Tag Archives: Christian

Reconciliation Tool #2: Five Love Languages [Podcast]

Your spouse had an affair. You followed the steps to end the affair, and now you and your spouse have made the decision to try to save your marriage and recover.  You listened to our series about Recovering After an Affair.  But now you want to learn more about the tools you can use to help you reconcile (the final step).

Today we continue our five-week series all about the Reconciliation tools, how to use them, and why they are helpful.  Although  there is no guarantee your marriage will be saved, but these tools can help you build a new, more healthy marriage.

In today’s episode we talk about the second tool–the Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman.

The first love language is Words of Affirmation. If this is your love language, you feel most cared for when your partner is open and expressive in telling you how wonderful they think you are, how much they appreciate you, etc.  If your spouse’s primary love language is words of affirmation, your spoken praise and appreciation will fall like rain on parched soil. Before long, you will see new life sprouting in your marriage as your spouse responds to your words of love.

The second love language is Acts of Service. Do you remember the old saying, “Actions speak louder than words”? For some people, that is particularly true of love. If your partner offering to watch the kids so you can go to the gym (or relieving you of some other task) gets your heart going, then this is your love language.  If acts of service is your spouse’s primary love language, nothing will speak more deeply to him or her emotionally than simple acts of service.

The third love language is Receiving Gifts.  In every society throughout human history, gift giving has been perceived as an expression of love. Giving gifts is universal, because there is something inside the human psyche that says if you love someone, you will give to him or her.  If your partner taking the time to give you a gift makes you feel appreciated. then this is your love language.  If receiving gifts is your spouse’s primary love language, you will make your spouse feel loved and treasured by giving gifts on birthdays, holidays, anniversaries and “no occasion” days.

The fourth love language is Quality Time. This love language is about being together, fully present and engaged in the activity at hand, no matter how trivial. If you walk in on your spouse watching TV, and they immediately put the television on mute and don’t take their eyes off you as long as you’re in the room, and that makes your heart skip a beat…this is your love language. If your spouse’s love language is quality time, giving him or her your undivided attention is one of the best ways you can show your love.

The fifth love language is Physical Touch. This love language is just as it sounds. A warm hug, a kiss, touch, and sexual intimacy make you feel most loved when this is your love language. If physical touch is your spouse’s primary love language, nothing communicates love more clearly than for you to take the initiative to reach out and touch your mate.

You can find links to the Five Love Languages Quiz on our Affaircare Quizzes page, or just click here to go directly to the test.

Here is a link to the Five Love Languages wikipedia page, so you can learn more about it.

Once both you and your spouse have determined your love languages, take the time to share your with each other, and look up your spouse’s love language.  Does it sound like them? Ask them for examples–remember even those who have the same love language may not interpret it the same!  Learn about what makes your spouse tick!

After last week’s discovery that your spouse is not the same as you, discovering the ways in which your personalities the same can give you an intial foundation on which you can begin to rebuild. Learning your spouse’s Love Language can add another layer to your foundation–discover how they “hear” and receive LOVE.  As a couple working to recover after an affair, finding out the ways in which you two are different MAY explain why “he” behaves one way and “she” behaves another.   If you UNDERSTAND each other, you begin to build love.

[audio: https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/2016/Reconciliation+Tools-Five+Love+Languages.mp3]

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Other podcasts in the Reconciliation Tools series:

The Recovering After an Affair Series:

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It’s Not About YOUR Happiness [Podcast]

forever

Society wrongly views marriage as being all about “my happiness,” and about “me feeling loved.” Consequently, if someone’s marriage isn’t making them happy, if they doesn’t feel they’re being loved adequately, then it’s viewed as “a Bad Marriage. ” The insufficiently happy spouse virtually has an imperative to leave that marriage, and look for one in which they will feel sufficiently loved and happy–and it can take two or three or four tries! This is making the commitment to “Your Own Happiness” rather than making the commitment to your spouse–and it is exactly backward.

1.  Your happiness doesn’t depend on your spouse
Like all life, marriage is fundamentally about GOD! Marriage is what God says it is.  We find our happiness within ourselves by obeying God. Much of the unhappiness we feel is often related to some sin in our life: either we are avoiding sin (as in justifying it or enabling it), denying sin (as in not admitting to ourselves that what we are doing is sin–denial), or continuing in sin when we know better (as in, “this sin feels good and I want to keep doing it!”).   So to stop feeling unhappy, admit that what you are doing is sin and stop it.  If the sin that’s making you unhappy is your spouse’s sin, then stop enabling them and look to your own self to do the right thing.

Also, our spouses do not “make” us happy, even though we hear this all the time.  Yes, our spouses can affect the environment of our home and lives, but ultimately we choose our feelings.  Do not put responsibility for yourself onto your spouse.  If you do not feel loved, then BUILD love with your spouse honorably in your marriage, BUILD healthy self-worth by reading the Bible and believing who you are (a dearly beloved child of the Most High God), and BUILD happiness by obeying God!

2. Your happiness doesn’t depend on your marriage
Each marriage vow is a little unique and yet most marriage vows have a few commonalities. Most include something about “forsaking all others” meaning that there is a promise to focus 100% of affection and loyalty on the person you are marrying.  Most also include something about “for better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness and health”…well are you happy in worse, poorer and sickness? Are you happy when the worst strikes? Are you happy eating bologna sandwiches every day because you lost your job? Are you happy when you or your spouse are ill?  NO!

Marriage may well be about suffering… and not necessarily for doing anything wrong.
Happiness (and love) in a marriage don’t necessarily just organically arrive–it’s not a feeling that just comes naturally (although sometimes it can feel easy).  Rather it is something you build by obeying and by honoring your commitment.

Marriage is a covenant to your spouse in front of friends, family and God…and it is honored by working at being soulmates, by having intimate heart-to-hearts in the warmth of acceptance, hearing the most valued praise and understanding this earth has to offer.

3. Marriage is for holiness
Marriage is a covenant…a sacred discipline designed to help you know God better, love Him more deeply, and trust Him more fully.  It is about serving your spouse (not “your happiness”) and loving your spouse (not “being loved”). Society has it exactly backward, focusing on “me, me, me!” and as a Christian, the focus is on pleasing God and spending your lifetime learning about your spouse so intimately that you can love them well.

For a man, marriage is about:

For a woman, marriage is about:

So rather than viewing marriage as if it is all about YOUR happiness and YOU feeling adequately loved–view marriage in the exact opposite way. In a lifetime of covenant commitment, good times and bad times are going to come, so come to to see marriage as all of life: as a vessel used by God for you to come to know Him better.  The bad times, when they come, are not going to “make you happy” but they will be used as life lessons to teach you to think and live in a godly way.

