Archive for September, 2007

Recovering from an Affair (Part Two)

September 11, 2007 2 comments

Recovery Strategies

Even though infidelity has a devastating impact on marriages, many do survive. Let’s look at what it takes for a relationship to recover.

If You Were Unfaithful

If you had the affair and want to save your marriage:

1. Stop the affair and tell the truth about it.
2. Make the choice to practice fidelity.
3. Understand your partner’s need to ask questions and understand what happened.
4. Spend plenty of time with your family.
5. Find a therapist and explore what has happened in your marriage.
6. Expect to reassure your partner of your commitment to the marriage.
7. Listen carefully to your partner and accept his or her feelings and thoughts.
8. Admit that you were wrong. Admit everything and let it all out.
9. Make amends. Identify what it would take for you to obtain forgiveness. Then, do it.

If Your Partner Was Unfaithful

If your partner had the affair and you want to save your marriage:

1. Acknowledge your anger and express it productively.
2. Be aware of distorted thoughts that may fuel your anger.
3. Watch out for negative beliefs that may make it harder for you to heal your relationship.
4. Find a way to explore and express your feelings, such as writing in a journal or working with a professional therapist.
5. Explore the advantages and disadvantages of saving your marriage.
6. Establish a safe environment where you can learn about what happened.
7. When you are ready, create a ritual for letting go of the anger and forgiving.

Prevention Steps

Finally, what are some things you can do to protect your marriage and keep it from becoming an infidelity statistic?
1. Pay attention to your partner. Be aware of his or her needs and do your best to meet them.
2. Think about how you behaved when you were trying to win your partner over. Do the same things now.
3. Make time for each other.
4. Look for opportunities to talk and listen.
5. Be thoughtful and romantic. Send cards, flowers, gifts.
6. Avoid high-risk situations. Discuss these with your partner and ask him or her to do the same.
7. Be polite to your partner.
8. Say nice things about your partner, in public and in private.
9. Spend regular private time together.
10.Greet your partner when he or she comes home.
11. Show that you are glad to see your partner. Be energized and pleasant.
12. Recommit to your values. Make the decision to live in keeping with what you believe is right.
13. Accept that you are responsible for your own well-being.
14. Be proactive about nurturing your marriage. This relationship is your most important investment; give it the time and attention it deserves.
15. Look for ways to express appreciation and respect.
16. Think of ways to enhance your partner’s self-esteem.

An affair can happen to anyone, but it is possible to recover if both partners are willing to commit to the process. I hope that these suggestions will lead your marriage to peace if an affair has occurred. God blessings be with you all.


Recovering from an Affair (Part One)

September 10, 2007 Leave a comment

Infidelity is more common than most people realize. In fact, it is estimated that 60% of men and 40% of women today will have an extramarital affair during their marriage. People who are Christians are just as likely to have an affair as non Christians. In this blog, I will explore the forces that lead to infidelity and what must happen for couples to heal.

Forms of Infidelity

Infidelity takes many forms. Some people have sequential affairs—a series of one-night stands or short affairs. These affairs involve very little emotional investment and may be rationalized as harmless. There is always the danger of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. When such behavior continues for several years and finally is discovered, it is difficult to heal the years of deceit.
Other affairs are discrete events. These also involve minimal emotional investment.
Sometimes affairs last longer and become more serious. These affairs may be quite romantic and sexual. Sometimes they grow into more serious relationships and may last for years.

Why Affairs Happen

Infidelity happens for many reasons. Here are a few of the common explanations (I do not necessarily agree with these reasons, but have heard them before):

1. An affair may be a response to a crisis such as the death of someone important, moving to a new city, a job change, or some other kind of life transition.
2. Sometimes people become bored with their partners and seek sexual or emotional excitement with someone new. The new person seems to supply the excitement that has been missing.
3. Stressful times in the family life cycle lead some to seek escape in an affair. This includes things like taking care of aging parents, raising teenagers, and becoming new parents.
4. People sometimes look for outside relationships because their expectations of marriage have not been satisfied.
5. Some people seek outside relationships when their partners are emotionally unavailable because of illness.
6. Other people begin affairs because they seek more affection than their partner can provide.
7. Other people seek professional or social advancement.

There are also many social reasons why affairs happen: factors that exist in our society that lead many of us to expect a fantasy version of marriage that could never really exist. When marriage doesn’t live up to this expectation, some keep looking for it outside of marriage.

Common Reactions to Infidelity

People who are involved in relationships in which their partner has been unfaithful say they have a wide range of reactions. These are a few of the common ones:
1. A physical reaction, such as feeling like you have been punched in the stomach.
2. Denying that anything is wrong.
3. Blaming yourself (I didn’t pay enough attention to her; I wasn’t sexy enough for him; I let myself get too fat, etc.).
4. Blaming your partner (I can’t believe anything she says)
5. Blaming the relationship (We were too young; We were wrong for each other; We had different values, etc.).
6. Blaming the lover (It’s all his fault; If it weren’t for him); transferring anger from one’s spouse to one’s lover.

Other Consequences of Infidelity

In addition to the emotional impact of infidelity, there may also be other consequences: sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, problems at work, and loss of relationships.

In my next blog I will discuss recovery strategies and steps to prevent an affair in your marriage.

August Was Crazy

September 6, 2007 Leave a comment

It has been a little while since I have had anything significant to say on here. Life has been hurried to say the least. During the month of August I had two people close to me pass away: Louise Jones and Betty McClough. Louise is my grandmother and Betty is a friend from Memphis, TN. I was afforded the opportunity to go to TN for my grandmother’s funeral, but could not attend Betty’s due to them being on the same day. The trip was extremely last minute, but I was glad that I was able to go. I got to reconnect with some family I have not seen in years. It was a nice to be home with family. The biggest problem with being away was that I had to leave Dana and the girls behind. I do not like doing that at all. To complicate things it was our anniversary weekend. (I am still trying to make up for that one!)

Two weeks ago I attended an orientation at a local college to hand out information about our congregation. It was a great experience seeing these freshmen begin their new life away from home. They looked so young! They were all full of dreams and excited about what lies ahead for them. It is hard to believe that it has been 13 years already since I was a college freshman. Man I am starting to get old.

Last weekend I took some vacation time to go to Virginia Beach with my family. Our good friends, the Kirvens, have been living there for almost 3 years now. We met them during our time in Canton, OH and have been keeping in touch ever since. They are a wonderful family and have experienced some happy and disappointing times with us during the past six years. We took the time to go to the beach to relax for awhile and just enjoy the weather. Benjamin is the Family Life Minister at the Bayside Church of Christ. He was gracious enough to have me speak the Sunday night we were there. It is always a neat experience when preaching at a new place. You never know what to expect, but it was exciting as always. We ended up doing a cookout on Monday down there and then traveled 9 hours back to Lebanon, PA. The traveling part was not fun at all.

Due to all of thie travel and activities, I have not been at my congregation for three Sunday’s in a row. I must admit that having the time off was good mentally and spiritually. It gave me the opportunity to get recharged and refocused. I am sure you ministry people out there know what I mean. I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things.

I hope that each of you have enjoyed your summer and cherish this warm weather before it is gone.

Categories: Family