Tag Archives: Emotional affair

Reconciliation Tool #2: Five Love Languages [Podcast]

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

Today we continue our 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 second tool–the Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman.

The first love language is Words of Affirmation. If this is your love language, you feel most cared for when your partner is open and expressive in telling you how wonderful they think you are, how much they appreciate you, etc.  If your spouse’s primary love language is words of affirmation, your spoken praise and appreciation will fall like rain on parched soil. Before long, you will see new life sprouting in your marriage as your spouse responds to your words of love.

The second love language is Acts of Service. Do you remember the old saying, “Actions speak louder than words”? For some people, that is particularly true of love. If your partner offering to watch the kids so you can go to the gym (or relieving you of some other task) gets your heart going, then this is your love language.  If acts of service is your spouse’s primary love language, nothing will speak more deeply to him or her emotionally than simple acts of service.

The third love language is Receiving Gifts.  In every society throughout human history, gift giving has been perceived as an expression of love. Giving gifts is universal, because there is something inside the human psyche that says if you love someone, you will give to him or her.  If your partner taking the time to give you a gift makes you feel appreciated. then this is your love language.  If receiving gifts is your spouse’s primary love language, you will make your spouse feel loved and treasured by giving gifts on birthdays, holidays, anniversaries and “no occasion” days.

The fourth love language is Quality Time. This love language is about being together, fully present and engaged in the activity at hand, no matter how trivial. If you walk in on your spouse watching TV, and they immediately put the television on mute and don’t take their eyes off you as long as you’re in the room, and that makes your heart skip a beat…this is your love language. If your spouse’s love language is quality time, giving him or her your undivided attention is one of the best ways you can show your love.

The fifth love language is Physical Touch. This love language is just as it sounds. A warm hug, a kiss, touch, and sexual intimacy make you feel most loved when this is your love language. If physical touch is your spouse’s primary love language, nothing communicates love more clearly than for you to take the initiative to reach out and touch your mate.

You can find links to the Five Love Languages Quiz on our Affaircare Quizzes page, or just click here to go directly to the test.

Here is a link to the Five Love Languages wikipedia page, so you can learn more about it.

Once both you and your spouse have determined your love languages, take the time to share your with each other, and look up your spouse’s love language.  Does it sound like them? Ask them for examples–remember even those who have the same love language may not interpret it the same!  Learn about what makes your spouse tick!

After last week’s discovery that your spouse is not the same as you, discovering the ways in which your personalities the same can give you an intial foundation on which you can begin to rebuild. Learning your spouse’s Love Language can add another layer to your foundation–discover how they “hear” and receive LOVE.  As a couple working to recover after an affair, finding out the ways in which you two are different MAY explain why “he” behaves one way and “she” behaves another.   If you UNDERSTAND each other, you begin to build love.

[audio: https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/2016/Reconciliation+Tools-Five+Love+Languages.mp3]

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Other podcasts in the Reconciliation Tools series:

The Recovering After an Affair Series:

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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!”

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)

Recovery Tools: Love Kindlers and Extinguishers– Why They Are Important [Podcast]

During the month of June, we are going to explore the tools that a couple can use to reconcile their marriage after an affair.

So in this week’s episode, we discuss Love Kindlers and Love Extinguishers–but rather than going over the list (we have plenty of articles and blogs from the past for that), this time we’re discussing WHY they are important, and how to use them at the beginning of reconciliation.

URL’s IN THIS PODCAST:

Love Kindlers-What Are They?
http://affaircare.com/articles/love-kindlers-what-are-they/

Love Kindlers Quiz:
http://form.jotform.us/form/40890590616156

Blog posts about Love Kindlers:
http://affaircare.com/category/love-kindlers/

Love Extinguishers-What Are They?
http://affaircare.com/articles/love-extinguishers-what-are-they/

Love Extinguishers Quiz:
http://form.jotform.us/form/40181103830137

Blog Posts about Love Extinguishers:
http://affaircare.com/category/love-extinguishers/

Please join us next week as we continue our June series reviewing tools you can use to recover after an affair. Next week we will be discussing one of my favorite tools: the Myers-Briggs Personality Quiz, and why it’s so important to reconciliation!

[audio: https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/Kindlers+and+Extinguishers–Why+They%27re+Important.mp3]

Who do men and women have affairs with? Why do they have affairs?

An interesting infographic based on a poll, conducted by YouGov on behalf of The Sun:

affairs_3322099b

Women have their affairs with “friends” (55%) and with work colleagues (32%).

Men have their affairs with work colleagues (45%), “friends” (32%) and strangers (28%)!

affairs3

According to the same poll, women have their affairs almost equally becasue they felt flattered by the attention and because they felt emotionally disconnected in their marriage!

Men have their affairs pretty equally for three reasons: flattered by the attention, emotionally disconnected in their marriage, and dissatisfied with their sex life in their marriage.

What can we learn about infidelity from this poll?

Is Abuse Grounds for Divorce? [Podcast]

ABUSE: “An ongoing pattern of behavior designed to control, manipulate and subjugate another that usually occurs behind closed doors.”

The word abuse has taken many meanings over time, and now is used to describe the mistreatment or misuse of virtually anything. People having an affair use “abuse” as a justification for their choices; people who’s spouse had an affair use “abuse” as a reason for their anger.

So in this week’s episode, we discuss what abuse is, what the Bible has to say about abuse, how we (Christians) are supposed to address it, types of abuse, and whether or not abuse an acceptable reason for divorce.

1. What does the Bible say?

Let’s be clear. Scripture reveals that the marriage relationship is to reflect Christ’s relationship with his church—one of sacrificial love. A wife is called to respond to her husband’s biblical headship, not to his destructive and sinful behavior, just as the wife’s mandate is to respect her husband.

The Bible condemns violence and violent men

The word “man” here does not mean husbands only or even males necessarily, but HUMANS. A wife can also be abusive!

Many passages in the Bible speak out on the issue of violence, and GOD’s attitude toward those that repeatedly use violence:

Psalms 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

Zephaniah 1:9 In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit.

Psalms 37:9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.

Malachi 2:16-17 “I hate […] a man’s covering his wife with violence, as well as with his garment.” says the Lord Almighty….”You have wearied the Lord with your words.” “How have we wearied him?” you ask. By saying “all who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased with them,” or “Where is the God of justice?”. (NIV)

Scripture also shows us that the very words we speak can be considered as a form of violence:

Proverbs 10:6 Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.

Proverbs 10:11 The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.

Matthew 5:21,22 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire

As followers of Christ we are encouraged to consider everything we say to one another, whether it stands the test of being for the benefit of the hearer – verbal abuse surely does not qualify:

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

James 3:10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

2. How are we (Christians) supposed to address abuse?

Firstly, the Church – and each individual follower of Christ – has a responsibility to offer comfort and help to those who are oppressed (by their partner), needy (of reassurance and protection), weak (due to the constant onslaught of abuse) and in distress. Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 12:12; Hebrews 13:3; Isaiah 1:17; Proverbs 31:9; Jeremiah 22:3; Genesis 42:21; Isaiah 35:3,4

Secondly, the Church also has a responsibility to hold the abuser accountable, to admonish him, to judge (that is, to investigate and discern right from wrong) and to encourage the abuser to change his/her ways: Romans 15:14; James 5:19,20; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 1 Corinthians 6:1-3

Thirdly, the manner in which the abuser is to be admonished (i.e. the spirit in which to approach him/her) is also spelled out for us Not one of us is perfect – our aim is not to condemn the person – whom Christ has called – but to condemn the actions, and try to encourage recognition of the sin, repentance and a change in ways: 2 Thessalonians 3:15; Galatians 6:1; Luke 15:7
3. What are the different Types of Abuse?

Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Emotional/Mental Abuse, Verbal Abuse, Financial Abuse

Types of abuse http://affaircare.com/types-of-abuse/

Examples of Abuse http://affaircare.com/examples-of-abuse/
4. Sooo…is abuse an acceptable reason for divorce?

The Bible gives two acceptable reasons for divorce: the first is abandonment of a Christian by an unbelieving spouse (1 Corinthians 7:15), and the second is adultery (Matthew 5:32). Although God allows divorce in these circumstances, He does not command it. It is far better, in the case of infidelity, for two Bible-believing Christians to reconcile, extending the forgiveness and love that God freely gives us. However, in abusive situations, the circumstances are far different. While reconciliation with an abusive partner would be wonderful, it depends completely on the abuser proving his or her reliability, which could take years—if it happens at all—never on the abused party.

So abuse is not adultery. But if you initiate separation for saftey and then go through the steps of Matthew 18 to admonish a sinning brother or sister, and they refuse to repent, then Matthew 18 tells us they are considered a non-believer. And if they refuse to stop abusing, they have already abandoned the marriage.

[audio: https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/Is+Abuse+Grounds+for+Divorce.mp3]

5 Tools to Help You Decide If You Should Stay or Go [Podcast]

“Should I stay in my marriage? Or should I go?” “Can God even restore my marriage?” “How am I supposed to know if I should stand or divorce?”

These are questions that people ask us every day, and the same questions that keep Loyal Spouse’s stuck in limbo–sometimes for years!

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

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

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

1. What did Jesus say about Divorce? Well…let’s look! Matthew 19:3-9

“Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

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

Also note, that in these verse, Jesus says that divorce is permitted because of the hardness of the heart. When someone is unfaithful and refuses to end their affair, they harden their heart and DECIDE to commit infidelity. When someone has an unfaithful spouse who just will not end their adultery, eventually they harden their heart and DECIDE they can’t take it anymore. In these verses, Jesus acknowledges that people divorce because their heart hardens. Nonetheless, in the case of sexual immorality, divorce is a moral option.

2. “Can God Restore My Marriage?”  Obviously God CAN restore–He has the ability to do anything. He is God! He can choose to suspend the law of gravity or choose to make the sun stand still if He wills! So the question is not “CAN God restore this marriage?” but rather “Will He? Is it His will?” It can feel very difficult to determine God’s will sometimes, but knowing God’s will is not some enigmatic hocus pocus only revealed to the special, ultra-holy through some mysterious Spirit. One of the best suggestions I can give you to decide what IS and IS NOT God’s will is to read the Bible. The more you read the Bible, the more you have the opportunity to get to know God’s mind. The more you know God mind, and what He has commanded us to do, and what pleases Him that He would like us to do, and what HE is like, and what qualities HE finds admirable…why the easier it is to determine if something is God’s will or not!

One thing I can say that will help is that God is utterly, 100%, always consistent. He does not tell us to be one way in the Old Testament and then change His mind and tell us to be the opposite way in the New Testament. So one easy way to tell if something is God’s will is that if there is something in the Bible that says ____ does not please God, then He will not have us do that displeasing thing! As an example, I’ve heard of married people who are in some ministry together at church, and they are unfaithful and claim that [quote]”God WANTED them to commit adultery so they could be together and serve Him in this ministry.”[end quote] No He didn’t. Affairs and sexual immorality displease God-period. He would not want us to have an affair in order to minister to Him!!

I’ll give one more example that will help demonstrate how reading the Bible can clarify if you should stay or go. Let’s say you were ‘young and foolish’ and married a non-christian even though you are a Christian and God clearly tells us that we should marry other Christians (II Cor. 6:14). So you rebelled, made a vow, and intended to keep it–but your non-christian spouse had an affair, refuses to end the affair, and wants to leave you. You can know God’s will because of I Cor. 7: 15

“But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.”

3. What about forgiveness? Many times people think that “forgiveness” means “forgetting” or “approving” — and nothing could be further from the truth. We are never, ever told to approve of known sin, nor to just forget about it as if it never happened. What ARE we told about forgiveness then? Well let’s look at Luke 17:3-4

“So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

The “forgiveness verses” command us to forgive, even up to seven times in one day…but when does it become a command? These two verses tell us the exact order in which we are to do things:

  1. they sin
  2. we rebuke them (“rebuke” here means “I value you so much that I’m going to guide you back into doing the right thing”)
  3. they COME TO THEMSELVES and repent (180 degrees different)…
  4. THEN we must forgive.

If they sin, and truly repent–even 7 times in one day–we are told we MUST forgive, so that is when it becomes a commandment. But what if they don’t “come to themselves” or repent? What if they don’t act and think 180 differently and stop their sin? Do we have to forgive then? It doesn’t say we MUST–but it also doesn’t say we shouldn’t if we want to. So we are allowed to forgive even if they don’t ask!

So we are still not going to tell you what to decide. Instead we pray that this look at what the Bible tells us has helped you to figure out how to make your own decision.

4. What are you committed to? Marriage is an entity established by God in which two people commit to treating the other with love as long as they live. Put another way, the vows promise to forsake all others and to ACT in a loving way toward your spouse–which means getting to know your spouse so intimately that you learn what means “I love you” to them–and then you agree to DO THAT for them as long as you are alive! Nowhere in the marriage covenant is there a mention of “as long as I’m happy” or “as long as it’s easy” and yet in reality many people do place a commitment to their own happiness ahead of their commitment to their spouse. Sadly, many people put their commitment to ease ahead of the covenant they made before God to put the effort into loving their spouse!

So one way you can decide whether to Stay or Go…is to consider “What are you committed to?” I realize that your own spouse may not be living up to their commitment, but your spouse isn’t here and you are. What are YOU committed to? Honoring your promise? Forsaking all others? Acting in love? -OR- Your own happiness? Deuteronomy 23:23 is the verse upon which Affaircare is built:

“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.”

5. But what if there is addiction or abuse?  If there is physical abuse, you get to safety first, and then decide if you should ‘stay or go.’ In the instance of physical abuse, I don’t know of a Bible verse that requires someone to part from their spouse, but we can logically deduce that God would want us to take care of our saftey, and thus it’s just wisdom to be apart from the person who is physically harming you or the children.

But what about addictions or “emotional abuse”? These are justifications that people often use as a reason to leave a marriage. Well, those are serious, deeply painful issues that are going to harm the marriage, but there is no requirement to physically move apart from each other. In fact, I do see several instances of marriage in the Bible that were “difficult marriages” and when the person stayed and honored their vow despite the difficulty, God was pleased. That being said, if you are staying because you “hope” that “this time it will be different” or “this time s/he means it” just bear in mind that YOU can not change anyone other than yourself–and for an addict of any kind or an abuser to want to change of their own free will, there usually has to be a foundation-rocking-event that makes ‘changing’ less painful than ‘staying the same.’

So rather than “hoping” that your addicted or abusive spouse will change (which would make the marriage better, no doubt!), I would challenge you to focus on the person you CAN change, and that’s YOU!! Look in the mirror and examine what things you are doing to enable the addiction and stop doing the enabling. Examine yourself and discover the ways you are interacting with your spouse to allow abuse–for example, if they do “dance step #1” of the same old song and dance, do you do “dance Step #2” and play into the pattern? What if you stopped doing “dance step #2” and did something completely opposite instead? Are you covering for the abuse and mopping up after the destruction? What if you called it by name and let them deal with the fallout? In other words, this is not about “blaming the victim” but rather looking at changing the dynamic and changing YOURSELF so you are a more godly person.