 

[audio:  https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/2016/Edited+20160324+Its+Not+About+Your+Happiness+(online-audio-converter.com).mp3]

Help! How do I deal with discovering a secret affair child? Part 2

half sibling DNA test

We recently had someone write with a request (slightly changed for confidentiality):

Can you write about how we should deal with discovering a sibling born out of adultery? In this case the Loyal Spouse was not aware there was a child conceived of adultery, as the child was hidden and never revealed. The Disloyal Spouse introduced their parents and siblings to the hidden child, and they helped the Disloyal hide the child until the marriage was over. How do I deal with this discovery?

We’re going to answer this request from two points of view. In our last blogpost we answered “How a Loyal Spouse, married several decades, would deal with discovering their Disloyal Spouse had a child that they didn’t know even existed from an affair in the past.” Today we will address “How a young adult would deal with discovering their parent had other children by other people.”

Before we go any further, let’s start with some definitions and statistics.  A STEP sibling is when parents divorce and remarry other people-the children of the two remarried people are step-children or step-siblings.  Step-siblings are not related to each other by blood but might be considered ‘family’ because they are living in the same home being raised by both the step-parent and their original parents.  A HALF sibling is when one parent has a child with someone other than the other parent, so that the children ARE related to one parent by blood, and the other parent is not the same.  Sometimes half-siblings are considered ‘family’ and are raised in the same households and sometimes half-siblings are raised in different houses.

Step and half siblings are becoming more and more common.  According to Smart Stepfamilies:

  • 40% of married couples with children (i.e., families) in the US are stepcouples (at least one partner had a child from a previous relationship before marriage; this includes full and part-time residential stepfamilies and those with children under and/or over the age of 18). The percentage of all married couple households is 35% (Karney, Garvan, & Thomas, 2003)
  • 42% of adults have a steprelationship–either a stepparent, a step or half sibling, or a stepchild. This translates to 95.5 million adults. (When you add the more than 5 million stepchildren in the US, the total is over 100 million Americans have a steprelationship.)
  • 40% of children are born out of wedlock; nearly 60% of these couples already have at least one child from a previous relationship. In other words, the majority of children being born out of wedlock are entering functional (nonmarital) stepfamilies (Carlson & Furstenberg, 2006).

To  put it simply, this means that if you’ve recently discovered that one of your parents had an affair and you have a half-brother or half-sister, you aren’t alone!  We are not suggesting it isn’t shocking to discover a hidden sibling, but even though it feels like you are the only one who has had this happen, the statistics above assure us that there are other people who have experienced this same thing and have gotten through it.  Hey–even OPRAH found out she had a hidden half-sister!

To help you cope with discovering a new half-brother or half-sister, here are a few applicable Bible verses and a short list of 10 practical issues you’ll have to address when you discover a new half-sibling.

BIBLE VERSES:

Siblings are mentioned often throughout the Old and New Testaments; unfortunately, not all siblings express love for one another!  Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, and Joseph and his brothers spring to mind–and yet the story of Joseph is a good place to start.  Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt (Genesis 37:12–28), but during his time as a slave in Egypt and when he saw his brothers again years later, Joseph did not act toward them in hate or shut them out of his life.  He reacted to them in love.

Thus I think the next applicable verse here is Luke 6:27-36:

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

I believe our natural, sinful reaction would be to shut them out of the family or be resentful of them because they were the product of the actions that rocked the family’s world! Yet Jesus is clear here–we are to love OUR ENEMIES! So even though we don’t really know the half-sibling well enough to know if they are an enemy, what we do know is that we are to do good to them.

Here are a few more verses about how we are to treat people–half-siblings included!

a) We should not only respond gracefully when others react sinfully toward us, but also go out of the way to serve them – John 13:12–14

b) We are instructed to “live at peace with everyone” playing the role of peacemaker when disagreements arise  –  Romans 12:18

c) We are to show kindness to each other, compassion, and forgiveness – Ephesians 4:32

d) We are to love others in a way that reflects the love of Christ – I John 4: 7-8

10 PRACTICAL ISSUES YOU’LL HAVE TO ADDRESS:

1. Learn how to decid confusion over (a) “who is who” in the nuclear and extended families, (b) who decides who belongs.  If you are a young adult, it may be time for YOU to decide for yourself who is in your family and who is not…and to take personal responsibility for what you choose.

2. Learn to accept that being a “half” does not mean they are somehow less loved, wanted, worthy, smart, normal, or valuable than “full” siblings, despite what some people may say.

3. Decide what to call your new half-sibling – e.g. “my brother,” “my half-brother,” “Jeremy,” “My Mom’s other son,” or something else, and why names are important to some family members and not to others (“I don’t care what you call me.”)

4. Learn that it’s OK if you don’t know or care about the half-sibling’s “other Mom” or “other Dad,” and don’t “have to” acknowledge them at holidays or birthdays, or expect acknowledgement from them.

5. Learn how to react when siblings and relatives get into “fights” (values and loyalty conflicts, and relationship triangles, etc.) about the half-sibling.  Not everyone is going to make the choices that you do, and not everyone will feel like you do.

6. Learn how keep your own boundaries clear and to assert your needs if a your parent treats you differently than they treat the half-sibling or if their “other parent” does or does not discipline them the way that you’ve been taught, etc.

7. Learn to feel compassion for your half-sibling’s many family-adjustments–which you don’t have to understand.  Just remember you aren’t the only one who’s having to adjust. Clarify what will change and what will not.

8. Learn why some (genetic) relatives may treat you”better” than your half-siblings (or vice versa), and how not to feel guilty about that. It’s their choice and they are adults! They will live with the benefits and the consequences of how they choose to live.

9. Learn why some or all of your other family members disagree on these issues, but ultimately remember that as a young adult, you are personally responsible for what you choose.  It’s okay to disagree.

10. Learn that it’s OK to say how this makes you feel (“I wish you guys would stop fighting all the time!”), and that not everyone is going to understand how you feel.  Share YOUR feelings and don’t expect everyone to think or feel “just like you.”

What Does God Want Me to Do About My Marriage? [Podcast]

sign

Here at Affaircare we are asked this question all the time, “What does God want me to do for my marriage? Should I reconcile or should I divorce?”  This week we thought it would be a wise idea to address this question in our podcast.

So for those asking the question we want you to know that  “God’s will” is not some mysterious, mystical thing He reveals via paranormal means to special, elite spiritual people. God’s will and God’s thoughts are revealed to us all plainly in the Bible. Any time that someone claims “the Holy Spirit told me ____” and it contradicts what is written in the Bible, then they are mistaken!  I guarantee you, the Holy Spirit does not tell you that your soul mate is someone else’s spouse!

Second, David and I cannot tell you what to do–God does not give us special revelation on an individual basis for our clients.  We don’t know you, we don’t know your spouse, we don’t know all the facts (we usually hear one side but not both sides and possibly not the truth!), and we don’t know what you two say and do behind closed doors. So we can not predict and we are not “truth detectors.” We are human just like you and all we have to work with are the facts and details that are told to us–and if those facts or details were lies, we can not “just tell.”  No counselor can.

