AFFAIRCARE

…nouthetic, Christian care after an affair.


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Back to Basics–Step 5 of 7 Steps To End An Affair

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

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

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

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

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

Step 1) Gather Evidence.

Step 2) Confront.

Step 3) Disclose.

Step 4) Expose.

Step 5) Carrot and Stick.   In this phase you focus on two things: 1) working on yourself to be the person you once were who attracted your spouse again AND simultaneously 2) allowing your disloyal spouse to experience the natural consequences of their choices.

You work on yourself by eliminating the things that extinguished love between you two (like judging, angry explosions, enough is never enough) and by re-starting the things that kindled love between you two (like romantic doo-dads). You need to do BOTH…but eliminating love extinguishers is the most important of the two. If you need a refresher, please turn to I Corinthians 13 to find out what love is like.

The second part is about NATURAL consequences.  In II Samuel 11, we read the story of King David and Bathsheba.  Verse 2 says: “One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her.”  King David was a married man and he slept with (and impregnated) a married woman.  What’s worse, in the rest of the chapter we see that he put her husband in the front lines in a battle specifically so that he would be killed!   In the very next chapter, chapter 12, Nathan the prophet rebukes David for his adultery, and King David immediately realizes he was wrong and repents of his sin.  Psalm 51 is his confession and repentance!  But look at verse 13b and 14: “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.”  God forgave King David of his sin and accepted him back into relationship–just like a loyal spouse would for a disloyal–but God still allowed King David to experience the natural consequences of his choices to sin!!  The child conceived in his adultery died, and his household was brought to calamity.  King David was the apple of God’s eye and the man whom He loved…but God still allowed him to experience the natural consequences of his adultery.  If this is how God treats someone whom He loves and forgives, we can learn that it is LOVING to let our disloyal spouses experience the natural consequences of their choices so that they can learn and grow.

Sooooo…this doesn’t mean that you seek vengeance and punish your disloyal spouse.  NO! NO! NO!!  Rather, you let them experience the natural costs of losing you and “replacing you” with their lover.  For example, you are not leaving the marital home and the children so they can move their lover in. If the disloyal spouse wants to be with their lover, they’ll need to move out–and no the kids do not go with them. There is no reason for the children to leave their home, their bed, their neighborhood, their friends, their school because the disloyal spouse is having an affair!  Thus, one natural consequence is that the disloyal loses some time with their children.  Some additional natural consequences would be splitting any joint accounts 50/50 and making a new, personal bank account for yourself–and having your paycheck deposited to your new, personal account.  If you are paying for their cell phone and they are using their cell for the affair–take them off your account.  If you are paying for household internet and they are carrying on the affair online–stop paying for internet.  Losing those things are the natural costs of choosing to have an affair and what WILL happen if they choose to divorce. Allow them to experience that hurt because it will teach them faster that affairs HURT and cost A LOT!!

You should know that this step is not “long term” because no one can give and give and give forever when an affair is being rubbed in their face. Eventually the time would come for you to say, “I’ve done what I could to win you over and now I need to move to the next step before I lose all love for you.” Sometimes a disloyal spouse sort of sits on the fence in this step because they are getting needs met by two folks.

On the occasion there are disloyal spouses whose affair just die a natural death–like the Other Person just gets sick of it and leaves them–or they begin to see the good of staying and how much leaving would hurt…and they think maybe that too much water has passed under the bridge. Periodically let your disloyal know that you would love to have them back and work on the marriage. Invite them to return.  If this is your case, consider yourself blessed and move to the phase of reconciling your marriage!!

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

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This is post #5  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 Fridays I also join this Godly Link-up:

Beholding Glory


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Vulnerability

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • the vulnerability scale (persuaded2go.wordpress.com)
  • The Eight Reasons that People Cheat on Their Partners (psychologytoday.com)


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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)


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Crossing the Line…

Lots of times people ask questions like this: “Is having a friend of the opposite sex wrong?” or “What about chatting and texting all hours of the day and night? It’s just chitchat—is that okay?” “Is sexting really an affair?  It’s just flirting, it’s not physical and it’s just words!” or “How about cybersex.  I mean it’s not like we had REAL sex!  Is that crossing the line?”  

