Category Archives: Ask Affaircare

Reconciliation Tool #5: REBT Part 2 [Podcast]

Your spouse had an affair. You followed the steps to end the affair, and now you and your spouse have made the decision to try to save your marriage and recover.  You listened to our series about Recovering After an Affair.  But now you want to learn more about the tools you can use to help you reconcile (the final step).

Today we continue our series all about the Reconciliation tools, how to use them, and why they are helpful.  Although  there is no guarantee your marriage will be saved, but these tools can help you build a new, more healthy marriage.

In today’s episode we talk about the fifth tool–Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), developed by Dr.Albert Ellis in 1955.  Since REBT is such a big topic, we broke up this subject into two parts:  Part One, last week, is a background on what REBT is, what it means, and why it is important.  THIS week, in Part Two, we will show you the technique, how to use it, and then tips on making REBT a habit.

When something negative, or bad happens to you, your inner dialog gives you it’s take on the situation. As a result, you experience an emotion. You are then left with the choice of how to deal with whatever has happened.

As Christians, we know that our inner dialog is tainted by sin. Jeremiah says: “…The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?…” (Jeremiah 17:9) Dealing with our sin is the responsibility of all Christians. Our sin is a product of, the result of, and caused by our thinking: “…For out of the heart come evil thoughts–murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander…” (Matthew 15:19), and so on.

REBT is a tool that helps you investigate that inner dialog – to address and change that inner dialog to be one that is more helpful, wiser, and less prone to error.  We also would point out that as Christians, changing that inner dialog is part of growing as a Christian. And as a Christian, we have the Holy Spirit who helps us grow and change. In this instance, REBT is used as a tool to help us focus directly on where sin and error have been so influential.

We have added several new REBT resources on our Affaircare Quizzes page!

NOTE TO SELF:  This is a self-help tool – it is not meant for use on your spouse: you use it on yourself. This tool gives you a method to ease your aching heart, to calm yourself, and to give yourself the strength to handle the difficult road ahead of you. It gives you some clarity of mind with which you can then prepare and make better decisions. It can help you avoid those bad situations which arise from acting on impulse, or without considering further consequences.

[audio: https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/2016/Reconciliation+Tools-REBT+2+audio.mp3]

.
Other podcasts in the Reconciliation Tools series:

The Recovering After an Affair Series:

Advertisements

Help! How do I deal with discovering a secret affair child? Part 2

half sibling DNA test

We recently had someone write with a request (slightly changed for confidentiality):

Can you write about how we should deal with discovering a sibling born out of adultery? In this case the Loyal Spouse was not aware there was a child conceived of adultery, as the child was hidden and never revealed. The Disloyal Spouse introduced their parents and siblings to the hidden child, and they helped the Disloyal hide the child until the marriage was over. How do I deal with this discovery?

We’re going to answer this request from two points of view. In our last blogpost we answered “How a Loyal Spouse, married several decades, would deal with discovering their Disloyal Spouse had a child that they didn’t know even existed from an affair in the past.” Today we will address “How a young adult would deal with discovering their parent had other children by other people.”

Before we go any further, let’s start with some definitions and statistics.  A STEP sibling is when parents divorce and remarry other people-the children of the two remarried people are step-children or step-siblings.  Step-siblings are not related to each other by blood but might be considered ‘family’ because they are living in the same home being raised by both the step-parent and their original parents.  A HALF sibling is when one parent has a child with someone other than the other parent, so that the children ARE related to one parent by blood, and the other parent is not the same.  Sometimes half-siblings are considered ‘family’ and are raised in the same households and sometimes half-siblings are raised in different houses.

Step and half siblings are becoming more and more common.  According to Smart Stepfamilies:

  • 40% of married couples with children (i.e., families) in the US are stepcouples (at least one partner had a child from a previous relationship before marriage; this includes full and part-time residential stepfamilies and those with children under and/or over the age of 18). The percentage of all married couple households is 35% (Karney, Garvan, & Thomas, 2003)
  • 42% of adults have a steprelationship–either a stepparent, a step or half sibling, or a stepchild. This translates to 95.5 million adults. (When you add the more than 5 million stepchildren in the US, the total is over 100 million Americans have a steprelationship.)
  • 40% of children are born out of wedlock; nearly 60% of these couples already have at least one child from a previous relationship. In other words, the majority of children being born out of wedlock are entering functional (nonmarital) stepfamilies (Carlson & Furstenberg, 2006).

To  put it simply, this means that if you’ve recently discovered that one of your parents had an affair and you have a half-brother or half-sister, you aren’t alone!  We are not suggesting it isn’t shocking to discover a hidden sibling, but even though it feels like you are the only one who has had this happen, the statistics above assure us that there are other people who have experienced this same thing and have gotten through it.  Hey–even OPRAH found out she had a hidden half-sister!

To help you cope with discovering a new half-brother or half-sister, here are a few applicable Bible verses and a short list of 10 practical issues you’ll have to address when you discover a new half-sibling.

BIBLE VERSES:

Siblings are mentioned often throughout the Old and New Testaments; unfortunately, not all siblings express love for one another!  Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, and Joseph and his brothers spring to mind–and yet the story of Joseph is a good place to start.  Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt (Genesis 37:12–28), but during his time as a slave in Egypt and when he saw his brothers again years later, Joseph did not act toward them in hate or shut them out of his life.  He reacted to them in love.

Thus I think the next applicable verse here is Luke 6:27-36:

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

I believe our natural, sinful reaction would be to shut them out of the family or be resentful of them because they were the product of the actions that rocked the family’s world! Yet Jesus is clear here–we are to love OUR ENEMIES! So even though we don’t really know the half-sibling well enough to know if they are an enemy, what we do know is that we are to do good to them.

Here are a few more verses about how we are to treat people–half-siblings included!

a) We should not only respond gracefully when others react sinfully toward us, but also go out of the way to serve them – John 13:12–14

b) We are instructed to “live at peace with everyone” playing the role of peacemaker when disagreements arise  –  Romans 12:18

c) We are to show kindness to each other, compassion, and forgiveness – Ephesians 4:32

d) We are to love others in a way that reflects the love of Christ – I John 4: 7-8

10 PRACTICAL ISSUES YOU’LL HAVE TO ADDRESS:

1. Learn how to decid confusion over (a) “who is who” in the nuclear and extended families, (b) who decides who belongs.  If you are a young adult, it may be time for YOU to decide for yourself who is in your family and who is not…and to take personal responsibility for what you choose.

2. Learn to accept that being a “half” does not mean they are somehow less loved, wanted, worthy, smart, normal, or valuable than “full” siblings, despite what some people may say.

3. Decide what to call your new half-sibling – e.g. “my brother,” “my half-brother,” “Jeremy,” “My Mom’s other son,” or something else, and why names are important to some family members and not to others (“I don’t care what you call me.”)

4. Learn that it’s OK if you don’t know or care about the half-sibling’s “other Mom” or “other Dad,” and don’t “have to” acknowledge them at holidays or birthdays, or expect acknowledgement from them.

5. Learn how to react when siblings and relatives get into “fights” (values and loyalty conflicts, and relationship triangles, etc.) about the half-sibling.  Not everyone is going to make the choices that you do, and not everyone will feel like you do.

6. Learn how keep your own boundaries clear and to assert your needs if a your parent treats you differently than they treat the half-sibling or if their “other parent” does or does not discipline them the way that you’ve been taught, etc.

7. Learn to feel compassion for your half-sibling’s many family-adjustments–which you don’t have to understand.  Just remember you aren’t the only one who’s having to adjust. Clarify what will change and what will not.

8. Learn why some (genetic) relatives may treat you”better” than your half-siblings (or vice versa), and how not to feel guilty about that. It’s their choice and they are adults! They will live with the benefits and the consequences of how they choose to live.

9. Learn why some or all of your other family members disagree on these issues, but ultimately remember that as a young adult, you are personally responsible for what you choose.  It’s okay to disagree.

10. Learn that it’s OK to say how this makes you feel (“I wish you guys would stop fighting all the time!”), and that not everyone is going to understand how you feel.  Share YOUR feelings and don’t expect everyone to think or feel “just like you.”

What Does God Want Me to Do About My Marriage? [Podcast]

sign

Here at Affaircare we are asked this question all the time, “What does God want me to do for my marriage? Should I reconcile or should I divorce?”  This week we thought it would be a wise idea to address this question in our podcast.

So for those asking the question we want you to know that  “God’s will” is not some mysterious, mystical thing He reveals via paranormal means to special, elite spiritual people. God’s will and God’s thoughts are revealed to us all plainly in the Bible. Any time that someone claims “the Holy Spirit told me ____” and it contradicts what is written in the Bible, then they are mistaken!  I guarantee you, the Holy Spirit does not tell you that your soul mate is someone else’s spouse!

Second, David and I cannot tell you what to do–God does not give us special revelation on an individual basis for our clients.  We don’t know you, we don’t know your spouse, we don’t know all the facts (we usually hear one side but not both sides and possibly not the truth!), and we don’t know what you two say and do behind closed doors. So we can not predict and we are not “truth detectors.” We are human just like you and all we have to work with are the facts and details that are told to us–and if those facts or details were lies, we can not “just tell.”  No counselor can.

Here is the good news, though!  We CAN tell you how YOU are supposed to act in your marriage, because the Bible tells us the type of married people God wants us to be.  Since we cannot control others, our focus is going to be on YOU and changing YOU–maybe the way you think about your marriage–maybe the way you feel about your marriage–and definitely the way you act in your marriage.  Everything that God wants for your marriage is revealed in the Bible, so let’s look there:

 

GENERAL MARRIAGE VERSES–

Gen 2: 23-24

23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Prov. 5: 18-19

18 May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.

Malachi 2: 13-16

13 Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14 You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. 15 Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. 16 “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.

I Corinthians 7: 1-5

1 Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Ephesians 5: 33

33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

VERSES FOR WIVES–

Proverbs 31: 10-12

10 An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.

Ephesians 5: 22-24

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

1 Peter 3:1-6

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

VERSES FOR HUSBANDS–

Ephesians 5: 25-28

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Colossians 3:19

Husbands, love [your] wives, and be not bitter against them.

1 Timothy 5:8 – But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

So rather than ask us about what God wants you to do with your marriage, look at the verses mentioned today, and apply them to yourself. Is that what YOU are like in your marriage? If not, then that’s where we would start–focus on becoming the husband or wife that God desires. Look at the person in the mirror and put your energy into becoming more godly rather than on changing your spouse. Keep studying the Bible specifically looking at marriage and husbands and wives. The more you obey God, the clearer His will becomes.

[audio:  https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/2016/2016-03-18+What+Does+God+Want+Me+to+Do.mp3]

Help! How do I deal with discovering a secret affair child? Part 1

affair child

We recently had someone write with a request (slightly changed for confidentiality):

Can you write about how we should deal with discovering a sibling born out of adultery? In this case the Loyal Spouse was not aware there was a child conceived of adultery, as the child was hidden and never revealed. The Disloyal Spouse introduced their parents and siblings to the hidden child, and they helped the Disloyal hide the child until the marriage was over. How do I deal with this discovery?

We’re going to answer this request from two points of view.  First–today–we’ll answer “How a Loyal Spouse, married several decades, would deal with discovering their Disloyal Spouse had a child that they didn’t know even existed from an affair in the past.” Tomorrow we’ll address “How a young adult would deal with discovering their parent had other children by other people.”

In the first instance, the Loyal Spouse and Disloyal Spouse were married for many years. Apparently at some point in the past, the Disloyal Spouse had an affair and created a child with the Affair Partner. The Loyal and Disloyal did not split up or divorce, and they continued with their marriage for many more years,  and they had a family together … children.  Whether the reconciliation was successful or a rug-sweep we don’t know; whether issues were addressed or avoided we don’t know.  But we do know that the Loyal Spouse did not divorce the Disloyal for many years, and we do know that the Loyal Spouse didn’t know there was an affair baby.  That child was not part of the Loyal Spouse’s life or part of their family unit.

Therefore, to the Loyal Spouse, discovering that there was a hidden affair child would be equivalent to discovering adultery that is going on right now.  The trauma of discovering infidelity is in the present because the discovery is in the present–even though the actual unfaithful activity was many years in the past.  From the Loyal Spouse’s point of view, this will be “as if it is happening now” because the shock is occurring now. This is what it feels like: “Finding Out: What It Feels Like to Hear that Your Spouse is Having an Affair

How would the Loyal Spouse deal with this?  Well our whole site is full of ways to cope with discovering your spouse had an affair!  You could start with this series: “How to Rebuild After an Affair: Step 1 Forgiveness” (there are links to the other steps) and this series is all about the stages that occur as you deal with discovering adultery (again there are links to the other stages).  The Loyal Spouse is going to have to work through this traumatic experience.

But overall I think we would recommend that the Loyal Spouse ask themselves “What does the Bible say about dealing with trials?” and “What does the Bible say about dealing with difficult people?”  How did Jesus respond to people who challenged Him and tried to trap Him?  How did He respond to those who were rude or sinful? Was He harsh or dismissive or abrasive?  Nope–He showed patience, He rebuked when it was necessary, and sometimes He remained silent.  Copy Jesus when dealing with both the Disloyal and the Affair Partner.

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you

~Luke 6:27–31

It’s pretty clear in this verse how Jesus wants us to act, even toward those who are our enemy. That’s not to say that we are commanded to be a doormat and allow our enemies to keep hurting us, but we are told to be so profoundly changed by the Holy Spirit with us that we do the exact opposite of what comes naturally.  We are supposed to be so different that we are transformed.

Tomorrow, Part Two of this little series.  We’ll talk about how a young adult would deal with discovering their parent had other children by other people.

What the Disloyal Spouse Can Do to Save Their Marriage

 

apology1. No Contact with the Other Person (OP).  Under no circumstance should you in any way have any contact with the Other Person!! Delete them from your contacts and then delete the means by which you stayed in touch, and if that means the inconvenience of changing your cell phone number then so be it. Endure the consequence of choosing to use that device to compromise your marriage! For me, I had been in touch via a secret email account , via a second FB account, via a game, and via the game’s forum…so I deleted the secret email altogether, deleted the second FB account and then stayed off FB altogether, removed the shortcuts for the game, deleted the game, and removed the bookmarks for the forum. The point here is not to think “What’s the bare minimum I need to do here in order to appear like I’m removing all contact while keeping one last way of contact open?” but rather to REALLY HONESTLY DO IT. Cut that person out of your life. Go over and above to remove not just the ways you did contact, but ways you could be tempted to contact.

Final thought: often people use their cell phone to either text with or call the OP, and it’s not enough to “remove them from the contact list.” It is much more thorough to get a new phone number. Now you may be tempted to think: “But all my work contacts have that number and it would be so inconvenient….” but you know what that shows? You are thinking of yourself and making YOUR life easy and “to heck with my spouse!” You are a grown up and you chose to be unfaithful, so it is reasonable for you to now endure a little inconvenience in order to go all out in ending contact. You may others endure pain for you–now it’s your turn, and it’s fair.

2. Transparency. This one will be difficult and scary, I guarantee! Being transparent is not just being honest, but rather being “see through.” Right now you have been hiding behind masks of “who you are” “what you think” and “what you feel”…holding up a false facade for your spouse to think you are who you are not. My guess is that you felt things that hurt and you were afraid to say them out loud or you felt unheard. My guess is that you thought things that were were ugly and things you knew would hurt your spouse so you didn’t want to share them…maybe avoiding the trouble you’d get into if you said “the truth.” My guess is that you want people to see you as “a fine, upstanding pillar of the community” and speak highly of you…when you are not ACTING like a fine, upstanding pillar of the community with high morals and character! Soooo…..you lied. And the lies caught up to you! NOW in order to save your marriage you are going to have to go against what you’ve gotten used to, and not only “tell the truth” but also open up about WHO you are, what you honestly FEEL, and what you truly THINK.

To me there were two parts to this transparency thing. First, I had hidden my computer, my secret email, my second FB, etc. from my Dear Hubby, so Part One was relatively easy–I let him in. I realized that a GIGANTIC part of my issue was that I had shut him out of my life and myself by excluding him. So Part One was to actively INCLUDE him in every single thing I did all day long. The easy stuff was letting him see my computer, letting him have my passwords, not locking things down and hiding them from him, letting him see my secret stuff, and letting him see me delete it all. We deleted everything TOGETHER so that it was like a ritual of ending the old/beginning the new. As I said, this was the easier part for me!

Part Two was to actively practice letting him see the True Me…with all my warts and everything… and then see if he really loved me! If I had a thought that was not so lovely, but it was true–I shared it. If I had a feeling that was painful, I didn’t bury it but instead I shared it. And sometimes my thoughts and feelings were “not all that great” and I let him see it! Now, did I come right out and say everything unedited? No. I realize that sometimes, in the heat of the moment my head “sees red” and I think swear words, and repeating that wouldn’t be productive–but what I WOULD do is let him know I was angry…REALLY angry…and that in order to be respectful to him I needed some time to settle down before I could discuss it. So share the truth (anger) but in a way that is still respectful.

3. Commit to actually DOING the work, not talking about it. Lots of people miss this one. They talk about “going to a counselor” and they talk about “doing whatever it takes to save our marriage” but then when it comes down to facing themselves in counseling or facing their fears or facing what they’ve truly done…it’s too much and they avoid, run, hide, flee. So right now, purpose in your heart that you KNOW you are going to have to look at YOU and ways YOU perceive things and ways YOU cope with things, and it’s going to be hard and scary…but you are going to DO it. When your counselor says “Write this journal or list”…you do it. When you come up to something that is hard or scary or painful, rather than avoiding it, make a promise in your heart to not run away. Rather than falling into your old pattern (which got you in this mess in the first place), remember and try the NEW pattern.

Final thought: There is no “say”…only do. Do not tell your spouse a bunch of promises about committing or doing anything blahblahblah. Your spouse does not believe you right now, AND by your actions you’ve already demonstrated that your commitment means nothing. So instead of telling them, just let your actions show them. Seriously, do not promise. Just DO IT.

4. Gather evidence of love to get through withdrawal. When you have an affair, it’s very similar to being an addict, because what you are addicted to is the “high” good feeling of someone thinking you’re wonderful. There actually is brain chemistry that goes off when you’re “in love” (infatuated) and thus, once you feel that rush of good feeling, you want more of it and the affair continues. When you end your affair and return to your spouse, to you it is going to feel like you are losing the “good feelings” high from OP, and turning to the person who made you feel bad in the first place (NOTE: I’m not saying that is the truth–just “how it feels.”) To you, it will feel like a huge LOSS because you are losing that person who thought you were great–the person who gave you that ‘infatuation high’ feeling!

So once you initiate No Contact, there is going to be a period of what I call “withdrawal.” Again, it is an analogy and not exactly like addiction withdrawal, but it is somewhat similar enough that it helps people understand. When you were in contact, the contact was “the drug”…so when you remove “the drug” you go into withdrawal: namely, the first couple days every few minutes you think about the OP, you think of excuses to contact them, you crave that contact, you NEED that contact! Gradually it begins to feel more desperate, and to some degree just like cold turkey, you just have to get through this. I did two things: 1) I told myself to wait 15 minutes “I will put this off for 15 minutes and check how I feel in 15 minutes.” Then in 15 min. I put it off again for 15 min. all through the day. The next day I put it off half an hour, then an hour, and so on and so on. 2) I gathered reminders of love, so that when I was craving something positive, something that loving, something that shows caring about me, I looked at my Dear Hubbies old love letters, an old card from him, a drawing he made, songs he wrote, etc. If I need the positive “high” of love, I went to my DEAR HUBBY to get it…no one else.

5. Spend “fun” time with your spouse. Right now, when your spouse thinks of “you” s/he associates you with painful emotions and hurtful thoughts. YOU=Pain, to your spouse. Often times, people get so focused on saving their marriage, and working to fix it, that all they do is the deep, long, intense talks and the tears…and they forget to be the kind of person their spouse would want to be with. So that association of YOU=Pain is enforced (because you=deep, long intense talks, navel gazing, and tears). It is REALLY important right now to begin to look at yourself and think: “If I were in my spouse’s shoes, would I date me right now?” and if the answer is no, then start to become the person they would date again. I’m not talking about “Go buy roses” –I mean being the kind of person with whom they would associate good or happy times! Be the sort of person who is interesting. At some point, you had things in common that you both enjoyed or that you shared together: music, sports, hobbies…something. So rather than being “a downer” who always talks about hurtful stuff all the time…on the occasion, take the pressure off, tell your spouse you just want to be best friends right now who really care about each other, view your spouse as your very best friend to whom you tell everything, and once-in-a-while, take them to something fun. Go to a concert, not as their date, but someone who is interested in a band they also love, and share the fun of hearing a band you both like. Begin to change to YOU=Positive. You=listen without judgement. You=share fun times. You=good feelings. Get it?