Here is the good news, though!  We CAN tell you how YOU are supposed to act in your marriage, because the Bible tells us the type of married people God wants us to be.  Since we cannot control others, our focus is going to be on YOU and changing YOU–maybe the way you think about your marriage–maybe the way you feel about your marriage–and definitely the way you act in your marriage.  Everything that God wants for your marriage is revealed in the Bible, so let’s look there:

 

GENERAL MARRIAGE VERSES–

Gen 2: 23-24

23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Prov. 5: 18-19

18 May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.

Malachi 2: 13-16

13 Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14 You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. 15 Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. 16 “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.

I Corinthians 7: 1-5

1 Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Ephesians 5: 33

33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

VERSES FOR WIVES–

Proverbs 31: 10-12

10 An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.

Ephesians 5: 22-24

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

1 Peter 3:1-6

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

VERSES FOR HUSBANDS–

Ephesians 5: 25-28

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Colossians 3:19

Husbands, love [your] wives, and be not bitter against them.

1 Timothy 5:8 – But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

So rather than ask us about what God wants you to do with your marriage, look at the verses mentioned today, and apply them to yourself. Is that what YOU are like in your marriage? If not, then that’s where we would start–focus on becoming the husband or wife that God desires. Look at the person in the mirror and put your energy into becoming more godly rather than on changing your spouse. Keep studying the Bible specifically looking at marriage and husbands and wives. The more you obey God, the clearer His will becomes.

[audio:  https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/2016/2016-03-18+What+Does+God+Want+Me+to+Do.mp3]

Help! How do I deal with discovering a secret affair child? Part 1

affair child

We recently had someone write with a request (slightly changed for confidentiality):

Can you write about how we should deal with discovering a sibling born out of adultery? In this case the Loyal Spouse was not aware there was a child conceived of adultery, as the child was hidden and never revealed. The Disloyal Spouse introduced their parents and siblings to the hidden child, and they helped the Disloyal hide the child until the marriage was over. How do I deal with this discovery?

We’re going to answer this request from two points of view.  First–today–we’ll answer “How a Loyal Spouse, married several decades, would deal with discovering their Disloyal Spouse had a child that they didn’t know even existed from an affair in the past.” Tomorrow we’ll address “How a young adult would deal with discovering their parent had other children by other people.”

In the first instance, the Loyal Spouse and Disloyal Spouse were married for many years. Apparently at some point in the past, the Disloyal Spouse had an affair and created a child with the Affair Partner. The Loyal and Disloyal did not split up or divorce, and they continued with their marriage for many more years,  and they had a family together … children.  Whether the reconciliation was successful or a rug-sweep we don’t know; whether issues were addressed or avoided we don’t know.  But we do know that the Loyal Spouse did not divorce the Disloyal for many years, and we do know that the Loyal Spouse didn’t know there was an affair baby.  That child was not part of the Loyal Spouse’s life or part of their family unit.

Therefore, to the Loyal Spouse, discovering that there was a hidden affair child would be equivalent to discovering adultery that is going on right now.  The trauma of discovering infidelity is in the present because the discovery is in the present–even though the actual unfaithful activity was many years in the past.  From the Loyal Spouse’s point of view, this will be “as if it is happening now” because the shock is occurring now. This is what it feels like: “Finding Out: What It Feels Like to Hear that Your Spouse is Having an Affair

How would the Loyal Spouse deal with this?  Well our whole site is full of ways to cope with discovering your spouse had an affair!  You could start with this series: “How to Rebuild After an Affair: Step 1 Forgiveness” (there are links to the other steps) and this series is all about the stages that occur as you deal with discovering adultery (again there are links to the other stages).  The Loyal Spouse is going to have to work through this traumatic experience.

But overall I think we would recommend that the Loyal Spouse ask themselves “What does the Bible say about dealing with trials?” and “What does the Bible say about dealing with difficult people?”  How did Jesus respond to people who challenged Him and tried to trap Him?  How did He respond to those who were rude or sinful? Was He harsh or dismissive or abrasive?  Nope–He showed patience, He rebuked when it was necessary, and sometimes He remained silent.  Copy Jesus when dealing with both the Disloyal and the Affair Partner.

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you

~Luke 6:27–31

It’s pretty clear in this verse how Jesus wants us to act, even toward those who are our enemy. That’s not to say that we are commanded to be a doormat and allow our enemies to keep hurting us, but we are told to be so profoundly changed by the Holy Spirit with us that we do the exact opposite of what comes naturally.  We are supposed to be so different that we are transformed.

Tomorrow, Part Two of this little series.  We’ll talk about how a young adult would deal with discovering their parent had other children by other people.

My Spouse Cheated and Isn’t Showing Any Remorse!

There-is-no-person-so​There is a pattern that we’ve noticed over the years, one that repeats itself with enough regularity that we believe it would be useful to address it. It is a regular problem in marriages that have suffered the agony of an affair, and one that, if not properly dealt with, causes more problems with recovery than almost any other. One way that it manifests itself in the refusal of the betrayed spouse to forgive. It is rooted in the ideas of forgiveness, in refusing to work on the marriage. It’s many offspring include blaming and the art of tit-for-tat. It usually ends with one or both spouses so full of resentment that the marriage fails.

A recent letter expresses this idea with some clarity, and so it will be used as an example. But this idea is quite common, any number of emails could be selected to show the problem. This particular letter is no more special, or troubling, than any other – it is simply a useful teaching example.

It is entirely possible that this letter is mostly a frustrated “rant”.

We live in a society where feelings are considered more important than facts or even the truth. When ranting, people say whatever their emotional state at the time leads them to say. This, the ranter believes, is ‘the truth’ – because this is what is felt at that particular moment. In a rant, people tend to say things they don’t really mean (we normally this call ‘lying’ – but we tend to gloss over it in the pursuit of what we believe will be cathartic.) When ranting, a person will say deliberately hurtful, mean-spirited, and often false things about their spouse. This should never occur, for such actions are the opposite of love. That is to say, this sort of behavior is hatred. We are to love our spouses. In fact, the Bible tells us to love even our enemies (Matt. 5: 43-48 and Luke 6:27-36).  In a rant things are often stated in a highly emotional way that would never be stated had the ‘ranter’ been thinking about their words rather than instinctively barking out what they ‘feel’.

This means that much of what is written MAY BE far from reality and most likely spoken in haste without forethought. Let us be clear, however, a rant is not a truly acceptable way to address any problem. It is childish, inefficient, and detrimental – especially if it garners any support from other people. At best, a rant should be ignored and the focus returned to the real problems and solutions.

