Reconciliation Tool #1: Myers-Briggs Personality Test [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 are beginning a five-week 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 first tool–the Myers-Briggs personality test.

Katharine Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, identified four criterion, or “preferences,” that define each of our personality types. Although everybody functions across the entire spectrum of the preferences, each individual has a natural preference which leans in one direction or the other within the four criterion:

  • our source of personal energy (Extrovert-Introvert)
  • how we gather and perceive information (Sensor-iNtuitive)
  • how we process the information we’ve gathered (Thinker-Feeler)
  • how we implement the information we’ve processed (Judger-Perceiver)

The first criterion, Extroversion – Introversion, signifies the source and direction of a person’s energy expression. An extrovert’s source and direction of energy expression is mainly in the external world, while an introvert has a source of energy mainly in their own internal world.

The second criterion, Sensing – Intuition, represents the method by which someone perceives information. Sensing means that a person mainly believes information he or she receives directly from the external world. Intuition means that a person believes mainly information he or she receives from the internal or imaginative world.

The third criterion, Thinking – Feeling, represents how a person processes information. Thinking means that a person makes a decision mainly through logic. Feeling means that, as a rule, he or she makes a decision based on emotion, i.e. based on what they feel they should do.

The fourth criterion, Judging – Perceiving, reflects how a person implements the information he or she has processed. Judging means that a person organizes all of his life events and, as a rule, sticks to his plans. Perceiving means that he or she is inclined to improvise and explore alternative options.

You can find links to the Myers-Briggs personality test on our Affaircare Quizzes page, or just click here to go directly to the test.

Here is a link to the Myers-Briggs wikipedia page, so you can learn more about it.

Once you have determined your personality type, here is a page that has the 16 Personalities and a description of each one.  Look up your own personality type and find out your own strengths and weaknesses.  Then share your personality types with each other, and look up your spouse’s description.  Does it sound like them?  Find out their strengths and weaknesses.  Learn about what makes your spouse tick!

Discovering that your spouse is not the same as you can be shocking.  But particularly while a couple is working to recover after an affair, discovering the ways in which you are the same can give you a foundation on which you can begin to build.  Likewise finding out the ways in which you two are different can explain why “he” behaves one way and “she” behaves another.  Maybe he’s just a Thinker and she’s just a Feeler: but that explains why he seems like an emotionless “Spock” to her, and she seems like an irrational, emotional jumble to him!  If you UNDERSTAND each other, you begin to build love.

[audio: https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/2016/Reconcilation+Tools–Myers-Briggs.mp3]

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What is the 180 U Turn? Does it help in recovery or reconciliation? [Podcast]

David and I are often asked about the 180 U Turn, so we thought we’d dedicate an entire episode to explaining what it is and when it is useful. Through examples, we explain how you can use the 180 U Turn technique whether you are recovering after an affair that lead to divorce or reconciling your marriage after an affair.

in my humble opinion, the 180 could be used for either recovery circumstance. But the gist of the technique is this: what you’ve been doing IS NOT WORKING. If you did not change and just kept doing things “as you are” then the likelihood that you and your marriage would stay a mess is about 100%.

Thus, what you do is a 180 turn from what you’ve been doing! Think of it as “The U Turn” instead of the 180 maybe.

uturn

The 180 U Turn list includes things that people typically do that are intuitive but actually very counter-productive, but the list isn’t perfect for everyone, and there may be stuff not included on the list that you should do 180 degrees differently.

So let’s look at a few examples.

When someone first finds out that their spouse is cheating, a very typical reaction is to cry and beg them to stay and beg them to love you and them around like a puppy dog pointing out all “the good memories”… The loyal spouse sort of enters this competition for the disloyal spouse’s love (PICK ME!) and buys gifts and promises they’ll change and calls them all the time nagging them about reconciling.

This is a VERY typical reaction, and it is 100% counter-productive! To the disloyal spouse you look like a weak, beta, wimp with no self-respect and no worth. Honestly it is irritating to have someone follow you around all mopey and begging you to choose them.

So the 180 (The U Turn) says “Do the OPPOSITE.” Another way to think of it is like George Castanza–remember how he did the opposite of every natural instinct and suddenly he had TONS of women? The 180 concept is sort of similar–do the opposite of what you’ve been doing that hasn’t worked.

Imagine what would happen if you found out your spouse was cheating, and rather cry and beg them to stay and beg them to love you and them around like a puppy dog pointing out all “the good memories”… the loyal spouse said, “I have decided to stop all this crying and begging. If you don’t love me, then so be it. I do feel sad, but that’s your choice and I’m perfectly capable of functioning without you and finding someone who does appreciate what I have to offer. So good luck and buh-bye now.” And then just carried on as if they were completely okay and like a weight had been lifted off their shoulders!!

Then rather than entering the competition for the disloyal spouse’s love (PICK ME!) and buys gifts and promises they’ll change and calling them all the time asking for reconciliation, what if the loyal spouse redecorated the house in a new color they always wanted? And the loyal didn’t call, and in fact seemed to move on okay with the disloyal? And when the disloyal called them…they couldn’t take the call because they were at an event having a great time and they’d call some other time?

See, trying to manipulate someone into loving you is never going to work. But begging and crying and following like a puppy and calling just show weakness. The goal of the 180 (The U Turn) is to help YOU become someone who has self-worth and who sees their self-value. If someone has self-worth, even if the one they love chooses to do something painful, they don’t doubt that they still have worth! They just accept that the person they love did something dumb and recognize that has nothing to do with their value! Make sense?

So going the first route demonstrates lack of self-worth…and the 180 says “How’s that working for ya?” Your relationship is a MESS and now you need to learn how to do the exact opposite to demonstrate that you are developing (or re-realizing) your WORTH.

In the end, who can say if the disloyal will reconcile or not? Doesn’t really matter actually. The goal is to act in a way that supports and reaffirms your own worth. If they choose to reconcile–coolness they see you as a stronger, alpha kind of person who can carry on. If they choose NOT to reconcile–too bad, their loss, because you are a person who can be just fine on our own without them!

You may choose to have them in your life, but you do not NEED them. Make sense?

[audio: https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/2016/Edit+2016-04-15+What+is+the+180+U+Turn.mp3]

How did my disloyal spouse become the VICTIM? ~D.A.R.V.O

victim

As a loyal spouse, have you ever wondered at the painful, destructive, abusive things your disloyal spouse says or does to you during their affair yet somehow they turn it all around and blame YOU, so that they become the victim and they are justified in their adultery?

Have you ever wondered how disloyal spouses convince their friends, their family,and sometimes even church leaders  and their parents,  that they are the innocent one but you are a BEAST?

Has your disloyal spouse screamed at you for HOURS and blamed their actions on “a tone in your voice” but never stopped to consider that if a tone justifies how they act…what must hours of screaming justify?

As coaches involved in marriage and recovery after infidelity, David and I come across this phenomenon fairly regularly and the loyal spouse rarely understands how it is possible to do that.  How could anyone look at the situation and spin it so that the one committing adultery is the victim?  Clearly the one who has been cheated on is the casualty, right?  Not on the one did the cheating?  So how do they do it?

It’s a concept that was first “named” D.A.R.V.O. in the 1990’s by Dr.  Jennifer Freyd–so note: this is not a concept taken directly from the Bible, but rather a way of giving a name to the method guilty parties use to spin reality so that they are victim. D.A.R.V.O stands for “Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim Order”…so you can see that in just one acronym it identifies exactly the procedure a disloyal spouse uses. D.A.R.V.O. is not UN-biblical; it’s just a way of labeling or naming the technique that the disloyal spouses use, and thus it’s a way of identifying it for loyal spouses.  Our hope in sharing this is so that when D.A.R.V.O. is practiced on you, you’ll recognize it and have the tools to deal with it.

So let’s go into what each letter of  D.A.R.V.O. means.

DENY–by definition, denial is “the statement or the action of declaring something to be untrue.”  Denial in psychological circles is a defense mechanism in which facing reality is avoided by denying the existence of the reality.  In the instance of D.A.R.V.O., the denial kicks in when the guilty party (the disloyal spouse) is confronted with the truth of what they’ve done (committed adultery) and held responsible and accountable for their choices and actions.

Some different examples of denial:

  • Outright denial or gaslighting. “That never happened.”
  • Minimization. “It wasn’t that bad.”
  • Amnesia. “I don’t remember doing that.”
  • Redefinition. “I have a bad temper, so you shouldn’t upset me.”
  • Projection. “You’re abusive and controlling. You hurt me.”
  • Conversion. “I did wrong, but I’m a changed person and won’t do it again.”

