Tag Archives: recovery

5 Actions You Can Take to Problem Solve in Your Marriage

 Problem Solve in your Marriage

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

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

The first thing that MUST be ascertained

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

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

5 Actions You Can Take to Problem Solve in Your Marriage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESOURCES:

Marriage Blueprint: The Purpose of Marriage (Companionship)

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

Top Ten Marriage Sites to Help Your Christian Marriage Grow

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Doesn’t Seem Like an Affair to Me!

 

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

 

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

 

1. “Well they need to get over it”

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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Reconciliation Tool #5: REBT Part 2 [Podcast]

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

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

In today’s episode we talk about the fifth tool–Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), developed by Dr.Albert Ellis in 1955.  Since REBT is such a big topic, we broke up this subject into two parts:  Part One, last week, is a background on what REBT is, what it means, and why it is important.  THIS week, in Part Two, we will show you the technique, how to use it, and then tips on making REBT a habit.

When something negative, or bad happens to you, your inner dialog gives you it’s take on the situation. As a result, you experience an emotion. You are then left with the choice of how to deal with whatever has happened.

As Christians, we know that our inner dialog is tainted by sin. Jeremiah says: “…The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?…” (Jeremiah 17:9) Dealing with our sin is the responsibility of all Christians. Our sin is a product of, the result of, and caused by our thinking: “…For out of the heart come evil thoughts–murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander…” (Matthew 15:19), and so on.

REBT is a tool that helps you investigate that inner dialog – to address and change that inner dialog to be one that is more helpful, wiser, and less prone to error.  We also would point out that as Christians, changing that inner dialog is part of growing as a Christian. And as a Christian, we have the Holy Spirit who helps us grow and change. In this instance, REBT is used as a tool to help us focus directly on where sin and error have been so influential.

We have added several new REBT resources on our Affaircare Quizzes page!

NOTE TO SELF:  This is a self-help tool – it is not meant for use on your spouse: you use it on yourself. This tool gives you a method to ease your aching heart, to calm yourself, and to give yourself the strength to handle the difficult road ahead of you. It gives you some clarity of mind with which you can then prepare and make better decisions. It can help you avoid those bad situations which arise from acting on impulse, or without considering further consequences.

[audio: https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/2016/Reconciliation+Tools-REBT+2+audio.mp3]

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Other podcasts in the Reconciliation Tools series:

The Recovering After an Affair Series:

Reconciliation Tool #5: REBT Part 1 [Podcast]

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

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

In today’s episode we talk about the fifth tool–Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), developed by Dr.Albert Ellis in 1955.  Since REBT is such a big topic, we are breaking up this subject into two parts:  Part One, today, is a background on what REBT is, what it means, and why it is important.  Next week, in Part Two, we will show you the technique and then choose examples right off the Affaircare website so you can see how to use REBT.

When something negative, or bad happens to you, your inner dialog gives you it’s take on the situation. As a result, you experience an emotion. You are then left with the choice of how to deal with whatever has happened.

As Christians, we know that our inner dialog is tainted by sin. Jeremiah says: “…The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?…” (Jeremiah 17:9) Dealing with our sin is the responsibility of all Christians. Our sin is a product of, the result of, and caused by our thinking: “…For out of the heart come evil thoughts–murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander…” (Matthew 15:19), and so on.

REBT is a tool that helps you investigate that inner dialog – to address and change that inner dialog to be one that is more helpful, wiser, and less prone to error.  We also would point out that as Christians, changing that inner dialog is part of growing as a Christian. And as a Christian, we have the Holy Spirit who helps us grow and change. In this instance, REBT is used as a tool to help us focus directly on where sin and error have been so influential.

You can find out more about REBT on our Affaircare Quizzes page, or here is a link to an REBT Therapy page to learn even more!

NOTE TO SELF:  This is a self-help tool – it is not meant for use on your spouse: you use it on yourself. This tool gives you a method to ease your aching heart, to calm yourself, and to give yourself the strength to handle the difficult road ahead of you. It gives you some clarity of mind with which you can then prepare and make better decisions. It can help you avoid those bad situations which arise from acting on impulse, or without considering further consequences.

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

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Other podcasts in the Reconciliation Tools series:

The Recovering After an Affair Series:

Reconciliation Tool #4: Love Kindlers Quiz [Podcast]

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

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

In today’s episode we talk about the fourth tool–the Love Kindlers Quiz, by Affaircare!

Love Kindlers are actions that people do that are likely to stoke the fire of love and make it hotter.  Just as adding fuel to a fire keeps it burning–making it brighter and hotter–so concentrating on Kindlers, making them part of your daily interactions with each other, builds the fire of passion in your marriage.  There are seven areas of commitment that we’ve identified as Love Kindlers:

1.  Emotional Commitment

2. Spiritual Commitment

3.  Physical Commitment

4.  Financial Commitment

5.  Family Commitment

6.  Social Commitment

7.  Security Commitment

You can find links to the Love Kindlers Quiz on our Affaircare Quizzes page, or

Here is a link to the Love Kindlers–What Are They? article so you can learn more about them.

Both you and your spouse should take the quiz.  We recommend that you both print the quiz and take it!   You answer for the way your spouse acts toward you, and your spouse answer for the way you act toward them. Then we recommend that you find a time to talk that is calm and relaxing, during which you will not be interrupted, and you both know you are going to talk about Love Kindlers, and exchange quizzes….just like you did for the Love Extinguishers.