Keep in mind that if something is true, it is so -regardless of how you feel. If you believe something you state in a rant is true – then it is also true regardless of the rant. Keep that in mind when you begin to berate your spouse in a rant. This is either telling everyone how you really view your spouse – or else how often you lie!

By saying what is written “MAY” be far from reality, what we mean is that this rant reveals an underlying problem with the marriage that quite likely brought about the eventuality of an affair in the first place. If this is more than a collection of falsehoods and exaggerations (a rant) then it is an overview of the entire marriage. Affairs rarely occur in a vacuum. It is clear that this marriage is in far more trouble than recovering from an affair. It is a marriage without love.

By love, we do not speak of some obscure emotion. At Affaircare, we do not use the word ‘love’ to mean an emotion at all. It is an ACTION. This marriage lacks this action – and may have for long before the affair.

One further caveat: an affair is usually a stupid, and thoughtless attempt to escape symptoms of a troubled marriage, or to avoid the problems of a troubled marriage altogether. At all times, it is a bad idea, it is the WRONG solution, and it causes more problems than it is trying to solve. When a spouse enters into an affair, what they are doing is wrong, stupid, and harmful. There is no moral excuse for an affair.

Now, let’s examine the letter:

“…I wish I could get the kind of remorse and frequent apologies and asking for forgiveness this article talks about, but none of the sort, we are in counseling and {my spouse] is working on the marriage, by letting me know where s/he is, what s/he is doing but the last time we spoke in therapy about asking for forgiveness it blew my mind:

My spouse did not know they were supposed to ask for forgiveness….”

Note first, the author of the letter states that their spouse “is working on the marriage”. Let’s keep that in mind! The Disloyal in this instance IS doing what is necessary. Maybe not on the timeline imposed by the author, but by their own admission, the Disloyal is doing the work. (Interestingly, the Loyal Spouse claims later that they are actively refusing to do their own part.)

The Loyal Spouse is ‘shocked’ to find that the Disloyal did not know they had to ask for forgiveness. The Loyal  gives no reason why this is shocking, and on top of that, gives no reasons why they think this may have occurred. The Disloyal doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt. Instead, the Loyal has boxed their Disloyal Spouse into an inescapable prison – they are actively arranging the outcome. We are not the spouse – but we can offer a couple of possible reasons! Maybe the Disloyal Spouse assumed that the need for forgiveness for a wrong they committed was so obvious it didn’t need to be asked (especially if they are working to fix the situation.) Perhaps the Disloyal made the mistake of thinking it was implied in the process of beginning to work on the marriage. Perhaps the Disloyal was afraid the Loyal Spouse wouldn’t forgive anyway, so why try? We could come up with many more examples.

Affaircare is a Christian coaching service, we base our replies on what we find in Scripture. So we will point out a couple of passages where people prayed for their enemies to be forgiven, even though their enemies not only did not ask for it – but were actively behaving in a way that brought about the need for forgiveness: Luke 23:34, and Acts 7:60.

The fact that the Loyal Spouse’s mind was ‘blown’ because the Disloyal didn’t know that they were required to actually vocalize the words is more of a revelation that the Loyal Spouse is unforgiving than that the Disloyal needs to make the request. The Loyal Spouse is refusing to forgive unless the Disloyal jumps through THEIR hoops – steps that the Loyal has obviously not vocalized! The Loyal will not forgive the Disloyal unless they somehow manage to perform the actions the Loyal imagines they have to undertake. However – what is good for the goose is good for the gander! If the Loyal expects their spouse to say things out loud, then they ALSO need to say things. Out loud. The Disloyal Spouse’s mind may be blown that their Loyal Spouse needs such actions.

They also may learn things about one another!

The Loyal Spouse continues:

“…No remorse, no emotional breakdown, no guilt– nothing, [my Disloyal Spouse] says they feel numb, They weren’t numb when they were with married asshole who pretended to be my friend and hugged our children in front of their own spouse…”

It’s interesting that the Loyal brings up the need for their Disloyal Spouse to ‘break down’. This assumes a personality trait that not all people share. The Thinkers among us rarely have emotional breakdowns. No clue is given here as to what the Disloyal Spouse’s personality type may be – are they more emotionally oriented? or more of a Thinker? Understanding that aspect may well give a clue as to why this Disloyal Spouse is not acting the way the Loyal demands.

Yet – as the Loyal Spouse writes: the Disloyal IS ‘working on the marriage’! And, as is pointed out, THE LOYAL SPOUSE IS NOT.

The Loyal claims that there is “no guilt–nothing”. We must assume the Loyal Spouse
means that their Disloyal is not ‘acting’ like he or she ‘feels’ guilty. This is an error many people make! Guilt has nothing to do with feelings. A person IS guilty if they have committed some wrong. How each person acts when this is realized varies from person to person. The Loyal claims the Disloyal is ‘working on the marriage’ – which means that the Disloyal has already accepted the guilt – and is doing something about it. Perhaps the Loyal would rather if their spouse made no steps toward working on the marriage and instead sat on the couch weeping while the Loyal relieved their frustrations saying mean things – or worse!

The Loyal Spouse claims the Disloyal shows no remorse. This may well be – but that does not mean they don’t feel remorse – nor regret. In fact, by definition, a person who is remorseful takes steps to rectify the situation. They ‘repent’ – that is, they take steps to change their lives for the better. As the author wrote in the first paragraph: the Disloyal Spouse is working on the marriage.

We think it is safe to say that what the author means by ‘no remorse’ is actually ‘no regret.’ The definition of ‘regret’ is “a feeling of sadness or disappointment over something that has happened or been done.” Their spouse does not appear to feel sad – and from this the author assumes that that Disloyal is not sorry – nor wanting to change. But above all, it simply points out that the author is assigning a fantasy set of standards to which they hold the spouse – which, because they are imaginary – are most likely not possible to attain.

Which is why the Loyal Spouse writes the next line; this is the crux of the entire letter, and the story of their marriage. It is the most revealing, detrimentally destructive highlight of the letter:

“…My anger and resentment grow each day, I say nothing,… [my Disloyal spouse] thinks that everything is going to be OK and that time is going to take care of this, it will not…”

Note the Loyal Spouse’s claim of omniscience (knowing the future) and declaration of reality: things WILL NOT WORK OUT. Since the Loyal cannot know the future, the only possible way they can say ‘it will not’ is if they have already determined that the marriage is over. Since the Loyal has already determined this, they have cancelled out any work their spouse may do for the marriage. It reveals a person who has no intention of remaining married and is instead dragging their spouse through a pointless succession of tasks. At the end of each task, they can declare it failed, and the Disloyal will need to do something else. Of course this cannot go on indefinitely: at some point the Disloyal Spouse will give up. But in the meantime, the Loyal Spouse will have had the pleasure of seeing them squirm and beg. For nothing. And in the end – the Loyal may well force the Disloyal to leave the marriage – which will then mean that they can claim the divorce ‘wasn’t their fault!’ God sees all things, though!

