Tag Archives: Spouse

Ask Affaircare: Is Showing All the Signs Proof of Infidelity?

AskAffaircare

The Ask Affaircare Series started because our readers have questions. About Affairs. Reconciling. Marriage. Divorce. Christianity. The Bible. And God.  Initially, we tried to answer each question through e-mail, but we quickly realized that there were many people asking many similar questions, so we started this weekly series!

It’s not our goal to make you agree with us, but rather to explore what the Bible says in thoughtful, and clear manner. Additionally, we try to write our answers in a loving but truthful manner (Ephesians 4:15) because we know there is a real person – with real struggles and dreams – behind every single question. Thank for you visiting Affaircare. Keep those questions coming!


Our email question today comes from a lady whose spouse thinks she is showing all the signs of infidelity.  She writes:

Since the end of spring of last year, my husband has accused me of having an affair. Although I did not, I understand that he is scared. I was on my phone a lot … playing games and he hates games, so I hid my playing from him.  …I bought new underthings, but didn’t show him. I did this because our marriage was already in trouble and I knew I was pulling away. I needed to feel better about myself, so that was one step that I took. …I had a really tough year and found myself putting up walls because I didn’t know how I was going to get through the year. These factors made him buy a GPS tracking device and a camera, and he took pictures … then accused me of cheating. Although I have been able to prove that some (most) of the things he was using as proof were not true and that he was mistaken, he still refuses to believe me. He tells me that no matter what I say, he has more proof, and that he will always believe that I had an affair. The problem is that now I don’t trust him. Not even a little. I have nothing to hide, but refuse to live like I do. We have lost friends because of this. I think he should have spoken to me about his feelings prior to going to the extremes that he chose to take. He shared with me a guide from this site titled – “All of the Signs Your Spouse May be Cheating” and told me that the signs you listed were reasons to believe my infidelity, even though he can only check off a few things. I figured if he trusts in your site so much, maybe you could give me some advice. Am I wrong for thinking he should have spoken to me about his feelings first?

On the same topic, another husband writes that his wife is showing all the signs of the infidelity:

I feel it in my gut that my wife is cheating. She gives off all almost all the lines listed above. but every time I confront her she denies it. I want to catch her on the act how can I do it.?

Dear Ms. Showing Some the Signs and Mr. She’s Showing Signs,

We are so sorry to be meeting under these circumstance of suspicion and distrust. You are both in our prayers that your marriages will be restored and filled with love and godliness. For Ms. Showing Some Signs, we bet it feels HORRIBLE to be suspected of something you didn’t do–and for Mr. She’s Showing Signs, we bet your intuition is just SCREAMING that something is wrong and you feel sick all the time. Even though you two are kind of at opposite ends of the spectrum, we have chosen to write to you both in this blog because actually your two emails address the same issue:

“If my spouse is showing some of the signs of infidelity from your page, is that proof that they are cheating?  How do you KNOW FOR SURE if your spouse is having an affair?”

We want to answer both of you, first. by quoting what’s right at the top of the page we wrote about all the signs of infidelity.  We wrote:

“These behaviors are only  indicators of a cheating spouse and are not absolutes!  If your spouse has one or two of these behaviors, and there is a legitimate reason and a mutual agreement (such as, you two talk about it and agree to try to lose weight…and they’ve gone a little obsessive about it), these signs do NOT prove infidelity.  But when you observe several, or maybe MOST, of these behaviors, your marriage may be in trouble!  Again, let me reiterate that these behaviors are only indicators of  an affair.”

These signs  do not definitively prove adultery, but even though it may not be an affair, if these signs exist, the marriage is still in trouble.  It just may not have progressed to adultery yet, and it may not be adultery at all but rather some other issues such as addiction or controlling or abuse.  But make no mistake, if more than a few of the signs are showing up–then the marriage IS in trouble!

To both Ms. Showing Some Signs and Mr. She’s Showing Signs we would specifically note that your marriages are in trouble, whether your spouses have slept with another or not.

In fact, let us start with the assumption that neither wife has  slept with anyone else. The definition of fidelity, here at Affaircare, is giving your spouse and only your spouse 100% of your affection and loyalty. Based on that definition, have they been faithful?

