AFFAIRCARE

…nouthetic, Christian care after an affair.


1 Comment

What REAL Love Looks Like (and it’s not what you think!)

What your spouse does for you

Lately I’ve been reading other people’s blogs and they’ve inspired me to write my own.  This time, I was reading Lisa Baker’s blog “When you think your love story is boring” and it got to me.  All too often, we look at the movies or TV and we think that’s what “real life” is supposed to be like!  Star-crossed lovers lock eyes across a crowded room, and candles are magically lit and romantic music pours from their souls.  They overcome incredible obstacles so they can chase each other across an airport (or across a field of beautiful flowers) , fall together in a flurry of passionate kisses and to be together forever, living happily ever after and eternally “in-love.”

Did you know that is not what Real Love looks like at all?  I adore my Dear Hubby and I know for a fact he adores me, and yet he has never once chased me across an airport.  Apparently neither has Lisa Baker’s husband.  So what, EXACTLY, does everyday, Real Love look like??

1. Emotional Commitment in REAL Love

  • Your spouse loses his/her job and feels bad, and you tell them out loud all the ways they are still helping at home and making you feel good and trying really hard to contribute.  You VALUE them.
  • Your spouse is a football-crazy fan, and you don’t nag them to stop being who they are.  You put on your jersey, cut up the beefstick and cheese, and watch with them!
  • Your spouse says they would rather pay bill A than bill B, and you disagree, but your spouse has great intuition and is VERY good with the money and paying the bills.  You RESPECT their recommendation and go with bill A.
  • Your spouse comes home from work, the two of you grab some dinner, and afterward sit down to watch your favorite shows.  You hug them and kiss them for no reason other than that you love them.  You sit together and  hold hands while you watch the show.  Now and then you touch him/her on the arm or put your hand on their leg.
  • Your spouse does not speak the same Love Language as you do, so you take the time to find out if they need to hear admiring words, if they need little acts of kindness, if they need thoughtful little gifts, if they need time where you focus on them, or if they need touch.  And then you give them LOVE in their way….not yours.

2. Spiritual Commitment in REAL Love

  • Our spouses make mistakes–and I’m talking about the smaller, day-to-day mistakes here.  This means, when your spouse does the wrong thing (note, not “if” but WHEN because they are human and they will make a mistake) you don’t hold it over their head forever–you offer them forgiveness and understanding as a fellow, fallible human.
  • Respecting your spouse’s beliefs and
  • Disciplining yourself to live a life that is transparent to your spouse and moral.  Transparent means that you let your spouse see who you really are and include them in every part of your life–you don’t hide anything from them. This means they get to see you at your worst, warts and all.  Also when you are a little but hurt or upset by something your spouse said or did, you let them know you weren’t okay with that and you’d request X, Y or Z…you don’t hold onto it and let them all build up until you explode.  Living a moral life means obeying God! This means you’ll “WANT” to do something, and you do not allow yourself to act or think in a way that would displease God.  When you live like He wants us to live, it means that you know your own self and your own weak points, and you build a wall of protection around yourself and your spouse so that your weaknesses do not hurt or harm yourself, your spouse or your marriage.  

3. Physical Commitment in REAL Love

  • Touch regularly and in a way you both enjoy, like leaning against each other, touching his/her arm, massages…anything!
  • Kiss regularly and in a way you both enjoy, not just that peck goodbye kiss but a thousand different kinds of kisses.  In every day love, you might kiss goodbye, rush out the door and be off … but when you get home it’s drop the briefcase and stand there and kiss her.
  • Hug regularly.  Period.  And often!
  • Express physical tenderness, like cuddling or scratching his back or rubbing her feet.  Don’t be afraid of your spouse’s body and don’t be afraid to let them enjoy yours.
  • Have a sex life that is fulfilling for both of you.  Don’t turn sex into a power struggle–it’s too important.  It’s the way men connect and the way women feel desired, so don’t mess with it and try to be in charge of when or how often.  Be receptive to your spouse and MAKE THE TIME even if you have a job and kids!  Connect sexually and express yourself sexually.
  • Both of you maintain personal hygiene and continue to dress in a way that is flattering, so that both of you stay attracted to one another.  Don’t shower once a month or wear sweats all day because you have to chase kids–make the effort to LOOK and SMELL good to your spouse.

