Healing a marriage after an affair – 9 Keys

9 Important Keys for Healing a Marriage After an Affair by Brian and Anne Bercht

The healing journey begins with hope. You need to know and believe you can move beyond the pain and get the life you want. It does take two. Some people think you can never get over it. That’s not true. True healing is remembering the affair (you won’t forget such a big event in your life), but no longer having pain associated with the memory.

Our journey was a lot harder than it needed to be,because we did not have the tools or the roadmap. But it doesn’t need to be so difficult for you. We can now supply you with the roadmap and tools we didn't have then, and help you to avoid the common mistakes.

When we were healing our own marriage (now eleven years ago), we sought professional help. While some was helpful, we found much of it to be damaging.

Once we healed we looked back on the journey and thought, “What is wrong with the world? Affairs are such a common problem and nobody seems to know how to really help people.”

We have now developed the program we wish we could’ve taken back then, a program that understands affairs, deals with the heart of the matter, and cuts straight to the core of affair issues.

The affair is not part of our lives anymore. Although helping others heal has become our life’s work and passion, we don’t discuss Brian’s affair anymore.

Healing from affairs is a process. Lean into the pain, and go through it. Trying to bury it, skirt around it, or avoid the issues will keep you stuck, prolonging the agony. Today Brian’s affair is just an asterix in our life story together. It’s no longer the whole book. The same can be true for you. We’ll show you how.

TO THE UNFAITHFUL: Step up to the plate, and take responsibility. The affair will change your relationship. It can change it for good or for worse. Which way it goes from here depends on what you decide to do.

Prior to the affair our relationship was like walking into Best Buy in the home theatre section seeing the highest quality big screen TV with film footage of the Grand Canyon playing. The colors are so vivid and clear. Likewise, our marriage was a very good thing.

Today our marriage is no longer like looking at the Grand Canyon on a 60” top of the line TV, instead it’s like standing at the edge of the cliff at the Grand Canyon. Although it was good before, it’s incomparably better today. How did we get here? We both had to grow up!

If you don’t want your marriage to be like it was before, don’t worry, it won’t be. The same is not an option once an affair has happened. It will be better or worse, never the same. Where you go from here is your choice.

AFFAIR RECOVERY 101: TWO BIG MISTAKES TO AVOID!!!!

To the unfaithful: Do not minimize facts about the affair. That’s lying. Be utterly truthful. For example, if your spouse asks how long was the affair, and it was a year, don’t say it was 6 months long thinking somehow that will hurt your spouse less. It’s going to hurt them more, because you are lying when you claim to be telling the truth. They will find out!

To the betrayed: Be careful with your reactions. Don’t do and say things in your anger that you can’t take back, which can cause deep wounds, drive your spouse away, and further damage your relationship. Don’t lose your dignity by lowering yourself, or embarrassing yourself. And by all means, don’t break the law. You will not feel better at all if you end up sitting in jail! We know you are deeply wounded, and we know what you are suffering is not fair, but inflicting more wounds is counterproductive to your own healing and well-being.

9 Essential Steps to Healing a Marriage After an Affair!

1. No contact with the 3rd party. No emails, text messages, phone calls, waves across the parking lot, smoke signals, facebooking, or putting a message in a bottle, throwing it in the ocean and hoping the affair partner finds it. This goes for the betrayed spouse as well. No contact! The 3rd party is an enemy of your marriage. Your enemy is not a reliable source of information. (If the unfaithful works with the affair partner, and changing this situation is not a possibility, we can help you find a safe way to deal with this.)

2. Gain perspective. Seeing the affair not just as a personal offence against you, but rather as a problem of our society as a whole. How do you gain perspective? Educate yourself. Read books. Talk with others who’ve been through it. BAN support groups.

The perpetrator has to turn around and become the healer. Even so, the spouse who had the affair cannot be the betrayed spouse’s sole source of support.

To the innocent spouse: You are not to blame for the affair. You are not the reason why the affair happened. Unfaithfulness is all about the unfaithful person.

3. Lots of talking. The unfaithful needs to be willing to answer questions about the affair. Tell the truth. We recommend often using a public place. We healed our marriage at Starbucks, because the setting creates safety.

Healing a marriage after an affair starts on the day of disclosure and when the betrayed spouse gets the whole truth.

When talking about the affair emotions can escalate so quickly. Your communication skills are going to be taxed to the max. This is the reason why it’s so important to get extra communication training before engaging in these difficult post disclosure healing talks.

As a foundation, you need to understand your differences. Husbands and wives generally speak two different languages. It’s important to first understand yourself, why you think, act and respond as you do. Then to understand why your spouse sees and thinks so differently in a similar situation. In the Healing from Affairs seminar we show you how to make your personality differences an asset to your relationship instead of a hindrance. We teach you how to use each others strengths and how to be conscious of and overcome your own weaknesses.

Usually both people are talking and no one is listening. You are having dual monologues. In our seminar we teach you how to talk through difficult issues in a way that will leave you feeling closer to each other instead of doing damage to your relationship. We give you a framework that makes it safe to talk. Those same talks that are probably now perpetuating damage in your relationship can be turned around to bring healing, understanding and ultimately build intimacy between you.

4. Discover the core issues behind “why” the affair really happened in the marriage. Brian was shocked that he had an affair because it was totally against his character. In our Healing from Affairs seminar we take you through a process to help you to discover the core reasons why the affair happened. Generally in the beginning when the betrayed asks, why did you do what you did? The unfaithful doesn’t really know the answer. That’s why the answers they do give are generally lame and unsatisfactory. We’ll show you how to discover the real reasons together.

