Tag Archives: Human sexual activity

Why some couples just can’t seem to reconcile–Part 2

leakybucHave you ever known a couple who decided to reconcile after one of them had an affair?  They even went to a marriage counselor and everything! Yet they just spun their wheels and never could really get ahead, and they ended up divorcing even though they really tried?

Or is that maybe where you find yourself today? Your spouse had an affair -OR- you were unfaithful, and the two of you made a choice–a decision–to reconcile, but it just isn’t working?  Oh you are going to marriage counseling and the counselor told you to “try dating” but how in the world do you DATE someone who tore your heart out?  How do you DATE someone who gave you the silent treatment when you desperately needed and wanted their attention?  You’re trying…and I mean really trying, not that faking it stuff… and yet somehow you get no traction and your marriage just is not recovering.  You worry if you will ever feel loved again and wonder if you’ll just end up divorcing even after all this effort.

Today is the second in our series examining why some couples have so much difficulty reconciling. (If you want to catch up, here is Part 1.)  There is an uncomplicated reason, but in order to understand the explanation, you need to understand our Basic Concepts here at Affaircare.  Let me summarize:

To keep it simple, envision that the love in your marriage is like a campfire. There are actions that people do to stoke the fire of love and make it hotter–those are Love Kindlers. Much as adding fuel to a fire keeps it burning, makes it brighter and warmer, so concentrating on Kindlers, making them part of your daily interaction, builds the fire of your marriage. There are actions that people do that are like putting water on a fire–some are like dribbles out of a holey bucket, and some are like dumping a big bucket of water on the fire. Smothering a fire will eventually put it out. Actions that kill the fires of your love are Love Extinguishers.

When you go to marriage counseling, and you’re told to “try dating” …what the counselor is focusing on is the Love Kindlers. But what happens is that the husband tries to think of some nice “kindler” to do for his wife but picks the wrong love language, so she doesn’t notice or if she does notice…she’s underwhelmed. Well hey–it didn’t mean love to her in her language! So he gets upset that he put ALL THAT EFFORT into it, and got no benefit, no brownie points, no passion…and he starts finding fault with everything she does, and one step forward just became three steps back! Or the wife tries to win her husband with his favorite meal and a ticket to the ballgame (what guy wouldn’t love that?) but she works herself into a frenzy that he’s going to meet “her” at the game and ends up bringing up the affair and making several disrespectful judgments about why he’d rather go to a sporting event than be with her. One step forward…three steps back!

Love Kindlers are lovely. They are! They are what make us fall in love with each other, and we often call them “romance.” But we can not fall in love with each other if we are sabotaging the relationship with LOVE EXTINGUISHERS. So before you can get to the rather fun part of adding Love Kindlers, it is vital to first look at yourself (not your spouse, and I don’t care if they were the Disloyal or not), and be honest.  Have you been doing these things?  If you have, forget the Kindlers for now and practice stopping these Love Extinguishers!! Yesterday we looked at Emotional Neglect and Spiritual Neglect–and today we address two more common Love Extinguisher: Physical Neglect and Financial Neglect.

1.  Emotional Neglect

2. Spiritual Neglect

3.  Physical Neglect

  • No Tender Touches (Hugs, Kisses, Touches)–Do you touch your spouse in affectionate but non-sexual ways, like hugs, kisses, holding hands or cuddling?  Do you touch them in ways that they like or as often as they’d like?
  • Withholding Sexual Fulfillment–Within the marriage is the only MORAL place for a man and woman to express themselves sexually. Do you reject your spouse sexually? Do you have an excuse every day for not having sex? Or when you do “let them have sex,” do you lay there like a dead fish?  Is the sexual activity in your marriage the way that they like it or as often as they’d like? How much does your spouse need sexual fulfillment?
  • Abandoning Physical Attractiveness–Do you keep yourself physically attractive for your spouse?  Do you still fix up your hair and keep it in an attractive haircut?  Do you keep your body physically fit and/or curvy in a way that your spouse finds attractive, or did you let yourself go? Have you gotten lazy about your grooming and hygiene?  Do you smell good or have your worn the same pair of sweats/jeans for a week now?  Speaking of sweats, do you were clothing that is complimentary to your physique or baggy, holey clothing?

