Tag Archives: Love Extinguisher

What the Disloyal Spouse Can Do to Save Their Marriage

 

apology1. No Contact with the Other Person (OP).  Under no circumstance should you in any way have any contact with the Other Person!! Delete them from your contacts and then delete the means by which you stayed in touch, and if that means the inconvenience of changing your cell phone number then so be it. Endure the consequence of choosing to use that device to compromise your marriage! For me, I had been in touch via a secret email account , via a second FB account, via a game, and via the game’s forum…so I deleted the secret email altogether, deleted the second FB account and then stayed off FB altogether, removed the shortcuts for the game, deleted the game, and removed the bookmarks for the forum. The point here is not to think “What’s the bare minimum I need to do here in order to appear like I’m removing all contact while keeping one last way of contact open?” but rather to REALLY HONESTLY DO IT. Cut that person out of your life. Go over and above to remove not just the ways you did contact, but ways you could be tempted to contact.

Final thought: often people use their cell phone to either text with or call the OP, and it’s not enough to “remove them from the contact list.” It is much more thorough to get a new phone number. Now you may be tempted to think: “But all my work contacts have that number and it would be so inconvenient….” but you know what that shows? You are thinking of yourself and making YOUR life easy and “to heck with my spouse!” You are a grown up and you chose to be unfaithful, so it is reasonable for you to now endure a little inconvenience in order to go all out in ending contact. You may others endure pain for you–now it’s your turn, and it’s fair.

2. Transparency. This one will be difficult and scary, I guarantee! Being transparent is not just being honest, but rather being “see through.” Right now you have been hiding behind masks of “who you are” “what you think” and “what you feel”…holding up a false facade for your spouse to think you are who you are not. My guess is that you felt things that hurt and you were afraid to say them out loud or you felt unheard. My guess is that you thought things that were were ugly and things you knew would hurt your spouse so you didn’t want to share them…maybe avoiding the trouble you’d get into if you said “the truth.” My guess is that you want people to see you as “a fine, upstanding pillar of the community” and speak highly of you…when you are not ACTING like a fine, upstanding pillar of the community with high morals and character! Soooo…..you lied. And the lies caught up to you! NOW in order to save your marriage you are going to have to go against what you’ve gotten used to, and not only “tell the truth” but also open up about WHO you are, what you honestly FEEL, and what you truly THINK.

To me there were two parts to this transparency thing. First, I had hidden my computer, my secret email, my second FB, etc. from my Dear Hubby, so Part One was relatively easy–I let him in. I realized that a GIGANTIC part of my issue was that I had shut him out of my life and myself by excluding him. So Part One was to actively INCLUDE him in every single thing I did all day long. The easy stuff was letting him see my computer, letting him have my passwords, not locking things down and hiding them from him, letting him see my secret stuff, and letting him see me delete it all. We deleted everything TOGETHER so that it was like a ritual of ending the old/beginning the new. As I said, this was the easier part for me!

Part Two was to actively practice letting him see the True Me…with all my warts and everything… and then see if he really loved me! If I had a thought that was not so lovely, but it was true–I shared it. If I had a feeling that was painful, I didn’t bury it but instead I shared it. And sometimes my thoughts and feelings were “not all that great” and I let him see it! Now, did I come right out and say everything unedited? No. I realize that sometimes, in the heat of the moment my head “sees red” and I think swear words, and repeating that wouldn’t be productive–but what I WOULD do is let him know I was angry…REALLY angry…and that in order to be respectful to him I needed some time to settle down before I could discuss it. So share the truth (anger) but in a way that is still respectful.

3. Commit to actually DOING the work, not talking about it. Lots of people miss this one. They talk about “going to a counselor” and they talk about “doing whatever it takes to save our marriage” but then when it comes down to facing themselves in counseling or facing their fears or facing what they’ve truly done…it’s too much and they avoid, run, hide, flee. So right now, purpose in your heart that you KNOW you are going to have to look at YOU and ways YOU perceive things and ways YOU cope with things, and it’s going to be hard and scary…but you are going to DO it. When your counselor says “Write this journal or list”…you do it. When you come up to something that is hard or scary or painful, rather than avoiding it, make a promise in your heart to not run away. Rather than falling into your old pattern (which got you in this mess in the first place), remember and try the NEW pattern.

Final thought: There is no “say”…only do. Do not tell your spouse a bunch of promises about committing or doing anything blahblahblah. Your spouse does not believe you right now, AND by your actions you’ve already demonstrated that your commitment means nothing. So instead of telling them, just let your actions show them. Seriously, do not promise. Just DO IT.

4. Gather evidence of love to get through withdrawal. When you have an affair, it’s very similar to being an addict, because what you are addicted to is the “high” good feeling of someone thinking you’re wonderful. There actually is brain chemistry that goes off when you’re “in love” (infatuated) and thus, once you feel that rush of good feeling, you want more of it and the affair continues. When you end your affair and return to your spouse, to you it is going to feel like you are losing the “good feelings” high from OP, and turning to the person who made you feel bad in the first place (NOTE: I’m not saying that is the truth–just “how it feels.”) To you, it will feel like a huge LOSS because you are losing that person who thought you were great–the person who gave you that ‘infatuation high’ feeling!

