Tag Archives: affairs

Respect Dare Day 2: Childhood Scars

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It’s Day Two of the Respect Dare here at Affaircare, and we are joining with Jennifer at Unbroken Woman as she leads us through Nina Roesner’s The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband.” Jennifer is a little over half way through her Respect Dare, but here at Affaircare we are looking at this Dare with just a little twist: how do our childhood scars relate to infidelity? What can we learn to keep our marriages affair-free OR bring them back from the brink of unfaithfulness? Or if that has been an affair, can learning about our pasts free a couple to help  them rebuild?

To join us on our Affaircare Respect Dare journey, please get Nina’s book (or e-book) and all the info by CLICKING HERE.

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As we go through this Respect Dare together, one thing I’m trying to do is to talk about the correlation between some of the topics of the Respect Dare and Infidelity.  How do they relate?  Is this something we often see in marriages that are struggling with an affair?  This topic is particularly related to unfaithfulness.  Time and again we hear from Loyal Spouses something like “Well my spouse had their affair because they were abused as a child” or “Oh S/He couldn’t help themselves–they had a bad childhood.”  For all I know, you may be a Disloyal Spouse thinking that right now!

But if there is ONE THING I’d like readers to take from this Respect Dare, it’s that whether your spouse is the cheater or you were the cheater, the person you need to start with is the person in the mirror.  We ALL have childhood scars.  We ALL have incidents in our lives that affect us for the rest of our lives–some good, some…not so good.  But rather than looking at your spouse and thinking of all the ways that they need to change, look at yourself.  Keeping ahold of the past or abuses from your childhood is an excuse for you to behave poorly–or a justification for having an affair–or a rationalization for your bad choices.

As children these events affected us.  They impacted the way we see ourselves and our spouses and our families and our lives.  But we are not children anymore; we are adults.  If you are an adult, and you KNOW that you had a traumatic event in your childhood (or your whole childhood was one big trauma) you are responsible for yourself now.  When you know that you have PTSD flashbacks from the abuse you suffered as a child and do nothing, you are not a  helpless child; you are an adult choosing to harm others so you don’t have to face yourself.  When you know you have a skewed view of Love and Sex due to sexual assault at a young age and do nothing, you are not a helpless child; you are an adult choosing to harm those who love you whom you love so you don’t have to face yourself.

To defend your marriage against infidelity, sometimes we have to be brave enough to face our childhood dragons and admit that “It’s me!  I need to work on myself and my wounds so I can be a healthy adult.”

Today in the Respect Dare book we are asked to ”be aware that our experiences with our parents’ marriage as a child has impacted the experiences, beliefs, and unconscious behaviors in our own marriage.” “Sometimes our beliefs are healthy; some are not.” “Sometimes our beliefs are not grounded in Truth, but these beliefs still become the filter through which we see our own circumstances.” 

We are asked to pray and ask for wisdom in understanding a key experience that has impacted the way you currently walk through marriage.  After praying, wait for an incident to come to mind and work with it to answer these questions.  In one sentence, respond to the following questions about the incident that came to mind:

This particular Respect Dare is EXTREMELY hard for me, because I had a very painful, abusive childhood.  My father was and still is an alcoholic, although at times he has dry spells when he’s ill.  My mother was and still is undiagnosed bipolar–she has a degree in “Sociology” so in her mind she *couldn’t* have a mental illness, although pretty much everyone who knows her agrees she has mood patterns.  When my parents were not christians, they would drink and become physically violent with each other.  When they became christians, they “hid” their alcoholism and mental illness so they looked like good christians, and behind closed doors they hit us children.  And then my dad had an affair, my mom went nuts with grief and pain (understandably), and they divorced.  Rough childhood!

Question 1: Who was there? When was the incident? Where were you?

I have my incident in mind.  I was there and my mom was there.  The incident was when I was about 14 years old.  We were in the kitchen.

Question 2: What happen? If this is something that happened many times, pick one of those times and describe it as best as you can, as if you were reliving that moment in time.

My chore as a child was to do the dishes after dinner.  We had a dishwasher, so I would load the dishes and everything, then wash the pans by hand.  This incident occurred over two nights. The first night, I did my chore and afterward I was spanked with a brush from my knees to  my shoulders for not using Comet in the sink after finishing the dishes.  The next night, I did my chore and afterward I very wisely thought “Ah ha!  I am going to avoid the spanking by using the Comet this time!” and that night I was spanked with a brush from my knees to my shoulders for not getting permission first.  Why didn’t my dad stop her from hitting me?  I don’t think he was home; I think he was at a bar at the time.