4.  Financial Neglect

  • Ongoing Unemployment (that is not part of a mutual agreement)–Were you employed when you and your spouse met?  Were you contributing to the household financially, but once you got laid off now all you do is sleep until noon, play video games or watch Maury, and send out one resume a week?
  • Unwilling/Unable to Live by a Budget–Have you and your spouse gone over the finances, agreed to a budget, and then your spouse found you went on a “secret” shopping spree anyway or bought a toy the two of you just could not afford?
  • Hidden Debt–Have you taken out a credit card without telling your spouse and run it all the way up to the limit? Have you got hidden creditors that keep jumping out and surprising your spouse?  Do you have debts for past poor financial decisions that you actively hide?
  • Hidden Spending or Overspending–Have you bought a whole new wardrobe and then brought it into the house piece by piece so your spouse wouldn’t notice? Or bought a new “truck” even though the two of you were on the edge of bankruptcy?
  • IRS or Legal Financial Trouble (Judgements, Liens)–This is pretty self-explanatory.  Do you have debts to the IRS or the State Dept. of Revenue and now your spouse’s bank account or the joint account is garnished?  Or do you have fines or liens that you have neglected to pay and now they are hounding our spouse about your legal problems?

To learn more about ending the Love Extinguishers so your marriage can recover, look over Part 1, and then come back tomorrow for #5 Family Neglect and #6 Social Neglect.  On Friday, we’ll conclude with #7 Security Neglect AND have a Love Extinguishers Quiz that your spouse can take about you!

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Back to Basics–Step 4 of 7 Steps To End An Affair

You’ve suspected for a while that something is not right between you and your spouse. Maybe they were spending lots of extra hours “at work” but there was no overtime on their paycheck. Maybe they completely changed their music, hairstyle, or clothing choices to something appropriate for someone decades younger. Maybe they were chatting or texting all the time and then deleted everything so you couldn’t see it.

Whatever the reasons, you had a sneaking suspicion something wasn’t right…

If you suspect your spouse is having an affair or is being emotionally unfaithful, do not despair. An affair does not have to mean the end of your marriage. In fact, consider this:

  • Approximately 20% of affairs last less than two months
  • Approximately 50% of affairs last more than one month, but less than a year.
  • The remaining 30% last more than a year
  • Very few last more than four years
  • Around 3% result in marriage

There are Seven Steps You Can Take to End an Affair if you have reason to believe your spouse may be unfaithful.  There is no guarantee your marriage will recover, but these steps will give you the best opportunity to recover after the affair ends.

Step 1) Gather Evidence.

Step 2) Confront.

Step 3) Disclose.

Step 4) Expose.  When someone that your disloyal spouse respects has spoken to them about the affair and encouraged them to end it, but they have hardened their heart and refuse to end it, what’s the next step?  Well just to review, Matthew 18: 15-17  tells us specifically how to deal with a brother or sister who sins.  What closer brother or sister do you have than your own spouse? So again let’s look to God‘s Word for the step we should take next.  Look specifically at verse 17:

15  If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.

16  But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’

17  If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

The next step is to “tell it to the church” and here I don’t think that Jesus meant we should stand up in front of the whole congregation and make an announcement.   The Greek word there is “ekklésia” and it means “people called out from the world and to God” so using some wisdom I believe the author (and God) means that if we’ve already spoken to the pastor, that we should now speak to the elders; if we’ve already spoken to the disloyal’s father (one respected parent), that we should now speak to both her parents and both of his parents.

Make no doubt, exposure is one of the MOST misunderstood concepts of ending an affair.  Many people mistake is for vengeance.  Many incorrectly think I’m talking about airing dirty laundry publicly.  Many think exposure is to humiliate the disloyal spouse.  To all these theories and many, many more like it I can not say a resounding “NO!” loudly enough!!

The number one, main idea behind exposure is to take the boldest, most public step in hopes of breaking up the affair partners and reconciling your marriage.  Thus, if you act out of vengeance or even speak in a way that disparages your spouse, you are shooting yourself in the foot and making reconciliation more difficult.  So if you are thinking that you will use exposure after the divorce to “get back at your spouse” or thinking that you’ll wait until they are up for a raise and then use exposure to ruin their reputation at work–then you are acting out of revenge and not exposure.  The heart of exposure is as discreet as possible, honest (no longer hiding the affair), sorrowful, and looking for assistance through prayer or encouragement … both for yourself (to get through this) and for your spouse (to do the right thing and end their affair and honor their vows).  THAT’S IT!