Have you heard those kinds of questions?  It’s as if the people asking the question want to go RIGHT UP TO THE LINE of doing the wrong thing, but not cross the line.  Many of these questions come up precisely BECAUSE we have an incorrect view of what fidelity and sex even ARE!  If you think of sex as “doing things to myself (or using someone else) physically which result in an amazing physical sensation and relaxing release” … well it does do those things but that’s like the tiny tip of the iceberg of what sex is meant to be!  Likewise, as we’ve already discussed in the blog “Fidelity is not asking ‘How Far Can I Go?’ ” faithfulness (fidelity) is “devotion to a person or duties: allegiance , constancy , fealty , loyalty…the state of loyalty and devotion to obligations, duties, and observances that are owed to a certain person (namely your spouse).”  In our marriages, we are supposed to reflect Christ‘s marriage to His Bride, the Church.  This is why husbands have federal headship over their wives–to reflect God‘s headship over Christ and Christ’s headship over His bride, the Church!  Further, when a wife is submissive to her husband, she is directly demonstrating a living example of how Christ was submissive to God and how we (the Church) are in submission to Christ! 

Taken in that context, where our marriages reflect Christ and His Church–did Christ come as the Son of God, with all the authority and glory of God in the flesh, and say “Hey everybody!  I’m GOD!  Serve me!”??  Or did He demonstrate a servant heart, even to the point of laying down his life in obedience, saying “I am indeed God but I’m going to act in a way that obeys God and is for your best interest, not self-centeredly focused on my own”??  If our marriages are a mirror of Christ, then how can our sex life be “doing things to myself (or using someone else) physically which result in an amazing physical sensation and relaxing release”?  Our sex lives, as a gift of God to intimately KNOW our spouse, would have to reflect that attitude of “…I’m going to act in your best interest instead of my own…”!  Right? Our sexuality is reserved for one person with whom we are in a lifelong covenant marriage, to get to KNOW each other intimately on every level: physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.  Likewise our faithfulness to our spouse also would reflect that attitude of “…I’m going to act in a way that focuses on showing you the loyalty that is owed to you by my promise–not on what I can get away with!”  So now let’s look at those questions again, from that point of view!  

“Is having a friend of the opposite sex wrong?”  Well let’s use those two standards: Sexuality is reserved for one person with whom you are in a lifelong covenant marriage, and it is a servant’s attitude  “…acting in your spouse’s best interests (pleasures) instead of your own.”  How far can you go?  You tell me.  When we marry someone we stand before God and our families as witnesses and promise to give 100% of our affection and loyalty to that one person ONLY (forsaking all others…until death parts us).  So how far can you go before you are giving some percent of your affection to that opposite sex friend?  Or some part of you gives some loyalty to the friend and the remainder of the loyalty to your spouse?  Does this reflect an attitude of “…acting in your spouse’s best interests (pleasures) instead of your own” -OR- does it put your own selfish desires ahead of your spouse?  Then I guess you have your answer don’t you?  