So once you initiate No Contact, there is going to be a period of what I call “withdrawal.” Again, it is an analogy and not exactly like addiction withdrawal, but it is somewhat similar enough that it helps people understand. When you were in contact, the contact was “the drug”…so when you remove “the drug” you go into withdrawal: namely, the first couple days every few minutes you think about the OP, you think of excuses to contact them, you crave that contact, you NEED that contact! Gradually it begins to feel more desperate, and to some degree just like cold turkey, you just have to get through this. I did two things: 1) I told myself to wait 15 minutes “I will put this off for 15 minutes and check how I feel in 15 minutes.” Then in 15 min. I put it off again for 15 min. all through the day. The next day I put it off half an hour, then an hour, and so on and so on. 2) I gathered reminders of love, so that when I was craving something positive, something that loving, something that shows caring about me, I looked at my Dear Hubbies old love letters, an old card from him, a drawing he made, songs he wrote, etc. If I need the positive “high” of love, I went to my DEAR HUBBY to get it…no one else.

5. Spend “fun” time with your spouse. Right now, when your spouse thinks of “you” s/he associates you with painful emotions and hurtful thoughts. YOU=Pain, to your spouse. Often times, people get so focused on saving their marriage, and working to fix it, that all they do is the deep, long, intense talks and the tears…and they forget to be the kind of person their spouse would want to be with. So that association of YOU=Pain is enforced (because you=deep, long intense talks, navel gazing, and tears). It is REALLY important right now to begin to look at yourself and think: “If I were in my spouse’s shoes, would I date me right now?” and if the answer is no, then start to become the person they would date again. I’m not talking about “Go buy roses” –I mean being the kind of person with whom they would associate good or happy times! Be the sort of person who is interesting. At some point, you had things in common that you both enjoyed or that you shared together: music, sports, hobbies…something. So rather than being “a downer” who always talks about hurtful stuff all the time…on the occasion, take the pressure off, tell your spouse you just want to be best friends right now who really care about each other, view your spouse as your very best friend to whom you tell everything, and once-in-a-while, take them to something fun. Go to a concert, not as their date, but someone who is interested in a band they also love, and share the fun of hearing a band you both like. Begin to change to YOU=Positive. You=listen without judgement. You=share fun times. You=good feelings. Get it?

6. Be accountable to someone. This reconciling is HARD, so don’t think to yourself, “Oh I got this. I can do this by myself.” Find someone who is a GUY who can be your mentor. Find someone who will know when you are lying and sneaking around and who will call you on it!

7. End Love Extinguishers. Okay I view the love in a marriage like a campfire. There is stuff you can do to the love that builds the fire (that’s a love kindler) and there’s stuff you can do that puts out the fire (that’s a love extinguisher). We all do both, but lots of times what happens is we get so caught up in life, work and bills that we don’t realize we pretty much love extinguish ALL DAY LONG… and we’ve kind of dropped the love kindlers. Now most counselors will tell you to “date your spouse again” and whatnot, and that almost never works, but here’s why! You take your spouse out to dinner (love kindler to them) but then you complain about the bill and make a scene to get a free dessert (extinguisher to them). YOU think you should “get credit” for the dinner, but the dinner was a positive and a negative to the flame of love, and nothing built up! So it feels like spinning your wheels (because you are)!! In reality you don’t need to start dating your spouse–you need to stop the love extinguishers!

So if you really, really want to start working on building love, look at your own self. What harmful spirits do you have inside you that are putting out the blaze of love in your marriage? Are you a scorekeeper? A faultfinder? Disrespectful to your spouse? Withholding? No tender touches that don’t lead to sex? Unstable employment? Hidden debt? Don’t help with the house or kids? Discourteous? Give them the silent treatment? Angry explosions? Attack dog…attacking your spouse? Passive-aggressive?

Don’t think “Yeah, but s/he….” or “Those describe my spouse!” because what we are doing here today is to look at YOURSELF–HONESTLY. If you can say to yourself, just privately, “Yes, I do that” then pick that one and work on that one. If you are a scorekeeper, how can you learn to stop keeping score and give of yourself, your time, and your everything freely without expecting a reward for what you did? If you have had unstable employment, how can you demonstrate with your actions that you want your spouse to feel safe financially like they aren’t going to have to scramble to pay rent right before eviction? Again, this is not the time to make promises…just pick a couple of those typical love extinguishers and work on them, and let your actions speak for themselves.

8. Re-start Love Kindlers. After you’ve worked on becoming the person you want to be, after you’ve done the work and made changes, after you’ve stopped some of the bad habits that have inadvertently been destroying your marriage–THEN if your spouse is willing, you can re-start love kindlers. These are the things that people do to show love through their actions, and this is probably easier for people to do than the love extinguishers and that’s why they start here! However, think about this: at one point you and your spouse got along well enough that you two wanted to get married. You had some similar interests, enjoyed each other’s company, couldn’t wait to be together, couldn’t wait to talk, and did all kinds of goofy things to help love grow. Well…that means you already have a foundation to rebuild on! Think back to the days when you were dating, and become the person who attracted them again. They liked you! So there is hope….

In conclusion, I want to remind you that you committed adultery. Say it: ADULTERY. Your spouse would be 100% within their moral rights to walk away and never give you another chance. Some people are not able to get over infidelity and it is a deal-breaker for them. Period. And here’s the super important part: THEY are not the one who broke the marriage–YOU ARE because they were faithful and you went outside the marriage! If your spouse chooses to walk away, they are walking away from the rubble of the marriage that was, because you nuked it. If your spouse does give you any sort of chance, you have GOT TO think of it not as something they owe you or as a second chance you expect, but as A GIFT. Priceless and Precious.

