Tag Archives: Relationship

How to Rebuild After an Affair: Step 2 Commitment

Before there can be reconciliation, there are three things that need to happen for true growth and rebuilding to occur:

  • No Contact,
  • Transparent Honesty,
  • Agreement to work on yourself and your marriage

I will write about those three topics in the Affaircare newsletter this coming weekend–Sunday October 14th!  If you want to hear more, please feel free to subscribe right there on the right sidebar.   But TODAY, the topic is how to rebuild after the affair has ended.  How do  you pick up the pieces and build a new marriage?  What steps should we take to start making a marriage that is mature, healthy, loving and happy for both of us?

Step One: Forgiveness

Step Two: Let’s talk about Commitment

“…Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the LORD your God with your own mouth…” – Deut. 23:23 (NIV)

Marriage is a commitment. This fairly common understanding is something both overlooked and at the same time frequently, even continually discussed. Most people understand the idea of commitment. We commit our time to the kid’s soccer team, church functions, and social events. We commit our money to purchasing items over time in the form of loans. We commit ourselves in marriage. The idea of commitment is so common to our daily lives that we almost miss just how important it is.

What exactly is it to commit to something, to someone? What does the term mean and how does it affect us? Here’s a reasonable definition of the term ‘commit’ (in the context of this article): “…to obligate, bind; to pledge or assign to some particular course or use; to obligate or pledge oneself…”

Commitment is an intellectual exercise. It starts with a choice you make. You decide to take a particular course of action over and against some other course of action. Commitment is when you also make the choice to continue that action, even when given other options. A commitment usually has a goal in mind – a final destination. For example, if you commit some of your money toward the purchase of a car, the end in mind is the full ownership of that car. Once you make that last payment, you have fulfilled your commitment and are no longer under obligation to continue applying money toward the car

It’s a natural human activity – we can do it as unconsciously as breathing. Think about your search for happiness. Most of us are committed to this goal. It’s such a part of life that it seems more like a natural, organic thing, something that happens to you. But this is not true: it is a choice you make and continue to act upon. You decide what makes you happy and then pursue that objective. You can always choose something else. That may look like insanity to others, but this does not change the fact that it is you making this choice.

In marriage you also decide to commit. This is a much more conscious decision. This commitment is a fulfillment of the vows you make when you marry. The marriage vows are a formal declaration of the terms of the commitment you enter with your spouse. This vow is most often life long – the obligation usually ends upon the death of one of the marriage partners.

The fact that the pursuit of happiness is also a rational choice you make has important ramifications when it comes to the commitment of marriage. You are committed to what makes you happy. This can cause problems; it can even contradict your commitment to marriage. One of the biggest causes of divorce is the separation of a person’s commitment to happiness and a person’s commitment to the marriage. Think of each commitment as a path. When these paths do not coincide, when they head off in different directions, there are troubles. And many people choose the course of happiness over the choice of marriage.

This shows the priority given to these commitments. If the pursuit of happiness causes you to break the marriage contract, it is quite evident that the pursuit of happiness is the most important factor, your marriage commitment falling somewhere farther down the line. One of the main reasons people marry is because the actions or appearances of their spouse coincide with that person’s ideas of what makes them happy. This makes entering the marriage contract easy, because the paths are running parallel, if not entirely merged. This can go on as long as the spouse fulfills all the terms of the commitment to happiness.

But when things part ways, troubles ensue, and quite often end up with a destroyed marriage.

It’s important to notice that the troubles, caused by a divergence of the commitment to marriage and the commitment to happiness, occur because of the priority given to happiness. Because marriages are started at a time when each person’s actions or appearance coincide with their partner’s ideas of what makes them happy, it is easy to forget that the marriage contract is also a commitment. In fact, the marriage contract is specific, with a definite list of conditions. The commitment to happiness is by far less defined and more generalized. Very few people have a list of items that they need in order to be happy.

In the past, this was far less of a factor regarding marriage. For example, in a system of arranged marriage, people entered the marriage contract with the full knowledge that the happiness commitment and the marriage commitment were not the same thing. This is not to argue that a system of arranged marriage is somehow superior to the current one. This just points out the fact that the current version of marriage makes STAYING together much harder.

But it does not need to be. The solution is simple! Working it into your life is a lot more difficult. The answer lies in addressing the indefinite conditions of the commitment to happiness. What you need to do is to be extremely specific about what makes you happy. List it, write it down, commit to it. This can be difficult, because people are so used to living a reactive, rather than proactive life. People wait for their emotions to take effect before they make a decision. If they experience a negative emotion, they go in another direction. They move toward, or along with, positive emotions. Their emotions are the guiding force in their life.