Exposure does not to drag your disloyal spouse’s name and reputation through the mud, even though they may accuse you of that.  Actually just to be clear, this is why you stay very honest and factual, because your honest speaking is not what’s harming their reputation–their ACTIONS are doing that!   Exposure refusing to keep the affair a “secret” so they can continue in secret and spin a story blaming you for their infidelity.

For this step to be effective, there will be a focused limit to the exposure.  The loyal spouse should contact their own family (parents and siblings), the disloyal’s parents and siblings, their church or place of worship, and the other person’s spouse.  You inform your families and religious leaders that the disloyal spouse is having an affair, that it is serious, that the marriage is in trouble, and ask for help.  The focus and main concern here is to contact those who may be harmed by the affair, give the facts, and ask them either to support the loyal or talk to the disloyal and tell them to return to the marriage.

You may also want to speak  to the loyal spouse’s employer, and under very specific circumstances, the disloyal spouse’s employer.  You would speak to your own employer so they know why you seem distracted, cry at work, and aren’t as productive.  You would contact the disloyal’s employer ONLY IF THE AFFAIR IS GOING ON AT WORK!!  I can not stress this enough–there is no need to contact your disloyal spouse’s employer or co-workers if the affair is with someone on Facebook unrelated to work!!  But…

… if  the affair is between a disloyal and their boss or something they supervise

…if the affair began as workplace flirting and fraternization

…if the affair is taking place during work travel or work conferences

…if the affair is carried along by a work cell phone, work laptop, or work car

…then you may also want to speak to your disloyal spouse’s employer because they are seriously in jeopardy of a sexual harassment lawsuit!  Their property, time, and resources are being used for unwanted sexual contact (you, as the spouse, do not want it) and they need to address it or they could be sued.

Finally you will want to contact the affair partner’s spouse and ask, “Are you aware that my spouse is having an affair with your spouse? I have evidence… ” Nothing ends an affair faster than the other person’s spouse screaming and putting their foot down!

Now, your disloyal is likely to be pretty upset with you for exposing their affair!!   A) Affairs are much more “fun” when they are a clandestine romantic rendezvous and not brought to the truth of being adultery!  And B) you are trying to cut them off from the drug they are “addicted” to the affair.  But just like you sometimes have to endure the fury of an addicted friend in an intervention–it’s for their own good and the hope is that once the addiction is broken, they will see and appreciate what you did.  Your marriage can survive your disloyal spouse’s anger–it can not survive ongoing adultery.

On the occasion a disloyal spouse realizes that everyone knows about their affair–and the  Affair Partner’s spouse screams and puts a stop to it–and the affair is killed.  If this is your case, consider yourself blessed and move to the phase of recovering your marriage, even if your spouse is not wholeheartedly into it yet.

If that is not how it works out for you, please bear in mind that sometimes the church will let you down or parents and family  will be hesitant to get involved, much less ask your spouse to end their affair.  That’s why we recommend that exposure be very limited and focused as wisely as you possibly can!   If that is the case, please post a comment or post a Prayer Request and we’ll pray for you.  Thank God, He didn’t just leave us at this point, but the Bible does ell us what do do for the next step.  And so we will post tomorrow with Step 5.

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This is post #3  in the CMBA 1/2 Marathon Blogging Challenge to post everyday for 13 days in October … AND is part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge!

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And on Thursdays I also join this Godly Link-up:

Vulnerability

One of my “blogosphere” new friends, persuaded2go, has a great new post called “The Vulnerability Scale.”   It’s so good that I thought about reposting it here exactly word-for-word, but then I thought that it wouldn’t have the same context and whatnot that it does over at her site.  So you’ll want to take a moment to read her post right there on her blog!

However, one part I do want to share was that her counselor gave her a Vulnerability Assessment and it’s in the form of a questionnaire.  It’s basically a true or false, and if it’s true, you highlight it.   Based on how many you highlight, you can see how vulnerable your marriage is to an affair.