“How does denial work?” you ask?  Well let me give you an example.  Everyone has various values and emotions that affect the way we view reality: shame, greed, desire, revenge, ego, pride, public image, stubbornness, inertia, impulsiveness are all things that change the way we might interpret facts in a given instance.  So if you were at work and someone who’s younger and attractive invited you to lunch, but you knew that your credit card was near the max and your spouse would see it–because of desire, ego and public image, you might go off the lunch anyway and even offer to buy lunch…and all the while you’d be in denial of the financial and marital consequences.  You can see how infidelity and denial go hand-in-hand!

“What makes this denial different than a falsely accused innocent party who says it didn’t happen?” you ask?  When someone is actually innocent and they’ve been accused falsely, they might say “That’s not true!” and then do something like give a list of facts to prove their innocence.  But when someone is guilty and engaging in  D.A.R.V.O. the reaction is a combination of projection, denial, lying, blameshifting and gaslighting (see above examples).  In other words, the disloyal spouse might respond with an act of righteous indignation, claim YOU are the horrible one because you “invaded their privacy” or “how DARE you accuse me.” In the example above, a D.A.R.V.O. denial response to the loyal spouse who holds them accountable for the lunch charges might be: “HOW DARE YOU question my financial judgment! I’m not the irresponsible one here, why just yesterday you spent $125 just on groceries!”

This leads straight into the next step of D.A.R.V.O.–

ATTACK–An attack by definition is “an aggressive and violent action against a person or place.”  In this instance it’s the disloyal spouse being aggressive or violent against the loyal spouse who is holding them personally responsible.  Sometimes the aggression is physical–sometimes it is verbal/emotional/mental violence. Usually there is manipulation, threats, or bullying and the intent is to scare the loyal spouse into ending the consequences or “backing off” the insistence that the affair end!

Attacks typically include almost anything including accusations, legal threats, intimidation, warnings of physical attacks (such as destruction of property or harming a pet), warnings such as “watch your back because when you don’t expect it, you’ll get it!” threats to ruin your credibility or reputation, ridiculing you for trying to hold them accountable, and pretty much any other abusive tactic the disloyal spouse has ever used before.  Women often use crocodile tears as an attack, because they know they can get their spouse to stop if they just cry.  Plus, they can always say: “I can’t believe you’d hurt me by saying that!”

…which this leads right into the final step of D.A.R.V.O.–

REVERSE VICTIM ORDER–There really is no dictionary definition of this phrase, but we should discuss what a victim is.  A victim is “the person harmed or injured as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action,” and as it relates to infidelity, the loyal spouse may have been a jerk prior to the affair, but once the disloyal spouse chose to deal with it by committing adultery, the loyal spouse, the marriage and the family became the injured parties.  The person who made the choice and followed through by committing adultery is not the “victim”…just so we are clear.  The marriage was torpedoed…and unless the disloyal quickly repents and is completely remorseful, the family is also in danger of being destroyed.

Now that we are clear, in order to reverse the victim order, disloyal spouses often use a technique called Persuasive Blaming.  They convince the loyal spouse that their internal, personal issues are external–or in other words, caused by someone or something else.  I VERY typical example of this is “I had an affair because you….”  It’s the same method that abusers use to convince their victims that “I got mad because you burned supper” or “I hit you because you deserved it.”  Once the loyal spouse is persuaded to view the issue backwards like that, then the disloyal can keep the focus off the real problem (themselves) and try to force the focus and blame onto the loyal.  AND once the blame is on the loyal, then they can portrait themselves as the victim!

So in summary, D.A.R.V.O. would be when the disloyal spouse first DENIES the infidelity, ATTACKS the loyal spouse (putting the loyal on the defensive), and then , once the loyal is off balance, acts as if or claims that THEY are the actual injured party!  Here is what an example of D.A.R.V.O. might sound like:

LS = loyal spouse

DS = disloyal spouse

LS: “I have the phone bill, a printout of our credit card statement, and a printout of the text messages between you and XXX at work. I know you have spent 5000 minutes on the cell phone this month; you’ve bought her gifts on our credit card, and you sexted her.  I will not tolerate adultery in our marriage.  Please pack your things and be out of this house by sunset.”