So we would respectfully exhort both of you to look at Matthew 7: 1-5:

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

and also to look at Luke 6: 37-42:

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

In both chapters, Jesus is talking, and He does not say that we are not to have discernment.  The word for “judge” there is the Greek word KRINO and it means “to pick out (choose) by separating” or “making a determination of right or wrong (innocence or guilt), especially on an official(legal) standard.”  God is the one who JUDGES–our job is to forgive, to give, and to look in our own eye and deal with the plank in our own eye!

So for both of you, we would remind you that you can not change your spouse.  The only person you can change is yourself, and even then it’s with God’s aid and not by anything you do.  HE regenerates us and thus the question becomes “What am I doing in my marriage that contributes to this rift? What do I need to change?”  Now we are not blaming the Loyal Spouse here–do not misunderstand.  What we are saying is that rather than pointing fingers at your spouse and saying “S/He needs to change!” we recommend that you look at your own self and ask yourself: “Could it be me?” “Could it be that I have some things that I need to stop doing?” “Could I be looking at this with jealousy and lack of trust?” “Is it my issue?” and if it is–deal with it!

For Ms. Showing Some Signs, even if we assumed that everything you wrote is 100% true (and let’s be honest here, no one paints themselves in a bad light, so we usually assume there are two sides to every story), there are many red flags that raise a warning.  You are hiding things from your spouse. Your spouse sounds controlling.  You are living life like a single person, not like a married person.  He is driving away your friends. You are not submissive. He is not loving. Your marriage is in big trouble! And the way to repair a marriage is not to be disrespectful and secretive and independent!

Does your spouse get every little bit of your affection, or does whoever you are playing this game with get some small percentage? If you hide your gaming from your spouse, then your loyalty is with the game (and whoever is in the game) and not with your spouse!  And faithfulness is 100% to your spouse–forsaking all others.

Now we are not saying that your spouse doesn’t have some things we would recommend he work on–in fact there are a couple things!–but in reality you need to work on you and he needs to work on him.  So right now our advice to you would be to stop playing the game.  That game is going to end your marriage–is a game worth it?  Whoever you are playing with–you’re playing with fire so end all contact, and never ever contact that person again nor play that game again.  For whatever reason, you have a weakness for or in that game that has harmed your marriage and you are going to have to stay away.

Likewise, you need to stop hiding things from your husband. That only makes it worse. We know you think that what he doesn’t know doesn’t hurt him, but that is absolutely NOT TRUE. When he discovers what you’ve been hiding (and he will because he lives with you), the damage will be magnified specifically because you hid it. Beginning today, be 100% transparent with your husband. That means LET HIM SEE THE REAL YOU. Let him know your thoughts and your feelings.  Let him know where you are going, when you’ll leave, when you’ll return, and who you will honestly be with. If you are having a tough year, turn TO YOUR HUSBAND for support and comfort…not others and not all by yourself.  You are married now and being married means that you made a promise to include and always consider another person in every decision and choice: your husband. Now he’s not supposed to “lord it over you” and control every little move you make, and if he were here we’d talk to him about that…but he’s NOT here and so we are talking to you about the things you can do to strengthen and repair the damage you’ve done!

To Mr. She’s Showing Signs, the first thing we’d caution you to remember is that the whole purpose of the “All the Signs” list is as an alert–a warning–that your spouse MAY be cheating.  MAY is the operative word.  That is to say, at this point, we can not definitively say one way or another if she is or is not.  If you go to a Disloyal Spouse and “confront” them with no proof and no knowledge of what is is or not going on and ask them if they are cheating , what do you think they’re going to do?  Tell you the truth?  No, of course not! They are lying to cover the affair and the affair partner, they are lying about where they are and what they’re doing and with whom…why would you all-of-a-sudden think they would tell the truth now?  That is an unwise course of action.

Instead we would point you to our article “Seven Steps You Can Take To End An Affair”   You need to follow these steps, in order, to give you the best opportunity to save your marriage.  Please note that the very first step is to Gather Evidence.  That means to keep an open heart–that she may be telling the truth and you’re just being jealous or suspicious–and actually investigate FACTS like a detective to either prove or disprove your possible theory.  Look at Ms. Showing Some Signs there–she has not slept with anyone, and she’s showing some of the signs you’re seeing in your own wife.  It may be that you will catch something just as it’s getting out of hand!  My point is that as you Gather Evidence, keep your heart open to WHATEVER you may discover.  It may not be physical infidelity but rather an addiction, or some other issue!  Let the facts show you the truth.