You can choose to change whether your spouse continues the marriage or not, and I personally suggest that you do change. And here’s how we can tell if the change is “real”–we would see you doing 180 degrees the opposite of what you used to be doing, and more importantly, we would see you taking the time for your life to demonstrate, through your behavior and actions, that you are DIFFERENT! The thief doesn’t only stop robbing-they do actions that help others! The liar doesn’t only stop lying–they start telling the truth. The adulterer doesn’t only stop the affair–they start acting in a way that protects their marriage and spouse FROM YOUR OWN WEAKNESSES.

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Back to Basics– Step 6 of 7 Steps To End An Affair -AND- Save Our Marriage Saturday

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.

Step 5) Carrot and Stick.

Step 6) Consequences.  This step is the final step of Matthew 18:15-17.  To review let’s look at those verses again, paying specific attention to the final phrases of 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.

In this step, we recommend that you write your disloyal spouse  a letter and explain that you love them, admit the things you did to contribute to the affair, and indicate what you’re doing to address your own issues and end the Love Extinguishers.   Then, continue with the letter and let your disloyal spouse know that unless they end ALL contact with the Affair Partner and never, EVER contact the Affair Partner again, that you (the loyal spouse) need to end all contact with them.

The idea behind this step is to obey the final parts of verse 17, namely to treat them as a pagan or tax collector.  Now you’ll notice that nowhere does Jesus ever tell us to treat pagans and tax collectors with disrespect or hatred or anger…nothing like that.  But over and over in the Old and New Testament we are told to choose whom we associate with carefully.  Psalm 1:1 says that a person is BLESSED when they don’t “walk around in sinful places, stand loitering with sinful people, or sit and hang out with sinners” (my paraphrase) And it’s not because we hate the people but rather, it’s because if we are constantly around someone who had stiffened their neck and hardened their heart and refuses to obey God.  They will tempt us and council us to be like them!  The whole point of the passage is that in a marriage there is unity–intimacy–and how can there be that kind of oneness between someone who loves and wants to obey God, and someone who willfully continues in disobedience?  You just have to not associate with them.

So you let the disloyal spouse experience a more realistic taste of what divorce could be like–namely that it will hurt them, it will be costly, and it will be HARD.  A typical disloyal spouse has this “fantasy” in their mind that they will move you (the loyal spouse) out, move their lover in, have all their needs flawlessly met by their lover but never have to put in any effort to keep the relationship going–that is, it will come naturally and easily–keep the house, keep the kids, get to keep their lover’s money AND your money (via alimony and child support), and basically life will be a breeze!  Of course, that’s not real life, and the goal here is to allow them to taste what real divorce might be like.  You also give them a chance to see what it would be like to have to depend upon the Affair Partner to meet all of their needs–and honestly this is usually what breaks the affair, because although the Affair Partner may have been in the right place and said the right things, they are often someone who is unemployed (thus they have days free to flirt with a married person) or who doesn’t have the moral character to be faithful.  Chances are, when they have to provide for ALL of the disloyal spouse’s emotional, financial, mental and spiritual needs (without you meeting half the needs)…the two in the affair will start arguing, and when the Affair Partner isn’t “happy” they respond by looking elsewhere!  They’ve already demonstrated that’s how they act!  Finally, you give your disloyal spouse time apart from you so that they can no longer blame you for the day’s events, or “how you made them feel,” or anything because you aren’t in their life anymore!  Thus, if it’s not you…maybe they’ll look at themselves (or at least blame their Affair Partner instead)!  Here are some Sample Consequences Letters.

For some practicalities, one of the common things a female disloyal will try to do,  if you have children, is wanting the loyal to do things “…for the children” when really it’s to meet one of her needs.  A perfect example of this would be the unfaithful wife who is living with her lover at the lover’s house, but she asks her loyal husband to mow the lawn “so the kids have a place to play.”  Then when the loyal husband says “No” or suggests that she get her lover to mow his own lawn, she might try guilt “I can’t believe you don’t want the kids to have a place to play! Who treats their children like that?”  This is why we suggest an intermediary in the Consequences Step–to act as a buffer between the disloyal and loyal spouse.  This can be a person who agrees to do it, a person you both knew as a friend, a parent, a pastor from church–pretty much anyone willing to do it–but the intermediary would be the person who would get the request from the disloyal to mow the lawn, and the intermediary would not pass that on  to the loyal, but rather just return it to the disloyal and ask them to take care of their own situations.  You can see how the intermediary would actually shield the loyal spouse from a LOT of hurt and pain!

Nonetheless, the loyal spouse will have to discipline themselves to not accept phone calls or read IM’s or emails that come from the disloyal spouse.  If the disloyal calls from an blocked number, or for whatever reason the call gets through on accident, the loyal can say something like, “Are you calling because you’re ready to end the affair? Oh, you’re not? Then please respect my wishes for no contact until you’re ready to do that. Goodbye” and hang up.  All email attempts, just forward to the intermediary. Keep the focus on ending the affair and recovering marriage. Don’t get caught up in arguing over secondary or trivial issues.

Again, in this stage there are occasionally disloyal spouses whose affair just die a natural death–the Affair Partner just gets sick of it and leaves them–or they begin to realize that a divorce would be VERY painful to them…and they think maybe that too much water has passed under the bridge. Periodically let your disloyal know that you would be willing to have them back and work on the marriage. but that at this point some substantial damage has been done. Invite them to return. If this is your case, consider yourself blessed and move to the phase of recovering your marriage.

If that is not how it works out for you, please bear in mind that the process of breaking up an affair with a hard-hearted spouse is not “guaranteed.”  Sinful human beings often just REFUSE to do the right thing; hurting human beings often are more afraid to look at themselves and admit they were wrong than they are to live with the mess they’ve made!   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 tell us what do do for the next step.  And so we will post tomorrow with Step 6


This is post #6  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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Today is also Save Our Marriage Saturday.

