Author Archives: Anne Bercht

Covid-19, Self-Quarantine & Affair Recovery

Greetings from our self-quarantine, here in our home office in Washington State.

Anne & I want to take a moment to share a few of our thoughts regarding the global crisis that’s affected us over these past 8+ weeks.

We’ve purposefully waited until now to express our thoughts.  With all the uncertainty, the ever-changing guidelines, the governmental impositions, and the chaos that we’ve been forced to adjust to, we, Anne & I, felt it better to avoid being just another voice calling for your attention.

With some levels of ‘stability’ or guidelines now in place, and the shock of what we are all facing subsiding ever so little, it seems more appropriate to send out a message of hope and courage.

Life is moving on regardless of what anyone alone can do about it.

The suddenness of this pandemic caught most of us by surprise and had us unprepared for what we are all currently facing; the social-distancing, the community-lockdowns, the restricted gatherings, restricted travel, limited PPE’s, and the like. 

This says nothing about the more significant and pressing matters, such as job losses, income stopping, financial peril, confinement/isolation, and/or the harsh fact that you or one of your loved ones may be actually dealing with the hideous virus, or worst of all, having lost a love one to this disease.

And quickly on a lighter note, not discrediting the gravity of our situation, maybe you are one of the millions of people who’ve been denied the access to one of the basic essentials of life – yes, toilet tissue!

But in all seriousness, my heart and Anne’s go out to you and your family, and we understand the magnitude of what many of you are facing. And oh, how we wish we were able to do more!

The suddenness of this new crisis triggers, for many, memories of events that brought you to our website – affair recovery. The suddenness of this crisis has been forced upon you even though you did not ask for it to happen. The suddenness of this crisis has impacted your life even though you did nothing to deserve this nor cause this! It is like a new D-day.  Now we are all forced to face this new reality, forced to face a new realization, forced to face a new unwanted truth. Yes COVID-19 really sucks! 

Like our own D-day, we’re waking up each morning (for those that can fall asleep) hoping that this terrible reality is only a dream, hoping that it will just go away and that life – as we once knew it – will return – back to normal. Sadly, that day is not likely to appear anytime soon.

We, just as in our own story, can feel very discouraged or sad. We can feel helpless. We can feel so alone and insignificant even when we know that we are not alone. In spite of all the reporting claiming, “We’re in this together,” we definitely can feel trapped.

When it comes to feeling trapped or isolated, you may be confined with the one who had hurt you or with the one you have hurt. Job losses or imposed shutdowns may be responsible for you sharing close quarters with each other, and for many of you, these confined areas might also include children and even teenagers. The terror of this may strike greater fear then that of COVID-19. Yikes, how will a person survive?

The good news – well better news at least

We first want to let you know that these fears and concerns are very legitimate and important, and we are empathetic to your situation. Our hearts are especially concerned for those parents who have suddenly been forced to become home-school-teachers, and even more so for the single parents who are facing some serious and life-altering decisions, choosing between two crucially important and necessary roles, being a parent and also being a provider without outside help.

Anne & I are not spared from this crisis and are facing many of the same concerns and fears that you may face. We’ve been limited to where we go and when we are allowed to go. We’ve been forced to cancel and postpone a number of events that brings financial concerns. We’ve been forced to put family gatherings off until undetermined dates. We can’t see our kids or our grandkids. We’ve been forced to walk single-file into Costco (still no toilet tissue) and we’ve been subjected to multiple reruns on the sports channel.

Our homelife, while void of any personal affair recovery work, is not that different than many of yours. The news channels pipes in hour after hour of scary ‘news.’ The restaurant choices are non-existent save takeout. The weekend cocktails with our senior neighbors have evaporated.

What we’re doing to face this crisis is requiring us to practice patience and cooperation. Waiting in line, six feet (2-meters) apart from the next person is not normal. Wondering ‘who’ might have ‘it’ and if they are too close to me is not normal. Being suspicious of everyone is not normal. Most of what we’re being told to do goes against what I believe or hold fast to.

However, if these things are going to bring about the recovery that we all need, then we are fully onboard with it. Our personal desires and beliefs are put aside for the greater good.