See how easy it is to answer these questions when you get the right point of view!
“What about chatting and texting all hours of the day and night? It’s just chitchat—is that okay?”   Again, let’s use those two standards: Sexuality is reserved for one person with whom you are in a lifelong covenant marriage, and it is a servant’s attitude  “…acting in your spouse’s best interests (pleasures) instead of your own.”  Well again you tell me: how does chatting and texting with another person of ANY gender indicate that you’ve reserved intimate knowledge of yourself for the one person with whom you are in a lifelong covenant marriage?  How does chatting and texting with another person demonstrate acting in your spouse’s best interests and pleasures?  I don’t see how it does!  I see a self-centered focus on what makes YOU feel good or feel happy or whatever!  
There is even more to consider too.  Two of my favorite verses are I Corinthians 10:23-24 and Philippians 4:8 .  In I Corinthians 10, the apostle Paul is talking to the Church about our freedom–how we are free to eat or drink anything that God has created–but he is very clear in telling the Corinthians that not all things are BENEFICIAL and not all things are CONSTRUCTIVE.  We can use that as a pattern to determine if things “cross the line” too!  How does it benefit YOUR SPOUSE for you to chat and text with another person of any gender all hours of the day and night?  Does that kind of behavior benefit the Church–the body of Christ?  How about is it constructive?  Does chatting and texting with another person build your marriage and make it a living testimony of God’s faithfulness to us?  Is it constructive to the Body of Christ or is it another example of hypocrisy to unbelievers?  And in Philippians, the apostle Paul is nice enough to list for us the KINDS of things we should be thinking about: “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy…”  COOL!!  Is chatting and texting with someone all hours of the day and night true (as in “true hearted”)?  How about noble?  Is it right?  What about pure–is it pure?  Lovely?  Behavior to-be-admired?  Is texting with another person acting in a way that is excellent and worthy of praise?  
Seems like the answer is pretty clear to me!  
“Is sexting really an affair?  It’s just flirting, it’s not physical and it’s just words!”  I’ll let you do this one on your own.  But remember our criteria:
1. Intimacy (physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually) is reserved for one person with whom you are in a lifelong covenant marriage.  Does sexting reserve intimate knowledge of you on all those levels for only your spouse?
2.  Does it demonstrate a servant’s attitude  “…acting in your spouse’s best interests (pleasures) instead of your own”?  How would sexting be acting in your spouse’s best interests?  Isn’t the sexting focused on YOU and YOUR pleasure?  
3. Is it BENEFICIAL?  Is it CONSTRUCTIVE?   Does the sexting benefit your spouse or your marriage?  Does it benefit the Church?  Is sexting constructive to your marriage or family?  Is it constructive to the Church?  Does sexting help lead the unsaved to salvation?
4. Is it true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy?   I think you get the drift by now, don’t you?  
“How about cybersex.  I mean it’s not like we had REAL sex!  Is that crossing the line?”   You know, I’m just going to remind you of our four criteria:  
1. Intimacy (physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually) is reserved for one person with whom you are in a lifelong covenant marriage.
2.  Does it demonstrate a servant’s attitude  “…acting in your spouse’s best interests (pleasures) instead of your own”?   
3. Is it BENEFICIAL?  Is it CONSTRUCTIVE?  (I Cor. 10:23-24)
4. Is it true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy? (Phil. 4:8)  
Gentle reader, I challenge you today to change your perspective.  Rather than asking “Where is the line, so I can come RIGHT UP TO THE LINE but not cross it” I challenge you to look at your marriage, your sexuality, and what you do with others in a wholly new way: “Where is the line, so I can stay as far away from it as possible!!”  
  • Bitterness: A Silent Marriage Killer (covenantfamilyaffairs.wordpress.com)
  • The Holiness of Marriage: Love Your Wife (frted.wordpress.com)
  • A Letter To My Friend Who’s Husband Is Cheating (passionatechristianmarriage.wordpress.com)


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14 Days of Love Challenge

You know what’s funny?  I’ve always been the kind of gal who’s emotional, sentimental and romantic.  I keep things that remind me of good memories.  I appreciate a good poem, a tear-jerker chick flick, and a half gallon of Rocky Road as much as the next gal!  But to me Valentines Day has always seemed like a made up holiday, specifically made to stimulate “card sales” and as a kick in the pants for the flower economy.  “What does all this have to do with infidelity?”  you ask?  Well…a lot!  I was looking at Valentines Day like I think most folks in western society look at love: like it should just naturally be gushy and romantic, with roses, lace and barbie-doll sunsets!   But in real life, “love” doesn’t just happen effortlessly.  In real life, love is a VERB and it is a decision…a very deliberate choice to act lovingly toward someone, especially the one to whom you’ve made a vow to “forsake all others.”

That’s where the Fourteen Days of Love Challenge comes in.  As I mentioned, Love is a VERB and that means it’s active.  For the first fourteen days of February, we have one loving activity each day on our Affaircare Romance Calendar….so that means today is Day Six already!!  For the first fourteen days of February, I challenge you to stop looking at what your spouse IS or IS NOT doing, and instead look at yourself.  What loving actions have YOU taken?  And for these 14 days, rather than doing nothing or wishing your spouse would be romantic or loving…YOU be loving!  When your spouse is not exactly wanting to be with you or not treating you in a loving way, the temptation is to say, “Fine then I won’t be nice back!”  No.  For the next week, leading up to the final day on Valentines Day, make the decision to be the kind of person who honors their promises and acts based on commitment rather than as a reward or punishment.  Be a loving person because that is WHO YOU ARE…not because some does or doesn’t do something to you.

Finally, some of the ideas on the Romance Calendar are geared for couples who are together, but as an example, if you look at Wednesdays and realize that you let TVs and computers and laundry turn your bedroom into a Family Room rather than a sexy haven…now’s the time to love by changing that!  Get some new pillows in rich, royal satin.  Move the PCs out and the incense in.  Get a new nighty and still be the loving, sexy person you are!   The idea of the calendar is to give you an idea…whet your whistle…and let your creative juices flow to suite your particular situation.  And don’t forget, your spouse is not the only person whom you can love during this 14 Days of Love Challenge:

Love Yourself–give yourself that loving gesture you need.  Take time, get to know yourself, and love who you are…and if you don’t love who you are at the moment, become the person you were meant to be.