Since the Loyal Spouse has publicly declared that this WILL NOT WORK OUT, they need to be true to their word, or else be revealed as a liar, and untrustworthy themselves. In other words, if this is over, end it–do not lead the Disloyal Spouse on and give false hope.  Or, as the Bible declares: “let your yes be yes and your no be no.” (Matt 5:37 and James 5:12)  Moreover, since the Loyal Spouse’s declaration is public, they have made a statement in front of witnesses: “… Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the Lord your God with your own mouth…” Deut. 23:23 (the founding verse of Affaircare)!

Keep in mind that the Bible specifically tells us not to ‘let the sun go down on our anger’ (Eph. 4:26). It means that we must work toward solving the problem immediately – and that involves direct, verbal communication, using the skill of active listening, with the intention of ending the dispute in a loving, God-honoring fashion. No matter how big the problem, the Bible offers solutions, and God promises healing. The Loyal Spouse can not cling to their anger and must actively work to resolve the anger.

“…How can you trust someone who has no remorse, no empathy, no compassion for the hurt they have caused? You can’t, and living with someone you can’t trust sucks in the worse possible way…”

Indeed it does, and living with someone who refuses to work on the marriage (and refuses to forgive, with no remorse for such an action) – also “sucks in the worse possible way.” See Luke 6:42. We have covered the idea of trust elsewhere on our site (for example, HERE), and anyone interested can easily search and find what we have to say on that issue. But note:  searching would be part of the work one must do on the marriage. For someone who has declared that they will not work on the marriage, there isn’t any point to reading up on it.

“…I am doing things for myself now, back to my activities friends and [hobbies], my Disloyal can join or not their choice, I have stopped “working” on this, it was their fuck up, it’s their job to fix it, I am done trying to make things into something they are not…”

Here is a very revealing sentence: “…I am done trying to make things into something they are not…”

Any marriage that goes through the agony of an affair never returns (with any success) to the way things were. Instead, it MUST become something that ‘it was not.’ It is unfortunate that the author of this letter will have nothing to do with this. By declaring that they have stopped ‘working’ on the marriage the Loyal has declared the marriage over.

The affair was a very stupid and destructive choice – but that is not the primary problem. Almost no affair happens in a vacuum. There is almost ALWAYS a prior set of problems that existed before the affair. The affair was a stupid, thoughtless attempt to either fix or escape those problems. And the attitude of the author of this letter reveals a lot more about the marriage than they  would like to admit. The author’s treatment of their spouse creates an environment where an affair is more likely. With this kind of treatment, it is easy to see why this Disloyal Spouse may have blundered into the arms of an unscrupulous pursuer.

Since the Loyal has stopped working on the marriage (the use of quotes around the word working is revealing in itself) – and since the Loyal has declared that it CANNOT work out – our advice is to cut it off NOW and stop trying to punish the Disloyal for their sin. “…Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord…” (Romans 12: 18-20). This Loyal does not love their spouse. “…Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” (Eph. 5:25) and as such, is just as guilty as their Disloyal Spouse is of destroying their marriage. Admit it, repent, go and sin no more.

“…[My Disloyal] needs to make me fall in love with them again or it is time to pack my bags and enjoy life, it is way too short to be miserable, my kids deserve a better example than that….”

The author’s spouse did not “MAKE” them fall ‘in love’ in the first place. They CHOSE to love their spouse; they CHOSE to feel affection, pride, admiration, and a host of other emotions regarding them. Making any other person responsible for their own emotions and actions is just as destructive as any affair. The Disloyal Spouse will fail at some point, and the Loyal will be right back on the throne demanding reparation and dictating punishment.

“… it is time to pack my bags and enjoy life, it is way too short to be miserable, my kids deserve a better example than that….”

It is time to pack your bags because you declared that this WILL NOT WORK OUT. DO IT NOW. Do not abuse your spouse and children any longer. You have that moral option whenever there is an affair – with one caveat: once you commit to working on the marriage, you no longer have that option. You have recommitted and are bound by that promise as surely as you are to your initial marriage commitment.

As for ‘life being too short’ – placing your need to feel comfortable and happy over the word you give to another reveals that your promise was a lie in the first place: your commitment is NOT to the marriage – it is to YOUR HAPPINESS. Such a person cannot be trusted to be there ‘for better or for worse’. And, as the author stated: “…living with someone you can’t trust sucks in the worse possible way…”

As for “my kids deserve a better example” – we have to question the sanity of this statement. The author’s Disloyal Spouse is – by their own admission – ‘working on the marriage.’ What BETTER example can be given than working to repair a problem? Is running away, hating, refusing to forgive, and chasing after happiness in ANY WAY a BETTER example?

In close: a marriage is a partnership encased in commitment, fortified by repentance and growth as a Christian. It requires diligent work from both partners, working together to go the same direction. Picture trying to push a stalled automobile: if one of you takes the front end and pushed, while the other takes the rear end and pushes, nothing happens. Get together and work from the same side!

Is Abuse Grounds for Divorce? [Podcast]

ABUSE: “An ongoing pattern of behavior designed to control, manipulate and subjugate another that usually occurs behind closed doors.”

The word abuse has taken many meanings over time, and now is used to describe the mistreatment or misuse of virtually anything. People having an affair use “abuse” as a justification for their choices; people who’s spouse had an affair use “abuse” as a reason for their anger.

So in this week’s episode, we discuss what abuse is, what the Bible has to say about abuse, how we (Christians) are supposed to address it, types of abuse, and whether or not abuse an acceptable reason for divorce.

1. What does the Bible say?

Let’s be clear. Scripture reveals that the marriage relationship is to reflect Christ’s relationship with his church—one of sacrificial love. A wife is called to respond to her husband’s biblical headship, not to his destructive and sinful behavior, just as the wife’s mandate is to respect her husband.

The Bible condemns violence and violent men

The word “man” here does not mean husbands only or even males necessarily, but HUMANS. A wife can also be abusive!

Many passages in the Bible speak out on the issue of violence, and GOD’s attitude toward those that repeatedly use violence:

Psalms 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

Zephaniah 1:9 In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit.

Psalms 37:9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.

Malachi 2:16-17 “I hate […] a man’s covering his wife with violence, as well as with his garment.” says the Lord Almighty….”You have wearied the Lord with your words.” “How have we wearied him?” you ask. By saying “all who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased with them,” or “Where is the God of justice?”. (NIV)

Scripture also shows us that the very words we speak can be considered as a form of violence:

Proverbs 10:6 Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.

Proverbs 10:11 The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.