4. Financial Commitment  in REAL Love

  • Before you have children, talk to your spouse about finances, evaluate where you both stand (what assets do you have and what debts do you have), and don’t hide money trouble.
  • Decide ahead of time what kind of lifestyle you BOTH want.  One of you is likely to be a “saver” and the other is likely to be a “spender” but decide if you are okay living “happy but poor,” if you want a more “middle class” approach like a job with some benefits and vacation, or if your lifestyle as a couple is “the rich and famous.”
  • Contribute to the family income, whether you are the main provider and a SAH who does a little home business, or you both work.  EVERYONE who is an adult contributes!
  • Both of you live by the budget.  If you discuss money and agree to not go to that sale at Macy’s …. don’t go!  If you agree you can’t afford that cook tech gadget right now, don’t go get it!  Honor your agreement and live by the budget so you don’t get your family in financial hot water.

5. Family Commitment  in REAL Love

  • In real life, family commitment means spending adult time alone with your spouse.  The best foundation you can give your family is a firm marriage, so don’t neglect it!
  • Everyday love shares household chores.  I guarantee both of you will think you are doing “more” and both of you will be tired, but REAL love does the chores together and sometimes, just to be nice, will do one of your spouse’s chores just to give them a break.
  • Children are not polite and well-raised by magic–unlike in the movies.  Child rearing takes time and consistency, and in real life…in REAL love…children need both a mom and a dad in their life, preferably married to each other and in the same home!  REAL love is helping get the kids dressed, helping them with homework, knowing them and their friends, playing with them, watching their “kid shows” or their game with them, talking about things, laying under the stars and learning astronomy together, teaching them to be polite by being polite yourself, and taking the time to RAISE them.  Real love is being present to raise the children you created and honoring your spouse in front of the children.

6. Social Commitment  in REAL Love

  • Oh this one is so fun!  In REAL love you include your spouse in everything: you let them into your life.  So they know and have met the people at work, at church, your friends…everyone.  And they are INCLUDED with all those people.  If they are not welcomed and wanted in a group, then you leave!  That’s  how it is in real life.
  • What if you’re an introvert and your spouse is an extrovert.  It would be hard for you to “go out” all the time and hard for them to “sit home” all the time.  Well…you LOVE your spouse so Real Love would have the two of you sit down and figure out how to make sure both of you have your needs met.  Maybe they go out but to a quieter place (like a bookstore or coffeeshop).  Maybe they go to a restaurant once a week and church.  Whatever, in Real Love you care enough about your spouse to want their need for social interaction to be met.
  • You do fun things together.  That is to say, not only do you love each other and have a family together, if you weren’t married, you two would LIKE each other because you have similar interests and enjoy similar stuff.  Do you both read?  Like hot rods?  Go to dog shows?  Play tennis?  What is your “fun” as a couple?  That’s REAL love
  • When you have nothing to do and no one to do it with, REAL lovers talk to each other about topics they both find interesting.  Usually, in Real Love, the couple has many things in common so they could sit and talk about politics, religion, a game they both play, a show they both watch, what’s on Facebook, something they read or heard… and they make the effort to learn about their spouse’s interests.  If he loves cars and she knows nothing about them, maybe she’ll do some research online about what a cam shaft is, and then talk to him about it.  Yes believe it or not, that is REAL LOVE.

7. Security Commitment  in REAL Love

  • There is a thing that is pretty hard to define but that I think almost everyone understands: “Being There” for your spouse in times of crisis.  What movies show us though is so fake.  One spouse doesn’t always break down crying while the other spouse comforts them.  Some people respond in a crisis by grieving sure, but in REAL Love you know your spouse and how they deal with crisis.  Some people go quiet and deal with it internally, and once they have a grip they can come out and be with you.  Some people deal with it externally and want someone to hug them.  Some people need to talk it out.  Some need quiet.  So REAL Love is not only knowing your spouse’s way of dealing with a crisis–it’s letting them deal with it their way and accepting that is part of who they are.
  • REAL, Everyday Love is giving 100% of your loyalty and affection to your spouse and only your spouse.  If you are giving a little affection to the lady at the office or the guy at the gym, you need to be honest with yourself and stop it.  REAL Love is knowing where your own weaknesses are and protecting your spouse (and your marriage) from being hurt.  Real Love is turning down the lady at the office or the guy at the gym, and instead, spending that time and energy loving your spouse.
  • Being “a soft place” for your spouse to fall–a safe haven.  When your spouse comes home, do they think “THANK GOD, I’m finally somewhere safe!” or do they feel like they left the stress of “out there” only to come home to more stress and blame and fighting?  REAL Love is being the one place your spouse feels like they are always safe to be who they are and they will be LOVED…consistently.  Home is the one place it’s okay to be as weird, and funny, and odd as they are and yet someone still finds them interesting, attractive, and valuable.

The love we see in the movies isn’t much like REAL Love, is it?  Are you still looking for “movie love”?  Do you feel like your love story is boring?  Want to talk to your spouse about REAL Love?  Go to our Assessments page, and fill out the Love Kindlers Questionnaire.  Fill out one for you and let your spouse fill out one for themselves, and then share the answers.