5. Rebuild trust. How do you rebuild trust? The answer is easy. I can give you the answer in 4 words: Proven behavior over time. However, we consistently find this answer alone doesn’t satisfy people. In our Healing from Affairs Intensive we’ve put together a whole experience that helps couples understand how to rebuild trust. In our process we are able to break down “proven behavior” into clear, tangible, doable steps.

6. Forgive. In healing a marriage after an affair forgiveness is essential. This is asking a person to do something that is contrary to human nature. It does not come easily, nor naturally. Forgiveness is a learned skill.

Forgiveness is a choice. Forgiveness does not mean your feelings necessarily line up with your choice at first. Forgiveness is not forgetting about it. Forgiveness is not condoning the behavior. Forgiveness is not releasing a person from the consequences.

Forgiveness is not equal to reconciliation. In the Healing from Affairs Intensive we are able to teach you the skill of forgiveness. We teach you how to apologize properly, and then how to forgive. It’s not just about the betrayed forgiving the unfaithful. Forgiveness goes both ways. Even though the betrayed spouse has not had an affair, there are no perfect people and no perfect spouses and usually there are still ways we’ve hurt our spouse and need to ask for and be forgiven.

7. Rebuild sexual intimacy. It’s up to the unfaithful spouse to make the betrayed spouse feel loved, cherished, reassured and special again. There tends to be struggles from the betrayed picturing the unfaithful spouse having sex with the affair partner, and when this is happening it’s almost impossible to engage sexually in the marriage. It is not easy, but it is worth the effort. It takes time and effort.

To the unfaithful: Don’t expect the betrayed to respond sexually right away. Healing a marriage after an affair takes time.

Sex has many different purposes. One of the purposes of sex is to bring healing. We recommend, therefore, that a couple re-engage sexually as soon as they can without either spouse feeling violated.

8. Patience. The healing journey is not a straight line from terrible to good. If you are expecting perfection from your spouse it’s not going to work.

One of the biggest mistakes couples make is getting too caught up in how long it takes. As if you could say, you will be healed in 2 years, 3 months, 6 days, four hours, 11 minutes and 6.7 seconds. Each couple is different. It depends on the degree of the betrayal, the extent to which both parties have the right tools, avoid classic mistakes, devote time to the healing process, and the sincerity (attitude) with which both spouses engage.

It’s gradual.

If you are a betrayed spouse less than 5 months post disclosure stop reading. The following doesn’t pertain to you yet.

9. Both spouses need to take responsibility for ways they may have failed each other in the marriage. It’s important to separate affair issues from marital issues. The unfaithful spouse tends to blame the innocent spouse for their affair initially. This is not true. In reality they are deflecting, often without realizing it. It’s easier to blame the other person than to take a look at our own failings. Even in a bad marriage, there are always healthy ways to deal with unhappiness in the marriage. An affair is not an answer to unhappiness in the marriage.

Brian came to realize that even if I’d done everything right before the affair, he still would’ve had an affair because the affair does not have anything to do with the innocent spouse and everything to do with the unfaithful.

The question is how long do you want to struggle? If you need help in these areas, don’t delay. Come to a Healing from Affairs intensive now.

“We recently attended a Healing From Affairs Intensive. We are still less than 6 months post disclosure. We’re not healed yet, but because of the weekend I have been able to forgive my husband, and we are now on the most positive healing path ever. I could not imagine being where we are at now without the weekend. The weekend made all the difference in the world for us. It gave us such awesome tools. We are in such a wonderful place just because we did the weekend. I just cannot say enough. It was worth every dime and so much more. I would tell anyone going through this, that if there is any chance you can attend, please, please, please do!” - Christa, Dallas, TX

PS - If you want to rebuild your marriage, and your spouse is asking you for patience, asking for forgiveness and not yet doing the right things to heal the marriage, tell them sure, you’ll forgive and be patient, but they need to take a step to earn this. They need to call 360-306-3367 and ask for help. If they are a male unfaithful spouse, they can ask to speak with Brian Bercht. If they are a female betrayed spouse, we will hook them up with one of our female coaches who once was unfaithful, but has ‘woman’- ed up and done the work to heal. Our coaches understand the feelings involved. All have lived it. All have however, moved on and made their lives what they want them to be, restored their marriages and gotten to that “standing at the edge of the cliff” at the Grand Canyon experience. We can help you get there too.

Sincerely,

Brian and Anne Bercht

PS - Don't hesitate to contact us for help. We've spent the last 10 years doing what others have called "impossible" and healing a marriage after an affair with great success! We can help you achieve "impossible" too!

Our contact information is at the bottom of this page.

©Copyright 2011 & 2018 Anne and Brian Bercht. All rights reserved.

For information about confidential coaching with Brian or Anne click here.

If you would like to share a success story, helpful insight or comment on this article we welcome your remarks. Email your questions or comments to Brian and/or Anne info@beyondaffairs.com .

Dealing with Anniversary of Trauma

Dear Anne – Next week I will be dealing with anniversary of trauma. It will be the anniversary of D-day. When I think of all the lies my husband told me, my heart breaks. Today, my husband is very remorseful, has come completely clean, and he himself feels repulsed by what he did to me and how much he hurt me. He wants to move on. “Why do we even have to bring up her name ever again?” he asks. I’m doing better, but I am not over it yet. I still need to talk about it. How do we make it through this anniversary date?

Anne’s Answer:

Often life affords me a personal experience, that better prepares me to answer the questions we receive every day from people whose marriages have experienced the trauma of an affair.

A trauma is an experience that is life threatening. Affairs are life threatening because they destroy families, create rage, emotionally hijack our minds, and leave the betrayed person with their hopes and dreams dashed to pieces. It can feel as if your whole life has been a lie, and now nothing is safe and no one can be trusted.

Betrayed spouses often experience symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder including recurrent involuntary traumatic memories, dreams, dissociative reactions, intense emotional and/or physiological stress in reaction to trauma triggers. They also often experience negative changes in mood or thoughts, irritability, angry outbursts, guilt, shame, self-destructive behaviors, hypervigilance, magnified startle responses, and trouble eating and sleeping.

Approaching the anniversary of such a trauma, which can be the D-day itself or the anniversary of any specific injury associated with the trauma, tends to produce anxiety. How do I get through this painful day?

We just passed one of these anniversaries ourselves – albeit of a different nature – there are parallels.

Last Easter we spent with our wonderful son and his wife, and some of our grandchildren. Never in a million years would any of us have imagined, our son had only a few weeks to live. The pain and sadness of his death, the empty place it has left in our hearts, and the finality of it are harsh realities to bear. Like you think of your “anniversary dates” before they arrive, usually with anxiety, I was thinking of Easter, in the days leading up to it.

12 Strategies for Dealing with Anniversary of Trauma

1. Remind yourself that anxiety about the day tends to be worse than the day itself.

The day before Easter, I found myself needing to take care of one of those essential life tasks – grocery shopping. A clerk at the store asked about my plans for Easter, and the first thing that rolled out of my mouth was, “I don’t have to cook this year.” (As if that were actually a good thing.) I quickly added the truth, “I would much rather be cooking, and having all my kids home!”

2. Make a plan for your anniversary day.

Aim to create new good memories and/or give yourself room to grieve properly.

3. Consider using the distraction technique.

Do something totally different than you usually do on this day. If the anniversary is related to a holiday consider celebrating differently than you have in the past.

I am grateful for the fact that we have a wonderful church to attend. The music is amazing and I can count on an inspiring, encouraging and practical message that will make sense. I knew the Easter service would be extra special, so that was the first part of my plan.

Second, we made plans for Easter Brunch in a restaurant.

Third, I heard about the movie, “I Can Only Imagine” featuring the story of Bart Millard, leader of the band MercyMe, and how this famous song came to be. Going to the theatre to watch this movie was the final part of my plan to get through the day. This movie is a story about redemption of trauma and pain.

4. Tell someone closest to you about your plan so they can support you.

5. It’s probably best not to be alone.

6. It’s perfectly okay, and even good, to set aside some time or even create a service, ceremony or ritual to commemorate the loss.

Don’t stuff your feelings. Let the tears come out, or the anger. A healthy outlet for anger is simply to acknowledge the anger, to give a voice to those feelings. But make sure you do so in a way that does not hurt anyone physically or emotionally, does not hurt yourself, and does not damage property. Don’t be afraid to embrace and acknowledge your grief journey.

In discussing how to get through a difficult anniversary, one woman shared with me how her husband had sex with another woman on the couch in their living room. I suggested they burn the couch on the anniversary she was anxious about, especially given they had an acreage and could safely do so on their property.

7. Consider what you do or don’t want this day to be in the future and begin working towards this.

Our son died on May 13. This year that falls smack dab on Mother’s Day. (Luckily this won’t always be the case.) I’ve thought long and hard about what I am going to do about this, and I have decided that in years to come, I don’t want to taint Mother’s Day for my grandchildren by making it about death and sadness. It’s Mother’s Day, and it’s important for children to have the opportunity to honor their mother and their grandmother on that day. I will bring flowers to my sons grave early in the morning, and spend some time remembering him there. But then I will spend the rest of the day allowing Mother’s Day to be Mother’s Day.

8. Leave room in your heart for the possibility that good things could happen this day.

Your past does not need to define your future.

This is an attitude shift. Instead of being stuck in gloom and doom, look for the good that could possibly come on this day.

I had a friend who lost her husband a few years ago. He died suddenly of a heart attack, alone in a hotel room while on a business trip. She loved him dearly. Sometime after his passing she told me that she had been praying to God, saying, “I can’t deal with the fact that I never got to say good-bye. Please God, please. Let me see him again. Just once. I need to say good-bye.” God had granted her request in the form of a dream. In her dream she had a conversation with her husband and got the closure she needed. Her dream was so real to her, she said she believed it was real, that they actually had been together. An extra miraculous thing occurred at the end. Her husband said, “I can’t stay with you any longer. I have to go now. I have to go back to our daughter. She is here with me.” At first my friend, was caught off guard, as they don’t have any children who have died, but instantly she remembered her miscarriage. It had been a girl.”

Now that I had lost my son, I prayed to God for such an experience, but I did not get it. So instead, I have often passed messages on to him through God in my prayers; “Jesus, please tell Dustin ….”

In the early hours of Easter morning, I found myself tossing and turning in and out of restless sleep, struggling with negative thoughts. If such a terrible tragedy could be awaiting me around the corner from last Easter, what tragedies might be next?

Then I had a dream. In my dream God spoke to me and said, “Dustin asked me to pass on a message to you: “Mom, why are you worrying? Don’t you realize that God is watching you every moment? He is working out His plan for your life. And it’s a very good one!”

Peace, comfort and joy came over me. This message is exactly how my son would speak; short and to the point. And it just makes sense. Here I am passing on messages to my son through God. So he sends a message back. Whatever you make of it, this was a really good experience for me, and I am glad my heart was open to receive it.

9. Remind yourself that you are working towards acceptance and/or forgiveness of what happened, because it is not possible for it to un-happen.