We have a tradition here at Affaircare. We call it “Save Our Marriage Saturday”–and we’re sharing the love.  Link-love that is!  Every Saturday we hold a link-up party so you can share a post of your own and we can all help each other to save our marriages!

Please share your post on any and all things related to saving your marriage after an affair, reconciling after you committed adultery, recovering your marriage after finding out that your spouse cheated, or keeping your marriage affair-free!

1. Please link to your actual “Save Our Marriage Saturday” post, not just the address to your blog or site home page.

2. Please leave me a comment–I would love to visit your site, return the favor, and follow you!

3. Please share the love with your fellow bloggers–Read and leave a comment on at least the two blogs above yours.

4. Please help me spread the word. Let’s create a community of Christian believers who want to bring glory to God by teaching our brothers and sisters about how to have a godly marriage, how to avoid the typical traps that lead to infidelity, and how to be a living testimony of forgiveness and reconciliation if one spouse is unfaithful.

5. Link back to this community, either by using the button below or a text link. You can find the button code here for you to insert in your post:

HTML CODE:


I LINK TO THESE GODLY LINK-UPS:
Beholding Glory’s Blog Hop List, No Ordinary Blog Hop: Family-Parenting-Marriage , The Alabaster Jar-Marital Oneness Mondays, Revive Your Marriage MondaysTime-Warp Wife-Titus 2sdays, …to Love, Honor and Vacuum–Wifey Wednesdays, Unveiled WifeGrace Alone/Women Taking a Stand–Thankful Thursdays, and Beholding Glory–Faith Filled Fridays.

Back to Basics–Love Extinguishers #6 Social Neglect

Today, we look at the sixth behavior that can put out the fire of love:  Social Neglect!  This extinguisher may sound like you have to be a “social butterfly” and hey…some people are introverts.   Actually this Love Extinguisher has more to do with treating your spouse in a discourteous way and neglecting to do things with your spouse–excluding them.  Social Neglect is inflicting harm by becoming the sort of spouse who:

  • Has Irritating Habits (Impolite)–I’m not talking about smacking your lips or elbows on the table (although those can be a bit irritating).  I’m talking about the spouse who treats their spouse rudely.  I mean the person who is discourteous and treats their spouse in a disrespectful,  inconsiderate, graceless way.  Do you treat your spouse with as many manners as you do a house guest?  Do you say “Please” and “Thank You?”  If not, you may be extinguishing the blazing fire of love in your marriage.
  • Still Acts Like They’re Single and Independent–This kind of socially neglectful spouse continues to behave in a way that does not consider their spouse in everything they do, especially neglecting how their actions affect their spouse.  They make choices as if they were unattached; they don’t consult with their spouse on any decisions; and there is definitely NOT unity!  If you treat your spouse like an after-thought and act as if you are completely independent of them, then you are dumping water onto the blaze of love, and putting out the fire.
  • Does Not Share Activities or Free Time–This is the spouse who always has a million activities scheduled, but does not make the time to be with their spouse–even if the activities are good ones!  For example, the “church lady” who leaves her spouse and kids sitting at home while she has AWANA on Mondays, volunteering on Tuesday, church on Wednesday, women’s bible study Thursday, prayer meeting on Friday, youth group on Saturday and Sunday School on Sunday!  God does love it when we serve Him, but we serve Him best by building strong, loving, faithful marriages that are an image of His love for His bride, the Church. Those are all “good activities” but not if all those activities extinguish the fire of love in your spouse’s heart.
  • Gives ‘The Silent Treatment’ or Does Not Listen Actively–Are you the spouse  who punishes your spouse by giving them the cold shoulder or the silent treatment?  Are you the spouse who SAYS they are listening when really you’re still playing your game or watching the TV and saying “Uh huh”?   Are you the spouse who doesn’t listen to understand, but rather listens so you can reply…or worse yet, who already know what you’re going to say and is just waiting for your spouse to take a breath so you can interrupt?  Then you are dumping water onto the passionate blaze and putting out the fire of love.
  • Is So Jealous or Controlling Your Spouse Can’t Have Any Friends–It is one thing for your spouse to have hundreds of admiring opposite sex friends, and quite another for your spouse to be so smothered they can’t go out once with a same sex friend without facing an accusing inquisition.  If you are the spouse who tries to stop your spouse from having friends, who will make threats or try to sabotage the rare personal night, or who interferes with your spouse and tries to keep them from having a support system, then you are dumping water onto the love fire and extinguishing the love in your marriage.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll go ahead and continue our “Back to Basics” by going over all our Basic Concepts.   To understand what a Love Extinguisher is, you could read the Basic Concepts article to get a more in depth 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.

The first week of September, we examined the Love Kindlers.  Then we had two weeks off while Dear Hubby was in the hospital….but tomorrow we’ll conclude the Love Extinguishers.  The first week of October we’ll look at the Seven Steps to End an Affair, and for the second week of October God willing, 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”!!

Beholding Glory

Back to Basics–Love Extinguisher #5 Family Neglect

Family

Today, we look at the fifth behavior that can put out the fire of love:  Family Neglect!  This extinguisher involves disregarding your spouse’s need for help with the family and in fact inflicting emotional harm by becoming the sort of spouse who is:

  • Refusing to Leave and Cleave–Are you the wife who goes running to your mom every time you and your husband have an argument?  Or are you the husband who let’s his mom schedule his day for him and let’s her tell your wife she’s not cooking right?  If so, then you are extinguishing your spouse’s love fire, and you need to leave your family of origin and cleave to your spouse!
  • Not Making Time for Personal Adult Time–As a married couple, you aren’t just there to work, do chores, and take care of the kids; you also vowed to love your spouse until one of you dies.  So if you are the kind of spouse who does not designate daily time for your spouse and some weekend time just to do things together and have some mutual hobbies and interests, then you are putting out the flame of love.
  • Not Making Time for Child Rearing–Are you the mom who says, “Just WAIT until your dad gets home!” and you make you husband do all the discipline?  Are you the dad who sits and plays WoW while your wife struggles with the kids’ homework, bath time, and taking care of them by herself?  If so, then your spouse is going to build resentment over your lack of participation and you will be dumping water all over the blazing fire of love.
  • Not Equitably Contributing to Household Chores–I understand you go out into the wild world to work for a living, but that doesn’t mean that laundry is washed, dried and folded–or that dishes are washed and put away–or that the carpet  is vacuumed   And that doesn’t even mention watching the children, making 3 meals a day for everyone, scrubbing the bathtub and sinks, etc.!  Even if your spouse is a Stay-At-Home parent, don’t let them do all the chores by themselves or they will feel resentment, and you will be extinguishing the blaze of love.
  • Getting Too Comfortable–This spouse is the one who acts like “well I caught you and now I don’t have to put any more effort into this relationship.”   If you are the spouse who has gotten lax in the relationship, has stopped putting forth effort, has stopped saying loving words or doing loving touches or sending flowers or doing acts of kindness, then you may be getting too comfortable.  If you think “Well what we had was special and that could never happen to us” then FOR SURE you have gotten too comfortable, and you are pouring water onto the love fire of your spouse!

Over the next few weeks, we’ll go ahead and continue our “Back to Basics” by going over all our Basic Concepts.   To understand what a Love Extinguisher is, you could read the Basic Concepts article to get a more in depth 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.  The first week of September, we examined the Love Kindlers.  Then we had two weeks off while Dear Hubby was in the hospital….but this week we’ll continue the Love Extinguishers.  The first week of October we’ll look at the Seven Steps to End an Affair, and for the second week of October God willing, 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”!!

Back to Basics–Love Extinguisher #4 Financial Neglect

debt

Today, we look at the third behavior that can put out the fire of love:  Financial Neglect!  The two most common complains we hear are “She only wants me for my wallet” and “He only wants me for my body.”  Well guess what folks, both are partly true and there is nothing wrong with either one. We addressed the men’s side with yesterday’s “Love Extinguisher #3 Physical Neglect” — and today it’s the ladies’ turn.  Oftentimes, women are created to long for security for themselves and their children–and a man who can provide that security for her family can win her heart!  But whether it’s the man or the woman, this particular extinguisher involves disregarding your spouse’s financial needs by becoming the sort of spouse who:

  • Is unemployed long-term due to lack of trying, and it is not part of a mutual agreementPlease bear in mind that this is NOT (I repeat NOT) a stay-at-home-parent where you agreed as a couple to have one parent raise the children and not work.  This is also NOT an earner who lost their job and is trying and trying and trying but the economy is bad they can’t find a job.  This is the person sits on the couch, playing video games all day, doesn’t help with the household chores or contribute to the family, doesn’t apply for work, and just expects their spouse to “take care of them.”  Behaving like that puts out the blazing fire of love.
  • Is unwilling/unable to live by a budget–This is the person who either just WILL NOT agree to a budget and spends impulsively -OR- the person who will agree to a budget to your face, but then when they see this or that item in the grocery store “that they need” they’re unable to exercise self-control and wait.  Either way, this person is choosing to put out the fire in their marriage by killing the love.
  • Has hidden debt–There are a couple kinds of people under this type of love extinguisher.  First there’s the person who ran up some debts when they were younger and they’re ashamed so they keep the debt a secret; they try to deal with it on their own, and it harms the marriage by putting a wedge between the husband and wife.  They are sprinkling water onto the fire of love.  Then there’s the person who is much, MUCH more harmful: the person who secretly gets a credit card and doesn’t tell their spouse or takes out a second mortgage without informing their spouse.  They put their spouse into financial hardship and literally pour water onto the blazing fire, extinguishing quite a bit!  Finally there’s a person who is actually a criminal, who takes out credit cards by forging a fake social security number or in their spouse’s name, or who takes out a loan in their spouse’s name without their permission, or who does devious financial things like hiding property to stay one step ahead of the Repo Man.  This person is DUMPING water onto the fire of love their spouse may have once had for them!!
  • Hides their spending or overspends–The dynamic is something we have all heard: The husband “has a talk” with his wife and tells her what she can and can not spend, and she feels like getting back at him for “controlling” her so she runs out, but a new pair of designer shoes, and hides them in the trunk -OR- she’s paying the bills and tells him they can’t afford this or that so he gets mad and just to prove he’s the boss, he buys a new fishing boat or motorcycle!  Whether its hiding a smaller purchase or overspending on a huge new toy, these people are killing their marriage and putting out the blaze of passion.
  • Has IRS or legal financial trouble like judgments or liens–You know, I don’t consider the IRS to be a friendly and cooperative group with flexible customer service…but when you have the IRS or the courts giving you legal financial troubles, the financial stress on the couple can be like a sieve pouring water on the fire.  If you avoid your legal financial troubles they don’t go away and you will slowly put out any passion your spouse felt for you.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll go ahead and continue our “Back to Basics” by going over all our Basic Concepts.   To understand what a Love Extinguisher 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.  The first week of September, we examined the Love Kindlers.  Then we had two weeks off while Dear Hubby was in the hospital….but this week we’ll continue the Love Extinguishers.  The first week of October we’ll look at the Seven Steps to End an Affair, and for the second week of October God willing, 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”!!