But emotions are generally a response to some sort of information: something happens, you process it, and your emotions then kick in as a reaction. A pro-active life is one that looks at what happened, and then makes a decision based upon prior knowledge: “Has this happened before? What can I do now? What exactly just happened? How can I solve this?..,” etc. Instead of re-actively waiting for an emotion to kick in and then responding, a pro-active person will make a decision REGARDLESS of the emotion. They may still experience the emotion, but know that it is a response to their thoughts, and that they already have a definite course of action.

Of course, chemical changes, and imbalances can also cause emotions to kick in. Regardless, you are still able rely on your knowledge and make a decision based upon that, rather than as a response to the emotion. Extremely difficult at times, but still possible.

You can be happy in a marriage that has previously caused unhappiness. Since you already know the conditions of the marriage contract, the answer lies in defining your happiness conditions. You can choose to outlast the cause of your unhappiness if it is a temporary cause such as unemployment. You can choose to proactively work as a couple at the cause of your unhappiness via counseling or problem-solving to reach an acceptable resolution. Or you can redefine your personal happiness. What makes you happy? By changing that definition, you can head in a different direction. Happiness is entirely subjective – you decide when you are happy. The conditions of your marriage contract are objective – they have been listed, agreed upon, and witnessed by at least one other person. They don’t change over time, they are always there.

This is not easy. Your commitment to happiness may simply not include the conditions of your marriage commitment. You probably already know this ahead of time. If this is so, you should not enter the marriage contract at all. If you are considering marriage, either accept the terms, or work with your intended to form some alternate form of marriage contract. Of course, this may also be impossible. Your intended may not wish to enter into such a contract. Your church or other social organization may not allow it. These are things you must consider. It remains, however, that if your commitment to happiness includes both things that contradict your marriage contract, and also the inflexibility to change the conditions, then you should not enter into a marriage contract at all, no matter how tempting. Marriage is very well defined and binding.

Keeping your word is an honorable step toward a good life. People who keep their words are people that can be relied upon. They are respected and often honored by their peers. Can you keep your word when you make a promise? What messages about honor and honesty do you wish to teach your children? This is what your marriage commitment is all about. Many people nowadays have learned that their happiness is the most important factor in life. And they have been taught to regard their emotions as the guide to decision making. They tend to head toward what produces positive feelings and away from negative ones. This is the reactive life, the life of one who is a prisoner to their responses to things they hardly bother to think about. You can be in control of your emotions (at least to a certain extent). You can change your preferences to things that produce positive emotional responses. Your pursuit of happiness can be modified to include your marriage commitment.

Are you willing to commit to it?

This is post #9 in the CMBA 1/2 Marathon Blogging Challenge to post everyday for 13 days in October … AND is part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge!

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

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How to Rebuild After an Affair: Step 1 Forgiveness

Before there can be reconciliation, there are three things that need to happen for true growth and rebuilding to occur:

  • No Contact,
  • Transparent Honesty,
  • Agreement to work on yourself and your marriage

I will write about those three topics in the Affaircare newsletter this coming weekend–Sunday October 14th!  If you want to hear more, please feel free to subscribe right there on the right sidebar.   But TODAY, the topic is how to rebuild after the affair has ended.  How do  you pick up the pieces and build a new marriage?  What steps should we take to start making a marriage that is mature, healthy, loving and happy for both of us?

Step One: Forgiveness

There are several myths about forgiveness. First, there is a difference between forgiving someone and reconciling. Another common myth is that forgiveness is the same thing as forgetting. A third debunked myth is that if you forgive someone, you condone the behavior or it makes you a doormat. In real life, if you can choose enforce your personal boundaries about 100% faithfulness. Finally, often couples think that forgiveness is an emotion. They confuse forgiveness with feeling like everything is fixed feeling like forgiving, whereas actually forgiveness is a choice.

According to Merriam-Webster definition, forgiveness is

“a deliberate intellectual decision to give up resentment of or claim to requital for a perceived offense; ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.”

In layman’s terms forgiveness is giving up your right to hurt them because they hurt you and allowing your Disloyal Spouse room for error or weakness.