6. Be accountable to someone. This reconciling is HARD, so don’t think to yourself, “Oh I got this. I can do this by myself.” Find someone who is a GUY who can be your mentor. Find someone who will know when you are lying and sneaking around and who will call you on it!

7. End Love Extinguishers. Okay I view the love in a marriage like a campfire. There is stuff you can do to the love that builds the fire (that’s a love kindler) and there’s stuff you can do that puts out the fire (that’s a love extinguisher). We all do both, but lots of times what happens is we get so caught up in life, work and bills that we don’t realize we pretty much love extinguish ALL DAY LONG… and we’ve kind of dropped the love kindlers. Now most counselors will tell you to “date your spouse again” and whatnot, and that almost never works, but here’s why! You take your spouse out to dinner (love kindler to them) but then you complain about the bill and make a scene to get a free dessert (extinguisher to them). YOU think you should “get credit” for the dinner, but the dinner was a positive and a negative to the flame of love, and nothing built up! So it feels like spinning your wheels (because you are)!! In reality you don’t need to start dating your spouse–you need to stop the love extinguishers!

So if you really, really want to start working on building love, look at your own self. What harmful spirits do you have inside you that are putting out the blaze of love in your marriage? Are you a scorekeeper? A faultfinder? Disrespectful to your spouse? Withholding? No tender touches that don’t lead to sex? Unstable employment? Hidden debt? Don’t help with the house or kids? Discourteous? Give them the silent treatment? Angry explosions? Attack dog…attacking your spouse? Passive-aggressive?

Don’t think “Yeah, but s/he….” or “Those describe my spouse!” because what we are doing here today is to look at YOURSELF–HONESTLY. If you can say to yourself, just privately, “Yes, I do that” then pick that one and work on that one. If you are a scorekeeper, how can you learn to stop keeping score and give of yourself, your time, and your everything freely without expecting a reward for what you did? If you have had unstable employment, how can you demonstrate with your actions that you want your spouse to feel safe financially like they aren’t going to have to scramble to pay rent right before eviction? Again, this is not the time to make promises…just pick a couple of those typical love extinguishers and work on them, and let your actions speak for themselves.

8. Re-start Love Kindlers. After you’ve worked on becoming the person you want to be, after you’ve done the work and made changes, after you’ve stopped some of the bad habits that have inadvertently been destroying your marriage–THEN if your spouse is willing, you can re-start love kindlers. These are the things that people do to show love through their actions, and this is probably easier for people to do than the love extinguishers and that’s why they start here! However, think about this: at one point you and your spouse got along well enough that you two wanted to get married. You had some similar interests, enjoyed each other’s company, couldn’t wait to be together, couldn’t wait to talk, and did all kinds of goofy things to help love grow. Well…that means you already have a foundation to rebuild on! Think back to the days when you were dating, and become the person who attracted them again. They liked you! So there is hope….

In conclusion, I want to remind you that you committed adultery. Say it: ADULTERY. Your spouse would be 100% within their moral rights to walk away and never give you another chance. Some people are not able to get over infidelity and it is a deal-breaker for them. Period. And here’s the super important part: THEY are not the one who broke the marriage–YOU ARE because they were faithful and you went outside the marriage! If your spouse chooses to walk away, they are walking away from the rubble of the marriage that was, because you nuked it. If your spouse does give you any sort of chance, you have GOT TO think of it not as something they owe you or as a second chance you expect, but as A GIFT. Priceless and Precious.

You can choose to change whether your spouse continues the marriage or not, and I personally suggest that you do change. And here’s how we can tell if the change is “real”–we would see you doing 180 degrees the opposite of what you used to be doing, and more importantly, we would see you taking the time for your life to demonstrate, through your behavior and actions, that you are DIFFERENT! The thief doesn’t only stop robbing-they do actions that help others! The liar doesn’t only stop lying–they start telling the truth. The adulterer doesn’t only stop the affair–they start acting in a way that protects their marriage and spouse FROM YOUR OWN WEAKNESSES.

7 Things We’ve Never Shared With You Before

Broncos 0905  S5000699x200

That’s me, Cindy, showing how “strong” my Bronco fandom is. And that’s David, making his “scary David face” while we watch a horror movie–AAAAAAA!!! We are crazy funny like that sometimes. It dawned on us after nine years of writing here, that maybe you, our readers, don’t know that about us.

When we write here on the Affaircare blog, we compartmentalize a bit–one compartment is our public personas shared right out loud here on the website, and the other compartment is private and we don’t really show it. But we realized that means you never get to see the “whole enchilada” and thus only get a partial view of us.

In any case, we don’t want to come across with a watered-down personality. We want people to know who we really are so we can really connect with the people on a deeper level. And the people who don’t “get us” can continue searching for their right people elsewhere.

There’s a bolder side to both of us to which we want to introduce you.

To kick off this new chapter in our blogging lives, we are going to start by sharing 7 things we’ve never shared with you before. Hopefully you’ll know more about the real “us” after reading this.

Here we go:

David–

1- I’m a consistent Calvinist Christian, and I like the works of Gordon Clark and Vincent Cheung. It’s important for you to know this because this defines what kind of Christian I am and what I believe, and thus how I might coach you in recovering your marriage. I believe that in their natural state, humans are sinful and that the result of sin is separation from God. I believe that Jesus Christ came to earth as a human being, lived a perfect life, and died a substitutionary death for the sins of the elect. I believe that we are reconciled to God ONLY by the work of Christ, and not by anything we do.

2 – My closest friends are HILARIOUSLY funny. I have a very small group of five friends I’ve known since middle school and high school. When we get together, everyone is a comedian, and we all quote Monty Python and sci-fi movies at each other. I love it.

3 – I am a student of Logic, and no I didn’t mean “common sense.” I mean the science of Logic. Here is my favorite intro to logic book: “Logic” by Gordon Clark.  If you’d like a fun place to start, here’s a Logical Fallacies site.

4 – I’m a huge fan of books, movies and music. No, I mean HUGE. For books, I am particular to fantasy/sci-fi and philosophy and theology–in fact, Cindy and I read out loud to each other. My taste in movies is similar–fantasy/sci-fi–and it’s been thrilling to live through the release of the Lord of the Rings movies, the Hobbit movies, and now the SECOND set of Star Wars movies. Okay I have to admit I also love Marvel and Joss Wheadon. Don’t get me started on music–I have tracks in the six figures on my computer and listen to every genre if the musicianship and skill is there. I have a LOT of music!

5 – Politically, I unapologetically believe in libertarian philosophy, specifically the Non Aggression Principle. Just to be clear, I’m not part of the National Libertarian Party or the Tea Party or any of that–I mean that I believe in the ideology of liberty. Then again, this isn’t a political blog, so I won’t expound a lot here.

6 – Part of me wishes I finished college, but at the time I was young and dumb and didn’t see the value in it. On the other hand, I’ve been auto-didactic all my life so I love learning! To live is to learn!

7 – My father died of a heart attack in his early 50s. That is on my mind, since I’m in my early 50s myself now, but it doesn’t really scare me. It’s just part of what made me who I am today.