Did you know you are at increased risk of having an affair simply if:

  • you have a Facebook account?
  • you have been dealing with stress (family, illness, work, marriage, new job)?
  • you have moved?
  • you have had to deal with the loss of a parent, child, sibling, pet, close friend, family member?
  • you have dealt with or are dealing with a physical/emotional illness (stress, depression, low self-esteem)?
  • you feel taken for granted or taken advantage of at work, at home, in life?
  • you have had to deal with children that are teenagers, rebellious, or unruly?
  • you have felt self-conscious of aging, a bulging mid-section, receding hairline, sagging breasts, erectile dysfunction, major weight loss/gain?
  • you have felt sexually inadequate or second-rate in bed?
  • you confide easily in others?
  • you lack clear goals or dreams or sense of purpose for your life?
  • you have thought or spoke negatively about yourself?
  • you have a lack of self-awareness concerning infidelity, such as:
  1. “This couldn’t happen to me.”
  2. “I’m committed to working on my marriage.”
  3. “No one would be interested in me.”
  4. “I would recognize the signs.”
  5. “I can be his/her friend only.”
  6. “He/She is only a friend.”
  7. “He/She is not attractive to me, so this is OK.”
  8. “We are both married.”
  9. “This will not get out of hand.”
  • you have a high need for affirmation from others in your life?
  • you feel sorry for yourself?
  • you often see things as ALL or NOTHING?
  • you are unable to communicate your thoughts and emotions to your spouse?
  • perhaps you have been dishonest with them about difficult issues because you fear them rejecting you or punishing you, or because you think it will protect them…”What they don’t know won’t hurt.”
  • compared to others, you view yourself as: morally superior, smarter than, or more self-aware?
  • your spouse embarrasses you in public?
  • your marriage is “keeping up the image” to others?
  • you have felt your sex life lacked quality, passion or adventure, and/or it has not been frequent enough?
  • you are disconnected sexually because of emotional starvation?
  • you have married friends who complain about their marriages?
  • you spend time alone?

This isn’t the entire list but doesn’t it make you stop and think?  How vulnerable is your marriage?  Based on this list, are you vulnerable and you didn’t even know?  I knew all about affairs, love kindlers and extinguishers, all of it, and even *I* was vulnerable!!!

Okay now head over the persuaded2go and take a peek at her post: “The Vulnerability Scale“–it just may open your eyes to how open to an affair your marriage may be!

Back to Basics–Love Kindlers #3 Physical Commitment

We are continuing our month-long “Back to School–Back to Basics” series and this week we’ll be going over the seven Love Kindlers.  To understand what a Love Kindler is, you could read the Basic Concepts article to get a more indepth explanation.  Briefly, to help you envision the idea, think of your marriage like a campfire. There are actions that can quench the fire of love, and those actions are Love Extinguishers.  BUT there are also actions that stoke the fire of love and make it hotter–those are Love Kindlers.  When you make the decision to love, you choose to act in a way that is likely to kindle feelings of interest and passion; so you decide to act in a Love Kindling way.

Today the third Love Kindler to stoke the blaze of passion and love in your marriage today  is:  Physical Commitment!  Physical Commitment is meeting your spouse’s needs:

  • To be touched regularly and in a way they enjoy
  • To be kissed regularly and in a way they enjoy
  • To be hugged regularly and in a way they enjoy
  • To have physical tenderness expressed, like by holding hands or cuddling
  • For a sex life that is fulfilling for both of you
  • To be physically attracted to you

When people talk about the Physical Commitment of marriage, they often think of sex, and that’s understandable because that topic is so prevalent in our society.   But there is so much more to Physical Commitment than just physical intimacy!!   Of course, one major issue that marriages can have is one spouse with a higher sex drive and one with a lower sex drive.  No two people are ever exactly the same, and sometimes our attitudes about sex and/or the physical release and pleasure that comes with sex can be deeply affected by events in our pasts.  HOWEVER, the one moral place of God-sanctioned, sacred sexuality is within a marriage commitment!!  So if you are using sex as a weapon to control your spouse, or you are withholding sex as a punishment for not doing what you want, you are denying your spouse the one legitimate place to enjoy their God-given sexuality.

As I mentioned, though, Physical Commitment is so much more than just sex.  Marriage is a commitment for life, and as life goes on and a couple ages, the hormones that drive sexuality decrease–this is natural.  It happens to everyone.  So Physical Commitment also encompasses being dedicated to giving your spouse positive physical touches (like hugs and kisses) and affectionate touches that are not related to sex.  Beyond that, as our bodies age, there is the Physical Commitment of caring for your spouse’s body: helping with medical care, encouraging them to lose weight or exercise, helping them to eat foods that are physically beneficial by preparing wholesome meals, and doing what you can to care for them physically such as providing massages.  Part of the fidelity of marriage is choosing to act in a way that benefits your spouse physically.