There are five steps to forgiveness:

  1. be willing to forgive
  2. take small steps
  3. leave your anger behind
  4. be kind and forgive yourself
  5. don’t hold it over their head

When the thoughts return, tell yourself “I’ve forgiven so and so and won’t think about this anymore.”  To aid forgiveness, educate yourself.  The more you know and understand what happened and why, the easier it is to forgive.

Finally, the source of forgiveness is not within ourselves but God. Remember the sins from which we have been forgiven.  God knows that we are weak, selfish individuals who will commit adultery despite His warnings and commandments, so He provided a way for us to break out of our destructive, sinful patterns. Romans 5:8 tells us that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

This is the first blog in a seven-part series about rebuilding after an affair.  Here are the links to the other blogs in this series:

Step 2 – Commitment

Step 3 – Take Some Time

Step 4 – Mutual United Understanding (MUU)

Step 5 – W-T-F-S

Step 6 – Self-less, Selfish or Self-aware?

Step 7 – Rebuilding Tools

This is post #8 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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I also join these Godly Link-ups on Mondays:

The Alabaster Jar

Happiness Month! Day 31: Vivacious

Today is Day 31 of Happiness Month and it is the last day!  Can you believe it?  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: Vivacious!  A person can sit quietly reading and be very happy, but today be someone who bubbles forth with life and vitality. Increase your happiness by breaking out of the “routine” and being full of life!

The word “vivacious” is an adjective, meaning it describes, and it means:

  • Attractively lively and animated; lively in temper, conduct, or spirit.

When your spouse has had an affair, it can be easy to fall into the trap of constantly wanting to “work on fixing the marriage” or study about infidelity.  But life is not about always “working” and “studying”–sometimes it’s just being full of  joie de vivre…the Joy of LIFE!!  Today be attractive.  Put some COLOR on and be lively.  Put on that KNOCK OUT red dress, those pumps (you know the ones) and some shockingly red lipstick and DANCE!  Wear a banana and some flowers on your head, wrap a sheet around into a saree, and make him laugh.  Or if your a guy, don’t be the man who analyzes the dishes in the sink or the amount of progress you’ve made in the relationship…be the guy who brings home a limo and says “Come on honey we’re going to McDonald’s for dinner!”  LOL!  For this one day, enjoy life and the person with whom you’re sharing your life.

Over the past month, we have gone 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.

Beholding Glory

Happiness Month! Day 29: Surprise


Today is Day 29 of Happiness Month and it is almost over!  Can you believe it? 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: Surprise!  Be sneaky, be devious, and plan a big surprise for your spouse or your friend…enjoy their joy and the surprise on their face!

The word “surprise” can be both a noun and a verb.  As a noun, it means:

  • An unexpected or astonishing event, fact, or thing.

As a verb–that means an action where we have to do something–it means”

  • Cause someone to feel mild astonishment or shock over something unexpected.

Just like yesterday’s post about being spontaneous, it’s hard to “plan” a surprise, but we women often say how much we enjoy “the little things” and what are “the little things” if not the occasional nice surprise?  Sometimes it’s a little gift to show you were thinking of them.  Sometimes it’s wearing something your spouse has always wanted you to wear and you didn’t want to wear it.  Sometimes it’s making dinner for her or rubbing his feet for him.  Sometimes it’s writing “I love you” on the mirror so they see it in the morning.  Sometimes it’s paying a bill because you earned a little extra money.  Whatever it is, give your spouse that feeling of mild astonishment–and increase your own happiness by pleasing them.

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.

Happiness Month! Day 24: Play

Today is Day 24 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:  Play!!  Remember squit guns and merry-go-rounds and swinging so high you thought you’d flip over? Why don’t we do that anymore?

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

  • Activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation.

As a verb it is an action we have to DO…and it means:

  • Engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.

Now playing can mean different things to different people.  I’m sure some married couples can not even imagine playing with their spouse–after all, they are “grown ups” and “grown ups” don’t behave like that.  But in order to give your marriage some joy and give your own happiness a shot in the arm, it is vitally important to play with your spouse!  Dear Hubby and I happen to play several games together–our rule is that we don’t play them “by ourselves” so the game doesn’t become a higher priority that each other.  But we also go have picnics, listen to music, watch movies, read books to each other, go to classic car shows, watch football…we do ALL KINDS of fun, playful things together.  My Dear Hubby does not roll down hills or tickle–that does not mean “fun” or playing to him.  So the trick is to find out what your spouse finds enjoyable and either learn a bit about it yourself and share their interest…maybe ask them to explain it to you… or to share with them something that YOU find fun and show them why they might enjoy it as well!