Love Someone who needs it–do you have an aunt who’s all alone?  How about a old dog who’s been faithful all these years?  A best friend you haven’t talked to?  Love THEM by doing one thoughtful thing for them.

Love Something–love gardening, crocheting, working on your car, dog shows…whatever!  Do some activity that YOU used to just love and haven’t done for a long time.

Love a Stranger–this is especially true when it feels like your world is falling apart and you feel despair.  Go help out at a nursing home.  Feed homeless people.  Volunteer to read to blind children.  Suddenly you’ll realize that your life isn’t so bad after all and they will LOVE you for it.

So I’m laying down the challenge.  Who’s joining in?

  • If Love Is In The Air… (theromanticvineyard.wordpress.com)
  • Frugal Love: 9 Low-Cost Valentine’s Day Ideas (bargaineering.com)
  • Hint! Hint! Valentine’s Day is for Geeky Women, too (blogher.com)


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Have the courage to do something NEW in your marriage

The first month of the year is drawing to a close.  This is  a great time to turn over a new leaf and start afresh, but if you’re here reading on this blog, chances are good that you’ve been affected by infidelity in one way or another.  When your life has been turned upside down, it’s hard to even pull yourself together, much less do something “new,” isn’t it?  Yet, today I want to lay down a challenge to have the courage to do something NEW in your marriage.

The definition of insanity is “Doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result”…and yet isn’t that often what we do in our marriages?  We have that “same old fight.”  We use the same old reasons.  We don’t budge and sometimes don’t even tell each other things because “we know what he/she will say” or “he/she will freak out.”  We give our spouse the cold shoulder or punish them for something they said or did.  On and on.  And you tell me:  How’s that working for you?  If your spouse is having an affair and your marriage is falling apart and your kids are being hurt, THIS is the year, and now is the time to do something NEW.

Doing something NEW can be really scary, though.  I realize that doing things the “same old” way may be hurtful and damaging, but at least you know what to expect.  Yes, you hurt your spouse and they hurt you when you two argue, but you know that if you say “THIS” they will counter with “THAT” and then you have justification to unleash “THE OTHER.”  It’s dependable, in a weird way, because we can depend on what will happen.  But doing something NEW means you may have to look at yourself.   Doing something NEW means that you don’t know WHAT is going to happen or HOW your spouse will react!  That uncertainty…that feeling of being unable to predict what your spouse is likely to do… can be virtually traumatic for some; nonetheless, I challenge you today to take that leap of faith and do something NEW!!

It starts in your mind…thoughts like: “I wish he/she would think of ME for a change and help me!”  or “I’m tired of doing everything while he/she sits around and does nothing!  I want to do nothing!”  To do something new with your mind, you can’t just hope that someday your thought patterns will change.  You have to do something NEW…think something NEW!!  Your thoughts will change when you make the decision to change them!  So when you find yourself thinking that old recording of negative thoughts about your spouse or thoughts that are centered on you…make the conscientious DECISION today to stop yourself and change that thought to something positive.  Now I do realize that when two people have gotten far down the negative spiral that it can be fairly hard to even think of something positive, but even if you have trouble thinking of one thing, remember this.  They could have picked anyone in the whole wide world, and they chose you.  Think in a NEW way regarding your spouse.  List their good qualities and memorize the list!

And speaking of changing your thoughts, I have a really BIG challenge for you to help you and your spouse become “unstuck.”  You know that argument you two have had over and over and over?  The one where you know your spouse is going to bring it up, and you know that “next time I’m gonna say THIS” and while they are talking you think about how you’re going to respond rather than listening?  The fight you’ve had a hundred times already and each time it goes the same way–down the drain?  Yeah THAT argument.  I’m not saying they are right and you are wrong, but the next time you two have “that argument” no matter what they say, I want you to say: “So it sounds like what you’re saying is…” and then paraphrase what they said.  Don’t agree.  Don’t say they are wrong.  Don’t say you are right.  Just summarize what they said (their “reason”) and see if you understand what they said.  THEN… just say “I’m going to consider what you’ve said.”  The end.  DO NOT say anything else.  Just let them know you will consider it and stop talking.  The mere fact that it did not go “the same old way (aka down the tubes)” may well be enough shock to bring life back into the discussion.    After all, think about.  Isn’t one of the big issues in THAT argument, the fact that you don’t feel “heard”?  Well you just “heard” your spouse and said you would consider them and their viewpoint…and that is the kind of thing that gets a marriage unstuck.