Also, bear in mind that the point of Gathering Evidence is not so you can throw down all the “proof” in front of your spouse and they will automatically cave and tell you the truth.  Nope, the point of Gathering Evidence so that YOU have enough concrete proof in YOUR MIND that you are convinced of what is true and what is not. We guarantee you no matter what concrete evidence you gather, at first your spouse will deny it.  That is what Disloyal Spouses do!  They lie!  In reality, if you walked in on your wife and another man naked in the act, that they would jump out of bed, throw on their clothes, and say, “It’s not what you think!” Right?  So the point of the Gathering Evidence is to find something that is not circumstantial, to find something that convinces you that it’s not all “in your mind” or you making a mountain out of a molehill, and then you will know how to proceed.

We have two blog posts on ways to Gather Evidence: “Low tech ways to check if your spouse is cheating” and “High Tech ways to discover if your spouse is cheating”  We personally recommend that you use both ways (low tech and high tech) to corroborate the conclusion.  After you are convinced of whatever the truth may be, you will know the truth.  If she is not cheating, and you try all the low tech and high tech ways but just find no evidence, we would say consider if there might be other issues like Ms. Showing Some Signs–issues like games that need to stop, living like a single person, or hiding things.  If that’s the case–address it!  And if you find she is cheating, then we would recommend going to Step Two in the Seven Steps and proceeding down that list in order.

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Love Extinguisher #2 Spiritual Neglect [Podcast]

Do you hold a grudge against your spouse for every little wrong they’ve ever done against you? Do you hide your actions, motives, thoughts and feelings from your spouse?

Our new program, “90 Days to Save Your Marriage and Save You” will teach you and how your spouse how to recover after infidelity. To introduce our new program, I’m reviewing our Basic Concepts all month!

This week we are talking about the Love Extinguishers, and this video is all about Love Kindler #2 Spiritual Neglect. This extinguisher is about the ways we neglect our spouse’s spiritual welfare and live a life that’s detrimtental to their spiritual growth and maturity. If you justify your bad behavior, deflecting your own bad behavior onto your spouse…or if you disregard your spouse’s spiritual life by engaging in disrespectful judgments…then this video is for you!

 

~Cindy

 

[audio: https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/Spiritual-Neglect.mp4]

Love Kindler #7 Security Commitment [Podcast]

Are you the safe place for your spouse to fall? Do you offer your spouse emotional and physical safety and security?

Our new program, “90 Days to Save Your Marriage and Save You” will teach you and how your spouse how to recover after infidelity. To introduce our new program, I’m reviewing our Basic Concepts all month!

This week we are talking about the Love Kindlers, and this video is all about the final Love Kindler #7 Security Commitment. This commitment is all about being your spouse’s safe haven during a time of crisis or the one place they feel secure and safe.

 

~Cindy

 

[audio: https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/Security-Commitment.mp4]

Love Kindler #2 Spiritual Commitment [Podcast]

Are you trying to reconcile your marriage after an affair? Are you committed to your spouse’s spiritual well-being?


Our new program, “90 Days to Save Your Marriage and Save You” will teach you and how your spouse how to recover after infidelity, and to help introduce our new program, I’m reviewing our Basic Concepts.  This week we are talking about the Love Kindlers, and this video is all about Love Kindler #2 Spiritual Commitment, the gospel, and what it means to create an environment where your spouse can grow spiritually.

~Cindy

 

[audio: http://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/Spiritual-Commitment.mp4]

You Want Me to FORGIVE?

forgiveness

 

I was listening to a podcast from two of my favorite people: Lisa and Stu Gray from STUpendous Marriage, and the top of their podcast this week was “How Can I Forgive My Spouse?”    Honestly I thought that was a great question!  Exactly how IS someone supposed to forgive their spouse when their spouse is the one they trusted the MOST, and trust was betrayed?  Even when the Disloyal Spouse is repentant and ends their affair and wants to reconcile…HOW do you forgive?