Question 3. What was revealed to you about how you interact in your marriage as a result of this incident?

Two things: #1 My first instinct is to try to please others.  I don’t want to get hurt so I’ll “please you.”  #2 When someone is mad I just SHUT DOWN because I learned that there is no figuring it out, just shut up and take it.

Question 4: What possible interpretations exist of that one event? List as may as you can in seven minutes.

  • I misunderstood what I was being punished for.
  • My mom was just making up reasons to punish me.
  • I was completely innocent and didn’t deserve either spanking (LOL)!
  • I completely deserved BOTH spankings, because I’m a little devil (lol)!
  • My mom had an issue or weakness that didn’t really involve me at all.
  • Comet is good on Monday-Wednesday-Friday but on Tuesday-Thursday it’s bad
  • It wasn’t about me or Comet or the sink at all.

Question 5: Write out a prayer of release from any unhealthy habits of thinking you’ve developed as a result of that incident.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Creator of Heaven and Earth and my wise and loving Father. Thank You for bringing this memory to mind tonight, as I go through the Respect Dare, share myself, and lead those who are joining me on this journey.  Thank You for giving me the parents You gave me, so I could grow up to be the dearly beloved daughter of the Most High God that I am today.  Thank You for never leaving my side as I lived through those painful times, and for never leaving my side when I made choices that were not pleasing to You.  Thank You for your faithfulness in teaching me to grow more and more like Christ, even though it was not easy!  Thank You for giving me the emotional and physical strength to survive and even thrive!  I pray that as I remember this particular incident, that You would help me to remember my parents were human beings just like I am a human being–imperfect and weak.  They had their own issues and their own struggles; and although they may have been struggling “in their own strength” they did the best they could do at the time with what they knew.  Help me to forgive them and deal with them with grace and mercy.   Remind me that YOU forgave me, and give me Your heart toward them both.  Help me to let it go–that is to say, to release any hurt or pain I have held onto, and to release any desire I have to keep it as an excuse for sin now.  Help me to keep my focus on You and pleasing You and doing what is holy in Your sight, right now.  Thank You for promising that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me–I claim that promise.  In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray.  Amen.

Now to see what other’s have written about Respect Dare Day 2, here are some links:

The Respect Dare, Day 2 – Childhood Scars by PeacefulWife
The Respect Dare – Day 2 by Tiffani at My Beloved is Mine
Dare 2 ~ Childhood Scars~ by Jennifer at Unbroken Woman (our “Fearless Leader”)
The Respect Dare: Day Two by Orenda at Broken But Not Forgotten
Day 2 ~ Childhood by Kamila at Your Marriage Is Your First Ministry
Respect Dare 2: This One Hurt by Forgiven Wife

The RESPECT DARE blog … with Nina Roesner

In the comments below, please share thoughts and where we can pray for you. If it is private, please email us at affaircare@gmail.com or share your prayer request with us anonymously.

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Respect Dare Day 1: Expectations and Adultery

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It’s Day One of the Respect Dare here at Affaircare, and we are joining with Jennifer at Unbroken Woman as she leads us through Nina Roesner’s  “The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband.”  Jennifer is a little over half way through her Respect Dare, but here at Affaircare we are looking at this Dare with just a little twist: how does respect (or lack thereof) relate to infidelity?  What can we learn to keep our marriages affair-free OR bring them back from the brink of unfaithfulness?  Or if that has been an affair, can learning about respect help a couple rebuild?

To join us on our Affaircare Respect Dare journey, please get Nina’s book (or e-book) and all the info by  CLICKING HERE.

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Today’s Respect Dare topic is about Expectations.

Expectations (according to the dictionary) are “something looked forward to, whether feared or hoped for”; “a prospect of future benefit or fortune” or “the degree of probability that something will occur.”  An expectation of myself might be that I anticipate that if I do X…I expect Y will occur, and either I HOPE that happens or I am AFRAID that it will.  It’s putting my eyes on the future, and kind of gambling that this or that will occur !

In marriages, I see expectations do the most damage when one spouse EXPECTS the other to do something or respond in some way, and when the spouse doesn’t do it, they are disappointed and allow the unfulfilled expectation to turn to bitterness or resentment  Let me give you an example from my own life:

When I was a younger married person, I expected my husband to help me with household chores.  I would ask him to load the dishwasher sometimes, and he would do it but he always would grumble and put it off and procrastinate.  Plus he always loaded it WRONG!  “God how many times do I have to tell you to load pans on the TOP?” I’d moan.  Well no wonder he hated to load dishes!  A) He already worked all day and was tired, and B) When he did do it, he’d get yelled at for doing it!.  Finally one day, he loaded it wrong again, and I yelled at him again, and he said a life-changing thing to me: “Who cares if the pans are on the top or bottom?  Either way they get washed don’t they?”

Oh my goodness!!  

He was so right!!!!  I felt so embarrassed because in that moment I realized that there are more than one ways to load a dishwasher, and here he was actually doing what I asked and getting punished for it!  Somehow I had learned that my way was the “right” way and any other way was the “wrong” way….and that I didn’t have to ask people to do it my way…they should “just know” that it’s right.

I had a major case of “EXPECTATIONS.”

What’s worse, is that over the years, my expectations had chipped and chiseled and whittled away at the foundation of my marriage, doing great harm.  This damage was a little opening that left my spouse vulnerable to sin when another woman came along who showed him some admiration and interest instead of always showing him how “wrong” he was!  Now he still did have a responsibility to say “no” to that temptation–so don’t get me wrong–but why put our spouses into the position of being vulnerable to attack, when we can put up DEFENSES and shield our marriages by letting go of unreasonable expectations?  By looking at the woman in the mirror and realizing that *I* was the one who had to change, I was protecting my spouse and my family from enemy attack!

So for this Respect Dare Day 1, our assignments are:

  1. In your journal, under the heading “Expectations for My Progress ,” write out three tangible, measurable statements that would indicate progress is being made for you.
  2. On a separate piece of paper, under the heading “Expectations of My Husband That I Release,” write three tangible, measurable statements that are expectations you have held for your husband

I personally have not purchased a notebook or pretty journal for this Respect Dare because I’m going to be using this blog as my journal, right out in the open.  You may want to buy a journal (Walmart has school notebooks for 17 cents right now) or you may want to start an online journal (My-Diary.org or Diary.com).

So here are my personal entries for Respect Dare Day 1:

1.  In your journal, under the heading “Expectations for My Progress ,” write out three tangible, measurable statements that would indicate progress is being made for you.  I am going to take this to mean that I should think of three things like goals that would be one way for me to tell I’ve grown in respect for my husband.  Wow.  This is hard! PeacefulWife has an AMAZING list on her Dare Day 1 blog, and it got me started thinking.  I am very blessed, personally, to have a pretty solid, respectful relationship with my Dear Hubby.  The fact is, in real life, I do respect him!  LOL  But I think I learned respect more like “this is a healthy relationship technique” (psychology) rather than learning how to express respect because it’s God-pleasing.  So my “Expectations for Progress” are going to focus on growing in pleasing God.  Soooo…here are my three tangible, measureable expectations:

  • I will spend 15 minutes or more in the bible with my husband (if he’ll join me) every single day
  • I will release my worries about my Dear Hubby’s health every day
  • I will spend 2 hours every night with my Dear Hubby doing things with him instead of doing “work”

2. Under the heading “Expectations of My Husband That I Release,” write three tangible, measurable statements that are expectations you have held for your husband.  Okay I have to confess, this one makes me laugh.  I did not think I really held many expectations of my Dear Hubby, because he is who he is and I like him for who he is.  But after reading PeacefulWife’s list I do see I few I can release:

  • be romantic by my definition every day
  • lead me spiritually in the ways I think he should
  • go to the church I want to go to and go when I want to go

Now to see what other’s have written about Respect Dare Day 1, here are some links:

The Respect Dare, Day 1 – Expectations by PeacefulWife (I love her!)
The Respect Dare – Day 1 by Tiffani at My Beloved is Mine
Dare 1 ~ Expectations by Jennifer at Unbroken Woman (our “Fearless Leader”)
The Respect Dare by Orenda at Broken But Not Forgotten
Day 1 ~ Expectations by Kamila at Your Marriage Is Your First Ministry
Respect Dare 1: Already a Challenge by Forgiven Wife

The RESPECT DARE blog … with Nina Roesner

In the comments below, please share thoughts and where we can pray for you. If it is private, please email us at affaircare@gmail.com or share your prayer requestwith us anonymously.

Before you cheat… 14 things you need to know.

This article is so good, I am reblogging it here, word for word.  The original author is Rod Arters, and his blog is “The Official blog of Rod Arters.”  Catchy name, hey?  😀   So enjoy–here it is exactly as written:
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It seems that every 3 months or so we learn of another celebrity caught cheating on his or her spouse.  To say adultery is an epidemic in our current culture is an understatement.  And it doesn’t seem to be a respecter of position.  Regardless of what we do for a living, (Politicians, Pastors, teachers, athletes, actors, musicians, etc) cheaters are in our midst.   It seems to be so prevalent today that the question isn’t who is cheating but rather – who isn’t?

Too many treat their most important relationships casually and their commitments to them as optional.  Our microwave society mentality (quick and easy) has infiltrated our most sacred institution, marriage.  Many cheaters try to justify their reasons for infidelity.  To a cheater, their reasons make sense.  Perfect sense.  To those who have never strayed they just don’t understand why.

Our thirst for affairs has become so accepted and normal in our culture that most shows on television mention an infidelity reference somewhere throughout the episode.  Not to be outdone, we even have a reality show (called Cheaters) that is designed to reveal an indiscretion and exploit the humiliation on national television.  Honestly, I’m not sure which is worse – the immoral action of the cheater or the people who produce the show.  The fact that the series is in its 12th season is an indictment against us.  I’m not sure which is more devastating – discovering your lover’s unfaithfulness or discovering the crushing news at the same time as the train-wreck watching public.   We live in a very sad day and age.

I have seen first-hand the destruction of adultery.  Cheating devastates relationships and shatters dreams.  If you have entertained the idea of cheating on your spouse or significant other, let this serve as your official warning.   Your handsome boss, cute office secretary or sultry neighbor down the street comes with a price tag that you cannot afford.   Before you cheat here are 14 things you really need to know.