What starts in your mind continues in your mouth.  If your mind is thinking of yourself and is thinking unkind things about your spouse, chances are about 99 times out of 100 that your mouth will follow suit.  That means that things will come out of your mouth declaring that you’re “entitled” to a partner who helps you out and you “deserve” a spouse who makes you happy.  Your mouth will then follow with mean, hurtful, caustic words meant to cut your spouse to the bone and make them do what YOU want them to do.  Speaking to your spouse with those kinds of words is balancing on the verge of verbal abuse, and if you wouldn’t tolerate verbal abuse, why would they?  To change your words, you have to do something NEW.  Just like your mind, you have to make a choice and train your mouth to say things that are loving.  Hmmm…let’s see.  I Cor. 13 says: “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.”  Are these the kinds of words coming out of your mouth?  As your thinking changes, your words will begin to change too, but you can start right now, saying NEW words.  Words like “I love this about you” or “I feel happy when you…”  and when they do something–anything–say thank you!  Speaking to your spouse with at least the same level of courtesy as you would to a stranger is another thing that gets a marriage unstuck.

Finally, what starts in the mind and continues in your words will reflect in your ACTIONS–how you ACT toward your spouse.  This means that as your thoughts change to thinking of the things you appreciate about your spouse, and as your words say “thank you” and speak encouragement or support to your spouse…your actions will start to follow suit.  Love is not feeling butterflies in your stomach when you kiss…or feeling all jittery and excited when you know you’re going to see him/her.  LOVE (mature, intimate love) is treating a fellow human being in a way that is loving, because you made the commitment to act that way throughout all that life throws at you!  LOVE (mature, intimate love) is being transparently honest so your spouse can see the True You…and you seeing the True Them…and making the choice to behave in a loving way in spite of the fact that both of you are imperfect!  LOVE (godly love) is choosing to lay down our desires and natural inclinations and instead obey God.   And what does God say that LOVE acts like?  I Corinthians 13:4-8 “ Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.”

So break the mold.  Having that “same old fight” the “same old way” and saying the “same old things” and getting the “same old reactions” may be destroying your marriage, but too many people are afraid to try something NEW because with the “same old, same old” they know what to expect–even if it is bad!  I challenge you to HAVE THE COURAGE to do something NEW in your marriage…tonight.

  • Forgiveness in Marriage (Part 1) (marriageisgood.wordpress.com)
  • Forgiveness in Marriage (Part 2) (marriageisgood.wordpress.com)
  • Forgiveness in Marriage (Part 3) (marriageisgood.wordpress.com)
  • 6 Habits for Happy Lives & Marriages (marriagegems.com)


2 Comments

How do affairs begin?



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

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

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

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

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

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

Then enter just a few Love Extinguishers  © .

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

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

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

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

  • Fidelity is not asking “How far can I go?” (affaircare.wordpress.com)
  • Resisting the 3 Main Temptations that Destroy Marriages (psychologytoday.com)
  • Is affair a wake up call or a death knell for a marriage (wiki.answers.com)
  • What sort of intimacies are involved if your spouse is having emotional infidelity (wiki.answers.com)
  • Facebook Ruined My Marriage (terrycato.wordpress.com)


3 Comments

Want to be intimate with your spouse? Day Two.

It’s Day Two of the 15 Minute, 15-Day Marriage Challenge over at Making Love in a Microwave .   Dear Hubby © and I did Day One (and we’ll tell you all about it at the end of this post!) and now we’re staring down the barrel of Day Two.

The Marriage Tip of the Day is about Communication: “If you want to have effective communication in your marriage, you need to not only talk to one another. You need to know how to listen and how to be heard. It is also important for a couple to share their feelings and not just facts with one another.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m coordinating with the Affaircare FB page, Twitter, and Romance Calendar to all reflect one thing we can do for 15 minutes that day… to meet the challenge!  Today’s topic has to do with communicating not only facts (…like, “I’ll be back around 7pm from the prayer meeting.  Will you please put the load in the dryer?”) but also communicating feelings, and I thought this naturally leads to thinking about intimacy!

