Category Archives: Happiness

It’s Not About YOUR Happiness [Podcast]

forever

Society wrongly views marriage as being all about “my happiness,” and about “me feeling loved.” Consequently, if someone’s marriage isn’t making them happy, if they doesn’t feel they’re being loved adequately, then it’s viewed as “a Bad Marriage. ” The insufficiently happy spouse virtually has an imperative to leave that marriage, and look for one in which they will feel sufficiently loved and happy–and it can take two or three or four tries! This is making the commitment to “Your Own Happiness” rather than making the commitment to your spouse–and it is exactly backward.

1.  Your happiness doesn’t depend on your spouse
Like all life, marriage is fundamentally about GOD! Marriage is what God says it is.  We find our happiness within ourselves by obeying God. Much of the unhappiness we feel is often related to some sin in our life: either we are avoiding sin (as in justifying it or enabling it), denying sin (as in not admitting to ourselves that what we are doing is sin–denial), or continuing in sin when we know better (as in, “this sin feels good and I want to keep doing it!”).   So to stop feeling unhappy, admit that what you are doing is sin and stop it.  If the sin that’s making you unhappy is your spouse’s sin, then stop enabling them and look to your own self to do the right thing.

Also, our spouses do not “make” us happy, even though we hear this all the time.  Yes, our spouses can affect the environment of our home and lives, but ultimately we choose our feelings.  Do not put responsibility for yourself onto your spouse.  If you do not feel loved, then BUILD love with your spouse honorably in your marriage, BUILD healthy self-worth by reading the Bible and believing who you are (a dearly beloved child of the Most High God), and BUILD happiness by obeying God!

2. Your happiness doesn’t depend on your marriage
Each marriage vow is a little unique and yet most marriage vows have a few commonalities. Most include something about “forsaking all others” meaning that there is a promise to focus 100% of affection and loyalty on the person you are marrying.  Most also include something about “for better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness and health”…well are you happy in worse, poorer and sickness? Are you happy when the worst strikes? Are you happy eating bologna sandwiches every day because you lost your job? Are you happy when you or your spouse are ill?  NO!

Marriage may well be about suffering… and not necessarily for doing anything wrong.
Happiness (and love) in a marriage don’t necessarily just organically arrive–it’s not a feeling that just comes naturally (although sometimes it can feel easy).  Rather it is something you build by obeying and by honoring your commitment.

Marriage is a covenant to your spouse in front of friends, family and God…and it is honored by working at being soulmates, by having intimate heart-to-hearts in the warmth of acceptance, hearing the most valued praise and understanding this earth has to offer.

3. Marriage is for holiness
Marriage is a covenant…a sacred discipline designed to help you know God better, love Him more deeply, and trust Him more fully.  It is about serving your spouse (not “your happiness”) and loving your spouse (not “being loved”). Society has it exactly backward, focusing on “me, me, me!” and as a Christian, the focus is on pleasing God and spending your lifetime learning about your spouse so intimately that you can love them well.

For a man, marriage is about:

For a woman, marriage is about:

So rather than viewing marriage as if it is all about YOUR happiness and YOU feeling adequately loved–view marriage in the exact opposite way. In a lifetime of covenant commitment, good times and bad times are going to come, so come to to see marriage as all of life: as a vessel used by God for you to come to know Him better.  The bad times, when they come, are not going to “make you happy” but they will be used as life lessons to teach you to think and live in a godly way.

 

[audio:  https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/2016/Edited+20160324+Its+Not+About+Your+Happiness+(online-audio-converter.com).mp3]
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Recovering After an Affair: Commitment [Podcast]

You’ve found evidence that proves there is an affair. You’ve done all the steps to end the affair, and now you and your disloyal spouse have made the decision to try to reconcile. WHAT DO YOU DO!!!???

Today we continue the final week of our Basic Concepts series: Recovering After an Affair. In today’s episode we discuss the first thing you truly need to understand to begin recovering–commitment.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPOg-Mj44og&feature=youtu.be]

The verse that Affaircare is built upon is all about commitment: “…Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the LORD your God with your own mouth…” – Deuteronomy 23:23

We believe that commitment is an intellectual exercise and not a feeling–just like love. It starts with a conscious decision you make. You decide to take a particular course of action over and against some other course of action because you are obligated. For example in the marriage commitment, you make a vow to choose a loving course of action toward your spouse for life.