Back to Basics–Love Extinguisher #3 Physical Neglect

After our little 2 week long hiatus, today we continue the second collection in our “Back to School–Back to Basics” series.  The rest of this week we’ll be going over the remaining Love Extinguishers.  To understand what a Love Extinguisher 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.  When you get married and do not make diligent efforts to keep stoking the fire, life, bills, and children intervene and you begin to gradually take your spouse for granted and act in a Love Extinguishing way.

Today, we look at the third behavior that can put out the fire of love:  Physical Neglect!   This extinguisher involves disregarding your spouse’s physical needs by becoming the sort of spouse who:

  • Outlaws Tender Touches (Hugs, Kisses, Touches)–when infants are left in a sterile orphanage and given plenty of food, but not touched, they died. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7982860  When they were just touched and hugged by surrogate grandparents, not only did the babies thrive, but the older surrogate grandparents did as well!  http://www.benbenjamin.net/pdfs/Issue2.pdf
  • Withholds Sexual Fulfillment–when a person marries, their only moral outlet for their sexuality is with their spouse.  When a spouse purposely withholds sexual fulfillment as a way to manipulate or punish their spouse, it’s not only an action that extinguishes love, it’s cruelty.  God created us as sexual beings (Song of Solomon, Prov. 5:18-20) and He specifically told us that in a marriage our body is not our own, but our spouse’s to share ( I Cor. 7:4).  If you are withholding sex as a way to teach your spouse a lesson, you are KILLING your marriage.
  • Abandons Physical Attractiveness–The two most common complains we hear are “She only wants me for my wallet” and “He only wants me for my body.”  Well guess what folks, both are partly true and there is nothing wrong with either one.  Men are created to be VISUAL beings, and that means that part of what he likes about his lady is that he finds her physically attractive.  Now this does not mean it’s kosher to want to leave your marriage if she puts on a few pounds after the kids, but rather that a part of the mix of what drew him in like a magnet was the way you look!  So you used to fix your hair, throw on a complimentary outfit, and maybe put on some lipstick before he came over?  And now, with 2 toddlers you don’t do your hair, haven’t worn makeup in ages, and LIVE in sweats?  Guess what?  You’re extinguishing your spouse’s love for you and they probably don’t know how to tell you without causing a big fight!  It’s okay for a man to want a wife whom he looks at and thinks “YOWZA!!”  and likewise the same goes for women.  Fellas–did you used to wear a little cologne and dress up to take her out on the town….and have a muscle or two from working out to impress her?  And now do you sit on the couch with a beer gut, in a tattered work shirt and no shower for a few days and wonder why she isn’t “turned on”?  You are putting out the fire!  Tend to your spouse’s physical need for attractiveness!  And that doesn’t mean being physically perfect or going on a crash diet, but rather, work with what you’ve got.  Fix your hair–wear clothes that fit you well and compliment what God gave ya–take a shower or bath and smell “purdy”–do what you can to LOOK GOOD.
  • Refuses to Care For Your Spouse’s Body–This one actually hit home with me just this week.  As a young couple you rarely think that one day one of you is going to need to be “cared for” but during your lifetime at least one of you will have some sort of medical issue.  That means that the other one is going to have to take care of their spouse’s body.  Maybe it’ll mean that you aren’t diabetic, but you have to go on a sugar-free diet for your spouse who IS diabetic.  Or maybe it will mean you have to deal with symptoms of a chronic illness that will never be cured.  Or maybe, like with me, it will mean that you HATE to exercise, but your spouse needs it, so you have to do what you hate.  The point is that if you refuse to care for your spouse’s body–if you don’t champion their physical dignity and privacy in places like the hospital or care facility–if you don’t cooperate with medications, diets or orders from the doctor that your spouse NEEDS–you will be throwing buckets of water onto that blaze of love and extinguishing the fire.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll go ahead and continue our “Back to Basics” by going over all our Basic Concepts.   The first week of September, we examined the Love Kindlers.  Then we had two weeks off while Dear Hubby was in the hospital….but this week we’ll continue the Love Extinguishers.  The first week of October we’ll look at the Seven Steps to End an Affair, and for the second week of October God willing, 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”!!

Back to Basics–Love Extinguisher #2 Spiritual Neglect

Today is the start of the second series of our month-long “Back to School–Back to Basics.”  This week we’ll be going over the seven Love Extinguishers.  To understand what a Love Extinguisher 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.  When you get married and do not make diligent efforts to keep stoking the fire, life, bills, and children intervene and you begin to gradually take your spouse for granted and act in a Love Extinguishing way.

Today, we look at the second behavior that can put out the fire of love:  Spiritual Neglect!    This extinguisher involves disregarding your spouse’s spiritual and religious needs and in fact inflicting moral harm by becoming the sort of spouse who:

