…nouthetic, Christian care after an affair.



14 Days of Love After an Affair


This is a tough period for many married couples recovering after an affair. For some Loyal Spouses, this day is now tainted. For many, Valentines Day isn’t special anymore or it’s a day full of triggers and bad memories instead of love.  For some Disloyal Spouses, they don’t really quite feel “in love” yet, but they know that their spouse has expectations…probably expectations they can’t meet.

So I’ve put together 14 Days of Love for a couples who are reconciling after infidelity.

Day 1–LOVE OTHERS! Chances are you aren’t the only person feeling weird about Valentines Day. Reach out to those around you who would otherwise spend their day alone. This may mean getting your friends together for a dinner. Or, it may mean finding a way to volunteer.

Day 2–RELIVE YOUR WEDDING DAY! Renew your vows even if only to each other. Then relive the honeymoon!

Day 3–Learn to have FUN with each other again. Tonight, play a game together. Just relax and have fun.

Day 4–Start retraining your mind. When you think about the Other Person (whether you’re the Loyal or Disloyal) just STOP…and think of something positive about your spouse instead.

Day 5–Sex after an affair can be hard, but fill your mind with God’s perspective on sex. Read I Corinthians 7:1-9 and Song of Solomon and enjoy your spouse.

Day 6–To help retraining your mind, write a list of 100 Things you love about your spouse.

Day 7–Thank God It’s Friday! Your work week is over, so PUT YOUR WORK ASIDE and pay attention to your spouse.

Day 8–Date Night IN. Go to the local bookstore, pick a marriage book together, and read it to each other.

Day 9–Day of Rest, so take a break from the affair… give each other the day off.

Day 10–’Playing’ to a man and ‘playing’ to a woman can be two very different things. Tonight spend time finding out what your spouse thinks is “playful” and then play together a little…their way.

Day 11–Do the Five Love Languages quiz and tell your spouse what your love language is. LISTEN when your spouse tells you their love language.

Day 12–Even though it may feel awkward, this one time you be the one to initiate some kind of physical intimacy. It doesn’t have to be sex, but if it goes there, that’s cool.

Day 13–The stress of having to have a perfect love on Valentines Day, the expectations, the fear of doing the wrong thing can be very frustrating. Let your spouse off the hook. This year, talk to each other ahead of time, reach an agreement on what you both want to do, and then…go one extra mile and give your spouse one additional kindness or little show of affection.

Day 14 (Valentines Day)–You two are just rebuilding so don’t expect too much yet. Your spouse may not be ready to be all “over the moon” romantic yet. But take time today to purposefully put effort into showing your spouse that you value them above all others.

Purple heart in the hands

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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?

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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) (
  • Forgiveness in Marriage (Part 2) (
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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?” (
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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.


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 (
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