Now usually you choose to marry someone because they make you happy. You are pursuing happiness and being with him or her makes you happy. The two paths of “happiness” and “being with them” seem to run parallel or are merged into one path! But what happens when the paths diverge and go in different directions?

Troubles occur when the commitment to happiness is prioritized above the commitment to the marriage. This is exactly the thing that often leads couples down the path to infidelity: when one partner is looking and looking for “what makes them happy” and their marriage is in a rut so it doesn’t “make them feel happy.” They allow their emotions to guide their decisions… “it FEELS good so I’m doing this…” rather than choosing to create happiness in their marriage or choosing to look for the happy things they do have within their marriage.

Our new program, “90 Days to Save Your Marriage and Save You” will teach you and how your spouse how to recover after infidelity. We will be focusing on Commitment and discussing what TRUE commitment is (we have it almost exactly backward), how to get the two paths of commitment to marriage and happiness to come back together again, and how to make PRO-active choices rather than RE-active decisions. To introduce our new program, we are reviewing our Basic Concepts all month!  Request more info about our new program HERE!!

[audio: https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/Commitment.mp3]

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

What your spouse does for you

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

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

1. Emotional Commitment in REAL Love

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

2. Spiritual Commitment in REAL Love

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

3. Physical Commitment in REAL Love

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

4. Financial Commitment  in REAL Love

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

5. Family Commitment  in REAL Love

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

6. Social Commitment  in REAL Love

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

7. Security Commitment  in REAL Love

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

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

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Fathers…

Fathers Day

I’m reposting a blog I wrote for Father’s Day way back in June 2010!

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

God has a lot to say about the fathers in our lives.  Before I go any further, let me share a few verses about fathers and children:

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  • “For the LORD detests a perverse man but takes the upright into his confidence.” (Proverbs 3:32)
  • “Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” (Proverbs 23:22)
  • “Honesty lives confident and carefree, but Shifty is sure to be exposed.” (Proverbs 10:9 MSG)
  • “A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.” (Proverbs 17:24)
  • “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” (Colossians 3:21)
  • “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.” (Psalm 103:13)
  • “Don’t fail to correct your children. You won’t kill them by being firm, and it may even save their lives.”(Proverbs 23:13-14 CEV)
  • “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4 ESV)
  • “A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.” (Proverbs 17:27)
  • “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (Proverbs 3:11-12)

This day and age, the role of men in families is being undermined. With access to fairly easy divorce, for no declared reason other than “we aren’t happy” children today often have men that come and go in their lives. Men often think they don’t have just as much right to custody of their own children. But children very much NEED fathers in their lives!

A father may be the male person whose DNA you carry–your biological progenitor.  A father may be a man who stepped up and raised you when your real father left your mom.  A father may be a pastor or clergyman who ministered in your life.  A father may be the guy who hung out with you and taught you what being a man REALLY was.  Fathers can be anyone from the humble bread-truck driver to a busy executive CEO–but they are the guy who guides you, teaches you, never gives up on you, and shows compassion while spending time.  Today we honor our FATHERS.  So thank the man in your life who was your mentor, adviser and model.  Let him know that he meant something to you.

Happy Father’s Day!

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It’s Not About The Nail

I saw the best video today, and I just had to share it:

 

 

Here’s why I wanted to share it.  As a lady I know I’ve said this to my husband: “Please just listen and stop trying to fix it!”  I wanted him to empathize and show compassion….maybe comfort me with a hug.  BUT HE SEES A NAIL IN MY HEAD and I won’t even let him help me.

Kinda changes the perspective on letting husband help us, doesn’t it?

How do you start to feel attracted again to your Disloyal Spouse?

heart_and_key

The first thing I did personally was to let go of the idea that “it” would “be like it used to be.” Sadly “the way it used to be” is dead and gone, and will never return. So for me the first thing was to mourn the loss of “what I thought I had.” Of course a lot of “what I thought I had” was a facade anyway, and not honestly there, so that a lot of it was actually letting go of the image I had created in my head and instead looking at what actually true!

The second thing I did was that up to the point of reconciliation there had been a lot done on both sides that was hurtful and built resentment: things my spouse did or didn’t do that I needed, things I did or didn’t do that my spouse needed, things we both said. So in a very general way, the way I viewed my DS and thought of my spouse  inside my own head (so to speak) was negative. I felt negative things, I thought negative thoughts…and nothing personal but who’s attracted to someone whom you think of negatively who makes you feel negative emotions? Right? So the second thing I did was get to work changing negative feelings and thoughts to positive ones.