Cindy–

1 – I’m going to be 54 years old this year, but my friends range in age from pre-teens to 80s. No seriously, I have a couple friends with whom I trade Pokemon cards, and they are 10 or less. And I have a friend I call every week who’s in her 80s. I love people, and most of my friendships last years and years. The weird thing is, though, I don’t really have super close friends–I think I’m afraid to let people in too deep.

2 – I am also a consistent Calvinist Christian. I consider myself reformed as well, because even though we are members of a Presbyterian church and not a Reformed church, I think of it like this: “We aren’t Catholic, so we are Reformed. We aren’t Arminian, so we are Reformed.” I think more than anything, this defines my life, and I apply it to myself in this manner: Does my life convict me of being a Christian? Do my words convict me of being a Christian? Do my thoughts convict me of being a Christian?

3 – I’m a huge fan of books, movies and music too. Can you see why David and I get along together so well? I read all the time–online and on books. In fact we decorated our living room just so we could line with walls with bookshelves! My taste in movies tends to be comedies, sci-fi, and musicals (I love to sing along!). The occasional documentary or foreign film or indie film can be enjoyable too. I am not at all into TV!! YUCK!! And for music, well one reason David loves me is because I also just adore all kinds of music: 30s-40s-50s, country, old westerns, musicals, opera, classical, jazz, classic rock–I love it all. But my favorite: BLUES! Baby wail on that guitar for me!

4 – When it’s football season, I go into “Crazy Fan” mode. I grew up in Wisconsin and that’s where I learned football, and YOU KNOW how crazy those Cheeseheads are. From Wisconsin I moved to Denver, and I’ll just say this about Broncos fans: the entire city of Denver closes when there’s a Broncos game AND they put their season tickets into their estate planning. Now I’ve moved to the Pacific Northwest and I’m learning to be a Seahawks fan… but in my heart I’ll always love my Pack and the Broncos.

5 – Politically, I honestly believe in anarchy–meaning “no ruler” and not chaos. I don’t think there really is a political party that believes in that anymore, so I call myself a Voluntaryist. I advocate the Non Aggression Principle and voluntary interactions at all levels.

6 – I’ve been in every state of the US except Alaska and Hawaii, and they are on my bucket list.

7 – I met David online! No not on a dating site. We both were on a forum for people whose spouses had been unfaithful, and we didn’t even talk to each other for a long time. What was amazing to me, though, is that even though lived far away, we found each other and we were so much alike it was surprising! Takeaway: if you are single and you would like to be married, God will put you together even if you’re far away from each other.

It’s surprising how easy it was to come up with these 7 things, and we actually have a lot more that we could share! Maybe this self expression thing isn’t so bad after all.

Thanks for reading all the way through this experiment. If you resonate with the souls we’ve just bared, please follow the blog. If we’ve offended you or turned you off, thanks for reading anyway. We know that we don’t appeal to everyone, and that’s OK.

Ask Affaircare: Should I Stay or Go? Can God Restore This Marriage?

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 question today comes two Loyal Spouses who essentially ask the same question.  Stay or Go wrote:

My man is cheating on me. I have caught him more than once but he continues to do it. Do I stay or do I go now?

and Can God Restore This Marriage wrote:

…so my husband has had several affairs over our 18-year relationship. I found out about them all at once we started going to counseling with our pastor and his wife. during that time he began cheating again. I just found out and while my pastor believes that god can restore this marriage I wonder if we have messed this up so bad. at first I was feeling like I cannot deal with this at all so I will just pretend to not know and move on. It’s been a few days and now I don’t know if I will ever be able to trust him again!

First, we have to say that when we answered “Ask Affaircare” last week, it was just a wee bit long.  This week we will endeavor to keep it shorter!

Dear Stay or Go and Can God Restore This,

We aren’t going to tell you what to do–you two are both adults and personally responsible for your choices. If you choose to stay, do so because you have made a decision to stand firm and then stand firm. If you choose to go, do so because the natural consequence of adultery is breaking the marriage covenant. Thus, if the adulterer BROKE it, they would have to be the one to REPAIR IT by coming to themselves and truly repenting. If they don’t, then divorcing is just one of the natural consequences of the choice that they made to break the marriage covenant.

In the end, the decision is yours and you will reap both the benefits and pay the costs of whatever you choose.  EVERY choice–every decision–has both a benefit and a cost, and usually people make their choices because ‘the perceived benefit’ is more valuable than ‘the perceived cost.’  Now we all know that people are sinful and that the qualities that sinful people value are not the qualities that bring glory and honor to God!  Thus, a selfish person may “value” the ego-boosting flattery of opposite sex attention over the godly commitment to the spouse of their youth.

So since we are not going to tell you what to decide, how about if we look at what the Bible tells us and help you to figure out how to make your own decision?

1.  What are you committed to?  Many people place a commitment to their own happiness ahead of their commitment to their spouse.  Many people put their commitment to ease ahead of the covenant they made before God to put the effort into loving their spouse!

So one way you can decide whether to Stay or Go…is to consider “What are YOU committed to?” Honoring your promise?  -OR- Your own happiness?

2. What did Jesus say about Divorce?  Well…let’s look! Matthew 19:8-9: Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.   I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

So straight from Jesus’ mouth, He says you CAN divorce for sexual immorality–that is to say, you are ‘allowed’–but notice that He doesn’t say you MUST.  It’s not a commandment. So if you don’t want to divorce after your spouse is unfaithful, God doesn’t require it of us, but He does allow divorce for that one exception: sexual immorality.

3. Obviously God CAN restore–He has the ability to do anything.  He is God!  He can choose to suspend the law of gravity or choose to make the sun stand still if He wills!  So the question is not “CAN God restore this marriage?” but rather “Will He? Is it His will?”  One of the best suggestions we can give you to decide what IS and IS NOT God’s will is to read the Bible.  The more you read the Bible, the more you have the opportunity to get to know God’s mind.  The more you know God mind, the easier it is to determine if something is God’s will or not!

4.  What about forgiveness?  Many times people think that “forgiveness” means “forgetting” or “approving” — and nothing could be further from the truth.  We are never, ever told to approve of known sin, nor to just forget about it as if it never happened.  What ARE we told about forgiveness then?  Well let’s look at 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.”

But what if they don’t “come to themselves” or repent (meaning, act and think 180 differently and stop their sin)?  Do we have to forgive then? It doesn’t say we MUST–but it also doesn’t say we can’t! So we are allowed to forgive even if they don’t ask!

So we are still not going to tell you what to decide.  Instead we pray that this look at what the Bible tells us has helped you to figure out how to make your own decision.  We would also like to invite you to come back on Friday to listen to the podcast–either on the Affaircare YouTube channel, on iTunes or Stitcher, or here on the blog–because we’ll be going into even more detail on how to decide if you should stay…or you should go.

Ask Affaircare: I Don’t Know How to Move Forward! Help!

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 question today comes from a Loyal Spouse just 9 weeks past D-Day.  He writes:

I am 9 weeks out from finding out about my wife’s 9 month affair. After individual and couples counseling, including a week-long, 20-hour session with our church, I find myself still struggling greatly. I do not know how to move forward. I need help!