Matthew 5:21,22 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire

As followers of Christ we are encouraged to consider everything we say to one another, whether it stands the test of being for the benefit of the hearer – verbal abuse surely does not qualify:

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

James 3:10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

2. How are we (Christians) supposed to address abuse?

Firstly, the Church – and each individual follower of Christ – has a responsibility to offer comfort and help to those who are oppressed (by their partner), needy (of reassurance and protection), weak (due to the constant onslaught of abuse) and in distress. Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 12:12; Hebrews 13:3; Isaiah 1:17; Proverbs 31:9; Jeremiah 22:3; Genesis 42:21; Isaiah 35:3,4

Secondly, the Church also has a responsibility to hold the abuser accountable, to admonish him, to judge (that is, to investigate and discern right from wrong) and to encourage the abuser to change his/her ways: Romans 15:14; James 5:19,20; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 1 Corinthians 6:1-3

Thirdly, the manner in which the abuser is to be admonished (i.e. the spirit in which to approach him/her) is also spelled out for us Not one of us is perfect – our aim is not to condemn the person – whom Christ has called – but to condemn the actions, and try to encourage recognition of the sin, repentance and a change in ways: 2 Thessalonians 3:15; Galatians 6:1; Luke 15:7
3. What are the different Types of Abuse?

Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Emotional/Mental Abuse, Verbal Abuse, Financial Abuse

Types of abuse https://affaircare.com/types-of-abuse/

Examples of Abuse https://affaircare.com/examples-of-abuse/
4. Sooo…is abuse an acceptable reason for divorce?

The Bible gives two acceptable reasons for divorce: the first is abandonment of a Christian by an unbelieving spouse (1 Corinthians 7:15), and the second is adultery (Matthew 5:32). Although God allows divorce in these circumstances, He does not command it. It is far better, in the case of infidelity, for two Bible-believing Christians to reconcile, extending the forgiveness and love that God freely gives us. However, in abusive situations, the circumstances are far different. While reconciliation with an abusive partner would be wonderful, it depends completely on the abuser proving his or her reliability, which could take years—if it happens at all—never on the abused party.

So abuse is not adultery. But if you initiate separation for saftey and then go through the steps of Matthew 18 to admonish a sinning brother or sister, and they refuse to repent, then Matthew 18 tells us they are considered a non-believer. And if they refuse to stop abusing, they have already abandoned the marriage.

[audio: https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/Is+Abuse+Grounds+for+Divorce.mp3]

5 Tools to Help You Decide If You Should Stay or Go [Podcast]

“Should I stay in my marriage? Or should I go?” “Can God even restore my marriage?” “How am I supposed to know if I should stand or divorce?”

These are questions that people ask us every day, and the same questions that keep Loyal Spouse’s stuck in limbo–sometimes for years!

We aren’t going to tell you what to do–you two are both adults and personally responsible for your choices. If you choose to stay, do so because you have made a decision to stand firm and then stand firm. If you choose to go, do so because the natural consequence of adultery is breaking the marriage covenant. Thus, if the adulterer BROKE it, they would have to be the one to REPAIR IT by coming to themselves and truly repenting. If they don’t, then divorcing is just one of the natural consequences of the choice that they made to break the marriage covenant.

In the end, the decision is yours and you will reap both the benefits and pay the costs of whatever you choose. EVERY choice–every decision–has both a benefit and a cost, and usually people make their choices because ‘the perceived benefit’ is more valuable than ‘the perceived cost.’ Now we all know that people are sinful and that the qualities that sinful people value are not the qualities that bring glory and honor to God! Thus, a selfish person may “value” the ego-boosting flattery of opposite sex attention over the godly commitment to the spouse of their youth.

So since we are not going to tell you what to decide, how about if we look at what the Bible tells us and help you to figure out how to make your own decision?

1. What did Jesus say about Divorce? Well…let’s look! Matthew 19:3-9

“Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

So straight from Jesus’ mouth, He says you CAN divorce for sexual immorality–that is to say, you are ‘allowed’–but notice that He doesn’t say you MUST. It’s not a commandment. So if you don’t want to divorce after your spouse is unfaithful, God doesn’t require it of us, but He does allow divorce for that one exception: sexual immorality.

Also note, that in these verse, Jesus says that divorce is permitted because of the hardness of the heart. When someone is unfaithful and refuses to end their affair, they harden their heart and DECIDE to commit infidelity. When someone has an unfaithful spouse who just will not end their adultery, eventually they harden their heart and DECIDE they can’t take it anymore. In these verses, Jesus acknowledges that people divorce because their heart hardens. Nonetheless, in the case of sexual immorality, divorce is a moral option.

2. “Can God Restore My Marriage?”  Obviously God CAN restore–He has the ability to do anything. He is God! He can choose to suspend the law of gravity or choose to make the sun stand still if He wills! So the question is not “CAN God restore this marriage?” but rather “Will He? Is it His will?” It can feel very difficult to determine God’s will sometimes, but knowing God’s will is not some enigmatic hocus pocus only revealed to the special, ultra-holy through some mysterious Spirit. One of the best suggestions I can give you to decide what IS and IS NOT God’s will is to read the Bible. The more you read the Bible, the more you have the opportunity to get to know God’s mind. The more you know God mind, and what He has commanded us to do, and what pleases Him that He would like us to do, and what HE is like, and what qualities HE finds admirable…why the easier it is to determine if something is God’s will or not!

One thing I can say that will help is that God is utterly, 100%, always consistent. He does not tell us to be one way in the Old Testament and then change His mind and tell us to be the opposite way in the New Testament. So one easy way to tell if something is God’s will is that if there is something in the Bible that says ____ does not please God, then He will not have us do that displeasing thing! As an example, I’ve heard of married people who are in some ministry together at church, and they are unfaithful and claim that [quote]”God WANTED them to commit adultery so they could be together and serve Him in this ministry.”[end quote] No He didn’t. Affairs and sexual immorality displease God-period. He would not want us to have an affair in order to minister to Him!!

I’ll give one more example that will help demonstrate how reading the Bible can clarify if you should stay or go. Let’s say you were ‘young and foolish’ and married a non-christian even though you are a Christian and God clearly tells us that we should marry other Christians (II Cor. 6:14). So you rebelled, made a vow, and intended to keep it–but your non-christian spouse had an affair, refuses to end the affair, and wants to leave you. You can know God’s will because of I Cor. 7: 15

“But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.”

3. What about forgiveness? Many times people think that “forgiveness” means “forgetting” or “approving” — and nothing could be further from the truth. We are never, ever told to approve of known sin, nor to just forget about it as if it never happened. What ARE we told about forgiveness then? Well let’s look at Luke 17:3-4

“So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

The “forgiveness verses” command us to forgive, even up to seven times in one day…but when does it become a command? These two verses tell us the exact order in which we are to do things:

  1. they sin
  2. we rebuke them (“rebuke” here means “I value you so much that I’m going to guide you back into doing the right thing”)
  3. they COME TO THEMSELVES and repent (180 degrees different)…
  4. THEN we must forgive.