Now that may soun like a “well yeah…DUH!” statement, but part of changing negative thoughts and feelings into positive ones is being willing to let go of the negative stuff and actually release them–in the sense of “I’m not holding onto this anymore and I’m not going to bring it up in an argument anymore and I’m not going to hold it against you anymore.” So yep there was negative stuff and yep some of it had to be addressed, corrected and changed–but there was also some that I had to choose to either hold onto and remember -OR- choose to let go of and forgive. So I let it go.

THEN rather than looking back and remembering how they did  this  and they did that, I began to do my best to focus on today (and just today) and see what I could that was positive TODAY. So for example, in the past one of the things that had hurt me deeply was that I felt ignored–like if I stood next to my spouse naked, and set myself on fire…they would not have noticed. So I could choose to hold onto that and keep remembering it (after all it did happen), but we decided instead to address it, correct it, and then I began to look at it like this: “Is my spouse ignoring me today? What is my DS doing today to ‘pay attention’? When has my DS spent time with me? What have I done to be the kind of person it’s fun to spend time with?” And lo and behold, I observed that TODAY my Disloyal Spouse had looked into my eyes, gave me a good morning kiss, cuddled in bed before we had to wake up, made coffee the night before to I just had to turn it on, said ‘thank you’ when I made breakfast, gave me a hug goodbye….etc. See all those things? That’s partly my DS changing and making the effort…and partly me taking the time to notice and change the negatives to positives.

It’s also partly each one of you being willing to stop pointing the finger “at the other guy” and start looking at yourself. Not saying anyone is “to blame” here so it’s not that kind of thing, but the fact is that things were done on both sides that were hurtful. If both of you aren’t willing to look at yourself and say “Yeah I’m willing to make the effort to change *this* and *this* and *this* so I’m a better spouse and the kind of person who is attractive”….then you’re in trouble! But if you both ARE willing to do that, and look at yourself, then there’s hope. What is really, Really, REALLY typical is not that anyone did anything horrible before the affair, but that over the years both partners gradually invested less and less in the marriage and invested in other stuff like kids, work or school, or other friends. So to fix that… it’s not a “blame” situation, but rather just remembering, “Oh hey…yeah! When I was single, I was a person who didn’t nag and didn’t rage and I kind of let that creep in. I wouldn’t want to be with someone who nags me! I better get a handle on that.” See what I mean?

Okay finally, you’ve let go of “the way it was”–you’re going to build a whole, new marriage. You’re working on letting go of the negative and replacing it with positive–and you are working on YOU and letting them work on them. Now the last step is to stop trying to “work on your marriage” all the time and start having fun with your spouse! Here’s what I mean: remember that feeling of fun when you go to the football game with your buddies? Or the feeling of fun when you go to the mall and try on every silly hat in the place? Or the feeling of playing together and rolling on the floor tickling each other? When was the last time you were THAT GUY (or THAT GAL) with your spouse? The reason you like some of your friends is because they are fun, and if you never have fun with your spouse you won’t like them either. So find some stuff you both enjoy doing–and I mean you both smile and laugh and get to the end and say “Wow that was fun!” and do that together. Dear Hubby and I used to go camping (his health sort of stopped that), go to car shows, play WoW, read together, watch movies, write…we do all kinds of stuff together that is just plain having fun with a friend. After all, our spouses are supposed to be our best friends, right?

Do that with your spouse and you’ll quickly find that your feelings return because you are building a new romance, you are thinking of them positively, you are associating “good stuff” with them, and you are having fun together! You LIKE them!

Top Ten Gifts on HER list for free!!

Are you on a very tight budget and still looking for that perfect gift for her–so that you’ll have a reaction like the picture? Here are the things on her wish list that you can give her for FREE…and they will help kindle the love in your relationship.
1. Intimacy–And nope, I don’t mean sex. I mean opening up and being best friends and being emotionally close. I mean opening up and including her in your thoughts and feelings.

If you want to really strengthen your marriage and have a warm, loving, safe relationship with your bride, I would say give her the gift of intimacy. Share yourself, your life and your thoughts with her. Tell her how you feel. Be open to her and let her see the real you. One thing that extinguishes love quickly is being closed, not sharing your thoughts and feelings, and creating a life that excludes her. (And fellas, just so you know, when your gal is excluded she starts to feel less desired/desirable and sexual desire decreases). Sooo… #1 on her Christmas Wish List will definitely be: Give her YOU! She wants you.

2. Romance–UGH, I know the guys hate to hear this, but one of the best free gifts you can give her is to romance her like when you were dating. Now, I do have pity on you guys–romance can be hard to do on a daily basis, but here’s some practical assistance:  The Affaircare Romance Calendar.   This little calendar changes every month and has one daily suggestion for an idea for your sweetheart.  So if you are NOT the creative, Don Juan type, but you are in your heart, use that as an idea and even if the suggestion doesn’t work for you, pick another day.  Yes, it takes a little effort every day. Yes, it’s worth it.

3. Conversation–Okay this one is a little easier, in a way.  When you two wake up in the morning, when you’re back together after work, when you’re eating dinner, when you lay down to go to bed at night…take some time and talk to her with the TV off, no newspaper, and your PC turned off.  Give 100% attention and act like as if you are interested in her and her day.  It feels crummy when you talk to someone and they are halfway watching a show or reading something and you know that they aren’t really paying attention to you.  Also, I’ll be honest–eventually she’ll feel like this: “Do I have to set myself on fire to get your attention?”  Trust me–you don’t want to go there.  So take the time for her and her alone. The benefits are BIG!

4. Cheerlead–WHAT?  The macho males are supposed to be cheerleaders?  Yes!  Cheer on your bride.  People will tell her how great she is, how well she did or how proud they are, so you be the one with the loudest voice telling her first. And I’m not talking about false compliments here.  I mean see her for the amazing person she is and really make sure that she knows you see it.  Create that environment that when something great happens to her at work or at home, the very *first* person she thinks of telling is YOU.  If she does something you like or you’re proud of…tell her!  If she really tries to make a hard new recipe and it turns out great…tell her!  Be your wife’s biggest fan.

5. Sex–Hmmm…sort of a touchy, personal subject here and I do realize that different women react differently, but men… women like sex too!  There have been tons of books written about the differences between men and women but looking again at The Generous Husband one thing that guys often “don’t get” is that we are hard-wired to want sex when we feel safe, loved, and close to a man…and if one of those three is lacking, what happens is that we might even TRY to respond but physically we can’t get there.  Hey the fact is, our brain is our largest sexual organ!  On the other hand, when the lady in your life does feel safe, loved, and close to you, then WOW please feel free to be Mr. Sexy with her because it kindles that desire!  Again, part of feeling desire is to feel that you are desired…so on the occasion go with the rose petals and candles and at other times, be aggressive, make your move and take her like you can’t wait to get her clothes off!

6. Chores–This is another one that makes husbands roll their eyes but is actually a great gift! If your wife is a stay-at-home-mom, she likely is “on duty” 24hr./7 days a week for laundry, dishes, dinner, picking up the house, and actually cleaning (like with comet and mops).  So while you may work 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday–she works midnight to 11:59pm Sunday to Saturday.  If your wife is a career woman, then just like you, when she gets home from working all day, she has a list a mile long of chores she has to get done around the house just for cleaning and daily “wear and tear.” My point is that no one can feel lovely and sexy when there’s laundry to get done before tomorrow, the baby is crying and has a fever, and there’s a sink full of dishes.  If you were to both work on all three together though, she would feel grateful for the help and like someone was on her side helping…and that leads to feeling close which leads to feeling loved and sexy.  So yep–man up and change that diaper or scrub that sink, and give her a hug while ya do it.

7. Play–again, this one can be fairly easy. Play together.  Remember when you first met how you used to chase her around and try to tickle her?  Remember how you used to tell jokes and laugh at each other?  Remember how she would go to ballgames with you, and you’d go to ballet with her (even though neither one of you really were fans of it)?  People have fun together and enjoy each others’ company in a thousand ways, but this year for Christmas, give her that fun back.  My Dear Hubby and I *LOVE* to play video games together, create RPG’s together, go camping together, watch football together, and watch movies together. What do you just LIKE to do with your bride?

8. Family–Oy “family” is a tricky one.  Give your wife the gift this Christmas of firmly and devotedly defending her and picking her above all others, whether that means against your family or her family.  One thing that REALLY extinguishes love (and quickly!) is the feeling that given the chance to back her or someone else, you pick someone else…and that includes your mother or your daughter!  When it comes to family, you have the chance to really be a “knight in shining armor” and jump to her aide and defend her, but that sometimes means you have to stand up to other people you love. Here’s the thing: I think everyone would like to believe that our spouse would choose us over everyone else in the world. I know that women often fall in love with or feel love for someone who can periodically “rescue” them (and I don’t mean in an unhealthy way).  But imagine the two scenarios: your wife makes a “family faux pas” and forgets to buy a gift for Uncle Jim; your mother criticizes her in front of everyone in less that glowing terms.  #1–You agree with mom and can’t believe she forgot your relative.  Your mom thinks you’re a good son but your wife feels like she’s fighting all alone and you have to go home with her. Where do you end up sleeping?  #2–You stand up to your mom and say it could have happened to anyone or tell her to please speak to your wife more respectfully.  Your mom is a little miffed that you called her on it but your wife thinks you jumped to her rescue and you have to go home with her.  Where do you end up sleeping?

See what I mean?

9. Gussy up–Okay this one goes both ways a little.  She used to look SO AMAZING in that sexy outfit with her hair done up…remember that?  Well life may have intervened a little, children may have come, etc. and some of her physique may have changed a bit, but if she makes the effort to gussy up for you, look at her as if she was that beautiful bride that you could NOT take your eyes off of.  Notice her hair cut, color, makeup and outfit every day.  Say something about it.  Did she offer to wear some lingerie for you?  DROP EVERYTHING and act interested.  And this goes for you too guys…you look like James Bond when you gussy up a little yourself.  So take off the jeans and tee with the stain, and gussy up for your bride.  Do your hair–add some cologne–wear a night shirt and pants that look GOOD on you.

10. Finances–When single men and women fight, they often go to this argument: (Woman) “All you want a woman for is a trophy wife!” (Man) “Yeah? Well all you want a man for is his wallet!”  Fellas, this may seem like an odd gift to give your bride for Christmas, but again trust me, it’s on her wish list somewhere.  This day and age many women are perfectly capable of “providing for themselves” and yet part of being a wife and mother is safety, and as a wife and mother it is a horribly unstable feeling if you’re worrying about becoming homeless or feeding your children.  Now I do realize that not everyone can be in perfect financial condition, and that sometimes women can want a certain lifestyle that you just can’t attain!  But one gift you can give your bride is that firm, safe feeling of knowing that you will work WITH her on the finances so that things are taken care of.  If you two are in financial straits now, give her the gift of making movement toward straightening up the finances!  Just as it would be a huge burden for you to have to “provide for” the family alone, show her that she’s safe and won’t be left alone to take care of herself and the kids.

And there you have it!  Ten gifts that are sure to be on her Christmas Wish List and that you can her for free.

Not Everybody Has Perfect Holidays

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Not everybody has perfect holidays

The economy is tough right now and many people are out of work, so they can barely pay there bills.  There just isn’t money for presents.

Some people are ill or have a loved one in the hospital.   Some people are alcoholic, addicted, mentally ill or clinically depressed, and the holidays just are not HAPPY.

Some people have a spouse who is committing adultery or who had an affair, and this year they are with the other person having the time of their lives, while the faithful spouse is home alone and left trying to explain to kids why “mommy” or “daddy” isn’t with them for Christmas.

Coping with “less than perfect” holidays starts with going easy on yourself. Here are some ideas to accept:

  • It’s okay if the holidays can’t be what they once were.  Just because you once had thousands of dollars to spend on presents doesn’t mean you do this year…and if you did it last year it doesn’t mean you have to do it this year.  Let the past BE in the past, and do what you can do this year.
  • There is no right or wrong way to celebrate the holidays.  You don’t have to get brand new electronics for Christmas, or spends thousands of dollars on decorating and the electric bill for lighting the whole house in Christmas lights.  Ask yourself what you want and ask your children what they want.  It is perfect acceptable to celebrate Christmas by spending the day in your pajamas, watching all 3 Lord of the Rings movies, and ordering a pizza if that is what would be celebrating to you.  Sometimes you feel like it’s expected of you…and other people don’t expect it at all!
  • Taking care of yourself must be a priority.  Yes I know the Holidays are a season of giving and thinking of others, but it is okay, during this season, to also take care of yourself .  I don’t mean you should be selfish or self-centered but it is reasonable, especially if you are going through financial worries, illness, or marital difficulties to take some time to care for you.

Here are some coping techniques:

  1. Don’t lose your faith.  Many people become angry with God when they lose their job, encounter a chronic illness, or lose their spouse.  “Where was HE?!!” they wonder.  “Why didn’t He stop this?”  During this time of trial, it can feel very painful and even lonely, but feelings do not determine the truth;  GOD determines the truth.  He has made promises to us:
    • that He will never leave us or forsake us (Deut. 3:16),
    • that He has plans for good and not for harm for our future (Jeremiah 29:11),
    • that He will give us rest  if we are weary and our burden is heavy (Matt. 11:28 and 29),
    • that He will give power to the weak (Isaiah 40:29-31)
    • that He will supply all our needs (Phil 4:19),
    • that NOTHING will separate us from Him (Romans 8:37-39).  
  2. Give yourself permission to “not be perfect”.  So often we hold ourselves to just IMPOSSIBLE standards.  If you can not decorate a tree–see if the kids want to do it, or enjoy the tree at the courthouse this year.  Make some adjustments in what you can do, and do the things you can do with joy.  If it’s not perfect….well oh well!  Big deal.
  3. Make new traditions.  Your old traditions about sharing a big family dinner together may not work anymore, and since there is no “right” and “wrong” way to celebrate the holidays, make NEW traditions that fit with the circumstances you’re in right now.  If you don’t have the finances–go to a meal at your church and enjoy the company of your church family.  If you are ill–go out to Christmas dinner and enjoy not having to do the dishes!   If your family is torn in two by an affair or the kids are grown up and out of the house–have a potluck meal and invite those who don’t HAVE a family to share the day with you.
  4. Volunteer.  So often we think of “what we don’t have anymore” and get depressed that we don’t have the money or don’t have the health or don’t have the family…and we forget what we DO have.  To break out of that cycle, instead of staying home and thinking of what you’ve lost, go to a nursing home and volunteer time with someone who would love to talk to you.  Volunteer to be Santa and pass out candy canes at your child’s school.  Go to the homeless shelter and share coffee and a meal with someone who has no home in the winter.  Go to your local animal shelter and care for an innocent, faithful, loving animal.   Trust me, suddenly your life won’t seem quite so bad and you’ll remember what you DO have.

What if my spouse won’t meet my needs?

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There is an age-old question we are asked here at Affaircare pretty regularly.   “So if my needs are not being met in my marriage, and I told my spouse but they just aren’t interested…what do I do?”  I think married couples throughout the centuries have struggled with this question, and since it’s often the justification for an affair, I thought it would be a wise idea to address this question.

The first thing is that we are looking at marriage backward.  In our society we’ve been taught/told that love is a feeling, that the person who loves you will automatically know what to do and how to do it, that when you love someone it will “come naturally,” and that the person you love who loves you will “complete you” and meet your every need almost intuitively.  The reason we get married is because we feel some sort of deep feelings that bond us together, and we marry to have OUR needs met.

In real life ….love is an ACTION, not a feeling at all.  When you love someone, you may not know them all that well, may not know their entire life history yet, may not know how they deal with the ups and downs of life, but you make a commitment to spend a lifetime studying them and learning how to love them.  You volunteer to share your thoughts and feelings and life with your spouse, so that they see the True You and come to KNOW you deeply…intimately…and you come to KNOW them.  You learn how to love them and what to do, because not everyone is shown love in the same way.  And if they aren’t shown love the same way you are, it can be really confusing or hard …. or feel unnatural!  In real life the reason we get married is to spend a lifetime meeting OUR SPOUSE’S needs!

So if you look at it from the proper point of view, “having your needs met” is not a goal of being married.  The goal (well….ONE of the goals) is for you to learn how to meet your spouse’s needs.  Let’s look at a few Biblical examples:

1. Abigail — 1 Samuel 25.  King David is in this sort of rural area, and some bad guys are hassling some farmers and shepherds–you know bullying.  So King David and his group fend off the bullies, and then ask the owner of the land they just defended if he would mind sharing some food and supplies.  The owner is pretty much a JERK!  His name is Nabal, and you guessed it, he is Abigail’s husband.  He pretty much tells King David and his men to shove it and is very disrespectful to the men who just saved him.  Naturally the men with King David are angry about being disrespected,  so they grab their weapons and head to Nabal’s to give him a piece of their mind.  Here’s where Abigail comes in!

Abigail hears about her husband’s bad attitude and the bad choices he made, and she wisely knows he’s about to be in a world of hurt!  So she prepares a feast and the supplies that King David’s men asked for and more, and she gets on her own donkey and rides to meet the angry mob of men.  She risks her own husband’s anger, but even moreso she risks her life confronting these angry men!  Then she does the most amazing thing possible: she humbles herself before King David and asks him not to be mad at her husband. but to place the blame on her in his place.

Now Abigail could have easily thought “MAN why am I married to such a jerk?  He’s mean; he pisses off the neighbors; he’s cranky; and now he’s made a whole group so mad they’re about to attack us!  What about MY emotional needs!  Why should I put up with such a curmudgeon?  Surely I deserve to be happy and loved…right?”  But do you see that anywhere in this bible passage?  No.  Nor do we see God “telling her” that she deserves to be treated gently and that it’s okay for her to break up her marriage and leave her husband to get her needs met!  Nope we see that Abigail is admired for her virtue, and what was her virtue?  She was loyal and faithful.  Her husband was a jerk, and she showed him by her ACTIONS what a woman of God would act like.  She ACTED in wisdom and love even when he was a spouse with whom it was hard to live!

What does Abigail teach you about when your spouse won’t meet your needs?

2. Hosea — The whole book of Hosea!   In this book of the Bible, through this prophet, God chooses to reveal our problem that we have with Him by using the biblical model of marriage to show us that our sinful behavior is like adultery to Him.  Hosea is commanded to find a woman of harlotry and marry her, and in the first chapter he reveals the problem at hand.    In the second chapter, Hosea catches his wife, Gomer, in an affair, and he responds as expected; in a furious rant!  After all, adultery is the most painful thing a person can live through, even more painful than a death in the family.  In the third chapter, Hosea is told by God to “Go Find Your Wife!” and when he does find her, she is being sold in the slave market as a prostitute.  He has to pay such a great price to get her out of the slave market that Hosea literally loses EVERYTHING.

In this entire book, nowhere does God tell Hosea it is okay for him to leave his prostitute wife “to get his needs met.”  In fact, God specifically uses Hosea’s faithfulness to an adulterous wife as an image of how faithful He has been to us even though we have been like wives selling ourselves to others!  And the third chapter… not only does God NOT say “Okay now your needs will finally be met, Hosea” but in order to redeem Gomer out of the slave market he has to lose EVERY THING.  The adultery is painful; the cost of redeeming her is STEEP!!!  But still he does it, and it is a wonderful image of how God has treated us.

What does Hosea teach you about when your spouse won’t meet your needs?

3. Mary — Matthew 1:18-25, 2:1-12, Luke 1:26-38, Luke 1:46-56, Luke 2:1-7, Luke 2:8-20.   We are all familiar with Mary, the mother of Jesus.  Her story is an amazing one–miraculous really.  For His own reasons, God chose HER as the means by which His Son, our Lord, would come onto this planet in human form.  But think about Mary for a moment.  She was a younger Jewish girl, in an area that was not particularly “well to do”…at a time when Jews were pretty oppressed by the Romans.  She was engaged to a nice young man in her town, looking forward to her wedding, and BOOM here comes God saying He’s going to make her pregnant and it will be the Messiah.  Okay that’s all well and good, but how is she going to explain that to her fiance?  According to Jewish law, he would have every right to throw her out on her ear and she’d NEVER get married because her reputation would be tarnished.  But does Mary say “Hey God, what about MY needs?  I’ll be an outcast!  No one will love me!  I’ll end up homeless or who knows what!”

No.  Her reply is to magnify the Lord!!  Verbatim, she said “Here I am” giving herself fully to the Lord to do as He wills.  Then she follows that up with “My soul glorifies the Lord  and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant”  WOW.  Her needs were not going to be met at all and she gave glory to GOD!!

What does Mary teach you about when your spouse won’t meet your needs?

When you are looking to your spouse to meet your needs, you are looking in the wrong place.

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The Alabaster Jar Beholding Glory

My Vows

Do you remember the vows you took on your wedding day?  Word for word?  I remember mine.  My Dear Hubby and I were not dewy-eyed youths when we got married, and we wrote vows to really express the covenant we were making.