So often, in our marriages, we long to be loved by someone for who we truly are, and we even crave sex (which some people call intimacy), but to be truly INTIMATE with your spouse, you have to be open and honest about who you are, what you’re thinking and what you’re feeling.  I call that being “Transparent” because you are being “see through” and letting your spouse see the True You–warts and all!    Sometimes being transparent can be really scary because you’re afraid your spouse will be angry or because you have made assumptions about how they might react if they knew “what you really thought” or “how you really felt.”  So instead you pretend.    You pretend you’re okay with it when really you are not.  You pretend you want to move when really you don’t.  You pretend their raging didn’t hurt you.  You pretend “the kids will be okay.”  You pretend you are being a good husband or wife.  You pretend…and by pretending you prevent the very intimacy that you crave: that rock-solid, committed, faithful, affectionate confidant who is so close to you and knows you so well that the closeness is expressed physically.

Today, for Day Two–let’s stop pretending.  Make the choice to take 15 minutes or more out of your day, put everything else down, and share with your spouse one feeling that you have been keeping to yourself.  Give your spouse a safe place to share one of their feelings, and thank them for being brave enough to be transparent.

DAY ONE RECAP:

Dear Hubby © and I found Day One to actually be fairly easy. I think we are a fairly unique case though, because we both work from home (by choice), and we sit right next to each other all day! Of course, I also can not think of anyone whom I’d rather be with than Dear Hubby © either. We actually are best friends and have so many common interests that it’s pretty easy.

But for our Day One we actually set aside some special time. We have a little bedtime “ritual” that we read the bible together, then we lay in bed and talk, so we used our bedtime talktime to cuddle up a little bit and review our day by saying one thing we liked…and one thing we didn’t like and how we would change it.

  • Marriage’s 10 Commandments (thepurebed.wordpress.com)
  • Know Your Spouse (herbertmtowo.wordpress.com)


1 Comment

Day One: 15 Minute, 15-Day Marriage Challenge

 

I have a new friend over at Making Love in a Microwave (funny name–you should go check it out and see how she got that name) has thrown down the gauntlet and issued a marriage challenge, so being the competitor that I am, I’ve decided to take her up on it.   In fact, not only are Dear Hubby and I going to do this personally, we’re inviting all of YOU to also join us in the 15 Minute, 15-Day Marriage Challenge.    I bet you can guess the challenge.  For the next 15 days, set aside just 15 minutes specifically for your spouse and your marriage. There are rules (aren’t there always?) but they are pretty easy:

  1. Leave a comment below letting us know that you’re participating–then pop over to Aja’s page and leave a comment too!
  2. Devote 15 minutes a day, every day, throughout the challenge. If you’re apart for business or something, try 15 phone minutes or 15 Skype minutes.  Find a way to make it work.
  3. Spend the 15 minutes engaged with one another. Sitting next to each other watching TV in silence doesn’t count.
  4. Sex does count, but if it’s a quickie that takes less than 15 minutes- fill it out with some pillow chat or something.
  5. Don’t try to be perfectionists! If you haven’t really been spending time together at all you may even feel a little awkward. You may get interrupted. For one reason or another, things may not go as planned. Have fun with it and just do it.
  6. If you have a spouse that’s unwilling, use the time to work on your marriage by yourself. Sounds strange to say, but choose this time to try and be the best husband or the best wife you can be.

Okay…so today is Day One.  Since there are no specific things we have to do, I’m going to suggest that we coordinate the Affaircare FB page, Twitter, and Romance Calendar to all reflect one thing we can do for 15 minutes that day… to meet the challenge! Today’s marriage tip was to Just Sit Together, and the Romance Calendar had Movie Monday today–HER choice.  So I suggested that today we take 15 minutes out of our day to put EVERYTHING ELSE DOWN and just sit by our spouse, hold their hand, and listen to them as if we care!  Seriously, when was the last time we treated our spouse as if we LIKED them and were their friend?  Remember “back-in-the-day” how much you used to look forward to being together?  And when they would talk, you would listen as if you were their friend and really cared for them and what they were saying?  Let’s bring that back!

So today–MAKE THE CHOICE to take 15 minutes or more out of your day, put everything else down, let your spouse talk, and listen to what they say (rather than when they’re gonna get done so you can tell them about you).  LOL!  Be on your spouse’s side.  Be their friend.

  • Dr. Gian Gonzaga: I’m Married… Now What? (huffingtonpost.com)
  • Conversation Ideas to Stimulate Discussion With Your Spouse (personalsunitedstates.wordpress.com)
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