  • 10 Ways to Put the Passion Back in Your Marriage
  • Lovemaking and Romance Advices For Couples
  • “The Five Love Languages” Explained
Enhanced by Zemanta


Leave a comment

A letter to my Husband–for better, for worse

As a blogger, I often will read other people’s blogs.  Most are about infidelity, but I do read some about marriage and even more about Christian marriage.  I was inspired to write this blog over at Unveiled Wife’s “Love Letters to My Husband.”  It’s to my own lovely Dear Hubby, but if you could write a love letter to your husband, what would you say?

DavidandCindykiss_250

Dearest Hubby~

Writing a love letter to you is not easy.  Not because I can’t think of a thousands things I love about you–I oh-so-easily could do that!   Not because I’m not a writer or because words won’t flow from my heart to the ends of my fingertips, through the keyboard and onto this  letter.  Not because I don’t feel the passion, desire, enjoyment, pleasure, adoration and thrill of that first kiss or the first time we met.  No, it’s none of those things.  It is hard to write a love letter to you because how does one write the love of a lifetime into just a few short paragraphs?

We are no longer the energy and excitement of young people.  We have lived through the years of wondering if we would ever find someone to love us, what s/he would look like and be like.  We have thought of and prayed for “our future spouse” and then forged ahead when we should have waited.  We have lived through the self-assuredness of youth, believing we “knew better” and forging ahead like we understood it all.  We have lived through the thrill of falling in love, getting to know someone, thinking maybe-just-maybe they were “the one”, and having our hearts broken.  We have lived through making selfish choices, paying the price, and experiencing some pain.  We have lived through the joy of finally finding each other–the fun of realizing that the other person loved us too–the thrill of wanting and being wanted.  And we have lived through the happiness of being engaged, wanting to tell the whole world of our love, planning a wedding, honeymooning in every possible way, and being newlyweds.

We are no longer the whirling activity of middle age.  We have lived through the years of cramming 28 hours worth of work-children-school-sports-activities-and hobbies into 24 hours.  We have lived through and raised seven children, each one incredibly unique and special.  We have lived through beaming with pride as each one of them achieved a milestone in life, and crying tears as each one of them made a choice we knew would hurt them.  We have lived through schooling our children in seven completely different ways.  We have lived through working and working and working and working, but never quite seeming to earn enough money.  We have lived through the rise and fall of companies and political parties.  We have lived through seeing each one of our children grow up and move out with the self-assuredness of youth.  We have lived through waking up to a house that is empty except for us…and the pets.  We lived through the joys of graduations, weddings, birthdays and anniversaries–and through the tears of deaths in the family, temptations in our marriage, and learning of illnesses.

From you, I have learned what true love really is, and what it can be.  I have watched how you treat me, and from that I’ve learned what commitment really means.  I have learned that men can be gentle and kind and thoughtful, and that it is safe for me to trust you.  I have learned that I have to be brave and open up to you when something is wrong, and that you don’t retaliate if I’m honest.  I have learned how to be angry in a godly way.  I have learned to look at myself when I’m feeling selfish, and that usually I’m the one who needs an attitude adjustment.  I have learned to be patient and forgiving.  All of this, and so much more, I have learned from you, and you have been a loving and thorough teacher.  Our love is not perfect, after all we are two sinful people, but before I knew you, I thought of marriage more like “playing house only in real life” and now I know that marriage is sacred and a direct image of the relationship that Jesus (the Bridegroom) has with the Church (the Bride).

And now…now we are in that part of our life that is sometimes called “The Happy Golden Years.”  Life is changing.  All the things I thought were so funny when my Grandparents said them are now happening to me…to us.  Rather than being slim, trim, healthy fifty-year-olds looking at adventuring and retiring energetically together, we are facing health problems.  It’s odd…almost like our bodies are betraying us, because in our minds we are still young and in-love!  But sweetheart, after all we have been through together, after learning so much from you and knowing that our God is sovereign, I look forward to the years ahead with you.  Whether we have four more years together or forty–I don’t know.  But I do know that I can not wait to spend every moment with you, loving you, caring for you as you have cared for me, sharing all the joys and sorrows, anticipation and disappointments together.

Come what may, I love you and only you, always.

~Your Loving Wife


2 Comments

Happiness Month! Day 20: Love

Today is Day 20 of Happiness Month and it will be continuing all month long. This all started at the Secret Society of Happy People and if you want to pop over there and become an Amused Member, you can get a Free 31 Types of Happiness poster. As you can tell by my daily #HappinessHappens tweets and Facebook posts, I’ve been a member for a long, long time!