  1. You will become a liar.   It’s bad enough to bear the title of “Cheater,” but if you cheat, you will also wear the hat of “Liar.”   Cheating cannot occur without deceit on some level and normally the white lies in the beginning become full-fledged lies at the end.  “I’m working late at the office tonight” may be a half-truth but you’ll need to redefine the word “working” to silence your compromised conscience.  Cheating and lying go hand in hand.  (For more about the lies that cheaters tell, click here.)
  2. You will get caught.  It may not be today.  It may not be tomorrow.  But eventually, your affair will come to light.   Your world will come crashing down on you.  If you are fortunate, the story of your indiscretion may avoid the evening news or the front page of your local paper, but your circle of friends will know your deeds.  And everyone likes to share juicy news.  Your poor decision will become as public as a billboard.  It’s not a matter of if but when.  As Pastor Rick Warren tweeted recently, “If the Director of the CIA can’t hide and cover up an affair, no one can.”  As the Chinese proverb goes, “If you don’t want anyone to know it, don’t do it.”
  3. You will disappoint everyone.   Everyone.  Your spouse.  Your friends.  Your co-workers.   Your God.  Your parents.   Your nephew.  Your children.  Yourself.  The disappointment you cause will be like the stench of skunks and it will take a long time to remove the smell.
  4. You will be a bad example.   Everyone is either a good example or a bad example in all things that we do.  Cheating is a not only a very bad example in relationships but brings with it a cloud of doubt that hovers over you in other areas of your life.  If you cheated in one area, would you cheat in another?  Cheating communicates to everyone that you took the easy road.   It tells others that you were willing to cut corners in your most primary relationship.  It reveals that you were not willing to do the hard work and get the help you needed.  No one ever admires a cheater.  No one looks up to an adulterer.  Even if you did a lifetime of good, this one bad deed can erase it all.
  5. You will lose your moral authority.  It’s hard to tell your children (or others) to do the right thing when they know you didn’t.  Saying “Do as I say, not as I do” is the fastest way to lose the respect of others.  Not only will you lose their respect, you’ll lose yours.  Every moral judgment you make in the future will be weighed against your adulterous action of the past.   It doesn’t mean you can’t speak the truth in the future, it just means that few will listen to you.
  6. You will create trust issues for your spouse.  Forever.  You will single-handedly damage the precious self-esteem of the one you promised to love.  Every relationship they have after you will be one that they struggle to trust.  If that were not enough, you will rock the world of children and cause them to question the stability of every meaningful relationship they have.   For children, their parents relationship is their anchor and cheating cuts the line.
  7. You will lose your standard of living.  Depending on what you do for a living, you may lose your job.  Many lose their home.  Most end up with enormous court fees since cheating is usually the precursor to divorce.  Betrayed spouses have a way of making you pay and that payment is always expensive.  Every check you write is a constant reminder of your foolishness.
  8. You will spend years trying to rebuild your life.   Literally years.   Even if you somehow weathered the storm financially, you will find it takes years for you to recover emotionally.  It takes years for you to restore certain friendships, if you even do.  It takes years for you to rebuild your character.  It takes years to rebuild trust.  It takes years to truly forgive yourself.
  9. You will lose relationships.   You will lose a LOT of relationships.  Lifelong friends will walk away.  Close friends that you have helped countless times will not be around to help you.  Even some family members who are supposed to love you no matter what will vanish.   A cheater can end up living a very lonely life.  It’s hard for many people who used to call you friend to get past that skunk smell of disappointment.
  10. You will increase your chances of getting an STD.   Sexually transmitted diseases run rampant among promiscuous people.   But your paramour is “clean,” right?   After all, they told you so.  And if there is one thing we all know – we can trust a cheater and their word.  As the saying goes, “There is honor among thieves.”   One helpful thought may be to assume that everyone but your spouse has an STD.  That should curb your appetite for destruction.
  11. The grass is not greener on the other side.   The “grass is greener” idea is a common misconception.  Because we have never been on that grass, we assume it must be better than where we currently stand.  It’s not.  In fact, though it may look greener from a distance – once you get there and make yourself comfortable, something interesting happens – the grass changes color.  This usually happens soon after you get caught.  You will then see that patch of land differently.  You will also have a strange desire for the green grass you left… except now it is burned and won’t let you back.   The best way to enjoy green grass is to water your own yard.
  12. Would you want this done to you?   Thieves like to steal wallets but hate when it’s done to them.  If we all lived by the Golden Rule (“Treat others the way you want to be treated.”) most of life’s problems would be solved overnight.   Think about this action as if it were being done to you.  The problem is that it requires thought and thinking is often the last thing a cheater has on his/her mind.
  13. You will eventually regret this decision.  In the heat of the moment, cheating appears to make sense.  It feels good and sometimes even feels right.  Feelings are deceitful.  Soon afterward, your eyes will be opened and you will regret that you ever partook of the forbidden fruit.   Don’t we all have enough regrets in our lives?   Why add another one – particularly one that can only destroy everything you have worked so hard to build?  Your home may not be perfect but it sure beats living in a tent.
  14. The pain outweighs the gain.  No one ever says from their deathbed, I wish I would have had an affair.  No one ever leaves their lawyer’s office with a smile on their face – grateful for the experience.  No one loses dear friends and is glad they have one less Christmas card to receive this year.   The loss is immeasurable.  The pain can be unbearable.   Entire kingdoms can be lost for a few minutes of pleasure.  It is just not worth it.

In November 2008, I looked in the mirror and did not like what I saw.  I did not like who I had become.  I was finally at the point where I was willing to admit the dark side of my soul.   The Dark Knight within me had risen indeed.  Days later, I confessed to my wife, children and church that I had been unfaithful during my marriage.  Needless to say, it was the most difficult series of conversations I have ever had in my life.  There is no pain like watching people you love sob in tears because of your selfish actions.  Within one year, I had lost everything dear and precious to me.

The 14 points above come from an extremely painful personal experience.  I know what it’s like to fall and not be able to get up.  Over the last four years, I have had to learn how to tear down my emotional walls – walls that assisted me in getting in trouble in the first place.  I have come to understand the problem with pedastals, especially in the church, and have wrestled with the mechanics of forgiveness, even forgiving me.  As difficult as it is, I now embrace my past and appreciate the many regrets.  They have become precious to me.  As a result of my actions, I have accumulated many scars and now try to learn from each and everyone of them.  I have hit “rock bottom” and realized something amazing in the process.  God is still here, even if others are not.

That’s my story.  Chapters are still being written.  It’s not easy to share but it’s mine nonetheless and I finally accept it as part of HIStory.  As I read the Bible with a humble set of eyes these days, I see that the Book is filled with great men and women who have fallen in some pretty huge ways.  God picks them up and uses them in spite of their past.   I’ve come to learn that we all fall, just in different ways.

If I can help any of you get up from a fall, let me know.  I’m merely one beggar telling other beggars where to find Bread.