Stu and Lisa have some great thoughts such as “Forgiveness takes time” and “We have to forgive them every day”…I’ll let you listen to their podcast to hear their thoughts.  But I thought it might be useful and helpful to look at some Bible verses about forgiving others and comment directly on verses.

Matthew 5:23-24 NIV
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Comment: The main thing to learn from this verse is that these are words from Jesus, who is telling us what is important to God–he’s indicating what is a priority.  Although God is indeed pleased by offerings at the altar, note that Jesus tells us that offerings are nice, but RECONCILING with a brother (or sister) is priority over giving gifts.  Who is a closer brother or sister than your spouse?  If your spouse has something against you, it says to leave the offering and go be reconciled first.  And notice this too–Jesus says that the one who did something against the brother is to be the one initiating the reconciling and putting action into it.  Don’t just say “Oh sorry” and carry on as the same person…leave the altar!  Travel to where they are! Make the effort! Ask for forgiveness!  Work it out!  Do what you have to do in order to make it right with them … and THEN go back and give the gift to God.


 

Matthew 6:14-15 NIV
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins

Comment:  A lot of people take this verse out of context, but if you look at the entire chapter, Jesus is teaching his disciples to not be hypocrites and to not practice their righteousness out in public.  In his day (and now-a-days too) a lot of the “religious leaders” would act all pious and holy in front of the people, but in real life they wanted the best seats, wanted their name on the plaques, and wanted people to see them praying…but in their hearts they were selfish, spiteful, jealousy, adulterous and AWFUL!  So Jesus’ theme is “don’t be a hypocrite” and this verse is RIGHT AFTER the Lord’s Prayer.  So here, Jesus is essentially saying “Man, how can you expect God to forgive for your sins, when you aren’t a forgiving person yourself?”


 

Matthew 18:35
This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.

Comment:  Right before this verse is the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant.  Do you know the story?  There was this servant and he owed his master $10,000.00 so the master says “Okay sell this servant and his wife and kids, and we’ll settle the debt” and the servant begs and pleads not to have his family torn apart and says “If you give me a year I’ll pay you back, I promise!” The master has compassion, cancels the whole debt, and lets him go.  Now some other servant owed this guy $10, so the servant says “Pay up or else!” and the other servant says “Please I can’t pay right now but if you give me a year I’ll pay you back, I promise” and the unforgiving servant said “TOUGH you owe it!” and threw the guy in prison.  Now the other servants were mad at the unforgiving one and told the master, who called him in front of him and said, “YOU WICKED MAN!  I cancelled your huge debt and showed you mercy–shouldn’t you have done the same thing to your fellow-servant?” Then the master sent him to prison to be tortured until he could pay his debt.

What can we learn from this?  Oh it’s easy.  We owe an ENORMOUS debt to the Lord for forgiving us our sins.  Shouldn’t we also show mercy to our fellow-servants?


 

Luke 17:3-4
So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.

Comment:  Okay I love this one.  First, notice that it doesn’t say that if someone sins against us we are supposed to be milquetoast and just accept their sinning.  WE ARE SUPPOSED TO REBUKE THEM!  That’s not vengeance, but rather calling sin by its name, and letting them experience the natural consequences of choosing to sin!  Don’t cover it up.  Don’t pretend “it’s okay.”  Don’t agree with it and let it keep happening!  And then you notice it says “IF THEY REPENT.”  We aren’t told to forgive someone who isn’t really sorry and hasn’t really changed; this verse is specifically addressing someone who is actually remorseful and repents = 180 degree change.   So they step in it…and repent.  They try to be different and still do it wrong…and repent.  They try again and sin against you again…and repent.   They are not being their old, sinful self but they are trying but head off in a wrong direction…and repent.  They make a mistake…and repent.  See what I mean?  Note that it says we MUST forgive them.  It’s a command.


 

Romans 12:20
On the contrary:  If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.

Comment: This verse doesn’t specifically have the word “forgive” or “forgiveness” in it, but I added it because here Paul is talking about how to treat an “enemy.”  This is how a Christian is supposed to act toward someone who is openly hostile and at enmity in every way–in other words, definitely not a fellow brother or sister in Christ!  If someone who is 100% opposed to me is hungry, I am supposed to feed them. If someone who hates me and would like to see me dead is thirsty, I’m supposed to give him something to drink. Matthew 5:38 -48 tells us even more about how to treat an enemy. So if that’s how we are to treat someone who is our ENEMY…  how much more loving and kind should we be to someone who is our brother, our sister, or co-heir in Christ?