Dear Don’t Know How to Move Forward,

Your email is very short and there are many facts we don’t know that would be extremely helpful, such as “Was it a physical affair or an emotional affair?” and “Is your wife showing true remorse and making the necessary changes…or is she rugsweeping and trying to get you to rugsweep too?”  If we knew the answers to some of those questions, it would really help a lot!  But since we don’t know, we’re going to reply just assuming that it was “generic” infidelity (as if there is such a thing) and, since you didn’t bring it up as an issue, assuming that she is doing the work to face herself and take full personal responsibility for her choice to commit adultery.

If either of those assumptions is NOT TRUE, then be aware that it might change the trajectory of our response.  But for now, let’s “move forward” since that it our topic.

When we received your email, three things jumped out at us:

  1. It has only 9 weeks since you discovered proof of the adultery.
  2. You and your wife are drowning in therapy: individual counseling, couples counseling, and CHURCH counseling!  And…
  3. To move forward you need to let go.

So let’s go over each one of these three topics, shall we?

First, it’s only been 9 weeks since you discovered proof of your wife’s affair.  Now, normally people suspect for a while before D-Day proves it to them, so although you may have had a gut feeling earlier, it has only been 9 weeks ago that the proof was irrefutable and/or your wife confessed.  Traditionally, those in the infidelity industry agree that  it can take YEARS sometimes for the Loyal Spouse to recover from the betrayal of adultery.  Here at Affaircare, our guideline is not blogs or pop psychology though–it’s the Bible.  We don’t know of any place in the Bible that we are told that we have to recover from a painful, life-changing event “quickly.”  God does tell us to forgive (more on that later), but He doesn’t say we have to “not feel the pain” or “be okay with it” or even to “get over the grief fast. ”

In fact, the Bible has a LOT to say about grief, and make no mistake, after discovering adultery, a Loyal Spouse goes through a GRIEF process.  That’s because there has been a death: the marriage died the moment the Disloyal Spouse was unfaithful!  Before the affair, you two were exclusive and you probably thought “Oh affairs happen to OTHER people–that will never happen to us.  We have something special.”  Now that innocent trust is dead.  The image you had of “your marriage” is dead.  And you (the Loyal Spouse) need to mourn just as surely as someone who lost their spouse–only your spouse isn’t dead!  They are right there in front of you.

Here are several verses ABOUT mourning and grief–let’s see what we can learn from them:

Psalm 31:9-10  “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.”  Wow, doesn’t the psalmist do a good job describing grief?  His eyes are SPENT from crying!  His soul is tortured and even his body is ill from the sorrow.  This verse clearly indicates that sorrow takes a while, and it wears on the psalmist!

Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”  Well this one is a promise on which we can depend!  When someone is brokenhearted…when someone’s spirit is crushed… the Lord is NEAR!  We may not “feel” Him because the truth of His nearness isn’t based on our emotions.  He promised it and so HE IS!

Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Here we learn that our hearts do fail us, and I don’t think the psalmist means cardiac disease here, do you?  I think he’s talking about feeling so deeply sorrowful that your heart HURTS.  Again, note that nowhere does it say that your flesh shouldn’t fail or that our hearts shouldn’t hurt.  In fact, we could surmise that they will! But when they do… God is our strength.

Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  Again, note that it doesn’t say we shouldn’t have a broken heart or that being wounded is a sin.  It says that when that does happen, GOD HEALS.  And since He promised, we can depend on that even if it doesn’t “feel like it.”

Isaiah 26:3 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”  We threw this one in, even though it doesn’t specifically speak about grief, because it implies that something has occurred that would create LACK of peace.  There is agitation, distress and conflict!  And this verse talks to use about how we can regain peace: by having our mind, our thoughts, our reflection, our concentration FIXED on HIM.

Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” See how it doesn’t say “Thou shalt not mourn”?  Nope, it says that mourning is going to occur, and we have a promise.  We aren’t alone in our mourning and grief–He is there to comfort us.

Here are three more verses about mourning and grieving and affliction, and you go ahead and write in the comments what you learn from these three verses:

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

1 Peter 5:7  “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

Don’t Know–this is going to take some time.  It will never be “the way it was” and you are going to have to go through a period that is very similar to the grief process for “your marriage of the past.”  Just based on our experience, we’d estimate the quickest possible timeframe would be  a time equal to her affair (9 months) and if you deal with grief slower,  it may be up to two years (roughly).  Now that doesn’t mean that for the next two years there won’t be good times or you’ll hold your wife’s affair against her, but rather it will be like someone who is mourning.  They are GRIEVING but life goes on.  They just “go through the motions” at first.  Then they learn to do a little better but feel guilty for doing a little better.  Then they deal with it and time heals a little more and even more good days sneak in.  And then one day maybe a year later they realize they are okay–they survived.  It will be very much like that.  You won’t “get better” all at once.

Second, you and your wife are drowning in therapy.  What we mean by that, is that clearly you are going to a counselor to address how you are feeling and what you’re thinking and how to deal with all this and to address your own issues.  And clearly your wife is going to a counselor to address why she cheated and to face her demons so she can identify her issues and change.  And clearly you are going to couples counseling to address THE MARRIAGE’S issues and how to do better as a team/couple and how to gain the tools to be better at this whole “marriage” thing.  We totally get that!  And you are off to your church’s 20-hour intensive to try to make a grand gesture at facing and addressing your marriage problems from a Biblical point of view.  Kuddos for that!

But, Don’t Know–you are doing so much therapy that it’s all you think about!  Every second of every day is filled with either the day-to-day things like work and school and chores…or THERAPY.   A person can only do so much deep, intense, emotion-charged, vehement analysis before they start to burn out, and our guess is that a portion of your feeling like you don’t know how to move forward is because you are so overwhelmed by all this analysis that there is no real time off.  YOU are a human and so is your wife.  She can only feel as low as the dirt on the bottom of a bug’s shoe for so long and she’ll get tired just because it’s too much to handle.  Same for you–it’s just too much!  So we would make a suggestion: balance the deep, intense emotional relationship talks with an equal amount of lighter, gentler, more agreeable time together.  For example, if you have one hour of therapy every day in one way or another and then spend another hour talking about whatever went on in therapy–balance that with an equal amount of time doing pleasant, enjoyable things together.

Here’s why, Don’t Know.  When you agreed to reconcile, what you were really saying is that you agreed to build a WHOLE NEW MARRIAGE.  During her affair, your wife equated you (and thoughts of you) with unpleasant feelings and thoughts.  “Well, he was abusive so I deserved someone who treated me better”…that kind of thing.  Anyway, now that her affair is over, your wife equates you with long, painful conversations that feel like the Spanish Inquisition, and tears, and hours and hours of therapy.  Likewise you equate her with destroying your trust, destroying your world, and destroying the very foundation of everything you believed in.  And part of the challenge now is not only facing the issues that brought you to this place, but also rebuilding something loving!  Well, when people love each other, they association POSITIVE thoughts and feelings with the one they love!  They LIKE being together and ENJOY each others’ company and think their spouse makes them feel GOOD.  So right now, you need to add some of that to your new marriage.

Now, you know how many/most couple’s counselors will tell you to “date each other”. UGH, that’s silly!  You’re MARRIED why should you have to try to re-win someone who made promises to you?  So that’s not what we’re saying here.  What we ARE saying is that one piece of this puzzle that is missing is the “remembering the things I love about my spouse” piece.  It is imperative that you two sometimes put all the counseling down, and put all the affair-talk and crying down… and just agree to be each other’s friends and do something fun.  It can be something easy like just renting a video and sitting on the couch holding hands–it can be something complicated like a weekend away riding the nearest rollercoasters.  But balance–for every hour of therapy, have an hour of enjoying each other.

Third (and finally), you say that you don’t know how to move forward and you need help. We partially addressed that when we said that it’s going to take some time–like 9 months to 2 years–in order to go through the grieving process and rebuild a new marriage.  So part of “moving forward” really is just time and giving yourself time to recover.  It won’t be instantaneous and it won’t be “the way it was.”  But that doesn’t mean it can’t be REALLY GOOD!!!  You could even build an even better marriage than you had because now you’ve grown and matured and so has she!

But you know how the final step of the grieving process is “acceptance”?  In the infidelity process, the key step to moving forward is forgiveness.  At some point, if you truly commit to reconciling with your spouse, you are going to have to volunteer to lay down your claim for recompense for the hurt and damage she caused you.  Please note that forgiveness is not condoning (failing to see it was wrong), excusing (not holding her personally responsible for her choices), pardoning (removing the consequence of her debt–it’s God’s job to judge or not) or forgetting (removing awareness of the offense from your consciousness).  Forgiveness means that you KNOW you have the ace up your sleeve that you could always win an argument, you have the sword over her head that you could hold against her, and you have the weapon with which you could punish her forever…and you make a decision to lay that weapon down and let go of your legitimate claim.

Right now it may sound utterly FOOLISH to even think about forgiving.  After all, most of the blogs and psychological “wisdom” will tell you things like “you deserve better” and “once a cheater always a cheater”.  But we are not suggesting that you be a fool.  God has a lot to say about forgiveness, so let’s just look:

God tells us s that we should be willing to forgive because we are sinners too and God forgave us (Matthew 6:14-15 and Colossians 3:13).  He says when someone sins against us and is truly remorseful we should be willing to forgive over and over (Matthew 18: 21-22 and Luke 17:3-4 ).  He says we should forgive people so they don’t feel overwhelmed (2 Corinthians 2:5-8).  He tells us that forgiving is a priority–we should make things right even ahead of worshipping Him (Matthew 5:23-24).  But nowhere is there any mention of forgiveness not hurting or of forgiveness being easy and making all the struggling go away.  We are just told to DO it.

The good news is that  He even tells us HOW to forgive in 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.” 

Step 1–Watch YOURSELF.  Haven’t you ever been in a position of doing something REALLY WRONG and wishing that people would be kind and forgive you?  Then just like the hypocrite in Matthew 7 and Luke 6, we need to watch ourselves and treat others the way we would have liked to be treated when we sinned!

Step 2–A brother or sister (someone close to us–a fellow believer, disciple, spouse, neighbor, or family member) does something against us.  Maybe they gossip or spread a lie or offend us or actively hurt us. Whatever it is, they do wrong by us.

Step 3–Holy smoke look at that.  We are supposed to rebuke them!  Of course, the Greek word there is epitimaó, which means to admonish, or warn by instructing.  Oddly enough that word is a verb (an action) and it has a whole bunch behind it.  It means “have so much value due, that you respond in a way suitable to the situation.”  In other words, we VALUE the brother or sister.  We place due honor upon them because they mean so much to us, and thus, out of love, we go up to them directly and tell them they did wrong and encourage them to DO THE RIGHT THING.

Step 4–“if they repent….”  Note that it doesn’t say “if they are remorseless and continue to sin, you go ahead and forgive them anyway.”  it says that the next step has to be remorse or changing of the inner man.  We like to define repentance as a complete 180 degree change from what they’ve been doing!  A full U-Turn!  In other words, they have to be acting and thinking 100% different from the way they WERE acting and thinking.  They have to “come to themselves” and return to doing the right thing.  And if they do repent and do change… then on to the next step.

Step 5–“…forgive them.” Even if they do wrong by you 7 times in one day and come back to you with a changed inner man 7 times, you must forgive them.   The word for “forgive” here is aphiémi, which means “send away” or “release”–“wipe the slate clean”.  See how that fits with our definition above about putting down your legitimate claim to restitution? You make a decision in your mind to let go of that claim and you commit to never, ever picking it up again!  That’s forgiveness.  And note the word MUST!!  This isn’t a suggestion or something we do if we feel like it–we MUST.  That’s imperative, which means it is required.

Ask Affaircare: Is Fifty Shades of Grey REALITY?

We’re departing from our usual “Ask Affaircare” format because the movie “50 Shades of Grey” is being released just in time for Valentine’s Day.  Well, the ladies over at iamatreasure.com did such a good job addressing this issues that I am re-posting their blog exactly as it was written.  You can find the original post HERE.


 

Fifty Shades of Reality, through the eyes of someone who has lived it

Dee02_135x150

Fifty Shades of Grey is not reality.

I spent 22 years working in the sex industry, 14 of which were spent solely as a Dominatrix. So, I feel like I am an expert on a subject most people only narrowly understand, if at all.

While Fifty Shades is “entertainment”, the danger is that it is enticing people to join a dark world in which they know nothing about. And it is inviting women to do it as a sexual slave under the guise of finding Mr. Wrong and turning him into Mr. Right.

The reality of the S&M (Sadism and Masochism) world is this, when you are someone’s slave, you give them COMPLETE power over you. The nature of the relationship is that the dominant person controls you and punishes you whenever they wish. They find your limits and push you past them.

imagesYou are not whisked off in jets and helicopters like some sort of celebrity who has won a prize. You are beaten and stuck in cages and dungeons. You are handcuffed and whipped until your skin bleeds and then when your master makes you beg for more, you are pushed beyond your limits of pain and left in a little ball on the floor. BROKEN! There is no mercy, there is no makeup artist, YOU have no control.

The truth is, some people like to feel pain.

I did a documentary a few years ago and one of the questions I was asked was why do people seek out pain? In my experience there are six main reasons why.