One definition of forgiveness is choosing to let go of your bitter, angry and hateful feelings – thoughts of punishing those who hurt you, hurting them back, and getting revenge. Everyone has a story, a difficult, painful, tragic story of their own. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. No one is exempted from pain and suffering in this life. It’s not your fault. You did the best you knew how. Would you really be willing to trade your suffering for someone else’s? What made you think you were above this? Why did you think this could happen to others but not to you?

10. Consider what kind of a man or woman you desire to be.

Determine in your will this is who you are. Act accordingly. Determine that you will not be defined by your tragedy.

I want to be a joyful woman who people enjoy being around, so I will lean into my pain and process it. Then I will embrace my identity as a joyful woman. Sometimes we have to give ourselves permission to enjoy life after our tragedies, to live in the present and to embrace whatever pleasurable moments life affords us.

11. Think about all the things you do have to be thankful for.

12. Focus on your purpose.

Why are you here in the first place? What will your life stand for? Focus on fulfilling that purpose. Believe God has a good plan for your life. We will not always understand or find a purpose for life’s tragedies, injustices and all the wrongful hurts we suffer. Sometimes it’s just bad. But that doesn’t change the fact that we can choose to live for a higher purpose – we can choose to be a force for good in this world. Even if that just means smiling and being kind to whomever we encounter today. Don’t expect a pain free life.

I love what Scott Peck says in his classic book, The Road Less Travelled:

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth, because once we see this truth we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

A New Year – Secrets of Success

“The only thing that stands between a person and what they want from life is merely the will to try it and the faith to believe it is possible.”

– Richard M. DeVos

1969 – I was a dejected and awkward second grade student without friends who suffered constant ridicule. I thought I was less than other people.

1979/80 – My poor self-esteem continued to grow as I often felt used by boys I thought loved me.

1981 – I got married.

1988 – I came to the realization that I was not less than anyone else, that every person has unique gifts and talents meant to add value to the lives of others. I discovered that God wanted me to have a great life. I started to dream.

1989 – I took a course on management and setting life goals …. And when it was over I actually started doing what they taught.

1993 – Together with my husband I failed in a business.

1998 – Another business dream didn’t pan out.

2000 – My husband had an affair, and all my dreams were shattered. There seemed to be no hope at all for my life.

2005 – We begin appearing in media across the globe including the Oprah Winfrey Show.

2006 – I’m living my best life, realizing my dreams and couldn’t be happier.

2007 - 2016 - More successes than I can even list, and life is fun. I feel unstoppable.

2018 - I feel fulfilled. I am living on purpose. My marriage is strong. I have many wonderful quality friendships. Tough problems don't sink me.

What are the keys to success?

I am not smarter, more talented or luckier than anyone else. I didn’t grow up with the right contacts or the right anything else (well okay I lived in some of the best countries in the world – that was my lucky break), but I have learned some principles of success. Since 1981 I have been actively working on improving my life. And since 1989, I have been studying success principles. I’m telling you the stuff they write in those books works. There are many great success books out there. The bottom line is you can live the life you want to live. You can live your life by design. You can live out your God-given destiny.

Here are some keys to moving from failure to success:

1. Dream. You cannot reach a destination you don’t have. You need to develop the skill of dreaming. Think outside the box. Start to think of possibilities instead of thinking about what won’t work. And don’t believe the masses, unless the masses are living the life you want. I’ve spent the last 15 years accomplishing what others have told me was impossible. I did it anyway.

True Story: Once, quite a long time ago, a man took his best friend to some barren fields in California and told him, “You need to buy this land, because one day soon it’s going to be worth a lot of money.” His friend couldn’t really see it and declined. That land today is the land directly across from Disneyland where the most expensive hotels are situated. The man was Walt Disney. His friend was Art Linkletter. You see before the plans were drawn up, before any construction began, Walt could see all of Disneyland in his head. Walt Disney said “If you can dream it, you can do it – don’t forget this whole thing started with a mouse!”

2. Believe. Once you have dreamed the life you want, you have to believe in it. You have to believe it is possible. You have to believe it is right for you to achieve it. It has to be congruent with your values.

I remember thinking once, if I had the mind of a millionaire, I would become one in a very short time. Take someone extremely wealthy like Bill Gates. What if some catastrophe happened in his finances and he lost everything? It’s actually possible. Don’t make the mistake of believing wealth and riches are automatically security. Even the mightiest have fallen … at times. But if Bill did lose everything, I’d give him 2 years if not a lot less and he would be right back at the top. Why? Because he thinks differently about money.

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” – The Bible

“Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – The Bible

If we change or “inner life” (our thinking), our “outer life” (our circumstances) will begin to change also. This also applies to our relationships. We think we need to change our spouse, but the secret is we need to change ourselves.

In order to change our lives we have to first learn how to renew our thinking.

3. Other people - a team. – In order to be successful you need other people to help you. No person is a Lone Ranger. We all need others. The world is designed this way.

Think of a Hollywood movie. Have you ever stopped to watch the credits scrolling along the screen after it’s over? They go on and on and on. It’s unbelievable how many people have to do their jobs excellently in order to create 90 minutes of breathtaking entertainment. Imagine someone saying, “I’m going to make a great Hollywood picture alone!” It ain’t gonna happen!

It’s human nature to want to go it alone. This was one of the biggest obstacles, I had to personally overcome. Because of the way I was raised, I had learned to do things by myself. In my early years when I wanted to accomplish something, I always did it alone. I can do it myself, I thought. And I accomplished quite a bit this way. What I didn’t realize though was that I was cutting myself off from 95% of my potential success by not working with others, by not networking and telling people about what I was doing.

“Two working together can accomplish more than twice as much as one working alone, and a three stranded cord is not easily broken.” – The Bible

When we pool our talents with the talents of others there is a synergy that takes place, and everyone wins.