If they sin, and truly repent–even 7 times in one day–we are told we MUST forgive, so that is when it becomes a commandment. But what if they don’t “come to themselves” or repent? What if they don’t act and think 180 differently and stop their sin? Do we have to forgive then? It doesn’t say we MUST–but it also doesn’t say we shouldn’t if we want to. So we are allowed to forgive even if they don’t ask!

So we are still not going to tell you what to decide. Instead we pray that this look at what the Bible tells us has helped you to figure out how to make your own decision.

4. What are you committed to? Marriage is an entity established by God in which two people commit to treating the other with love as long as they live. Put another way, the vows promise to forsake all others and to ACT in a loving way toward your spouse–which means getting to know your spouse so intimately that you learn what means “I love you” to them–and then you agree to DO THAT for them as long as you are alive! Nowhere in the marriage covenant is there a mention of “as long as I’m happy” or “as long as it’s easy” and yet in reality many people do place a commitment to their own happiness ahead of their commitment to their spouse. Sadly, many people put their commitment to ease ahead of the covenant they made before God to put the effort into loving their spouse!

So one way you can decide whether to Stay or Go…is to consider “What are you committed to?” I realize that your own spouse may not be living up to their commitment, but your spouse isn’t here and you are. What are YOU committed to? Honoring your promise? Forsaking all others? Acting in love? -OR- Your own happiness? Deuteronomy 23:23 is the verse upon which Affaircare is built:

“Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the LORD your God with your own mouth.”

5. But what if there is addiction or abuse?  If there is physical abuse, you get to safety first, and then decide if you should ‘stay or go.’ In the instance of physical abuse, I don’t know of a Bible verse that requires someone to part from their spouse, but we can logically deduce that God would want us to take care of our saftey, and thus it’s just wisdom to be apart from the person who is physically harming you or the children.

But what about addictions or “emotional abuse”? These are justifications that people often use as a reason to leave a marriage. Well, those are serious, deeply painful issues that are going to harm the marriage, but there is no requirement to physically move apart from each other. In fact, I do see several instances of marriage in the Bible that were “difficult marriages” and when the person stayed and honored their vow despite the difficulty, God was pleased. That being said, if you are staying because you “hope” that “this time it will be different” or “this time s/he means it” just bear in mind that YOU can not change anyone other than yourself–and for an addict of any kind or an abuser to want to change of their own free will, there usually has to be a foundation-rocking-event that makes ‘changing’ less painful than ‘staying the same.’

So rather than “hoping” that your addicted or abusive spouse will change (which would make the marriage better, no doubt!), I would challenge you to focus on the person you CAN change, and that’s YOU!! Look in the mirror and examine what things you are doing to enable the addiction and stop doing the enabling. Examine yourself and discover the ways you are interacting with your spouse to allow abuse–for example, if they do “dance step #1” of the same old song and dance, do you do “dance Step #2” and play into the pattern? What if you stopped doing “dance step #2” and did something completely opposite instead? Are you covering for the abuse and mopping up after the destruction? What if you called it by name and let them deal with the fallout? In other words, this is not about “blaming the victim” but rather looking at changing the dynamic and changing YOURSELF so you are a more godly person.

URL’s in this podcast:

The Affaircare Blog
https://affaircare.com/

Ask Affaircare: Should I Stay or Go? Can God Restore This Marriage?
https://affaircare.com/2015/05/13/ask-affaircare-should-i-stay-or-go-can-god-restore-this-marriage/

Please join us next week as we continue our “series” for the month of May just discussing topics about infidelity that we find a little intriguing! Next week we will be discussing the music that can help in the 3 phases of recovery after an affair!  We would LOVE it if you’d tell us about the songs that meant something to you as you were dealing with the infidelity!

[audio:  https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/5+Tools+to+Help+You+Decide+If+You+Should+Stay+or+Go.mp3]

Ask Affaircare: Should I Stay or Go? Can God Restore This Marriage?

AskAffaircare

The Ask Affaircare Series started because our readers have questions. About Affairs. Reconciling. Marriage. Divorce. Christianity. The Bible. And God.  Initially, we tried to answer each question through e-mail, but we quickly realized that there were many people asking many similar questions, so we started this weekly series!

It’s not our goal to make you agree with us, but rather to explore what the Bible says in thoughtful, and clear manner. Additionally, we try to write our answers in a loving but truthful manner (Ephesians 4:15) because we know there is a real person – with real struggles and dreams – behind every single question. Thank for you visiting Affaircare. Keep those questions coming!


Our question today comes two Loyal Spouses who essentially ask the same question.  Stay or Go wrote:

My man is cheating on me. I have caught him more than once but he continues to do it. Do I stay or do I go now?

and Can God Restore This Marriage wrote:

…so my husband has had several affairs over our 18-year relationship. I found out about them all at once we started going to counseling with our pastor and his wife. during that time he began cheating again. I just found out and while my pastor believes that god can restore this marriage I wonder if we have messed this up so bad. at first I was feeling like I cannot deal with this at all so I will just pretend to not know and move on. It’s been a few days and now I don’t know if I will ever be able to trust him again!

First, we have to say that when we answered “Ask Affaircare” last week, it was just a wee bit long.  This week we will endeavor to keep it shorter!

Dear Stay or Go and Can God Restore This,

We aren’t going to tell you what to do–you two are both adults and personally responsible for your choices. If you choose to stay, do so because you have made a decision to stand firm and then stand firm. If you choose to go, do so because the natural consequence of adultery is breaking the marriage covenant. Thus, if the adulterer BROKE it, they would have to be the one to REPAIR IT by coming to themselves and truly repenting. If they don’t, then divorcing is just one of the natural consequences of the choice that they made to break the marriage covenant.

In the end, the decision is yours and you will reap both the benefits and pay the costs of whatever you choose.  EVERY choice–every decision–has both a benefit and a cost, and usually people make their choices because ‘the perceived benefit’ is more valuable than ‘the perceived cost.’  Now we all know that people are sinful and that the qualities that sinful people value are not the qualities that bring glory and honor to God!  Thus, a selfish person may “value” the ego-boosting flattery of opposite sex attention over the godly commitment to the spouse of their youth.

So since we are not going to tell you what to decide, how about if we look at what the Bible tells us and help you to figure out how to make your own decision?

1.  What are you committed to?  Many people place a commitment to their own happiness ahead of their commitment to their spouse.  Many people put their commitment to ease ahead of the covenant they made before God to put the effort into loving their spouse!

So one way you can decide whether to Stay or Go…is to consider “What are YOU committed to?” Honoring your promise?  -OR- Your own happiness?

