Monthly Archives: July 2010

I promise to love you…as long as I’m happy

My grandparents were married for more than 50 years–both sets.  Their parents before them also married young and were together until parted by death.  And those grandparents and great-grandparents lived through emigrating to a new world, two World Wars and the Great Depression, so life was not “easy” for them.  Why is it that those generations “before” survived with their marriages in tact, and current generations have a better than 50% chance of divorce…and are likely to do it over and over again?
The answer to this nagging question is one word: COMMITMENT.
When my grandparents and their parents uttered their wedding vows, it was in a society that understood the idea that a man was only as good as his word–and that a commitment meant responsibility and obligation.  When they married, it wasn’t due to butterflies in the stomach infatuation that they expected would continue for their whole life.  Those were generations that understood that a marriage vow was entering into a voluntary contract with another person for life to form a stable family unit and beyond.  They understood that they were not always going to be “happy” and that sometimes happiness comes from being patient and waiting.
Somewhere in the 60’s and 70’s the shift changed from honoring “family and commitment” to honoring only what brings up pleasure right now.  In an article addressing this concept, I love you…for right now, the author Lady Grier talks about how the strong lifelong commitments of past generations has been replaced by an attitude of “oh well, I’m tired of him/her.”  Everywhere I look, people are being advised to leave their marriages and divorce “because after all you deserve to be happy”  … and apparently you have to be happy right now!! In addition, she notes that men today don’t know what it means to really provide for a family or be the head of the household; and likewise women today expect men to be emasculated metrosexuals and “submit” is a fighting word!  Civil marriage vows still say: “I, ____, take you, ____, for my lawful (husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health and, forsaking all others, be faithful to you until death us do part” and yet to be completely honest, they probably should say: “I, ___, take you, ___, for my lawful (husband/wife), to have and to hold as long as I feel like it, from this day for better, for richer, in health and as long as the sex is good.  If I am unhappy or it becomes for worse, for poorer, in sickness or someone comes along who flirts more or who makes me happier, I can’t really promise I’ll be faithful.”
Marriage vows mean more than a party and a great dress.  Marriage vows are effectively a business contract between the three individuals: the husband, the wife, and God.  When you make a vow you are voluntarily telling your spouse in front of God what you are promising: that you will dedicate 100% of your affection and loyalty to them and them only as long as you are alive.  In exchange for that promise, you have a companion on all that life sends you–the good and the bad. Unfortunately you can not get the benefits of honoring that vow without also accepting the responsibilities of honoring that vow.  For our instant gratification generation, that means that it will not always be easy…and you’ll stay because you decide to stay.  That means you will not always “be happy” but that if you want to have a happy relationship you can create it…not leave.  That means that when it gets tough, you made a promise and you are a man (or woman) of your word and you stick it out. But even beyond honoring our promises and once again become people who value our word, we need to put our focus on God:
Heb. 12:1-4
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (NIV)
 These verses tell us not to focus on ourselves, our neighbors, other couples or even others in the Church–we are to focus on the love that Christ showed us and demonstrate THAT level of love and commitment to our spouse.

Seven Tips to Avoid Infidelity

1. Invest time and energy into your marriage–study marriage, take the quizzes, learn to KNOW your mate. Whatever you put your time, money and energy into becomes more important to you, so make your marriage priority #1 by investing in your spouse, learning how to be a better husband or wife, and learning about how to be intimate. And no I don’t just mean sex! Learn how to have a close association with and detailed knowledge with deep understanding of your spouse!  Please click here to take the: Love Kindlers Questionnaire. Love Extinguishers Questionnaire. Myers-Briggs Personality Test. Love Languages Assessment.

2. Know yourself and your own weaknesses–guard yourself by setting boundaries around yourself.  You can use the questionnaires in #1 to also learn a lot about yourself! You can learn your natural personality weaknesses, the things that kindle love in your heart, the think that mean “I love you” to you, and things that put out the flame–so purposely set protective barriers around yourself to prevent you from crossing the line.  Reach the agreement with your spouse to have a M.U.U. policy–Mutual United Understanding.  Don’t look to get kindlers met from anyone other than your spouse.  If you have a weakness for admiration or flirting, what boundaries would you set to keep yourself safe?

3. Protect yourself at work–because the workplace is a prime place for infidelity.  You spend long hours with other people, doing things together (work projects), looking professional, so you automatically have a lot in common with anyone at work. They understand you and you understand them. Add in the employee admiring the supervisor…and just a touch of flirting or sexual tension…and it is a recipe for temptation.  Establish rules from the beginning to protect your marriage! No lunches alone with members of the opposite sex, no private work emailing, no long “business rides” together, and NO sharing motel rooms on business trips!  

