Surviving Infidelity: Get Busy Living

The first month of 2013 an unusual thing happened in my marriage counseling practice. I’ve been working with couples since 1996 and a good portion of those couples have come to me for help with surviving infidelity. This one month I seemed to get way more than the average. In general I work with about one or two new couples a month with infidelity recovery. This month I had over six couples and individuals within the first two weeks of the year. I’m writing this with the intention of giving hope to whomever is reading and is experiencing the pain of infidelity.

It can be tempting
sometimes to give up on a relationship, and when someone experiences infidelity, recovery is not the first thing that person has in mind. Instead one is likely to feel devastated, wounded, angry, confused, foolish, and lost. Regardless how painful and hopeless you may feel, consider there’s a good chance you can recover. I don’t mean just get by, or survive, I mean you can heal those wounds and move beyond them to a joyful, thriving relationship with your partner. In order to do so you need to begin the healing process one step at a time.What does it take for infidelity recovery?

First, an understanding
that both of you hurt. However it may seem to you, whenever there’s infidelity, both people suffer a lot, even the offending partner.

Second, you should know
that the problems of the relationship didn’t start with the infidelity, they began long before. It’s important that you be willing to address those difficulties. It won’t be the first thing you address, you need to first address the pain, but you will need to look within yourselves to find the root causes. Believe me you can do this!

Third, couples in these situations
generally feel like they’re on an emotional roller coaster. One moment they may feel in love, forgiving, and hopeful, the next angry, bitter, and full of despair. This is natural and there are things you can do to deal with the ups and downs.

Fourth, do not make any long term decisions.
Being emotionally charged means you are not likely to be the best person to see what’s really best for you. Give yourself time to come down from the pain you’ve been feeling.

Fifth, get help soon.
When you select a counselor you should have an experience of trust. A good marriage counselor will have both compassion and a willingness to help you look at difficult things you may not like to look at. Good marriage counseling in infidelity recovery is direct, firm, respectful, informative, and compassionate.

Sixth, get busy living.
Even though you’re addressing things that are painful you must keep your eyes and heart on creating a healthy relationship! It’s not impossible, think of yourself as a scientist setting out to solve an interesting mystery.

Spiritual Marriage Counseling: Contentment is a Choice

Spiritual Marriage Counseling is about creating contentment in a relationship. Contentment is not based on circumstances. It is the power of focusing your energy effectively in any situation – it is the choices you make every second of your life. It is taking action to change your circumstance while focusing on the joy in your present situation. Satisfying a desire differs from contentment because it does depend on circumstance and is usually fleeting. It’s easy for us to feel good when our desires met are met by a partner. But this cycle of looking for contentment by fulfilling desires is not a spiritual existence, it’s a hamster wheel life because it is not a constant and this is especially true in marriage.

Often we feel blissful when we get a new job, a new romance, or other token that we want. How often does that bliss last? The newness simply does not stay new. Many couples in marriage counseling say “I want the relationship I had when we were first dating.” New love ends because the oxytocin, serotonin, adrenalin, and endorphins wear off. What people are left with is the desire for the high and a misunderstanding of what it takes to build love and contentment in a spiritual marriage. Spiritual love is a result of the choices you make with your partner.

A Genie grants a man 3 wishes.
The man asks that his wife die so he may find a better one.
Poof: She’s dead.
At the funeral, friends and family say how wonderful she was. The man realizes his mistake and asks the Genie to bring her back.
Poof: She’s alive again.
Having one remaining wish, the man ponders, but cannot think of what wish is best. So, he asks the Genie for a suggestion.
The Genie laughs, then says, “Ask to be content no matter what you get”.

I don’t suggest that couples give up all desires, that would be foolhardy. Rather, the point of spiritual marriage counseling is learning that marital contentment begins with self contentment. Self contentment begins with an awareness of and embracing one’s own inner life, emotions, needs, and purpose. From that point learning to be content with each other is a matter of choosing to remain in love, each second of every day.