DS:  (screaming) “What are you talking about? I didn’t do any of that! Of course we went to lunch once or twice, but it not like it’s an affair! You just trying to control me!  I can’t believe you’d invade my privacy because you have trust issues.  Who do you think you are?”

LS: “I told you, I have the phone bill and credit card statement right here..”

DS: “I swear if you try to tell everyone I had an affair, I’ll tear you to shreds in court.  You’ll lose the house AND the kids and be out on the street with NOTHING! Give me those stupid papers…look at you holding those papers like they were some kind of shield? Don’t you know better than to threaten ME!? “

LS: “I’m not the one who threatened you. You are the one who chose to have an affair….”

DS: “It’s not an affair for crying out loud! We’re just friends, and plus I wouldn’t even be friends with her if you’d ever shut up and listen to me. You know how much I love to talk but do you ever listen to me? NO! You think you know better and sneak around behind my back lying to everyone about me when I’M the one who has had to put up with you and your constant b.s. for all these years!”

Examples of How to Talk to Your Kids About an Affair [Podcast]

Here at Affaircare we do believe you should talk to your children when your spouse is having an affair. They are going to notice that something is wrong, and their world is about to be turned upside down just like yours–so they need a parent to tell them what happened and why.

So in this episode of our weekly podcast we are going to discuss WHY you should talk to your kids about your spouse’s affair, HOW to talk to them about it in an age-appropriate way, WHERE they are developmentally, and then give a specific example of how to word it.

Lots advise hiding it from them or lying about the situation by saying something cliche like: “We’ve grown apart and decided we can’t live together anymore.” We don’t believe that’s appropriate, nor does it honor God, no does it respect your children, nor does it teach them to be honest! It sends the children a confusing message for their parents to “grow apart and not be able to live together” but they are told to “just get along” with kids in their class who bully them or tease them. If parents can just run away when they don’t get along, why can’t they?

So we do recommend speaking to the children and telling them the truth about the affair. No doubt the disloyal spouse will be against this because they don’t want their adultery held up to the light of day. And clearly telling the children all the details of infidelity is WAY beyond their capacity to cope and deal with it.

Rather we recommend keeping it simple but honest, sticking with the truth, and keep the focus on what YOU believe and what you think/feel. Do not bad-mouth the disloyal, even if it is the truth, because that puts the focus of your talk on the disloyal and you are saying “S/He did ___” and “S/He thinks we ___” and you can’t speak for them! Plus, the disloyal is your children’s parent and a part of THEM and always will be in their life! Neither you or your kids can make the disloyal be a good parent, but you can be honest with your childrent and tell them how the unfaithful behavior differs from what you believe.

Less than elementary school age:
Developmentally they do not understand anything about “relationships” or “marriage”–they’d only understand that mommy and daddy are their family, and that they need both mommy and daddy. They’d have very basic understanding of right and wrong (something is a ‘no no’), and at this age they tend to see their parents as “gods”.

Be very simple: I believe mommies and daddies make a promise to only love each other and have no other boyfriend or girlfriend. Mommy has a boyfriend and I believe that is a ‘no no’ and I feel sad about it.

.

Elementary school age:
Developmentally they do not understand the entire dynamic of “relationships” or “marriage” but they have some idea from observing their parents and seeing their friends’ parents…and they have some vocabulary to express themselves better. They are old enough to have a firm grasp of right and wrong (like lying is naughty), and probably have some basics on morals and values. They will tend to view their parents as “authorities” and they probably will think that parents are splitting because they were bad or because they weren’t good enough for mommy/daddy to love them.

Still keep it simple and no disrespecting the disloyal spouse–just tell the truth and the facts: “You know how we’ve gone to Sunday School and talked about things that are right and wrong, like lying and stealing are wrong? Well I believe when moms and dads marry, they make a promise to only love each other and that would mean having no boyfriends or girlfriends, right? Daddy has a girlfriend and I believe that is wrong. So as long as he has his girlfriend, he will be moving out, and we will be staying right here. You will have your same room and your same school and your same friends, and I will be here if you have any questions or want to talk. Okay?”

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Middle school age:
Developmentally they do not understand the entire dynamic of “relationships” or “marriage” but they may have had their first boy/girl crush and certainly know about dating…plus they have even more ability to vocalize their thoughts and feelings. They are old enough to know right from wrong, and their morals and values are being formed and finalized. This is the age of bar/bat mitzvah or confirmation where they begin the transition to adulthood. They will tend to think that parents are weird, dorks, embarrassing, and irritating…and may try things that are 100% different than their parents’ beliefs just to shock them (and to see if THEY truly believe it too).