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.

 

Beholding Glory

Happiness Month! Day 16: Hopeful

Today is Day 16 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:  Hopeful!  Things may not be great right now but what do you hope for? Do you have hopes and dreams? What do you hope for in your marriage and family? In your job and home?  The word “hopeful” is both an adjective and a noun.  As an adjective, it would describe how we think or feel, and the word “hopeful” means:

  • Feeling or inspiring optimism about a future event.

As a noun, it would be used as a way to name something–you might say “S/He is a presidential hopeful.”  Used as a noun, the word “hopeful” means:

  • A person likely or hoping to succeed

As you are dealing with the fallout of infidelity in your marriage, do you sometimes feel feelings of optimism about the future?  Do you think your life will go on and you will be happy again one day?  Do you inspire your spouse to feel that the future may be okay and your marriage may grow?  Does you behavior give your spouse reason to have hope?  What about being a “hopeful”?  Are you a reconciliation hopeful?  Do you come across like a person who EXPECTS to succeed at working through this and building a more loving, happy marriage?

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.

Happiness Month! Day 15: Grateful

Today is Day 15 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:  Grateful!  What are the things in your life for which you are grateful?  Write a list in your journal and to bring a little happiness shot in the arm, read you Grateful List. Not Grateful DEAD, Grateful LIST.

The word “grateful” is an adjective–and that means it would DESCRIBE the kind of person we are.  Grateful means:

  • Feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful

Do you feel appreciation in your heart for your spouse?  Do you feel kindness?  Are you thankful for your husband or your wife?  Have you said or shown your gratefulness?  Have you told your spouse out loud the things they do that you like?  Or how much you love their sense of humor?  What can you do TODAY to show your spouse that you are grateful for them?  I do realize this is VERY, VERY hard when your spouse is in an affair, but even then there  are things your spouse does for which you can be thankful–like driving the kids to school or picking them up, making lunches, or paying the bills.  Take the time today to make THEIR day: tell them or show them that you are GRATEFUL.

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.

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Happiness Month! Day 9: Delight

Today is Day 9 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:  Delight!  Some things are just delightful, like the laughter of a child (see above).  The word “delight” is both a noun and a verb.  As a noun, it is something that brings great pleasure, as in “The little boy’s laughter was a delight”.  As a verb, the definition is pleasing someone greatly or causing a high degree of gratification, as in “She delighted in the little boy’s laughter.”  The noun names something–the verb calls us to DO something.

So what can you do today to delight your spouse?  I realize if they are involved in an affair, it can seem counter-intuitive to delight them, and I’m not advocating that you sweep the consequence of infidelity under the rug.  But “back in the day” when you and your spouse first met, you did things for them and with them that just brought them delight.  Maybe you wrote love poems or sent little gifts.  Maybe you surprised them with a little chore like washing their car without being asked.  Maybe you played with them or told them out loud how much you liked them or things that you liked about them.  These things DELIGHT your spouse and bring delight do your marriage and your life.

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.

Happiness Month! Day 3: Anticipation

 

Today is Day 3 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!

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.

Today, to add happiness to your life:  ANTICIPATE HAPPINESS!!  Part of the fun of some things is that you anticipate how fun it will be to see their face, or taste that sweet taste.  Bring happiness to your day by anticipating the joy!

Anticipate is a verb, so we know right off the bat that some sort of action is required.  We have to DO something.  Anticipate means:

  1. to realize beforehand; foretaste or foresee: to anticipate pleasure.
  2. to expect; look forward to; be sure of: to anticipate a favorable decision.
  3. to perform (an action) before another has had time to act.
  4. to answer (a question), obey (a command), or satisfy (a request) before it is made: He anticipated each of my orders.
  5. to nullify, prevent, or forestall by taking countermeasures in advance: to anticipate a military attack.

In a marriage, especially one that has weathered the storm of an affair, anticipation is one of the requirements for reconciliation.  You need realize before it’s actually here (as in foresee) that your marriage can be happy and loving.  You need to foretaste a happy, loving, mature future together.   You need to LOOK FORWARD to feeling love and pleasure with your spouse.  You need to perform loving, thoughtful acts before your spouse even has the time to act!  You need to satisfy your spouse’s requests–meet their needs–before they even make the request.  And you need to take counter-measures to prevent any attacks to your marriage from the outside!

 

Save Our Marriage Saturday – 7/28

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 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.

4. 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: