Tag Archives: Emotional affair

5 Actions You Can Take to Problem Solve in Your Marriage

 Problem Solve in your Marriage

Whether it’s before an affair, to #affairproof your marriage, or after an affair to reconcile, there are specific actions you can take to problem solve in your marriage.

The #1 topic in our Affaircare Topic Survey  was Problem Solving, and today we tackle how to solve those issues that are damaging your marriage.

The first thing that MUST be ascertained

Are you trying to get someone else to solve the problem for you? If you hear yourself saying, “I can’t make my mind up” “I can’t help it” or “What should I do?” those are typical clues that you want someone else to do your job. Ask yourself if you are trying to avoid taking personal responsibility.  Do you manipulate things so you can avoid the natural consequences of your choices? In essence if this is the issue, than “the problem” is not the real problem. The REAL problem is that you don’t want to be responsible. The solution is to make a choice, and act. Make the decision and accept the benefits of the choice you made and live with the consequences of the choice you made.

If, on the other hand, you are worried about making the RIGHT decision, then the answer to that is simple.

5 Actions You Can Take to Problem Solve in Your Marriage

1. Secure commitment from both to Christ and His Word as the standard for all that is done and said.

1.a. Study together what the Bible has to say about the problem. Keep an open mind.

Nave’s Topical Bible Concordance Online: http://www.biblestudytools.com/concordances/naves-topical-bible/

2. Foster and establish companionship between the spouses (making sure they have a right understanding of what marriage is)

3. Unity in intimacy
a. United “the two are one”
b. Intimacy: physical/sexual and emotional/mental

4. Growth, which means sanctification. Grow in Christ as a couple because of this issue.

5. Exemplify the relationship between Christ (The Groom) and His Church (The Bride)

If you take these five actions, and there is not a resolution, then it comes down to personal preference. Honestly, discuss it with your spouse and agree to pick one. Do not assume and agree together that you will do nothing until there is earnest, mutual agreement.

Example: Arguing about money–husband bought a “man toy” without speaking to his wife and now they are in more debt than they can afford.

RESOURCES:

Marriage Blueprint: The Purpose of Marriage (Companionship)

Link to Nave’s Topical Bible Concordance Online: http://bit.ly/2jJj6wr

Top Ten Marriage Sites to Help Your Christian Marriage Grow

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Doesn’t Seem Like an Affair to Me!

 

As Christian counselors who have worked with couples for 17 years, we frequently meet couples where one of the spouses just does not think what they are doing is an affair.  “It doesn’t seem like an affair to me!” they say.  So we thought we’d dedicate an entire episode to discuss some of the most common objections to why their “friendship” could not possibly be an affair.

 

If that friendship you have with someone at the office or at school is affecting your spouse, in what way is it showing your spouse love? After all:
the essence of married love, to which each party pledges himself or herself, is to put the other first.” ~Jay Adams

 

1. “Well they need to get over it”

But that’s not how Scripture deals with those things. In I Corinthians 8:8-12 Paul writes: “But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. …When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.” He’s talking about a big controversy they had in Corinth about whether a follower of Christ could eat meat that had been sacrificed to an idol. Further, Paul was Jewish and some in Corinth even said that Christians had to keep kosher! Paul answered all this by saying that there is only one God from whom all things come and for whom we live, thus “where a meat is cooked” does not make the meat sinful or non-sinful. BUT if eating that food causes a brother or sister in Christ to fall into sin, we not only sinned against a fellow Christian, but against Christ! And he goes on to say that if something he does causes someone to fall into sin, he would rather not do it AT ALL then to cause them to fall. This is the way of Christian maturity.

The mature Christian does not put a stumbling block in front of the baby christian, even if it is the baby Christian’s “weakness.” If you’re spouse is stumbling because of your actions, you are not loving them. And if you are not loving your spouse and loving someone else (a “friend” or someone “who needs you”) then that is the very definition of infidelity. You need to end that “friendship” and refocus on your marriage.

It may be it is a weakness, and they need to grow, and there are ways you can help your spouse do that that don’t involve hurting them or the marriage or the family.  PUT OFF the sin of causing them to stumble because of your actions, and PUT ON the godly action of helping them to grow in Christ.

 

2. “Well I wouldn’t be friends with the Other Person if my spouse wasn’t such a grouch!”

Wait a minute! Let’s define right here and now who is responsible for what in your marriage.

Certainly it would be easier if to be faithful if your spouse was loving and pleasant … Certainly it would be easier if they were always what you wanted them to be! But God has told husbands to be loving PERIOD! Ephesians 5:25 and 28, Colossians 3:19, I Peter 3:7 And God has also clearly told us that wives are in submission to their husbands, whether their husband is loving or not! Ephesians . 5:22 and 24 and 33 and Colossians  3:18, I Peter 3:1 You don’t do it in hopes of getting your spouse to do what you want them to do -OR- “only on the condition that…” You do it because God expects you to and has given you the power to do so.  PUT OFF the behavior of self-centeredness, and PUT ON the behavior of God-centered obedience.

 

3. “But this is just the way I am! I’m friendly!”

Doubtless that is the way you WERE as a non-Christian, and being friendly is not the problem. But allowing the guise of friendliness to corrupt your good character IS! It’s not the way God wants you to be and with His power it’s not the way you will be in the future, so continuing to use that as a reason to keep sinning is not valid–you’re still harming your spouse! Scripture is full of warnings to keep away from outside influences that lead to occasions to stumble. In I Corinthians 15:33 Paul writes: “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.Proverbs 12:26: “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.Proverbs 13:20Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” (There are so many in the book of Proverbs we could go on and on.) Psalm 1! Keep away from all whose lives are displeasing to God; otherwise, you are likely to be influenced by them…and being pleasing to God would be building your marriage relationship and honoring your commitment!  PUT OFF the rationalizing of “that’s just the way I am” and PUT ON the confidence that in God you are a new creation, as promised in 2 Corinthians 5:17.

 

4. You may just be in outright denial that it’s an affair.

The examples above are ALL affairs, and I bet the disloyal spouse in those scenarios didn’t think they were! If you have convinced yourself that what you’re doing is justified even though you know it’s harming your marriage, in that case, you obviously need to stop. If you are the only person in the world Other Person has to lean on, then you have an inappropriate relationship–you’ve given a third person the support that’s due only to your spouse. If you have told yourself “I deserve better” or “Love shouldn’t be this hard” and crossed the line of honoring your vow to forsake all others, then you have been unfaithful. Stop using euphemisms! PUT OFF the denial and justification, and PUT ON admittance and repentance.

The end result is the same in all instance: the relationship outside the marriage needs to stop forever. There needs to be a rebuilding of your primary commitment–your marriage. Whether your spouse is weak, there’s a flaw in your spouse, you don’t want to change, or you are in denial, all of those instances indicate a deep issue in your marriage that needs to be addressed.

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Marriage Blueprint: The Obligation of Marriage

 Marriage Blueprint: Obligation of Marriage

Our site is about helping people recover their marriage after an affair.  But how can we talk about adultery without first knowing what marriage IS?

This series will focus on erroneous views of marriage that lead to wrong expectations, attitudes, and practices.  Many bible-believing Christians go wrong because their concept of marriage is an illusion. So we’re going to spending the next weeks studying the blueprint of marriage: 1) the origin of marriage, 2) the purpose of marriage, 3) the obligation of marriage, and 4) the commitment of marriage.

We talked two weeks ago about the Origin of Marriage–it began with God, who instituted it even before businesses and churches, as a foundation of society.

Our last podcast post discussed another common misunderstanding: the Purpose of Marriage.  Many couples, even Christians, think of marriage as legalized sex or procreation, but the true purpose is a COVENANT of COMPANIONSHIP.

This week we talk about the one erroneous belief about marriage that leads to wrong expectations, attitudes, and practices: the Obligation of Marriage.

The Duties of Marriage

There are many “marital duties” mentioned in the Bible:

a) Sexual duties

In I Corinthians chapter 7, Paul gives us some clear instruction about married life and sexuality.  We can glean from these verses that sex should only be between covenant-committed, married husband and wife.  Please note that the couple yields there bodies to each other, rather than seeking their own sexual pleasure. Finally–we are not to deprive each other of regular, healthy, lively, enjoyable sex!

1 Corinthians 7:2b-5
…each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.  The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.  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. 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.

b) Duties for wives

Again the Apostle Paul teaches us about marriage in the fifth chapter of Ephesians.  In these verses, addressed to wives, we learn that wives are directed to submit to their husbands the same way that we submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives.