It might be similar to the elementary school talk but a bit more advanced–still no disrespecting the disloyal and still just stick to the truth and the facts: I’m sure you can tell something is wrong between your mom and I. She is going to be moving out, and I wanted you to know why. You know how we’ve always taught you about right and wrong? Well I believe when people marry, they take a vow to only love each other and that would mean having no boyfriends or girlfriends, right? Well, your mom has a boyfriend and I believe that is wrong. I’ve asked her to give up her boyfriend and return to the family but she has chosen not to. So as long as she has her boyfriend and won’t give him up, she will be moving out. I suspect you feel hurt and upset, but I’m here if you want to talk, okay?

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High school age:
Developmentally they THINK they understand the dynamic of “relationships” and “marriage,” and no doubt they’ve had their first boy/girlfriend, but they do not know the entirety of it. They are fully capable of expressing themselves verbally, but with the onset of puberty, the world is one big drama and they may prefer to talk to their friends or write in a journal. They should already have a very firm grasp of right and wrong, and nearly adult understanding of morals and values. This is the age of testing their young adulthood. This is the age when they are separating from their parents so they will tend to see their parents’ weaknesses and feet of clay, and they’ll likely value their friends first.

A bit more advanced than the middle school talk, but still no disrespecting the disloyal and still just stick to the truth and the facts:I’m sure you can tell something is wrong between your father and I. He is going to be moving out, and I wanted you to know why. You’re mature enough now to know right from wrong. I believe when people marry, they take a vow before God to forsake all others and only love each other so the family is stable and strong. Well, I found out your dad has a girlfriend and I believe that is wrong. I’ve asked him to give up his girlfriend and return to the family but he choses not to. So as long as he has his girlfriend and won’t give her up, he will be moving out. I suspect you feel really hurt, but I’m here if you want to talk.

We can not go into everything your kids may or may not ask–otherwise this video would be hours long! But this will be an honest way to get the conversation started so that they know that at least one parent will be honest with them and tell them the real truth!

[audio: https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/2016/Edit+20160401+How+to+Talk+to+Your+Kids.mp3]

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]

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.

How an Emotional Affair progresses…

emotional affair

 

Is your spouse “catching up” with an old high school friend on Facebook or chat, and you feel uncomfortable… but you can’t put a finger on WHY?  That’s because right now their texts may be just two old friends talking about the past, but if it continues here’s what they’ll start talking about:

Their lives since they parted
Their relationships since they parted
Their families
Their spouses
You (the spouse)
How you’re an excellent parent
How you’re a great spouse
How you’re a wonderful person
Your job
How your job keeps you busy
How your job keeps you away
How they sometimes feel a little lonely when you’re away
How they sometimes feel a little overburdened at home
How they sometimes feel a little taken for granted
How they feel that you don’t ALWAYS listen
How they feel that you don’t ALWAYS understand her
How they feel that sometimes you’re just “not there” for them
How, okay… you’re not ALWAYS such a wonderful person
How they loved hearing from their old friend again
How they look forward to their old friend’s texts/calls/e-mails now
How they feel young again
How they feel appreciated again
How they feel attractive again
How it’s so nice to have someone who just LISTENS again
How it’s been so, so long since someone made then feel that way
How their eyes have now been opened
How they now realize what they truly want and need
How they now realizes that their spouse could NEVER give them that
How insensitive their spouse can be some times
How their spouse can be a real jerk sometimes
How they wonder what it would be like if the two of you would have stayed together “back in the day”
How they now realize that they never really loved their spouse
How they now realize that they really loved their old friend all along
How they ever could have fallen for a jerk like their spouse
How their spouse is the biggest a++hole they’ve ever known
How their spouse is standing in the way of true happiness
How their spouse ruined their life
How they made a big mistake marrying their spouse
How they made an even bigger mistake letting the old friend go
How now they see that they were really meant to be with the old friend
How they desperately have to get away from their spouse
How they’re definitely going to leave their spouse
How they’re talking to divorce lawyers
How they’re going to live happily ever after…

 

(original author, unknown)

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.