 

2 Corinthians 2:5-8 NIV
If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.

Comment: One thing to learn from these verses is that it is possible to be “overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.”  Now suppose someone has caused you grief–I think breaking trust and betraying your spouse via adultery counts as “causing grief”–and thank God they see that what they did was wrong and repent = 180 degree change from the way they were acting.  Paul says here that if the person is not forgiven and comforted, there is a risk the person could be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.  I believe what Paul is referring to is the feeling a truly repentant Disloyal has of being worthless, unlovable, and lower than a worm under the mud of your shoe because of what they’ve done and all the damage they did.  Paul literally URGES us to reaffirm our love for the one who has caused us grief!  So it’s not a commandment per se, but Paul, via the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is telling us that reaffirming our love for the one who has caused us grief and repented is pleasing to God.


 

Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Comment: Man, do I really need to comment on this one?  Just because it’s your spouse and they caused you grief doesn’t mean you now have the right to rage at them and hold bitterness against them.  Two wrongs don’t make a right.  These verses are pretty self-evident, I’d say.


 

Colossians 3:13
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Comment: Again, pretty self-evident, I’d say.  When your spouse commits adultery, you DEFINITELY have a grievance against them.  But what does it say?


 

“What about a spouse that doesn’t repent or doesn’t ask for forgiveness?” 

Comment: Well we do know how God has told us to treat our enemies–those who are openly hostile and at enmity with us.  If your Disloyal Spouse had an affair and refused to end it and is divorcing you, I would say that qualifies as “openly hostile and at enmity with you”..wouldn’t you?  So we know that we are to LOVE our enemies.  We are to feed and clothe them.  We are to turn the other cheek.  If they force us to walk one mile, we walk two.  If they sue us for our shirt, we’re supposed to give them our pants and coat too!

I don’t see anywhere where God says “…if they are hostile to you, it’s okay to be hostile back” so for a Disloyal who doesn’t repent, I’d join with Paul and urge you to forgive them and treat them with godly love for two reasons: a) if you hold bitterness and rage in your heart, it will eat away at YOU …, and b) if you treat them in a way that is counter-intuitive to the wisdom of this world, your very actions may lead them back into reconciling their relationship with God.

Why some couples just can’t seem to reconcile–Part 2

leakybucHave you ever known a couple who decided to reconcile after one of them had an affair?  They even went to a marriage counselor and everything! Yet they just spun their wheels and never could really get ahead, and they ended up divorcing even though they really tried?

Or is that maybe where you find yourself today? Your spouse had an affair -OR- you were unfaithful, and the two of you made a choice–a decision–to reconcile, but it just isn’t working?  Oh you are going to marriage counseling and the counselor told you to “try dating” but how in the world do you DATE someone who tore your heart out?  How do you DATE someone who gave you the silent treatment when you desperately needed and wanted their attention?  You’re trying…and I mean really trying, not that faking it stuff… and yet somehow you get no traction and your marriage just is not recovering.  You worry if you will ever feel loved again and wonder if you’ll just end up divorcing even after all this effort.

Today is the second in our series examining why some couples have so much difficulty reconciling. (If you want to catch up, here is Part 1.)  There is an uncomplicated reason, but in order to understand the explanation, you need to understand our Basic Concepts here at Affaircare.  Let me summarize:

To keep it simple, envision that the love in your marriage is like a campfire. There are actions that people do to stoke the fire of love and make it hotter–those are Love Kindlers. Much as adding fuel to a fire keeps it burning, makes it brighter and warmer, so concentrating on Kindlers, making them part of your daily interaction, builds the fire of your marriage. There are actions that people do that are like putting water on a fire–some are like dribbles out of a holey bucket, and some are like dumping a big bucket of water on the fire. Smothering a fire will eventually put it out. Actions that kill the fires of your love are Love Extinguishers.