2. What did Jesus say about Divorce?  Well…let’s look! Matthew 19:8-9: Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.   I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

So straight from Jesus’ mouth, He says you CAN divorce for sexual immorality–that is to say, you are ‘allowed’–but notice that He doesn’t say you MUST.  It’s not a commandment. So if you don’t want to divorce after your spouse is unfaithful, God doesn’t require it of us, but He does allow divorce for that one exception: sexual immorality.

3. Obviously God CAN restore–He has the ability to do anything.  He is God!  He can choose to suspend the law of gravity or choose to make the sun stand still if He wills!  So the question is not “CAN God restore this marriage?” but rather “Will He? Is it His will?”  One of the best suggestions we can give you to decide what IS and IS NOT God’s will is to read the Bible.  The more you read the Bible, the more you have the opportunity to get to know God’s mind.  The more you know God mind, the easier it is to determine if something is God’s will or not!

4.  What about forgiveness?  Many times people think that “forgiveness” means “forgetting” or “approving” — and nothing could be further from the truth.  We are never, ever told to approve of known sin, nor to just forget about it as if it never happened.  What ARE we told about forgiveness then?  Well let’s look at Luke 17:3-4 “So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

But what if they don’t “come to themselves” or repent (meaning, act and think 180 differently and stop their sin)?  Do we have to forgive then? It doesn’t say we MUST–but it also doesn’t say we can’t! So we are allowed to forgive even if they don’t ask!

So we are still not going to tell you what to decide.  Instead we pray that this look at what the Bible tells us has helped you to figure out how to make your own decision.  We would also like to invite you to come back on Friday to listen to the podcast–either on the Affaircare YouTube channel, on iTunes or Stitcher, or here on the blog–because we’ll be going into even more detail on how to decide if you should stay…or you should go.

10 Signs Your Spouse is Unhappy [Podcast]

Are you and your spouse the dining dead?  Are they rude and always irritated?  Did you hear “We’ve through this already!” and get shut down?  Is your spouse drinking more, over-eating, buying new gadgets, or turning to porn?

These are signs that your spouse is unhappy. It may be that they are unhappy about something in the marriage, and it may be that something else is causing your spouse to feel unhappy.

In this week’s episode, we discuss ten signs that your spouse is feeling miserable and is no longer satisfied in the marriage. How many of these signs do you see in YOUR spouse? To learn more, and #Affairproof Your Marriage, here are the ten signs you should look for:

1.  Your spouse isn’t talking to you anymore.  The two of you are “the dining dead” and sit next to each other without saying a word because the two of you no longer have anything in common.  You know the setting: you haven’t been spending time with your spouse and you finally get them to agree to “talk”… and your spouse says “We’ve been through this already!”  If you don’t talk, if your spouse answer with “yep” and “no” and that’s it, or If your spouse is shutting down your attempts to talk…it is a sign they are unhappy.

2. Your spouse starts to act rude, disrespectful, easily irritated, offensive.  Usually two adults in a mutually happy relationship treat each other kindly and with some manners: saying “pleases” and “thank yous” for example.  So when you start to notice that your spouse isn’t being as polite, or is being insulting and doesn’t care if they offend you, that is a sure sign that they are not happy.

3. Your spouse is “away”–distracted, not mentally “present” in the present.   People who are committed to loving their spouse make the time to pay attention to their spouse. They will listen to and observe the one they love, and it will be enjoyable!  But for someone who is unhappy, their thoughts are elsewhere. They are distracted thinking about whatever it is that does make them happy, and they do not actively listen to their spouse. Even if your spouse is an introvert, if they don’t pay attention or they  are constantly distracted by something (or someone!) else, it may be a sign of unhappiness in the relationship.

4. Your spouse isn’t fulfilling your needs–they’re less affectionate.  If you know our Basic Concepts, you’ll know that we believe that when people first meet and feel that “in love” feeling, it’s because the person they love piles on the Love Kindlers and naturally does the things that build the fire of love.  So when your spouse seems to be less and less interested in doing the things that kindle the fire, and stops being affectionate, it is a sign that they are not happy.

5. Your spouse is compensating for the unhappiness with some addictive behavior.  Some typical examples of a spouse covering the pain of being unhappy are drinking more, over-eating, watching porn, or over-spending.  For the fellas, over-spending looks different than it does for the ladies.  Men will come home with the latest gadget, the latest game, the latest “man toy” over and over again…whereas the ladies will buy shoes, handbags, clothes, facials, hairdos, or chocolate to try to feel better.

6. Your spouse is following you around like a puppy dog.  When you spouse is clingy and looking for any crumb of attention that you might throw their way, that is a SURE SIGN that they are feeling neglected and unhappy in the marriage!  Time to give your spouse some uninterrupted adult time, and we don’t just mean sex either.  We mean having a whole day to focus on them and treat them as if they are valuable.

7. Your spouse is “away” — and we mean they  are physically NOT THERE.  They work long hours and don’t seem bothered but be gone so much.  They leave you, go out, and have other friends.  They go to church–go to class–go to the gym–ANYWHERE but be with you.  They are not happy at home so they go someplace where they are happy.

8. Your spouse’s sexual desire changes.  Let’s say you and your spouse had an average sex life–not something to write to Playboy about, but it was mutually satisfying and pretty regular, 3 times a week, with various positions and techniques.  Then gradually, you notice a change in your spouse’s sexual desire that doesn’t seem to be related to a medical issue.  It can go one of two ways: either they turn into “NoNookie of the North” (frigid, unresponsive, unenthusiastic) or constantly trying to be seductive and provocative.  Either way, your spouse isn’t feeling connected to you sexually, and they are either punishing you by withholding sex…or they are trying desperately to reconnect with you by turning you on.  Either way-they are not happy!

9. Your spouse lets snide comments about you “accidentally slip out” especially when with friends.  When people love each other, from the love in the hearts and the bounty of their thoughts, their mouth sings the praises of their loved one.  When the fire is being extinguished and the thoughts are beginning to be less positive, your spouse will occasionally let the sarcastic, hurtful comment come out …and try to pass it off as a joke. But make no mistake, this is a serious sign that your spouse is not happy and the truth is leaking out.

10. Your spouse starts to EXCLUDE you.  Married people are indeed two individuated beings–that is to say, you can distinguish one from the other.  They are distinct, and they are UNITED, not FUSED.  “Fused” would be where one of the married people loses their own identity, or they both do, and they say things like: “I can’t live without you!”  “United” would be where both of the married people keep their own identity but also operate as a team or unit. But when your spouse–who is part of a unit with you–begins to exclude you from their life, their friends, their activities or their interests, they are connecting with someone else and do not want you to be involved in their thoughts and feelings. This is probably the most dangerous sign that they are deeply unhappy and about to plunge down that slippery slope toward an affair.

Please join us next week as we continue our “series” for the month of May just discussing topics about infidelity that we find a little intriguing! Aren’t you curious?

[audio:  https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/10+Signs+Your+Spouse+is+Unhappy.mp3]