Over this month, we will be going “Back to School” by going over all our Basic Concepts.   This week we will examine the Love Kindlers–next week the Love Extinguishers.  During the third week of September we’ll look at the Seven Steps to End an Affair, and for the last week of the month, we’ll review the Seven Steps to Rebuilding After an Affair.  We hope you’ll join us on this journey to get “Back to the Basics”!!

Sex and Marriage … marriage and sex

According to the latest Durex Sexual Wellbeing Global Survey in 2010:

  • 44% “are fully satisfied” with their sex lives.
  • 48% “usually orgasm.” Globally, twice as many men (64%) as women regularly have orgasms.
  • 39% are looking for more love and romance.
  • 36% would like more quality time alone with their partner.
  • 31% would like more fun and better communication and intimacy with their partner .
  • 29% a higher sex drive.
  • 37% want to feel less stressed out and tired.

Did you notice anything interesting about those numbers? I did.

After writing the blog last week entitled “Fidelity is not asking ‘How Far Can I Go?’ ” I started to see it in many aspects of life. Here in the USA we look at many things completely backward to how they really are in reality.

In my previous blog I noted that rather than looking at infidelity like the media does and asking “Is sexting really unfaithfulness?” and wondering how far we can go until we cross the line, we should look at it from the completely OPPOSITE side of the coin, and ask ourselves: “What exactly is faithfulness? How can I be more faithful?”  We do the same exact thing with sex and marriage … marriage and sex.  Namely, we look at it from the exact opposite side of the coin from where we ought!

Look at the figures up above about sex. Do you notice anything? Each and every one of them asks the person basically “What do you want out of sex?” Now I do realize that we can not read another person’s mind and they are responsible for communicating what they want in a respectful request–not a demand. I do realize that. But we look at sex–before marriage and in the marriage
setting–exactly bass ackwards. Here in the USA and in the world at large, sex is looked at as “What can I get out of it?” You get affection. You get romance. You get attention. You get your orgasm. You get horny and your sexual need is met. You have a place for your lust to be satisfied. You get off. You get pleasurable physical feelings. You get…You Get…YOU GET!!

Sex is not meant to be about you!

Okay–let me dial it back a moment. It is the gift of God that when a man and a woman commit to each other for a lifetime, that they lovingly serve each other and meet each other’s needs. In
that covenant He created us such that sex is supposed to be pleasurable. So in that sense, in a marriage, the fact is that you and your spouse will have a sex life and it is intended to be very
pleasurable! BUT we have turned sex from a gift we receive because we commit to another person…into a physical sensation that we pursue selfishly!

Therein lies the rub. Even people who call themselves “christians” will act like they are very special indeed, when they haven’t had sex in X number of months after their non-christian spouse divorced them or if they stay virgins until marriage. Much like fidelity, though, rather than focusing on what sex IS and how it’s supposed to be used, they ask “How far can I go before it’s sex? Can we masturbate but not penetrate?”

So let me put this into perspective for you. Sex is focused on YOUR SPOUSE. Sex is meeting their need. Sex is what you give to someone who has made a covenant with you for a lifetime and is acting on that commitment. Sex means studying THEM, and paying attention to what pleases THEM, and concentrating on THEM, and examining THEM and their beliefs and fantasies about sex. Sex is serving your spouse. Sex is helping your spouse resist temptation. The focus of sex is not on you, your horniness or your pleasure. In other words, don’t think of sex as a “right” — think of it as a “responsibility.” Sex is a type/mirror/picture/symbol of the union Christ has with the Church…His Bride.

Now let’s look at a few bible verses about sex:

1 Corinthians 7:3-5.
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.
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.

Proverbs 5:15-19
Drink water from your own well—share your love only with your wife. Why spill the water of your springs in public, having sex with just anyone? You should reserve it for yourselves. Don’t share it with strangers.
Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving doe, a graceful deer. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love.

Hebrews 13:4
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral

I Corinthians 6:18-20
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Fidelity isn’t about asking “How Far Can I Go?” and sex in marriage is not about asking “What Can I Get Out of This?”