  • Will Not Forgive–Everyone makes mistakes, some bigger than others, but when your spouse does something painful and sincerely regrets their error -AND- changes the way they think and act… it is spiritually neglectful to continue to hold it against them and refuse to grant them forgiveness.  Showing mercy is a virtuous trait–holding onto wrongs as a punishment is a Love Extinguisher.
  • Lacks Personal Transparency–When you marry your spouse, you volunteer to share yourself and your life intimately with another person.  That means that you would keep yourself, your thoughts and your feelings “See Through” so that you allow your spouse to see the True You.  When you hide your activities, motives, intentions, thoughts and feelings from your spouse, you are extinguishing the fire of love by lying to them.
  • Uses Smoke and Mirrors (Deflection)–As mentioned above, we do all make mistakes (even you, dear reader, and even me), but a spouse who uses deflection does something wrong, either purposely or unintentionally, and then rather than taking personal responsibility, they justify their bad behavior by deflecting attention to something their spouse did.  Even if your spouse did do something wrong, their bad behavior doesn’t justify YOU acting badly!  When you look at the toothpick in your spouse’s eye rather than dealing with the log in your own eye, you are harming them spiritually and extinguishing the fires of love in your marriage.
  • Engages in Disrespectful Judgments–Let’s face it, just as we all make mistakes, we also all occasionally make a judgment about someone.  BUT engaging in disrespectful judgments in your marriage means that you think that you “already know” what your spouse thinks or feels, that you disallow their ideas or preferences as if they are “less legitimate” than yours, that you discount their abilities or their intelligence or their expertise because “you know better.”  In short, we try to make a demand in the form of telling our spouse they have some shortcoming!  UGH!  This clearly puts out any blaze of passion in a loving marriage.
  • Disregarding your spouse’s spiritual life–In this  category are acts such as disparaging your spouse for having a different belief system than you do, not being a spiritual leader or forcefully taking over leadership that is not yours, or discouraging them from regular worship or prayer.  If your spouse is not a christian, we have been told to win them with our godly behavior, not but extinguishing the love in our marriages by teasing, degrading, and neglecting them.

In a summary, we are told in I Corinthians 13 about the traits of godly Love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.

Over this month, we will be going “Back to School” by going over all our Basic Concepts.   Last week we examined the Love Kindlers–this 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”!!

The Alabaster Jar

Back to Basics–Love Extinguisher #1 Emotional Neglect

Today is the start of the second series of our month-long “Back to School–Back to Basics.”  This week we’ll be going over the seven Love Extinguishers.  To understand what a Love Extinguisher 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.  When you get married and do not make diligent efforts to keep stoking the fire, life, bills, and children intervene and you begin to gradually take your spouse for granted and act in a Love Extinguishing way.

Today, we look at the first behavior that can put out the fire of love:  Emotional Neglect!   This extinguisher involves disregarding your spouse’s emotional needs and in fact inflicting emotional harm by becoming the sort of spouse who is a:

  • Scorekeeper–Do you keep a record of every past “sin” you spouse has ever committed against you…and never let them forget it?  Do you keep track of who does more household chores, who’s turn is it, or who did it last?  If these sound like you, you may be slowly draining the love out of your marriage by keeping track of the “score” in your relationship.
  • Fault Finder–Does he load the dishwasher wrong?  Does he put the diapers on wrong? Does she drive the car wrong?  Does she mow the grass wrong?  Do you pick your partner to death wanting them to do a certain thing…and then when they do it, tell them every little thing they did “wrong” because they didn’t do it your way?  Then you are a fault finder, and you find are not so slowly draining the love out of your spouse’s heart.   Their way is JUST as legitimate as  your way!
  • Controlling–This one is a hard one to define, but let’s put it this way: is your spouse free to say “no” and not be punished for the rest of the marriage?  Is your spouse viewed as an equal partner who’s opinion and preferences are just as valid as your own?  Do you try to “MAKE” your spouse do something by manipulating them, what they know, their schedule, who they “can or can not” talk to,  or what they “can or can not” do?    If you are trying to force your spouse to do things they do not want to do, or do not view your spouse with exactly the same power as you have in your marriage, then you may be “controlling” and you may be putting out the fire of passion in their heart.
  • Bottomless Pit–Are you so continuously NEEDY for emotional support or approval or reassurance that you are clingy and strangling your partner, emotionally?  Do you lack self-love and force your partner to “say it ” or “prove their love” over and over even though they already HAVE proven their commitment?  Or alternatively, do you ask your spouse to give and give and give and give…and never think of their needs?  Have you heard your spouse say “enough is never enough” and no matter what they do, they never ever please you or make you happy?  Then you are a Bottomless Pit and that kind of behavior is going to extinguish the love in your marriage.

Over this month, we will be going “Back to School” by going over all our Basic Concepts.   Last week we examined the Love Kindlers–this 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”!!

How do affairs begin?



So your spouse has been behaving a little unusual lately, and that “little red flag” gut feeling is telling you that something isn’t right.  S/He is spending hours on the PC or cell phone, working late, dyed their hair, and is wearing clothes that are… well unbecoming to someone their age!  Plus every time you move, breathe or talk, they are picking a fight and blaming you for everything.  In your heart of hearts, you KNOW there’s something going on….but how did it come to this?

Our article “How Do Affairs Start?”  goes into greater detail (read it if you have a moment), but this week we’re starting a series on Love Extinguishers  © .  Throughout the next two weeks we’ll be examining how a marriage gets to this point and going over each Love Extinguisher  ©  one-by-one.  But in order to understand WHY the Love Extinguishers are important, we have to start at the beginning–how affairs begin!

Let’s start at the very, VERY beginning.  In each marriage there are three entities: you, your spouse, and “the marriage.”  Each one of the three are taken care of by a delegation of time and energy.  You have to take the time to care for yourself so that you develop and grow; you make the effort to care for your spouse so they also become the best person they can be; AND the two of you invest time and energy into your marriage so that it also grows and thrives.