Ephesians 5:22-24
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  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.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

c) Duties for husbands

The Apostle Paul continues this chapter addressing the husbands, and here we learn that husbands are COMMANDED to love their wives the way that Jesus Christ loved the Church–sacrificially.  Paul even points out that a husband who loves his wife, loves himself!

Ephesians 5:25-28
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

d) Duties for parents

King David teaches us that one of the duties of marriage is the produce and raise godly offspring, who can be “shot out into the world.”

Psalm 127:3-5
Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.

The ONE Obligation of Marriage

So there are many duties relating to marriage–but the ONE UNDERLYING OBLIGATION is the promise to provide lifelong companionship to your spouse. When a couple takes marriage vows, whether you know it or not (and most often people don’t know) you are promising to spend your life meeting THEIR needs–not the other way around!

Today’s society has told us that “love” is about YOU: you’ll never be alone, you’ll get regular sex, you’ll have someone who is “there for you,” and you’ll have your needs met! But as usual the world got it 100% backward!

THE obligation of marriage is that “love” is about GIVING and not RECEIVING.

Your marriage vows state that your spouse will never be alone, because you will be their companion. You promise to provide regular, lively, loving sex for your spouse. Your pledge is that you will “be there” for them! And together the two of you covenant to spend your lives getting to know each other so that you know how to meet their needs.

That means that when one spouse comes to us and says “I’m not getting my needs met” it is nonsensical. We do not have counselees fill out the Love Kindlers questionnaire so they can present it to their spouse and DEMAND that their needs be met! NO!  The reason for filling out and sharing the questionnaires is so you can learn what would meed the needs of your spouse and then begin to plan how to meet that need! In other words, the work in the questionnaire is TO LISTEN and LEARN, not to demand.

Thus we help our counselees see that the primary question is “How can I please God and my spouse?” not “How can I please myself?” If the focus is taken off of pleasing The Self, then selfish actions such as “I’m not not getting my needs met” or continuing in infidelity will not make any sense.

AFFAIRCARE RESOURCES:

The Origin of Marriage

The Purpose of Marriage

Bible Verses to Save Your Marriage After an Affair

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Marriage Blueprint: The Origin of Marriage

 Marriage Blueprint: Origin of Marriage

Our site is about helping people recover their marriage after an affair.  But how can we talk about adultery without first knowing the origin of marriage?

This series will focus on erroneous views of marriage that lead to wrong expectations, attitudes, and practices.  Many bible-believing Christians go wrong because their concept of marriage is an illusion.  So we’re going to spend the next four weeks studying the blueprint of marriage: 1) the origin of marriage, 2) the purpose of marriage, 3) the obligation of marriage, and 4) the commitment of marriage.

Most Christians have a simple understanding of the origin of marriage. “Adam and Eve–Garden of Eden” is a typical response. But many are unaware of the significance of that origin. So here is one of the basic concepts in the blueprint of marriage: MARRIAGE IS OF DIVINE ORIGIN!  The practical relevance of this basic concept must be considered!

1) God designed marriage as the foundational element of all human society.

God formally instituted marriage before there was a church, a school, or a business.  If marriage were of human origin, then humans could change or alter the terms for whatever reason they wish!  However, if marriage is of divine origin, then marriage should last until God ordains otherwise.  The rules and ideals of marriage are to be those which HE sets forth.  Marriage must not be redesigned by political correctness.  Individuals may marry, divorce, and remarry without sin only if, when and how God says.

2) Marriage is a foundational institution.

It was first to be instituted formally as a sphere of human society (before schools, business, even religion). Society in all its forms depends on marriage. Marriage is the foundation upon which the Church, as God’s family, rests. The covenant community is weakened as marriages are weakened. It is a group of individuals living under one roof, under one human head, and is a separate decision-making unit.

3) Marriage is not “for the propagation of the species”

Humans (like gerbils, rabbits, monkeys and other mammals) can propogate outside the bounds of marriage by mating. While it is true that God ordained that righteous procreation must be one duty of marriage, it is not the FUNDAMENTAL feature of marriage. Marriage is not “mating.”

4) Marriage must not be equated with sexual relations.

People can and do have sinful sex before marriage, but their sex does not translate into a marriage! Furthermore, the first sexual act of the honeymoon does not solemnize the marriage. Marriage AUTHORIZES moral sexual relations. Thus, adultery, while exerting tremendous strain on the marriage, does not DISSOLVE it. Marriage is bigger than and inclusive of sexual union. Sex doesn’t CREATE a marriage and sex doesn’t dissolve a marriage. Divorce, following adultery as a consequence, is not merely an outward formalization of an inward reality, but a new and further step beyond the adultery.