4. Set boundaries online–share with your spouse full access and passwords to all your email accounts, facebook/twitter/myspace pages, chats and forums. Think of it this way–what’s on the internet can be found if someone is clever enough, so would you say that out loud to your spouse’s face? If not, then don’t say it behind their back and hide it either. Join groups together that are pro-marriage. Do activities online together, such as playing games together, and partner with your spouse only. Have a set time for how long and when you’ll be online–reach M.U.U. with your spouse about your online life.

5.  When a “friend” shares their discontent at home and is attracted to you, remember–you can’t rescue them.  In that instance, if you were truly being a friend to them, you would direct them to go to their spouse and talk directly to their spouse, you might offer to be a facilitator during the talk, or you might recommend a pastor or counselor to help them through their rough period.  BUT a true friend does not listen to a married person gossip or speak ill of their spouse!  If your friend is telling you how desperately they want to leave their spouse and there is attraction between the two of you–that’s not a “friendship”!  That’s an emotional affair!

6.  When an old flame resurfaces, diligently remember your vow and turn TOWARD your spouse.  An old flame has the fantasy advantage of you remembering all the positive things about the person–the good times and smiles–and pretty much forgetting the negative things that caused you to leave in the first place.  If you were very young, it was infatuation not mature love, and fate didn’t “tear you apart.”  The old flame has never had to face bills, diapers, and illness with you either!  So don’t let your imagination run away with you–you CAN make the deliberate decision to honor your commitment and turn to your spouse and choose to LOVE them!

7.  Transparency at home–if you do have issues at home, talk to your spouse about them honestly and work through them, don’t turn to someone else.  In Matthew 18:15-17 we’re told: 

Matthew 18:15-17

Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

It’s very clear here.  If your spouse does something to offend or hurt you, we’re told to go speak to him/her directly and speak to them alone.  If they hear you–yay, you’ve gained a closer relationship with your spouse.  If they won’t hear you, we are not told to go to two or three more people, gripe and whine about it, but avoid bringing it up to your spouse!  No, it’s clear we are to determine in our hearts to keep working until we work it out with our spouse!  If your spouse is abusive or hurting you–you absolutely get yourself to safety, but you don’t turn to another–at work or at school–and get your emotional needs or Love Kindlers from someone else.  Your vow is that you will forsake all others. 

>The Declaration of Independence–in full


When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. –Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

>7 Steps to Rebuilding Your Marriage After the Affair is Ended


#1 No Contact Letter.  After the affair is over, the Disloyaly Spouse (DS) can never, ever contact the Other Person (OP) again.  In this first step, the DS writes a no contact letter and the Loyal Spouse (LS) sends it. This letter should not be a final “love letter” to the OP but rather should focus on stating the affair was wrong and firmly establishing the boundary of no contact WHATSOEVER!  Please click this link for some sample No Contact Letters 

#2 Turn over access. Both spouses need to be transparently honest with each other right now, so BOTH should share access to their online accounts like emails, Facebook, cellphone bills, etc.  This makes both spouse’s accountable and gives them the chance to allow their spouse to see their true activities, thoughts and feelings.  Plus it gives a chance to create trust by behaving in a trustworthy way and being able to verify it!

#3 Commit. Both of you need to resolve to actually work on your own issues and the marriage.  Affairs do not happen in a vaccuum and that means both parties need to be willing to look themselves in the mirror and be honest–and then be willing to work on it!  Each person is an individual and may have their own issues to work on … and sometimes those issues also overlap into issues in the marriage.  So both have to be willing to put in the effort to grow, change, and do something different!

#4 End Love Extinguishers.  If you think of the love in your marriage as a fire, both of you did actions that put out the flame of love!  Identify what those actions were, where you were neglectful, and work to end those extinguishers.  Both the husband and the wife should take the Love Extinguisher Questionnaire and then share it with each other so your spouse knows which specific things extinguished the fastest.

#5 Love Kindlers.  If you think of the love in your marriage as a fire, you both used to do things that made the flame of love BLAZE–and gradually you stopped doing them.  So identify what those actions are and start doing them again!  Both the husband and the wife should take the Love Kindler Questionnaire and then share it so your spouse knows what really stokes your fire!

#6 Personality type.  Some of the issues in your marriage and some of the miscommunication could be differing personality types.  Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  Intuitive or Sensing?  Thinker or Feeler?  Perceiver or Judge?  These type combinations can make a big difference in how you perceive things and how you communicate, so find out if some of your issues are just personality by taking this test: The Jung Myers-Briggs Personality test

#7 Love Languages. Different people say “I love you” in different ways.  If you say love by changing her oil and filling the gas tank, she may be sitting at home wondering why you don’t spend time talking to her anymore–don’t you love her?  To find out if you two are both showing the other that you love them but not doing it in their love language, here is a small test you can take:  Love Languages Assessment