I,      Affaircare    , in faith, honesty and love, take you,     Dear Hubby    , to be my wedded husband to share with you God’s plan for our lives together united in Christ.–In the first sentence, I wanted the part in there about sharing with my Dear Hubby God’s plan for our lives, because I wanted to express that we weren’t just here to live for our happiness individually or “our” happiness as a couple, but rather, we were put together specifically to perform a plan that God had for us.  I was to do my wifely duties; he was to do his husbandly duties; and TOGETHER we were to do God’s plan for us…not our own!  Furthermore, that sentence ends with “together united in Christ” because we are both believers–so not only do Dear Hubby and I unite to each other…but we also unite in Christ.

As you have pledged to me your life and love, so I too happily give you my life and love.–This sentence is all about one thing: being married is not about “what’s in it for me?” but it’s all about “What am I going to voluntarily and willingly give TO YOU?”  As a married person, my job and my focus are on studying my husband and learning how to be the best wife I am able to be.  When you become focused only on yourself and your own happiness, rather than focusing on your spouse and on doing what pleases God–that’s when marriages can be torn apart!

It is my prayer and desire that you will find in me the helpmeet God designed especially for you, and in confidence submit myself to your headship as to the Lord.–This part of my vows was my way of acknowledge the authority in my new marriage and the role I saw myself playing, namely that my husband would be the head, that I would willingly submit to him, and that I saw my role as being not just “his helper” but someone who would be fit to help him grow and assist him in his work.

Through the pressures of the present and the uncertainties of the future, I promise to be faithful to you—for better, for worse; in sickness and in health, in joys and in sorrows until in death do we part.–Boy, I bet when everyone says this part of their vows they THINK they mean it, but wow…life can really throw some zingers at you!  For example, this part of the vows means: “I will not threaten to leave when your ex-spouse is a hassle and tries to interfere in our marriage.”  It also means “When your ex stops paying child support and the kids are living at our house all the time, I will stay with you and work it out.”  It also means “When we hit menopause and our sex drives change up, I won’t just leave because I’m not happy.”  It also means “When you get a chronic, life-long illness I won’t just up and leave you when you are too ill to meet my needs.”  It also means “When you lose your job and feel like the dirt on a worm’s shoe, I’ll be the one standing by you.”  It also means “When you parents die and you close up to deal with it, I will patiently wait for you.”  DO NOT take this part lightly, because it means that through every trial and tribulation of life, you promise to turn TOWARD your spouse.

Therefore I pledge you my life as an obedient, faithful and loving wife and pray I will fulfill God’s place in our home.–Yep you see it there–that scary “obey” word.  To me, this sentence is once again stating what I see as the role in the marriage.  It’s not my job to make sure the marriage steers in the right spiritual direction.  That’s my Dear Hubby’s job.  When I’m standing up there before God, He’s not going to put the responsibility of directing the family on me–He’s going to ask me “Did you respect your husband’s authority?”  If I did, that would be fulfilling my place in our home.

“Whither thou goest I will go; whither thou lodgest I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people and they God, my God.”   In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.–Ah the conclusion.  I’ve always liked the story of Ruth.  I love how she was originally from Moab–grew up outside the covenant and just happened to marry a guy who was an Israelite but who was disobeying God.  So she learned about I AM from her husband and she “got it”… through God’s gift of faith, she understood!  Then when her husband died, her mother-in-law says “Hey you’re young yet.  You go to your own family and have a good life and I’m heading back to Israel” but what does Ruth say?   She says THIS VERSE, because she knows that her duty is to help take care of her mother-in-law, and she knows that her mother-in-law’s God is The One God!  She does the honorable thing, pleasing God, and as the rest of the story progresses, she ends up meeting Boaz, they get married and is the grandmother of King David and in the lineage of Christ.  So yeah I love her.  She was an “outsider” and God loved her and added her to His elect.

So there you have it!  My vows:

I,      Affaircare    , in faith, honesty and love, take you,      Dear Hubby     , to be my wedded husband to share with you God’s plan for our lives together united in Christ.   As you have pledged to me your life and love, so I too happily give you my life and love.   It is my prayer and desire that you will find in me the helpmeet God designed especially for you, and in confidence submit myself to your headship as to the Lord.  Through the pressures of the present and the uncertainties of the future, I promise to be faithful to you—for better, for worse; in sickness and in health, in joys and in sorrows until in death do we part.   Therefore I pledge you my life as an obedient, faithful and loving wife and pray I will fulfill God’s place in our home.   “Whither thou goest I will go; whither thou lodgest I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people and they God, my God.”   In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Do you remember your vows? If you do, post them in a comment and let’s talk about them.

This is post is part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge!

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