So if marriage is not sexual union, and if marriage is bigger than and distinct from “sex”–we have to ask: “What IS marriage?”  Tune in next week as we examine the PURPOSE of marriage!

 

AFFAIRCARE RESOURCES:

Bible Verses to Save Your Marriage After an Affair

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Refresh Series: What to Do If You Just Found Out

What to do if you just found out -renovations 

Affaircare is REFRESHING the website this month with a new look and updated info!  We thought it would be a good month to have a Refresh Series to refresh everyone on our fundamental concepts.  We are going to refresh YOU with our straightforward, Christian guidance!

This week we continue our Refresh Series by talking about “What to Do If You Just Found Out.” Next week we will conclude the series with “The Steps You Can Take to Save Your Marriage.”

A Parable about finding out

You have known that something is wrong in your marriage, and now you have in your hands the proof you don’t want: your spouse is having an affair.  You instinct is to do something FAST, and most likely your gut reaction will not be helpful toward saving your marriage and reconciling.  So this podcast refreshes you with what to do if you just found out.

Usually when people just find out, their reaction is one of two things: 1) revenge or 2) pleading.  If your inclination is toward revenge, you may have an overwhelming urge to rage, scream or “hurt them back.”  If your tendency is less self-assured, you may beg them to love you, plead with them to stay, ask for another chance, and promise them you’ll change!

Both of these compulsions are counter-productive, and both of these reactions are sinful.  Since biblically saving your marriage IS so counter-intuitive, and since our Christian worldview is even more counter-intuitive to the world view, we want to give you four things you CAN do that will help immensely.

First, in the podcast we shared a parable about what it feels like to discover that your spouse is cheating.  We shared this parable because language is usually insufficient to convey the full depth of the emotions.  Until we heard this example, nothing had really come close to describing it–and yet this parable does come close. Therefore, this parable is shared with hope: hope that Loyal Spouses will now have a tool to “describe” it in word pictures…and hope that Disloyal Spouses will have an image that will reveal the crisis of just finding out.  If you’d like to read the parable more fully, click on our blog “How it Feels to Discover Your Spouse is Cheating.”
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Four Things You Can Do If You Just Found Out

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1) Don’t be in a rush

The first thing you need to do calm down and don’t do anything rash. There will be plenty of time for making decisions, deciding what to do, when and how.  Unless you are in the right state of mind, you will experience even more confusion and pain.

  • Schedule an appointment with your doctor.–You are going to need an STD test and  it is a wise idea to have your personal physician informed on the things that could be affecting your health.  If your doctor tries to prescribe anti-depressants, don’t use pills as a crutch.
  • Open your Bible –You have a Source of undending strength, compassion, and healing at your fingertips. God promises to be there, and what God promises, He does. Right now you need comfort, in the upcoming days you will need support and truth. This is all found in God’s word. Start with the Psalms.

2) Take responsibility for your part of what has occurred

Taking responsibility is not accepting Disloyal excuses or blame!  But it is saying “I could have chosen this or that, and I made this choice.” Just be honest with yourself about any areas in which you need to repent and change! What things did you stop doing that were kindling the fire of love?  What things did you start doing that were purring out the fire?

3) Do a U-turn from what you’ve been doing

Your marriage is in a crisis.  Your family is in a crisis.  What you’ve been doing is NOT WORKING; thus it would be foolishness to return to “the way things were.” We recommend that you do a complete “about face” in the way you view marriage, in the way you think about your spouse, and in the way you ACT.

4) Get advice from an expert

Get some help and support, privately and confidentially, from someone you trust who is wise and who will give you wise counsel in getting through this. Your expert could be a pastor, parent or grandparent, sibling, coach or counselor. But the idea is to find someone who will encourage and support you in doing the right thing (even when it’s hard) and who will tell you the truth to your face.

 

AFFAIRCARE RESOURCES:

The “Just Found Out” tab to receive our newsletter

The article for those who “Just Fount Out”

Search for the terms “Just Found Out” on the Affaircare website

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Refresh Series: What Is an Affair and How Do They Start?