For example, think back to the days when the two of you first met–let’s say it was “in school” whether that means high school or college.  She spent time doing her hair so it looked pretty, wearing clothes that fit well, listening to and laughing at his jokes, hanging with him at the games or dances (or in his room), taking walks and holding hands, kissing, looking happy when she got to see him, acting attracted to him, writing him silly love notes or texting love messages…the list goes on and on!  Look at all the time invested!!  Likewise he spent time wearing some tight-fittin’ jeans and slicking back his hair, talking to her and really opening up, hanging with her even if it means going to a kitten show, taking walks and holding hands, kissing, seeing her and smiling, acting like she is a goddess, writing her love poems that were SOOOOO mushy…the list goes on and on for him too.  So you can see that in the beginning especially, a lot of time and thought is invested not only in each person being the best they can be, but also in making the relationship grow and prosper.

“How does this relate to affairs?” you ask?  Well,  it helps to explain how a marriage can go from “I, John, take you, Sue, to be my lawfully wedded spouse” to “I love you but I’m not IN LOVE with you.”  Envision that your marriage is a bonfire.  There are actions that stoke the fire and build it–making it hotter and hotter–and those would be actions like the examples above.  We call those actions Love Kindlers, and to be honest most marriage counselors and coaches understand Love Kindlers.  “You need to date again” they’ll say, or “You need to communicate to rebuild the love.”  But the part they often miss, or don’t discuss much are the actions we call Love Extinguishers  © .  Love Extinguishers  ©  are the actions that little-by-little pour water on the flame and put it out.  Some Love Extinguishers  © are little drops of water.  Some are cups of water and do a little damage.  Some are a kids bucket and do enough damage that the marriage is in jeopardy.  And some are swimming pools of water and put out the fire almost completely.

Now back to the topic of the post: how affairs begin.  The happy couple meets.  They spend TONS of time together and invest energy into the relationship, and sure enough, love blooms.  They see only the best side of their beloved, and don’t see some of the character flaws and personal issues their partner has.  Up to this point, all has been Love kindlers, kindlers, kindlers–and they get married.  During that first year, he discovers that she doesn’t really live within a budget AT ALL and she realizes that he expects to do no housework.  Some of their spouse’s flaws are revealed AND some of their own expectations are brought to light as well.  Most new couples think love will “conquer all” and don’t even consider that one of them would cheat. “Oh sure that happens to other people, but our marriage is different and special and it would never happen to us!” they think.

Then enter just a few Love Extinguishers  © .

The one works to put the other through college so they could get ahead in life, and they always thought that his/her sacrifice would be paid back worth it “someday” when they were “successful.”  Meanwhile, one spouse works and works, thinking that he/she was “providing for the family” and doing it to get ahead.  The other spouse is involved with their own college, work or activities and forgets to take time for their spouse.  In fact, when they do see each other, they complain their spouse wasn’t helping out with the shared household chores enough.  The working spouse didn’t invest time into the marriage and begins working longer and longer hours at work.  Sometimes they didn’t even see each other awake for DAYS…and when they did, one or the other of them had negative things to say. Maybe she’s not a great money manager (or the opposite, a controlling penny-pincher); when he’s home he’d rather sit in front of the TV or PC to veg out.  They don’t talk anymore…and the Love Extinguishers  © are dribbling on the fire. Then more Love Extinguishers  © are added–kids are born and there’s even LESS time together; she gains some weight and he wear sweats; he yells at her about bills and she disrespects his job; he wants sex and she doesn’t feel connected to him so she resents it.  The Love Extinguishers  ©  are getting to be less like a drip and more like a downpour.

Right about then…enter stage left the Other Person. Other Person is a colleague at the Disloyal Spouse’s office, a classmate in a college class, or an old romance from “way back when” found on Facebook.  The Other Person has no Love Extinguishers  © because they are putting forth their best image. The Other Person is happy to hear from them–they dress up/look nice and wear cologne–whereas the Loyal Spouse at home wears jeans and a t-shirt. The Other Person knows all about work or the class, cares about what the Disloyal Spouse does, knows how hard it is, listens to what the Disloyal Spouse struggles with, and probably spends 8 hours a day with them–whereas the Loyal Spouse is bored hearing about work or school, has no idea what goes on, and spends hardly any time with Disloyal Spouse.  Pretty soon, the Disloyal Spouse starts talking to Other Person about a fight that he/she had with the Loyal Spouse the night before…and Other Person is understanding and takes their side. Then Disloyal Spouse starts going with the Other Person to work conferences or extra-curricular activities and kind of “seeks out” OP and sits by him/her at lunch.   Soon, they are talking like teenagers at lunch–phoning each other on the cell phone “for work”–and emailing all night long.  Part of the Disloyal Spouse is thrilled that someone else thinks they’re neat! They are happy…and a little love zing of amphetamine hits their brain. Then they flirt a little and the Other Person flirts back! And pretty soon after that, one of them mentions that they have feelings for the other … and that’s it. The decide they are “in love” and kiss.

So there you have it–the affair is in full swing.  Thus is it really, REALLY rare for an affair to be about sex. What happens is that, for both men and women, their spouse has little-by-little stopped doing the Love Kindlers they used to do, and instead they have introduced Love Extinguishers  ©  that are drowning out the fire of love.  On the other hand, the Other Person is giving nothing but Love Kindlers, and since their Love Kindlers are being met they feel blazing hot feelings for the person that spill into wanting to do physical things to express that fire.  You can see why, as the Loyal Spouse, not only do you need to start doing Love Kindlers again (that would be a start) but you also need to look at your own self…at your own actions…and stop doing those Love Extinguishers  © !!  Otherwise, as soon as you add a kindler to the fire, you put it out with a bit of water and the fire doesn’t really build.

SOOOOO….this week we begin a series of self-examination:  Love Extinguishers.