part of having a child out of adultery is the honest fact that on the occasion there are going to be emergencies–but an “emergency” does not mean “baby mama drama”!!!  It means blood or fire.  It means the child got hurt or is ill.  If the child has a cold–that is not an emergency.  In the event of an actual emergency, I suggest that the Loyal and Disloyal Spouses just have a Mutual Agreement about how to handle it.  If you have a reasonable Other Person, if the affair was literally years ago, and if everyone is out of each others’ lives and pretty respectful, it’s conceivable the Loyal may be okay with the Disloyal getting true emergency contact.  It’s far from ideal, but having an affair is far from ideal!!  On the other hand, some Loyal Spouses may not be able to handle any contact ever, in which case I suggest that the emergency calls go to the Loyal Spouse.  I mean if A and B are married and B had an affair with C and had a child, C could call A and say “There is thus and such emergency” and A could tell B and meet at the Emergency Room!  Chances are that C would not be calling A with every little papercut either.

6.  Finally, if you are a Loyal Wife and your Disloyal Husband got the Other Woman pregnant, it is possible and okay for you to choose to love and raise and accept the child as your own together as a couple.  Likewise if you are a Loyal Husband and your Disloyal Wife got pregnant by the Other Man, there is no law that says you can’t choose to love and raise and accept the child as your own together as a couple either.  My point here is that often people just assume that the baby would live “elsewhere” and that does not HAVE TO be the case.  If you have the love within your heart to adopt a child and love it because you choose to commit to it–then maybe you have the love within to choose THIS child too.   If you can see past the circumstances of how the child came to your life, and instead see all the joys and laughs and energy and fun and life that the child will bring to you… then I encourage you to be the custodial parents!  Show the child what love really is: a choice to treat someone in a loving way.

  • A Portrait of Adultery
  • No child support if dad is anonymous sperm donor
  • Common Questions Regarding Custody, Support and Divorce
Enhanced by Zemanta
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 472 other followers

Powered by WordPress.com