What is an Affair -renovations 

Affaircare is REFRESHING the website this month, so we thought it would be a good month to have a Refresh Series to refresh everyone on our fundamental concepts.  We are going to refresh YOU with our straightforward, Christian guidance while we refresh the look of the site and refresh the podcast.

This week we continue our Refresh Series by talking about what is and is not “an affair” and how affairs start. Next weeks we’ll keep going with “What to Do If You’ve Just Found Out: , and then the final week of August we’ll conclude with “The Steps You Can Take to Save Your Marriage.”

“What is an affair?”

You know me, I love to define! We are REFRESHING this definition!

“Infidelity is giving less than 100% of your affection, loyalty, and companionship to your spouse; in other words, giving any percentage or portion to someone other than your spouse.”

Let’s first talk about what IS and IS NOT a marriage. I’m not going into this too deeply because we’re doing a series on what marriage is next month. But for now, God defines marriage as: a man and a woman who covenant a lifetime of giving love before God. Marriage is not the same as “living together” nor “a serious relationship.” Those relationships may have an expectation of exclusivity. However, marriage is a covenant promise before God to love someone else for life!  Thus has legally and morally binding implications that other relationships do not.

Another common question we get asked is “Wait! What about giving some affection to children and relatives? You don’t mean we shouldn’t give our affection to our family, do you?”  This is not the intent of the definition.  Marriage vows promise used to include the terms “forsaking all others.”  The two in the marriage KNOW and are known in a way that is unique.  It is true intimacy–physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Finally, we are not defining an affair so you can find out “How far can I go and still get away with it?” It is emotional infidelity if you give even a little affection to another person. If you give someone your loyalty over and above your spouse, it’s an emotional affair.. You are more than “just friends” if you are a companion to someone (or something) else other than your spouse–think “football widows”.

“How do they start?”

Affairs start when we do not vigorously guard against sin and rigorously root it out!

Next, affairs bloom when there is a switch from pleasing God to pleasing self–from pursuing godliness to pursuing “happiness”

Third, affairs usually start in a way that seems fairly innocent…but is actually crossing just a very small line.

Affairs grow when the second small line is crossed…the third…the fourth…and pretty soon it snowballs and you’re off track of the godly life and heading toward a train wreck.

How an Emotional Affair progresses

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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:

How did my disloyal spouse become the VICTIM? ~D.A.R.V.O

victim

As a loyal spouse, have you ever wondered at the painful, destructive, abusive things your disloyal spouse says or does to you during their affair yet somehow they turn it all around and blame YOU, so that they become the victim and they are justified in their adultery?

Have you ever wondered how disloyal spouses convince their friends, their family,and sometimes even church leaders  and their parents,  that they are the innocent one but you are a BEAST?

Has your disloyal spouse screamed at you for HOURS and blamed their actions on “a tone in your voice” but never stopped to consider that if a tone justifies how they act…what must hours of screaming justify?

As coaches involved in marriage and recovery after infidelity, David and I come across this phenomenon fairly regularly and the loyal spouse rarely understands how it is possible to do that.  How could anyone look at the situation and spin it so that the one committing adultery is the victim?  Clearly the one who has been cheated on is the casualty, right?  Not on the one did the cheating?  So how do they do it?

It’s a concept that was first “named” D.A.R.V.O. in the 1990’s by Dr.  Jennifer Freyd–so note: this is not a concept taken directly from the Bible, but rather a way of giving a name to the method guilty parties use to spin reality so that they are victim. D.A.R.V.O stands for “Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim Order”…so you can see that in just one acronym it identifies exactly the procedure a disloyal spouse uses. D.A.R.V.O. is not UN-biblical; it’s just a way of labeling or naming the technique that the disloyal spouses use, and thus it’s a way of identifying it for loyal spouses.  Our hope in sharing this is so that when D.A.R.V.O. is practiced on you, you’ll recognize it and have the tools to deal with it.

So let’s go into what each letter of  D.A.R.V.O. means.

DENY–by definition, denial is “the statement or the action of declaring something to be untrue.”  Denial in psychological circles is a defense mechanism in which facing reality is avoided by denying the existence of the reality.  In the instance of D.A.R.V.O., the denial kicks in when the guilty party (the disloyal spouse) is confronted with the truth of what they’ve done (committed adultery) and held responsible and accountable for their choices and actions.