4. Ask. “You have not because you ask not, ask and you shall receive that your joy may be full.” – The Bible again (there’s a lot of good stuff in that book – no wonder it’s the worlds all time bestseller!)

There are lots of people and organizations who will gladly help us if we are willing to give up our pride and our fear and just ask. Come on. Take a risk!

I’ve many times been afraid to ask someone for help, but 9 times out of 10 I get a yes, when I just ask. If you start moving ahead in positive directions people want to help you. So what about the “no’s”!

5. Understand that failure is part of success. (Even in relationships.) Don’t be afraid to fail. Look at my story. It’s part of the journey. In fact your failures can provide you with invaluable learning experiences.

There once was a man who held a senior position in a major corporation, who made a decision and took action that ended up costing the company millions of dollars. He (and everyone else) assumed he would be fired for this HUGE failure. Instead the company president said “no way, I’m not going to lose this man now. He’ll be invaluable to me. I just spent x million dollars educating him! He’ll never make a mistake like that again.”

The only real failure is failing to take any action, because you are afraid you might fail!

6. Give. Giving is part of success. Give 10% of your finances to charities you believe in, but don’t stop there. Give of your time and your talents also. Successful people know that the more you give away, the more you have. I dare you to test this principle. However slight warning. This is not the lottery. The universe will reward you in due time in the most unexpected ways, but here’s the catch, if you give expecting the reward it doesn’t work. Just give, because you want to. It’s an attitude.

A lot of the current success I’m having I believe comes from helping a woman through infidelity whose situation was so dire, most people would’ve just walked by. Instead of judging her, I just spent some time with her and did my best. Later (astonishingly), this woman who had next to nothing, linked me to my first significant media contact. There is a real lesson here.

7. Don’t judge others. You’ve have not walked in their shoes. You don’t know the whole story. If you judge others, others will judge you. Be careful if you think you are better than everyone else. You’d be surprised who your blessings might come through, and when the shoe might be on the other foot.

8. Educate yourself. Knowledge is power. What you don’t know does hurt you!

“My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6 – The Bible again!

Leaders are readers. The difference between the person you are today, and the person you will be 5 years from now depends largely on the books you read and the people you associate with. Even if you don’t have a university education, you can always learn by reading and attending seminars and workshops on an ongoing basis. Never stop learning. (This is also a key to longevity – keeping your mind active.)

My father died at the age of 91. Even into his 80’s, his mind was sharp as a whip, but then he never stopped working as a scientist. His research and learning continued as long as he was able. (People stopped paying him, but he never seemed to notice.) Now there’s a man who lived his destiny and his passion. You know you're living your passion when you keep doing the same stuff, even when no one pays you.

A New Year - Secrets of Success

©Copyright 2005 Anne and Brian Bercht. All rights reserved.

For information about confidential coaching with Brian or Anne click here

Email your questions or comments to Brian and/or Anne info@beyondaffairs.com

We care about every person who contacts us and will do our best to respond personally to you.

ZsaZsa, Katie, and Sandy

Hear the candid, real, true life stories of 3 different women, ZsaZsa, Katie, and Sandy, and how they navigated the devastating aftermath of the unthinkable - their husband's infidelity! Learn from their mistakes, as well as their successes, so your journey to healing can be smoother, smarter and faster.

On December 26, 2016 ZsaZsa's world fell apart, when her husband came home bent on the "D" word - Divorce! After attending Take Your Life Back her marriage made a U-turn, and started heading for healing and reconciliation instead.

Katie, a strong Christian woman, had been married for 27 years, when she found herself facing her husbands second affair. The first time she had taken the blame, and then they tried to sweep it under the rug. That didn't work. Now 13 years later, she was in this devastating place again. Her husband was willing to meet all of her requirements, except ending the affair!!!

From Katie's story you can learn why so many betrayed women fail when they give their spouse's ultimatums - it's about when and how you do it. Through Katie's sharing we also come to understand what goes wrong for so many Christians, when it comes to navigating the complicated and often chaotic aftermath of an affair in a marriage. And there is so much more to learn from the many ups and downs that Katie faced.

Sandy, who had known her husband since she was 18, shares her honest struggle to finally accept that no matter how much she did, her husband was not willing to do his part. How do you get your happiness back after divorce? And what can you do to discover, is there hope for your marriage or not?

Listen now:

Barbara, Jennifer and Saari

Three betrayed women, Barbara, Jennifer and Saari share their personal in-progress stories healing after discovering their husband's affair/s. What worked and what didn't. Great advice in this podcast. Listen Now! by clicking on the link below.

Barbara was in her second marriage (her first marriage also ended because of her husband's adultery), and this was her husband's second bout with infidelity, when Take Your Life Back changed her life forever. D-day was January 1, 2017. She says her husband was always restless, kind of half in the marriage and half out. At D-day, he left saying, "you're crazy." In reality it was him, who had lost his mind. Some very dark days followed. Expedite your own healing by learning from Barbara's gut honest sharing.

Saari had been married for 30+ years when she discovered that her husband had been unfaithful 4 years prior. Not knowing, Saari had been denied a voice and her choice, which led to a lot of justified resentment. Her husband's affair partner was now deceased, so any kind of closure through a meeting was no longer possible. Saari is a smart, sharp and wise woman. You will learn so much for your own journey as she articulates so well great wisdom and advice for all.

Jennifer had been married for 18 years when she found out about her husbands 6 month affair with a co-worker. Her husband was forced to tell her, because the other woman and her husband told him, that if he didn't one of them would. Jennifer describes the shock and the trauma so well. "Let yourself fall apart," she says. You don't have to keep up appearances. From chaos to clarity. Find out how she did it!

The Story You Tell Yourself by Anne Bercht – August 2, 2017

Seventeen years ago (May 15, 2000) I walked through what was (up until just recently), the darkest time of my life. Like a caterpillar goes into a dark cocoon (for what seems like forever at the time), so I seemed to be surrounded in unrelenting darkness, wondering if it was even sane to believe I would ever know another day of happiness in my life.

It took 2.5 years, 2 seminars, 1.5 years of counseling, a stack of books, hundreds of hours of conversation with my husband, and determination, but I can honestly say, that I emerged on the other side of the darkness like an unstoppable butterfly, afraid of nothing, free to be myself, and free to really love.

Once healed, together with my husband, we looked back on the journey and wondered, what is wrong with the world? This is such a common problem and no one is addressing it head on. So we added education to our personal experience, wrote a gut honest book about the journey, and started assisting others through affair recovery, whether reconciling or divorcing, whether the wife had the affair, or the husband did.

I am so glad I didn’t give up on life back then (even though I felt like it), because since then I’ve known some of the most pleasurable moments life offers. I’ve known much love, laughter, and heart-to-heart connection, with my husband, children, and many wonderful friends, both old and new. I’ve experienced the sheer joy of being an involved grandmother. I’ve travelled much of the world, built and decorated a beautiful new home, stood on the top of mountains, met Oprah Winfrey, gone snorkeling, scuba diving, zip lining, white water rafting, and horseback riding. I’ve watched my book become a best seller, received a prestigious award among other marriage experts for running one of the programs having the greatest impact in saving families in America, and I’ve experienced the thrill of addressing large audiences.

I’ve also encountered unbelievable setbacks, betrayals in business and in friendships. My heart has at times sored, and at other times been broken. I’ve experienced prosperity and I’ve experienced financial troubles. I’ve been loved, and I’ve been hated. I’ve been praised and I’ve been criticized. I’ve been tested, I’ve rested and I’ve nested. Doors have opened and doors have closed.

One of my greatest joys has been you. Yes, you! Not your pain … but being a part of helping you move beyond your pain to get the life you want. The victories of those I’ve been privileged to walk alongside have been my victories too.

After all, life is short and there are no do-overs, so it’s important to live it well. When we fall down, we simply get back up. That’s the only thing that separates the winners from the losers in this life. The truth is winners lose far more than losers lose, because the winners are out there doing something.

As in the sport of boxing … “A survivor is a person, who when knocked down, somehow knows to stay down until the count of nine and then get up differently. The non-survivor gets up right away and then gets hit again.” – Joy Joffe

We are talking about the grieving part of the affair recovery journey, because whether you lose your marriage, or you lose only the innocence of your marriage (turns out you did not have the marriage you thought you had), or if you are the unfaithful partner, perhaps you are grappling with a loss of respect (including loss of self-respect), and/or loss of your reputation, we all are grieving the loss of our dreams, how we thought our lives should’ve been – how it should’ve turned out.

So we go through stages of grief: shock, sorrow, craziness, heroism, anger, denial, and hopefully, in the end acceptance. In affair recovery these “stages” may not go in any particular order, and we can cycle through any of them in any order many times, sometimes all in the same day, especially in the beginning.

Knowing how to grieve DOES make a big difference. Make every effort to get your sleep and to eat, and say “yes” to help – the right help.

It’s important to give yourself room to be sad and angry – just make sure you don’t hurt anyone (including yourself), don’t damage property and don’t do anything you may later regret. But it is definitely okay to simply say, “I am so angry!”

In the long run, your recovery will depend a lot on the narrative you tell yourself about all that has happened.

In the beginning you might say things like …

“There must be something wrong with me.”

“He/She deliberately did this to me.”

“I can never recover.”

“I can never forgive.”

“She/he will never be able to get over it.”

“There is a black spot on our marriage, that can never go away.”

While these narratives are understandable, they keep us unhappy and stuck. Some better narratives (for example) might be:

“Everyone experiences hardship, injustice, trials and tragedy’s in life. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Affairs are part of a bigger picture of the sickness of our culture today. What matters is not so much what has happened to me, but rather how I choose to respond to it. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever faced, but I am not staying down. Somehow, someway, I will find a way through this.”

“I can hold my head up high, because I am a woman/man of integrity and dignity. I am not defined by what someone else does, but rather what I do … and right now, I am clearly being tested.”

“I have failed, but I am not a failure. I will face my failure with courage, and I will do what is within my power to make things right, to learn and to grow, and to be a better person on the other side of this.”

“My mess is going to be a message.”

“No one but me has the keys to my soul. Someone may have wronged me or hurt me, and they may never give me what I need to heal, but if I stay down, that’s on me, not them.”

“He/she didn’t do this to me. They weren’t thinking about me at all. That’s exactly the problem. If they had been thinking, they would’ve made different choices. He/she acted selfishly, and my hurt is a byproduct of that selfishness.”

“I will look for what is good in my situation, what my spouse might be doing right, rather than what they are doing wrong.”

"I take responsibility for me, for what I do - not for what others do."

“I am a smart person. I am going to learn what is healthy and not healthy in relationships. I will not allow myself to be mistreated.”

“I may be afraid, but that’s okay. I will do the right thing anyway. I will act in spite of my fear.”

“A great evil tried to destroy us, but our love was stronger than that. We conquered it! We win!!!”

What matters the most in life are not the big moments we’d expect, but rather the hidden moments that we think no one sees – how we treat a stranger, a child, or an enemy. Who will we be in the face of injustice and suffering? Will we repay evil for evil, or will we do good?

There is far too much hate in this world. That should be obvious. And never are we more likely ourselves to hurt people than when we ourselves are hurt. As the saying goes, hurt people hurt people. The real winners are those who love, and sometimes that’s tough love.

Such perspectives can give you the power to face life’s losses, as well as your failures, in a way where you allow the pain to grow you, rather than sink you.

What if your life is a story, still being written, and you get to live each chapter. While you are in one chapter, you think it’s the only chapter and you will always live there. Then one day, sometimes suddenly and without warning, a chapter ends. And in your story, once a chapter ends, you can never go back?

But the ending of that chapter, is not the ending of the book, but rather the beginning of a new chapter and that chapter is largely determined by how you choose to respond the betrayal, the loss and the disappointment you face now. Your ending is yet unwritten.

Why has it been so long since you received a newsletter? What did I mean darkest time until just recently? On May 13, 2017 our precious son died tragically at the age of 31. We are grieving well, and in many ways, now again, get to “practice what we preach,” because while it is a different kind of loss, and different grief, there are also many parallels. Yes, it’s hard. But knowing how to grieve helps.

Having done the work of healing our marriage seventeen years ago, has given us a priceless gift and strength for today. In the face of such tragedy, how wonderful to cry together, and to hold each other, and to know that it is OUR son we lost.

In the face of our tragedy, we find ourselves growing stronger (not weaker) in our resolve and purpose and love for others. We look forward to helping you also move beyond your pain and get the life you want!

We look forward to hearing from you...please contact us as info@beyondaffairs.com or call us at 360-306-3367...we are here for you.

Believing the best - Anne

Healing from Affairs Success Story-Greg & Krista

June 9, 2017 - Greg and Krista share their Healing From Affairs Seminar success story (we apologize for some technical difficulties about 10 minutes into this teleseminar, but we felt the information this couple shared was important to share with you to encourage you in your own healing journey)

We are always excited when a couple wants to share how working with us, through coaching which we do over the phone or via Skype, which allows us to have clients all over the world, and attending our seminars, Healing from Affairs, Man of Honor and Take Your Life Back has given them the tools, help and support they need to heal as individuals and as a couple.

We hope you enjoy this amazing true story of Greg and Krista as Anne Bercht interviews them about their affair story, healing journey and what they believe got them to where they are...honored to say they attribute much of their success to Passionate Life Seminars.  We do have an incredible success rate especially if both parties are committed to doing the work and using the tools, support and resources we provide.  The couples that are "all in" and committed to the healing process really can have the happily ever after that everyone desires but believes is impossible after the pain of an affair.

We are thankful for couples like this who want to give back and share their recovery success story.  We believe the best is yet to come from Greg and Krista and we also believe the same thing for you!

Please call our office at 360-306-3367 or email us at info@beyondaffairs.com and let us help you be successful in your affair healing journey.  We know you can do it and we can show you how!

Clients Mike and Cathy Share their Healing from Affairs Experience

May 31, 2017 - Mike and Cathy share their Healing From Affairs Seminar experience

This teleseminar is truly an amazing testimony!  Tammie Waitley, Passionate Life Seminar's Relationship Development Director and Assistant Director of BAN(The Beyond Affairs Network) recently had the privilege of speaking with a couple who had attended one of our Healing from Affairs seminars, which is the couple's intensive seminar weekend, with all of the sessions delivered by Anne and Brian Bercht and supported by their team of coaches and mentors who have also successfully healed from an affair.  These seminars are offered once a quarter and we thought that the best way to share what that experience is like is to hear from a real couple that really attended and is really doing the work.

Mike and Cathy attended their Healing from Affairs Weekend November 2016 and they candidly share what got them there, what tools they learned, what was most meaningful for them and how the 6 follow-up coaching sessions and Mike being a part of Brian's bi-weekly Men's support group (which are included with the seminar) have helped them on the right path of healing after they returned home.

Mike and Cathy's story is real, powerful and incredibly encouraging.  To hear them speak about their pain and the hope and love they have for each other today is truly miraculous.  They have embraced the healing process and done the work and now they are continuing to grow and move forward, even through the ups and downs because they now have tools that really work.  They also share how the communication tools they learned are helping them in other areas of their lives.  They are so thankful to be where they are today and believe one day they will be able to help other couples get on the other side of their pain.  We believe you will thoroughly enjoying hearing their story and about their Healing from Affairs Seminar experience.

If you and your spouse are thinking of attending a Healing from Affairs Seminar NOW is the time...don't wait another day...if Mike and Cathy can do it...so can you!

http://beyondaffairs.com/seminars/healing-from-affairs/

We believe in you and we can show you how to find total and complete healing as individuals and as a couple.  Join us for our next Healing from Affairs Weekend because your miracle is waiting for you!

Call us today at 360-306-3367 or email us at info@beyondaffairs.com to learn more.

Anne Bercht’s Talk for Infidelity Hurts Awareness Day, May 6, 2017, on Why Affairs Happen

May 6, 2017 - Anne Bercht's Talk on Why Affairs Happen

Affairs devastate husbands and wives, they destroy families and the lives of children and they weaken our nation. There is an evil person in our country who has earned millions of dollars destroying families. His business sports billboards with the slogan “Life is short. Have an affair.” I am dying to create a countering ad campaign with slogans like, “Life is short. Leave a legacy.” “Life is short. Be your wife’s hero.” Or “Life is short. Having an affair will ruin yours.” Or “Having an affair is like trying to keep warm on a cold day by peeing in your pants.” Why do affairs happen and what can you do to prevent it?