When you go to marriage counseling, and you’re told to “try dating” …what the counselor is focusing on is the Love Kindlers. But what happens is that the husband tries to think of some nice “kindler” to do for his wife but picks the wrong love language, so she doesn’t notice or if she does notice…she’s underwhelmed. Well hey–it didn’t mean love to her in her language! So he gets upset that he put ALL THAT EFFORT into it, and got no benefit, no brownie points, no passion…and he starts finding fault with everything she does, and one step forward just became three steps back! Or the wife tries to win her husband with his favorite meal and a ticket to the ballgame (what guy wouldn’t love that?) but she works herself into a frenzy that he’s going to meet “her” at the game and ends up bringing up the affair and making several disrespectful judgments about why he’d rather go to a sporting event than be with her. One step forward…three steps back!

Love Kindlers are lovely. They are! They are what make us fall in love with each other, and we often call them “romance.” But we can not fall in love with each other if we are sabotaging the relationship with LOVE EXTINGUISHERS. So before you can get to the rather fun part of adding Love Kindlers, it is vital to first look at yourself (not your spouse, and I don’t care if they were the Disloyal or not), and be honest.  Have you been doing these things?  If you have, forget the Kindlers for now and practice stopping these Love Extinguishers!! Yesterday we looked at Emotional Neglect and Spiritual Neglect–and today we address two more common Love Extinguisher: Physical Neglect and Financial Neglect.

1.  Emotional Neglect

2. Spiritual Neglect

3.  Physical Neglect

  • No Tender Touches (Hugs, Kisses, Touches)–Do you touch your spouse in affectionate but non-sexual ways, like hugs, kisses, holding hands or cuddling?  Do you touch them in ways that they like or as often as they’d like?
  • Withholding Sexual Fulfillment–Within the marriage is the only MORAL place for a man and woman to express themselves sexually. Do you reject your spouse sexually? Do you have an excuse every day for not having sex? Or when you do “let them have sex,” do you lay there like a dead fish?  Is the sexual activity in your marriage the way that they like it or as often as they’d like? How much does your spouse need sexual fulfillment?
  • Abandoning Physical Attractiveness–Do you keep yourself physically attractive for your spouse?  Do you still fix up your hair and keep it in an attractive haircut?  Do you keep your body physically fit and/or curvy in a way that your spouse finds attractive, or did you let yourself go? Have you gotten lazy about your grooming and hygiene?  Do you smell good or have your worn the same pair of sweats/jeans for a week now?  Speaking of sweats, do you were clothing that is complimentary to your physique or baggy, holey clothing?

4.  Financial Neglect

  • Ongoing Unemployment (that is not part of a mutual agreement)–Were you employed when you and your spouse met?  Were you contributing to the household financially, but once you got laid off now all you do is sleep until noon, play video games or watch Maury, and send out one resume a week?
  • Unwilling/Unable to Live by a Budget–Have you and your spouse gone over the finances, agreed to a budget, and then your spouse found you went on a “secret” shopping spree anyway or bought a toy the two of you just could not afford?
  • Hidden Debt–Have you taken out a credit card without telling your spouse and run it all the way up to the limit? Have you got hidden creditors that keep jumping out and surprising your spouse?  Do you have debts for past poor financial decisions that you actively hide?
  • Hidden Spending or Overspending–Have you bought a whole new wardrobe and then brought it into the house piece by piece so your spouse wouldn’t notice? Or bought a new “truck” even though the two of you were on the edge of bankruptcy?
  • IRS or Legal Financial Trouble (Judgements, Liens)–This is pretty self-explanatory.  Do you have debts to the IRS or the State Dept. of Revenue and now your spouse’s bank account or the joint account is garnished?  Or do you have fines or liens that you have neglected to pay and now they are hounding our spouse about your legal problems?

To learn more about ending the Love Extinguishers so your marriage can recover, look over Part 1, and then come back tomorrow for #5 Family Neglect and #6 Social Neglect.  On Friday, we’ll conclude with #7 Security Neglect AND have a Love Extinguishers Quiz that your spouse can take about you!

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Why some couples just can’t seem to reconcile–Part 1

leaking-bucket

Have you ever known a couple who decided to reconcile after one of them had an affair?  They even went to a marriage counselor and everything! Yet they just spun their wheels and never could really get ahead, and they ended up divorcing even though they really tried?