Some different examples of denial:

  • Outright denial or gaslighting. “That never happened.”
  • Minimization. “It wasn’t that bad.”
  • Amnesia. “I don’t remember doing that.”
  • Redefinition. “I have a bad temper, so you shouldn’t upset me.”
  • Projection. “You’re abusive and controlling. You hurt me.”
  • Conversion. “I did wrong, but I’m a changed person and won’t do it again.”

“How does denial work?” you ask?  Well let me give you an example.  Everyone has various values and emotions that affect the way we view reality: shame, greed, desire, revenge, ego, pride, public image, stubbornness, inertia, impulsiveness are all things that change the way we might interpret facts in a given instance.  So if you were at work and someone who’s younger and attractive invited you to lunch, but you knew that your credit card was near the max and your spouse would see it–because of desire, ego and public image, you might go off the lunch anyway and even offer to buy lunch…and all the while you’d be in denial of the financial and marital consequences.  You can see how infidelity and denial go hand-in-hand!

“What makes this denial different than a falsely accused innocent party who says it didn’t happen?” you ask?  When someone is actually innocent and they’ve been accused falsely, they might say “That’s not true!” and then do something like give a list of facts to prove their innocence.  But when someone is guilty and engaging in  D.A.R.V.O. the reaction is a combination of projection, denial, lying, blameshifting and gaslighting (see above examples).  In other words, the disloyal spouse might respond with an act of righteous indignation, claim YOU are the horrible one because you “invaded their privacy” or “how DARE you accuse me.” In the example above, a D.A.R.V.O. denial response to the loyal spouse who holds them accountable for the lunch charges might be: “HOW DARE YOU question my financial judgment! I’m not the irresponsible one here, why just yesterday you spent $125 just on groceries!”

This leads straight into the next step of D.A.R.V.O.–

ATTACK–An attack by definition is “an aggressive and violent action against a person or place.”  In this instance it’s the disloyal spouse being aggressive or violent against the loyal spouse who is holding them personally responsible.  Sometimes the aggression is physical–sometimes it is verbal/emotional/mental violence. Usually there is manipulation, threats, or bullying and the intent is to scare the loyal spouse into ending the consequences or “backing off” the insistence that the affair end!

Attacks typically include almost anything including accusations, legal threats, intimidation, warnings of physical attacks (such as destruction of property or harming a pet), warnings such as “watch your back because when you don’t expect it, you’ll get it!” threats to ruin your credibility or reputation, ridiculing you for trying to hold them accountable, and pretty much any other abusive tactic the disloyal spouse has ever used before.  Women often use crocodile tears as an attack, because they know they can get their spouse to stop if they just cry.  Plus, they can always say: “I can’t believe you’d hurt me by saying that!”

…which this leads right into the final step of D.A.R.V.O.–

REVERSE VICTIM ORDER–There really is no dictionary definition of this phrase, but we should discuss what a victim is.  A victim is “the person harmed or injured as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action,” and as it relates to infidelity, the loyal spouse may have been a jerk prior to the affair, but once the disloyal spouse chose to deal with it by committing adultery, the loyal spouse, the marriage and the family became the injured parties.  The person who made the choice and followed through by committing adultery is not the “victim”…just so we are clear.  The marriage was torpedoed…and unless the disloyal quickly repents and is completely remorseful, the family is also in danger of being destroyed.

Now that we are clear, in order to reverse the victim order, disloyal spouses often use a technique called Persuasive Blaming.  They convince the loyal spouse that their internal, personal issues are external–or in other words, caused by someone or something else.  I VERY typical example of this is “I had an affair because you….”  It’s the same method that abusers use to convince their victims that “I got mad because you burned supper” or “I hit you because you deserved it.”  Once the loyal spouse is persuaded to view the issue backwards like that, then the disloyal can keep the focus off the real problem (themselves) and try to force the focus and blame onto the loyal.  AND once the blame is on the loyal, then they can portrait themselves as the victim!

So in summary, D.A.R.V.O. would be when the disloyal spouse first DENIES the infidelity, ATTACKS the loyal spouse (putting the loyal on the defensive), and then , once the loyal is off balance, acts as if or claims that THEY are the actual injured party!  Here is what an example of D.A.R.V.O. might sound like:

LS = loyal spouse

DS = disloyal spouse

LS: “I have the phone bill, a printout of our credit card statement, and a printout of the text messages between you and XXX at work. I know you have spent 5000 minutes on the cell phone this month; you’ve bought her gifts on our credit card, and you sexted her.  I will not tolerate adultery in our marriage.  Please pack your things and be out of this house by sunset.”

