Before there can be reconciliation, there are three things that need to happen for true growth and rebuilding to occur:
- No Contact,
- Transparent Honesty,
- Agreement to work on yourself and your marriage
I will write about those three topics in the Affaircare newsletter this coming weekend–Sunday October 14th! If you want to hear more, please feel free to subscribe right there on the right sidebar. But TODAY, the topic is how to rebuild after the affair has ended. How do you pick up the pieces and build a new marriage? What steps should we take to start making a marriage that is mature, healthy, loving and happy for both of us?
Step Five: W-T-F-S
Invariably, as you two are carefully rebuilding your marriage, topics will come up that are difficult to discuss but that need to be brought up for a truly healthy relationship. The problem is that discussions like this were harmful to the marriage, in the past – usually due to one spouse wording it: YOU do this or that,” and the second spouse responding defensively and it all goes spirals downward into a fight from there.
As you can see, rebuilding your marriage is a step-by-step process, and each new step builds upon the previous step. When you two have forgiven each other, both committed to doing the work, taken some time together, and learned how to reach an enthusiastic understanding, you’re ready to start addressing some of the harder topics. One way to respectfully bring up a topic that is uncomfortable, and avoid the downward spiral, is to use the W-T-F-S method. This stands for: “When you…” “I Think…” “I Feel…” “So I’d like to request…” Let’s go over each letter!
When you… This is where you would put into words the issue that needs to be addressed. The goal here is not to be blaming or pointing fingers, but rather to focus on a specific behavior or pattern. This is to identify the topic.
I Think… At this point, share with your spouse the words you think inside your own head. We all have a voice inside our head like a running narration of what we think, so share those words—share what you think about the specific behavior or pattern and keep the focus on yourself not on your spouse. If you are blessed with a natural thinker type, you’ll find this one fairly easy—if you’re a feeler type, you will have to put your thoughts into words.
I Feel… This is the point at which you share with your spouse how you feel about the specific behavior or pattern. Use words that describe your emotions, and try to stretch your vocabulary beyond “happy, sad, or angry”. For those who are a natural thinker type, here are a few words to help expand your emotional lexicon—if you’re a feeler type, you’ll be well acquainted with these words!
So I’d like to request… This final step is actually extremely important; if you skip this step basically all you’re doing is complaining! This step identifies for your spouse what you would request of them to either fix the problem or make it work for you. At this step do your best to be specific and ask for what you need, and ask them if they’d be willing to do that. They are completely free to say “yes” or “no” but if they do say “no” ask them what they would be willing to do. Maybe they have a suggestion that really would work for you!
Finally, as an example, here’s what a W-T-F-S statement would sound like. The topic: when the Disloyal Spouse gets a cell phone call at home and goes to another room to take the call.
“When you get a call on your cell phone and leave to take the call in another room,
I think that you’re trying to hide the conversation or who called,
I feel scared that I’m going to be hurt again and feel a little excluded,
So I’d like to request that if you do get a cell call, would you be willing to answer it right in front of me and take the call right then and there? If you need to go somewhere more quiet, let’s work out a quick signal between us.”
This is post #12 in the CMBA 1/2 Marathon Blogging Challenge to post everyday for 13 days in October … AND is part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge!
And on Fridays I also join this Godly Link-up:
- How to Rebuild After an Affair: Step 4 M.U.U. (affaircare.com)
- How to Rebuild After an Affair: Step 3 Take Some Time (affaircare.com)
- How to Rebuild After an Affair: Step 2 Commitment (affaircare.com)
- How to Rebuild After an Affair: Step 1 Forgiveness (affaircare.com)