Or is that maybe where you find yourself today?  Your spouse had an affair -OR- you were unfaithful, and the two of you made a choice–a decision–to reconcile, but it just isn’t working?  Oh you are going to marriage counseling and the counselor told you to “try dating” but how in the world do you DATE someone who tore your heart out?  How do you DATE someone who gave you the silent treatment when you desperately needed and wanted their attention?  You’re trying…and I mean really trying, not that faking it stuff… and yet somehow you get no traction and your marriage just is not recovering.  You worry if you will ever feel loved again and wonder if you’ll just end up divorcing even after all this effort.

There is an uncomplicated reason why some couples just can not seem to reconcile, but in order to understand the explanation, you need to understand our Basic Concepts here at Affaircare.  Let me summarize:

To keep it simple, envision that the love in your marriage is like a campfire. There are actions that people do to stoke the fire of love and make it hotter–those are Love Kindlers. Much as adding fuel to a fire keeps it burning, makes it brighter and warmer, so concentrating on Kindlers, making them part of your daily interaction, builds the fire of your marriage. There are actions that people do that are like putting water on a fire–some are like dribbles out of a holey bucket, and some are like dumping a big bucket of water on the fire. Smothering a fire will eventually put it out. Actions that kill the fires of your love are Love Extinguishers.

When you go to marriage counseling, and you’re told to “try dating” …what the counselor is focusing on is the Love Kindlers. But what happens is that the husband tries to think of some nice “kindler” to do for his wife but picks the wrong love language, so she doesn’t notice or if she does notice…she’s underwhelmed. Well hey–it didn’t mean love to her in her language! So he gets upset that he put ALL THAT EFFORT into it, and got no benefit, no brownie points, no passion…and he starts finding fault with everything she does, and one step forward just became three steps back! Or the wife tries to win her husband with his favorite meal and a ticket to the ballgame (what guy wouldn’t love that?) but she works herself into a frenzy that he’s going to meet “her” at the game and ends up bringing up the affair and making several disrespectful judgments about why he’d rather go to a sporting event than be with her. One step forward…three steps back!

Love Kindlers are lovely. They are! They are what make us fall in love with each other, and we often call them “romance.” But we can not fall in love with each other if we are sabotaging the relationship with LOVE EXTINGUISHERS. So before you can get to the rather fun part of adding Love Kindlers, it is vital to first look at yourself (not your spouse, and I don’t care if they were the Disloyal or not), and be honest.  Have you been doing these things?  If you have, forget the Kindlers for now and practice stopping these Love Extinguishers!!

1.  Emotional Neglect

  • Scorekeeper–Do you keep track of who “won” or who has done the chore more times? Does your marriage feel like a competition?
  • Fault Finder–Do you make a practice of discovering your spouse’s faults and then pointing them out over and over? Criticize everything they do?
  • Controlling–Do you manipulate every situation to your own benefit? Center their existence around you? Tell them where they can and can not go, for how long, and with whom?
  • Bottomless Pit–No matter what they do to try to please you, do you always want more? Are you unable to express gratitude or pleasure?

2. Spiritual Neglect

  • Will Not Forgive–Did they do something wrong a long time ago, and you are STILL holding it over their head ? Even if they do everything you tell them, you never let them off the hook?
  • Lack of Personal Transparency–Do you hide your cell phone from your spouse and close the screen on your PC when your spouse walks into the room? Do you keep them at arm’s length and hide yourself and your life from them?
  • Smoke and Mirrors–Do you give your spouse false information with the express intent of making them doubt themselves, their memory or their sanity?
  • Disrespectful Judgments–Do you act like you are “straightening your spouse out”? Do your lecture them instead of discussing respectfully? Are they afraid to discuss their point of view with you?

To learn more about ending the Love Extinguishers so your marriage can recover, come back tomorrow for #3 Physical Neglect and #4 Financial Neglect!  On Thursday we’ll cover #5 Family Neglect and #6 Social Neglect.  And on Friday, we’ll conclude with #7 Security Neglect AND have a Love Extinguishers Quiz that your spouse can take about you!

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

What your spouse does for you

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

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

1. Emotional Commitment in REAL Love

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

2. Spiritual Commitment in REAL Love

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

3. Physical Commitment in REAL Love

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

4. Financial Commitment  in REAL Love

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

5. Family Commitment  in REAL Love

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

6. Social Commitment  in REAL Love

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

7. Security Commitment  in REAL Love

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

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

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