Today, to add happiness to your life:  Love!  Love is an choice to act in a loving way, but nothing can bring happiness like loving someone. So love your spouse, your children, your dog or your cat. Spread the love!

The word “love” is both a noun and a verb.  As a noun, it means:

  • a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
  • a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend
  • sexual passion or desire.
  • a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person;sweetheart.
  • a term of endearment, affection,or the like “Would you like to see a movie, love?”

As a verb, it is an ACTION, and it means:

  • to have love or affection for: “All her pupils love her
  • to act in a profoundly tender,  and passionately affectionate way toward someone
  • to have a strong liking for; take great pleasure in: to love music.
  • to need or require; benefit greatly from: Plants love sunlight.
  • to embrace and kiss (someone)

Love is something that we have largely been misinformed about, in this day and age. Despite what the media and Hollywood have shown us, true Love is not star-crossed lovers who are destined to be together against all odds, whose eyes meet across a crowded room and they just “know.”  Nope.  Love is active.  Love is a choice–just like happiness.  And it’s not about my spouse “completing me” or just naturally knowing exactly what to do to meet all my needs flawlessly either!  Love is about me making the choice to treat my spouse in a way that puts his/her best interests in mind.  I think of HIM or HER before I ever act, and when I do act, it’s in a way that shows him/her respect, honor, and love!  Remember I Corinthians 13?  It tells us:

“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 the next days, we’ll be going over all 31 ways to Add Happiness Every Day. You know too often I hear young people say “He doesn’t make me happy” or “I wish she would make me happy” but you know what? Happiness is not something that someone else “makes” you feel. You make choices in your life that can affect your happiness….and ultimately you CHOOSE whether to be happy every day or not. You can also choose to do things that would add happiness to your life every single today.

The Alabaster Jar


3 Comments

Goodbye, Farewell and Amen

I am not having a great day today.  It’s okay–I know this happens and I also know that it will pass, but while I’m having this “not so great day” I’ve decided to acknowledge it.  Today I found out that someone in my life whom I love is deathly ill and may not be on this earth for much longer.  It’s a person in my ex-husband‘s family.   I was related to and loved his family for a long time, and just because he made the choices he made didn’t mean that I stopped loving them or caring about people whom I considered “family.”  Thank God we had the kind of divorce that was not filled with vitriol and spite.  After it was final, we got together after the divorce–his parents and siblings and cousins and I–and we all decided to be stay in touch and be civil even if we were no longer related by blood.

But this shock–the sorrow of hearing that someone I love is going to die soon–reminds me all too painfully of the hidden costs of divorce.  When you are having an affair, or when your spouse is having an affair or had one, it is all too tempting to think: “It would be so much better if we just divorced and started over.  I could find someone who really LOVES me and I could finally be treated like I deserve.  People get over it.  I’m sure we could move on.”  The thrill of meeting someone for the first time…feeling goosebumps again…falling in love…planning a wedding….it all sounds so NICE (and don’t get me wrong, it can be) compared to looking at yourself and changing, and compared to the hard work of reconciling!

But today is a forceful reminder for me that I want to pass on to you–a warning if you will.  The outgoing ripples of destruction that are caused by a divorce keep going as long as you life.  Today someone I love may well be leaving this earth, and I won’t be a recognized “mourner” because it is one of my ex-husband’s relatives…and I’m not his wife anymore.  Tonight someone I love may pass away, and yet I don’t share this loss with the man I love–my Dear Hubby–because he does not even know her and never will.  The older I get, the more I realize WHY God has the plan of marriage for us…because as life moves along and changes come, our life partner UNDERSTANDS they were there with us! … because as we age and our friends and family die, we have their memories and can share the grief in common!  …because as we age and faithfully get through the changes together, we demonstrate an example of the faithfulness of God sticking with us when we don’t deserve fidelity!

So don’t fool yourself.  The time and effort that it takes to look at your own issues, change to a more godly behavior, and rebuild the kind of marriage that obeys God IS SO WORTH IT.   It can take a while and be really painful, but sometimes purification so that you reflect God’s image requires being put into the fire!  Anyway, make no mistake: divorce is NOT a panacea.   It makes MORE problems, and the ramifications go on and on for decades if not generations.  Like today, as I say goodbye to a woman I love and have loved since I was young–my children’s grandmother.

  • Dealing With Divorce (everydayhealth.com)
  • Dr. Bonnie Explains What You Should Know, But Don’t, About Staving Off Divorce (prweb.com)
  • My Best Friend’s Divorce Includes Me (ask.metafilter.com)
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 564 other followers

Powered by WordPress.com