As you come together to talk about your quizzes, bear in mind that what you read may hurt you (after all, who likes to hear that they aren’t doing a Love Kindler?), and likewise it your spouse may be hurt by reading what you wrote–even if it is true!  But one of the things we are working to rebuild is transparency, so we are asking you to practice being honest in a situation that is a bit hard. Make it safe for your spouse to be honest with you in the little things, and they will be honest with you in the bigger things.

So, no matter what you spouse says on the quiz, commit to telling your spouse “Thank you for telling me the truth.  I will think about what you’ve said.”  Then, think of what you are willing to do to begin to ADD  or change those actions that would kindle the love for your spouse, and the two of you work out a plan together.  How are you going to work on this TOGETHER?

 

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

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Other podcasts in the Reconciliation Tools series:

The Recovering After an Affair Series:

Reconciliation Tool #3: Love Extinguishers Quiz [Podcast]

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

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

In today’s episode we talk about the third tool–the Love Extinguishers Quiz, by Affaircare!

Love Extinguishers are actions that people do that are more likely to quench the fire of love like putting water on a fire.  They are when we treat our spouses poorly, disrespectfully or abusively.  There are seven areas of neglect that we’ve identified as Love Extinguishers:

1.  Emotional Neglect

2. Spiritual Neglect

3.  Physical Neglect

4.  Financial Neglect

5.  Family Neglect

6.  Social Neglect

7.  Security Neglect

You can find links to the Love Extinguishers Quiz on our Affaircare Quizzes page, or

Here is a link to the Love Extinguishers–What Are They? article so you can learn more about them.

Both you and your spouse should take the quiz.  We recommend that you both print the quiz and take it!   You answer for the way your spouse acts toward you, and your spouse answer for the way you act toward them. Then we recommend that you find a time to talk that is calm and relaxing, during which you will not be interrupted, and you both know you are going to talk about Love Extinguishers, and exchange quizzes.  Wives let your husbands see what you truly think and feel–likewise husbands let your wives see what you truly think and feel.

As you come together to talk about your quizzes, bear in mind that what you read is likely to possibly hurt you, and likewise it is possible that your spouse will be hurt by reading what you wrote–even if it is true!  But one of the things we are working to rebuild is transparency, so we are asking you to practice being honest in a situation that is a bit hard. Make it safe for your spouse to be honest with you inthe little things, and they will be honest with you in the bigger things.

So, no matter what you spouse says on the quiz, commit to telling your spouse “Thank you for telling me the truth.  I will think about what you’ve said.”  Then, think of what you are willing to do to change in those areas that are extinguishing the love for your spouse, and the two of you work out a plan together.  How are you going to work on this TOGETHER?

 

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

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Other podcasts in the Reconciliation Tools series:

The Recovering After an Affair Series:

Reconciliation Tool #2: Five Love Languages [Podcast]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Other podcasts in the Reconciliation Tools series:

The Recovering After an Affair Series:

Reconciliation Tool #1: Myers-Briggs Personality Test [Podcast]

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

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

In today’s episode we talk about the first tool–the Myers-Briggs personality test.

Katharine Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, identified four criterion, or “preferences,” that define each of our personality types. Although everybody functions across the entire spectrum of the preferences, each individual has a natural preference which leans in one direction or the other within the four criterion:

  • our source of personal energy (Extrovert-Introvert)
  • how we gather and perceive information (Sensor-iNtuitive)
  • how we process the information we’ve gathered (Thinker-Feeler)
  • how we implement the information we’ve processed (Judger-Perceiver)

The first criterion, Extroversion – Introversion, signifies the source and direction of a person’s energy expression. An extrovert’s source and direction of energy expression is mainly in the external world, while an introvert has a source of energy mainly in their own internal world.

The second criterion, Sensing – Intuition, represents the method by which someone perceives information. Sensing means that a person mainly believes information he or she receives directly from the external world. Intuition means that a person believes mainly information he or she receives from the internal or imaginative world.

The third criterion, Thinking – Feeling, represents how a person processes information. Thinking means that a person makes a decision mainly through logic. Feeling means that, as a rule, he or she makes a decision based on emotion, i.e. based on what they feel they should do.

The fourth criterion, Judging – Perceiving, reflects how a person implements the information he or she has processed. Judging means that a person organizes all of his life events and, as a rule, sticks to his plans. Perceiving means that he or she is inclined to improvise and explore alternative options.

You can find links to the Myers-Briggs personality test on our Affaircare Quizzes page, or just click here to go directly to the test.

Here is a link to the Myers-Briggs wikipedia page, so you can learn more about it.

Once you have determined your personality type, here is a page that has the 16 Personalities and a description of each one.  Look up your own personality type and find out your own strengths and weaknesses.  Then share your personality types with each other, and look up your spouse’s description.  Does it sound like them?  Find out their strengths and weaknesses.  Learn about what makes your spouse tick!

Discovering that your spouse is not the same as you can be shocking.  But particularly while a couple is working to recover after an affair, discovering the ways in which you are the same can give you a foundation on which you can begin to build.  Likewise finding out the ways in which you two are different can explain why “he” behaves one way and “she” behaves another.  Maybe he’s just a Thinker and she’s just a Feeler: but that explains why he seems like an emotionless “Spock” to her, and she seems like an irrational, emotional jumble to him!  If you UNDERSTAND each other, you begin to build love.

[audio: https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/2016/Reconcilation+Tools–Myers-Briggs.mp3]

Related Affaircare posts/podcasts:

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.

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

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

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

URL’s IN THIS PODCAST:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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