Everyone knows they don’t want to be betrayed, that it would be really bad. What only those you have been there grasp just how bad, bad is. You know it would be bad and you think it will never happen to you. Statistics are all over the place when it comes to the question, “What percentage of marriages are affected by affairs?” And no research projects are more wrought with lies than infidelity stats. According to Scott Haltzman in his book The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity, 28-43% of marriages are affected. So in your neighborhood that’s about every third house. So if it isn’t your house, it will be your neighbors, either to the right or the left.

Problems in marriages are not the root causes of affairs and as long as we point our finger of blame on the wrong thing, our problem will continue to grow. It’s like treating malnutrition with diet soda. How many of you want to know the real reason for infidelity and betrayal?

I’m Anne Bercht, author of My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me, Director of BAN (the Beyond Affairs Network) and co-founder of Passionate Life Seminars. Over the past 14 years, I’ve helped thousands of people do the impossible…recover from betrayal. I’m going to show you that affairs happen because of unmet needs. I’m also going to show you that affairs do NOT happen because of unmet needs. For every marriage with problems where there has been an affair, I can show you another marriage with worse problems, where there has not been an affair. So it is not cause and effect. Oh I don’t deny that marriages with problems are more vulnerable to affairs than happy marriages, but affairs happen in good marriages too.

I remember supporting a woman whose husband had had an affair, every 5 years of their 30 year marriage. And every 5 years of their 30 year marriage, they went for marital therapy and in therapy they always discovered what the faithful wife was doing wrong and who she wasn’t meeting her husband’s needs. 5 years into the marriage she wasn’t fit enough, so she joined a gym , got on a healthier eating plan and worked on being fit and sexy. Then 10 years into the marriage, according to their therapist he had an affair because she was giving too much attention to the children and her husband felt neglected. So she paid more attention to him and then 15 years into the marriage it turns out her husband had an affairs because she wasn’t experimental enough in the bedroom...click on the link above to hear the rest of Anne's talk...

Obstacles to Affair Recovery with Anne and Brian Bercht

February 21, 2017 - Teleseminar on obstacles to healing and how to overcome them by Anne and Brian Bercht

This is an amazing teleseminar where Brian and Anne Bercht share the obstacles to affair recovery and more importantly how to overcome these obstacles.  Listen and learn on how to overcome the obstacles you are facing today in your own healing journey whether you are the betrayed or unfaithful.

Some of those obstacles shared during this teleseminar are:

Not Telling Truth – This is about lying about the facts or the evidence or denial.

Solutions: Own up to these! Tell the Truth NOW.

Partial Disclosures – Trickle-Truth. This has to do with making a judgment as to what you think your spouse can handle, or what you think that they need to know.

Solutions: Acknowledge what has been withheld, or what has been judged ‘too big’ to disclose, or what is STILL not been told. You may need to find someone to help you with this like a coach/counselor..  Special Word of Caution: It is highly unlikely that anyone will be able to sit down and spell out the entire affair story, beginning to the end.

Over-Sharing – This comes for the unfaithful person spilling or puking out everything about the affair without being thoughtful or considerate about their spouse.

Solutions: Sadly, one can’t take back the words that have been said, or remove the images that have been shared, or emotions that have been expressed.  The thing needed is acknowledging the wrong and seeking forgiveness. 

Beliefs about Affairs – What gets in the way of healing can be our beliefs in why an affair happens or what affairs mean.

Solutions: Be willing to be objective about your own beliefs.  Listen to our pod-casts and hear what others have shared about their ‘whys' and do some coaching or attending one of our seminars to really learn and understand the truth about why affairs happen.

Beliefs about Staying – The belief that staying in a marriage after a betrayal is a sign of weakness.

Solutions: One will need to combat these negative and harmful thought processes. Identify with those men and women that have successfully recovered and remained happily married.

Lack of Tools – Not having tools and resources that are practical, time tested, measurable, and reliable.

Solutions: Get tools that work. Participate in our Healing From Affairs weekend seminar to pick up your tool kit if you are healing your marriage and Take Your Life Back weekend seminar for betrayed women, whether you are working on your relationship or not as it can take the betrayed longer to heal.

Frantic Fixing – The trauma of discovery/disclosure leads many to rush out and look for anything and everything to help them deal with the pain and fix the problem.

Solutions: Relax, Slow Down, Take a Breath, Quit Hurrying! Then, take time to find out ‘whom’ you are really listening to, and what ‘their’ background is. Find the ones that you relate to and seek out their help. 

Poor Counsel – Listening and following advise from unqualified or unproven sources, be those paid or unpaid.

Solutions: Find a therapist/coach/counselor/mentor that has proven experience in this particular specialty. 

One-sided Work – Often this is about focusing all the work on helping the betrayed spouse to heal, while neglecting or overlooking the work necessary for the unfaithful partner to heal.

Solutions: While it may be necessary for some individual work to occur, it is important and a necessity that both partners to engage in the work of recovery.          

Expectations – These expectations, some reasonable and some unreasonable are often the factors that get in the way of healing. Expectation of where a person should be by this time; expectations of how one should be acting at this time; expectations of how one should feel, respond, engage, talk, share, divulge.

Solutions: Be careful to avoid comparing your situation to others. Set reasonable expectations, ones that are manageable and achievable. 

Time – Healing requires a certain amount of time. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the length of time needed to heal, only generalities.

Solutions: Set reasonable and measurable time frames.  Get help to figure this out.

The Berchts share about this and much more and end the call with some questions.  Maybe the exact question you have was asked on this teleseminar.

It is our desire to help you overcome the obstacles to affair recovery.  Please call us at 360-306-3367 or email us at info@beyondaffairs.com and let us help you through your process...we can help you avoid these obstacles and find the hope and healing you want and deserve.