  1. LOSS: Some people have experienced so much loss and betrayal in life that they no longer feel anything. They are literally numb. Like all of us they are looking to belong and be loved. The only thing they can feel is PAIN. So the person who offers them pain is the one they love.
  2. ABUSE: Some people are taught from a very early age that pain IS love. Abuse from a parent or sibling that has never been addressed confuses the person. They have been taught that love equals pain. So if someone causes you pain, they must love you. This person will literally look for reasons to be punished so that they feel more loved.
  3. CONTROL A: Someone who was sexually abused may look to being a dominant so that they can work through their control issues. Being raped or sexually abused causes constant feelings of loss of control. In order to gain some sort of control over their life they choose to be the one (The Dominatrix) who gives the pain. The one who does the raping. Although it is technically not raping someone if they pay you to do it.
  4. CONTROL B: People who have a lot of power often end up abusing it. Money usually comes with power and the person gets a sense of not being able to hear the word no. They treat everyone around them poorly. Deep inside they know what they are doing is wrong and they seek out a dominant. Someone they can pay to punish them for how hateful they are to everyone else. Someone who will make them hear the word NO! and enforce it.
  5. MONEY: Some people do it just for the money. In the S&M world these people don’t last long because they run into people who will happily break them and realize that no amount of money is worth the abuse they have just received. Still I will never forget the words of one of my slaves when I asked her why she liked to be abused. She said, “Sometimes it’s just easier to lie there and take a beating.”
  6. BOREDOM: Lets face it, people get bored easily. Everyone wants to try the new and improved trendy way of, well everything. You want to add a little spice to your sex life so you go out and buy some handcuffs. Next thing you know you are at swingers party with your husband and then divorced.

I think it is very dangerous to glamorize this lifestyle. Women and more importantly, young girls may entire this dark world thinking they will find their Mr. Grey and nothing could be further from the truth.

What they may find is that they are whisked away to a house and stuck in a room, never to see the light of day again. They will be forced to have sex with upwards of 20 men a day and when they are all used up, they will either be tossed to the side of the road, or get a bullet in their brain.

I know these words are hard to swallow, but this is the reality of the S&M world. Not the whole reality, because quite frankly, you couldn’t handle the whole truth; the truth that some people enjoy being hung by hooks that have pierced their skin and oh so much more. However, I hope it is enough to open your eyes to the fact that this is NOT a glamorous world where the girl gets whisked away by the rich and powerful man for a happily ever after. That she somehow changes him. That he falls in love with her and changes his wicked ways. The world of S&M is very black and white, there is not room for 50 shades of gray.

 

book signing treasures copy

Dee Roman

Author, Coach, Motivational Speaker

Bio: Dee Roman is an author, coach and motivational speaker.  She is an avid story teller and uses her natural gift of encouragement to help people overcome insurmountable obstacles.  She believes in miracles because she is one! Nearly five years ago, Dee walked into Oasis Church deeply scarred from her life in the sex industry and a  30-year drug addiction.  It was there she came face to face with the truth: she was valued by God and had a purpose. Dee dove head first into her recovery process and started attending a variety of recovery programs, The Bondage Breakers, Celebrate Recovery, Greif Recovery and a pirate support group for ex sex industry workers, run by the Treasures Ministry in Los Angeles.  She was surrounded by love and found the courage to work through her healing so that she could use her story to help others heal. Dee has coached survivors of sex trafficking at the Los Angeles Dream Center’s Project Hope.  She is currently mentoring several women from Treasures who are transitioning out of the sex industry.  Dee also teaches The Grief Recovery Method at Oasis Church.  Read Dee’s Story. – See more at: http://iamatreasure.com/ourevents/speakers-bios/#sthash.iZKiOL8M.1tYPBFA1.dpuf


 

Treasures (iamatreasure.com) is a unique, faith-based ministry sharing the gospel with women in the sex industry, sharing the message that they are loved, valued and purposed.  – See more at: http://iamatreasure.com/#sthash.X6cyMIMD.dpbs

Ask Affaircare: Who Should I Talk To About This?

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 question today comes from a Loyal Husband who needs to talk to someone about his wife’s affair.  He writes:

Should i confide in a close female family friend about my wife’s affair? I really need to talk to someone…..

Dear Loyal Husband who would like to talk to a close female family friend, 

I can give you a very, VERY short answer to this question:  NO!!!

NO, you should not confide in a close female family friend about your wife’s affair, because developing close friendships with members of the opposite sex is what got you and your wife into this trouble in the first place!  She developed a “friendship” with a close classmate or a close co-worker or a close man from the gym, and now, because she confided in someone who listened to her and offered sympathy and support, she thinks she “loves you but she’s not IN LOVE with you.”

When one of you does the wrong thing (aka “is unfaithful”), that does not give you the justification to go out and do another wrong thing of your own.   In a summary, her sin does not justify your sin.

I don’t want to be harsh, here, and I do want to offer you some true hope, so the very first thing I’d recommend is getting a good grip on what fidelity means.  My definition of fidelity, or “faithfulness,” is that you voluntarily, of your own free will, promised to give 100% of your affection and loyalty to your spouse and only your spouse as long as you were alive.  Note that means that you don’t get married “because they meet all your needs perfectly/naturally” — but rather that you made a commitment to study and learn about your spouse to show love TO THEM.  Also note that 100% means that NO PERCENTAGE goes to any other person!  If you have a close female family friend, that means some percentage of what you owe to your wife and volunteered to give her is being given away to some other woman…and that’s destructive to your marriage.  So number one–keep your own side of the street clean by not turning to the close female family friend. Make sure that you are giving the same 100% to your wife that you expect from her.   And yes, I get it–the close female family friend could be an aunt or 2nd cousin twice removed, but that’s not the point.  100% is due to your wife, and no one else.

Second, I would recommend that talking to someone about it is a great idea!  I can’t imagine trying to get through the heartbreak of adultery all by yourself–but right now if you turn to a female, if she is anything even close to understanding, providing encouragement and emotional help, then you will begin to bond to HER and that is 100% reserved for your wife!  So avoid that temptation right now by turning to the men in your life who are likely to understand and support you.  I don’t know you or your situation specifically, but maybe you could turn to your father or a brother, or if your family of origin is dysfunctional, try some local, pro-marriage male friends or some guys from church. You’d be surprised (and probably saddened) to realize how many men at church have been through the same things themselves!  And if family, friends or church doesn’t work for you–there are support groups like the Beyond Affairs Network – Support Groups for Betrayed Spouses.   Not to toot our own horn, but you may want to take to David too–you know the other co-founder of Affaircare!  You can email him directly at affaircare@gmail.com if you’d like. The point here is to DEFINITELY talk to someone, but make that person a male person for now at least until you get your head on straight.

Finally, let me end my answer with a few bible verses, because our whole goal here is to act and live like God wants us to act and live.  So how would we know what He wants if we don’t look at what He wrote, right?  Here’s how we are to treat one another:

Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:14 “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”

Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Clearly we are not meant to go through our trials and tribulations and difficulties alone. Clearly as Christians we have a mandate to support each other and encourage each other and pray for each other and help each other.  But we don’t “encourage the fainthearted” by encouraging or allowing sin.  In fact, these verses indicate the opposite–we are to sharpen one another and admonish the idle and stir one another up to love and good works.  So…

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

I encourage you to be TRUE to your promise.  I encourage you to do the HONORABLE thing. I encourage you to remember that you have been forgiven too, and to be JUST.  I encourage you to be PURE for your wife.  I encourage you to be a LOVELY man inside and out.  I encourage you to do the really hard, COMMENDABLE thing.  Speak to the men in your life and give your marriage the best possible chance for reconciliation.

Faithfully,

 

~Cindy