DS:  (screaming) “What are you talking about? I didn’t do any of that! Of course we went to lunch once or twice, but it not like it’s an affair! You just trying to control me!  I can’t believe you’d invade my privacy because you have trust issues.  Who do you think you are?”

LS: “I told you, I have the phone bill and credit card statement right here..”

DS: “I swear if you try to tell everyone I had an affair, I’ll tear you to shreds in court.  You’ll lose the house AND the kids and be out on the street with NOTHING! Give me those stupid papers…look at you holding those papers like they were some kind of shield? Don’t you know better than to threaten ME!? “

LS: “I’m not the one who threatened you. You are the one who chose to have an affair….”

DS: “It’s not an affair for crying out loud! We’re just friends, and plus I wouldn’t even be friends with her if you’d ever shut up and listen to me. You know how much I love to talk but do you ever listen to me? NO! You think you know better and sneak around behind my back lying to everyone about me when I’M the one who has had to put up with you and your constant b.s. for all these years!”

How an Emotional Affair progresses…

emotional affair

 

Is your spouse “catching up” with an old high school friend on Facebook or chat, and you feel uncomfortable… but you can’t put a finger on WHY?  That’s because right now their texts may be just two old friends talking about the past, but if it continues here’s what they’ll start talking about:

Their lives since they parted
Their relationships since they parted
Their families
Their spouses
You (the spouse)
How you’re an excellent parent
How you’re a great spouse
How you’re a wonderful person
Your job
How your job keeps you busy
How your job keeps you away
How they sometimes feel a little lonely when you’re away
How they sometimes feel a little overburdened at home
How they sometimes feel a little taken for granted
How they feel that you don’t ALWAYS listen
How they feel that you don’t ALWAYS understand her
How they feel that sometimes you’re just “not there” for them
How, okay… you’re not ALWAYS such a wonderful person
How they loved hearing from their old friend again
How they look forward to their old friend’s texts/calls/e-mails now
How they feel young again
How they feel appreciated again
How they feel attractive again
How it’s so nice to have someone who just LISTENS again
How it’s been so, so long since someone made then feel that way
How their eyes have now been opened
How they now realize what they truly want and need
How they now realizes that their spouse could NEVER give them that
How insensitive their spouse can be some times
How their spouse can be a real jerk sometimes
How they wonder what it would be like if the two of you would have stayed together “back in the day”
How they now realize that they never really loved their spouse
How they now realize that they really loved their old friend all along
How they ever could have fallen for a jerk like their spouse
How their spouse is the biggest a++hole they’ve ever known
How their spouse is standing in the way of true happiness
How their spouse ruined their life
How they made a big mistake marrying their spouse
How they made an even bigger mistake letting the old friend go
How now they see that they were really meant to be with the old friend
How they desperately have to get away from their spouse
How they’re definitely going to leave their spouse
How they’re talking to divorce lawyers
How they’re going to live happily ever after…

 

(original author, unknown)

Recovery Tools: Love Kindlers and Extinguishers– Why They Are Important [Podcast]

During the month of June, we are going to explore the tools that a couple can use to reconcile their marriage after an affair.

So in this week’s episode, we discuss Love Kindlers and Love Extinguishers–but rather than going over the list (we have plenty of articles and blogs from the past for that), this time we’re discussing WHY they are important, and how to use them at the beginning of reconciliation.

URL’s IN THIS PODCAST:

Love Kindlers-What Are They?
https://affaircare.com/articles/love-kindlers-what-are-they/

Love Kindlers Quiz:
http://form.jotform.us/form/40890590616156

Blog posts about Love Kindlers:
https://affaircare.com/category/love-kindlers/

Love Extinguishers-What Are They?
https://affaircare.com/articles/love-extinguishers-what-are-they/

Love Extinguishers Quiz:
http://form.jotform.us/form/40181103830137

Blog Posts about Love Extinguishers:
https://affaircare.com/category/love-extinguishers/

Please join us next week as we continue our June series reviewing tools you can use to recover after an affair. Next week we will be discussing one of my favorite tools: the Myers-Briggs Personality Quiz, and why it’s so important to reconciliation!

[audio: https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/Kindlers+and+Extinguishers–Why+They%27re+Important.mp3]