URL’s in this podcast:

The Affaircare Blog
http://affaircare.com/

Ask Affaircare: Should I Stay or Go? Can God Restore This Marriage?
http://affaircare.com/2015/05/13/ask-affaircare-should-i-stay-or-go-can-god-restore-this-marriage/

Please join us next week as we continue our “series” for the month of May just discussing topics about infidelity that we find a little intriguing! Next week we will be discussing the music that can help in the 3 phases of recovery after an affair!  We would LOVE it if you’d tell us about the songs that meant something to you as you were dealing with the infidelity!

[audio:  https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/5+Tools+to+Help+You+Decide+If+You+Should+Stay+or+Go.mp3]

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

AskAffaircare

The Ask Affaircare Series started because our readers have questions. About Affairs. Reconciling. Marriage. Divorce. Christianity. The Bible. And God.  Initially, we tried to answer each question through e-mail, but we quickly realized that there were many people asking many similar questions, so we started this weekly series!

It’s not our goal to make you agree with us, but rather to explore what the Bible says in thoughtful, and clear manner. Additionally, we try to write our answers in a loving but truthful manner (Ephesians 4:15) because we know there is a real person – with real struggles and dreams – behind every single question. Thank for you visiting Affaircare. Keep those questions coming!


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

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

and Can God Restore This Marriage wrote:

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

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

Dear Stay or Go and Can God Restore This,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4.  What about forgiveness?  Many times people think that “forgiveness” means “forgetting” or “approving” — and nothing could be further from the truth.  We are never, ever told to approve of known sin, nor to just forget about it as if it never happened.  What ARE we told about forgiveness then?  Well let’s look at Luke 17:3-4 “So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

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

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

10 Signs Your Spouse is Unhappy [Podcast]

Are you and your spouse the dining dead?  Are they rude and always irritated?  Did you hear “We’ve through this already!” and get shut down?  Is your spouse drinking more, over-eating, buying new gadgets, or turning to porn?

These are signs that your spouse is unhappy. It may be that they are unhappy about something in the marriage, and it may be that something else is causing your spouse to feel unhappy.

In this week’s episode, we discuss ten signs that your spouse is feeling miserable and is no longer satisfied in the marriage. How many of these signs do you see in YOUR spouse? To learn more, and #Affairproof Your Marriage, here are the ten signs you should look for:

1.  Your spouse isn’t talking to you anymore.  The two of you are “the dining dead” and sit next to each other without saying a word because the two of you no longer have anything in common.  You know the setting: you haven’t been spending time with your spouse and you finally get them to agree to “talk”… and your spouse says “We’ve been through this already!”  If you don’t talk, if your spouse answer with “yep” and “no” and that’s it, or If your spouse is shutting down your attempts to talk…it is a sign they are unhappy.

2. Your spouse starts to act rude, disrespectful, easily irritated, offensive.  Usually two adults in a mutually happy relationship treat each other kindly and with some manners: saying “pleases” and “thank yous” for example.  So when you start to notice that your spouse isn’t being as polite, or is being insulting and doesn’t care if they offend you, that is a sure sign that they are not happy.

3. Your spouse is “away”–distracted, not mentally “present” in the present.   People who are committed to loving their spouse make the time to pay attention to their spouse. They will listen to and observe the one they love, and it will be enjoyable!  But for someone who is unhappy, their thoughts are elsewhere. They are distracted thinking about whatever it is that does make them happy, and they do not actively listen to their spouse. Even if your spouse is an introvert, if they don’t pay attention or they  are constantly distracted by something (or someone!) else, it may be a sign of unhappiness in the relationship.

4. Your spouse isn’t fulfilling your needs–they’re less affectionate.  If you know our Basic Concepts, you’ll know that we believe that when people first meet and feel that “in love” feeling, it’s because the person they love piles on the Love Kindlers and naturally does the things that build the fire of love.  So when your spouse seems to be less and less interested in doing the things that kindle the fire, and stops being affectionate, it is a sign that they are not happy.

5. Your spouse is compensating for the unhappiness with some addictive behavior.  Some typical examples of a spouse covering the pain of being unhappy are drinking more, over-eating, watching porn, or over-spending.  For the fellas, over-spending looks different than it does for the ladies.  Men will come home with the latest gadget, the latest game, the latest “man toy” over and over again…whereas the ladies will buy shoes, handbags, clothes, facials, hairdos, or chocolate to try to feel better.

6. Your spouse is following you around like a puppy dog.  When you spouse is clingy and looking for any crumb of attention that you might throw their way, that is a SURE SIGN that they are feeling neglected and unhappy in the marriage!  Time to give your spouse some uninterrupted adult time, and we don’t just mean sex either.  We mean having a whole day to focus on them and treat them as if they are valuable.

7. Your spouse is “away” — and we mean they  are physically NOT THERE.  They work long hours and don’t seem bothered but be gone so much.  They leave you, go out, and have other friends.  They go to church–go to class–go to the gym–ANYWHERE but be with you.  They are not happy at home so they go someplace where they are happy.

8. Your spouse’s sexual desire changes.  Let’s say you and your spouse had an average sex life–not something to write to Playboy about, but it was mutually satisfying and pretty regular, 3 times a week, with various positions and techniques.  Then gradually, you notice a change in your spouse’s sexual desire that doesn’t seem to be related to a medical issue.  It can go one of two ways: either they turn into “NoNookie of the North” (frigid, unresponsive, unenthusiastic) or constantly trying to be seductive and provocative.  Either way, your spouse isn’t feeling connected to you sexually, and they are either punishing you by withholding sex…or they are trying desperately to reconnect with you by turning you on.  Either way-they are not happy!

9. Your spouse lets snide comments about you “accidentally slip out” especially when with friends.  When people love each other, from the love in the hearts and the bounty of their thoughts, their mouth sings the praises of their loved one.  When the fire is being extinguished and the thoughts are beginning to be less positive, your spouse will occasionally let the sarcastic, hurtful comment come out …and try to pass it off as a joke. But make no mistake, this is a serious sign that your spouse is not happy and the truth is leaking out.

10. Your spouse starts to EXCLUDE you.  Married people are indeed two individuated beings–that is to say, you can distinguish one from the other.  They are distinct, and they are UNITED, not FUSED.  “Fused” would be where one of the married people loses their own identity, or they both do, and they say things like: “I can’t live without you!”  “United” would be where both of the married people keep their own identity but also operate as a team or unit. But when your spouse–who is part of a unit with you–begins to exclude you from their life, their friends, their activities or their interests, they are connecting with someone else and do not want you to be involved in their thoughts and feelings. This is probably the most dangerous sign that they are deeply unhappy and about to plunge down that slippery slope toward an affair.

Please join us next week as we continue our “series” for the month of May just discussing topics about infidelity that we find a little intriguing! Aren’t you curious?

[audio:  https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/10+Signs+Your+Spouse+is+Unhappy.mp3]

Top 8 Affaircare Topics: #1 All of the Signs Your Spouse May Be Cheating Part Two [Podcast]

I just found out my spouse is cheating-what do I do? How do I do ‘no contact’ when we have children? My spouse was unfaithful and there’s going to be a child! Before you cheat here are some things you should know.

In this week’s episode, we begin the conclusion of our new our series “The 8 Most Popular Topics on Affaircare.” We’ve been doing a countdown from #8 to #1, and today we are at THE most popular topic on our blog: “All of the Signs Your Spouse May Be Cheating.” This article is so long and has so much information in it, that I decided to divide it into two parts: Part One (today’s video) is all about the first 6 categories of signs of infidelity. Next week’s final video will be about the final categories of the signs of cheating.

URL’s in this podcast:

ALL of the Signs Your Spouse May be Cheating:
http://affaircare.com/articles/all-of-the-signs-your-spouse-may-be-cheating/

Please join us next week for our a new series! Aren’t you curious?

[audio:  https://s3.amazonaws.com/affaircare-podcast/Top+8+-+%231+All+the+Signs+Pt+2.mp3]