This really is not too much different than what the recovery journey looks like. Putting aside our own belief for the greater good of the whole.

So, Anne & I would like to leave you with a few thoughts.

STOP LISTENING TO THE NEWS ALL DAY LONG

In this work, we often talk about PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Well there is also another PTSD (present traumatic stress disorder). By keeping the crisis in front of you all day long, you keep yourself in a traumatized state and increase your anxiety. Without structure our systems go into adrenal overload; fight, flight or freeze – the lizard brain. The part of thinking that includes rational reasoning, planning, assessment, problem solving and creativity goes down. We need to be intentional about calming our fight or flight mode. So get your news once, twice or three times a day. We do need to know what is going on. But don’t spend the whole day here. Be intentional about putting some good things into your brain that encourage you, and give you peace, hope, and perspective.

WRITE DOWN ALL THE THINGS YOU CAN’T CONTROL

Your brain likes to get it out of your system. Once you’ve identified it, acknowledge that you cannot control it. Put it aside, and stop focusing here.

FOCUS ON THE CHOICES YOU DO GET TO MAKE

First, we know that with so many of the regular choices and liberties being taken away from us, a person can feel like they have lost control over their life. Human beings were designed to be control freaks. It’s in our DNA. When this feeling begins to overwhelm us, the clinical term is called ‘learned-helplessness.’ One helpful way to combat this hopeless feeling is to focus on the choices that you still have, focus on the options you still get to make, focus on what you CAN do, rather than on the limitations. Looking at the choices we do have boosts our sense of importance and identity.

LOOK FOR THE GOOD

What are the good things or what have been the positive things resulting from being locked down and having our travel restricted?  Some very significant things can be sharing family dinners once again, spending quality & quantity time together, spending more time sleeping as there is zero commute time, less time stuck in traffic, more home-projects getting accomplished, washing our hands more and becoming more hygienically conscious. Remember, there is always something positive to find, even though it may not offset the negative.

THERE IS A BIGGER STORY HERE

Your life has a bigger narrative. And you can focus on the bigger picture, what is really important versus what we thought was important.  Yes, the reason you are reading this newsletter probably has to do with you or your loved one hurting you through a thoughtless and selfish action. However, when we begin to think about what it might feel like or be worth to us if that same loved one suddenly contracted this disease or passed away because of it, then this makes the present circumstances a little more bearable. At the end of the day, most of the couples who come to us seeking our help, deep down really love each other. They just hate what happened. On occasion, we’ve worked with couples where one spouse has died sometime after D-day. They wish they had more time to be with their spouse, and that they hadn’t spent so much of the time they did have being angry, defensive or hurtful.

Please let us know if there is any way for us to assist you during this time. Our office still remains open and we are here to help.

Brian & Anne Bercht

And Remember! Please follow the guidelines laid out by the leaders where you live. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands frequently. Don’t touch your face. Sanitize frequently touched surfaces. Let’s work together to beat this.

Jane – Shannon

 

Listen to Jane & Shannon share their heart-felt stories of infidelity. Two women with two very different outcomes…find out how they both thrive after the wounds of betrayal!

Jane was married in 2006 and has 3 young children, ages 8, 6 & 4 years old.  Her story is a bit different than the traditional affair, in that, her husband struggles with a sexual addiction.  His pornography addiction was traumatically discovered within the first few months of being married. The feelings of betrayal were very real.

She swept a lot of her emotions and problems “under the rug,” and her husband never fully sought help for his continued addiction. Years later, their marriage struggled, and finally in March of 2019, they made counseling a priority and both committed to working things through by taking a marital-therapeutic-separation.

However, in November of 2019, Jane was getting ready for bed, when she saw her husband calling her cell phone. She answered the phone…only to realize that he had “pocket dialed” her.  She soon heard an entire conversation unfold between her husband and a prostitute.

This led to her discovery of her husband’s unfaithfulness in massage parlors, strip clubs, and multiple prostitutes/escort services.

Find out how Jane’s story unfolds, and how she is able to seek what she needs even in the midst of her outcome being uncertain.

Shannon was married for 27 years when she discovered her husband’s infidelity.  Prior to the discovery of her husband’s affair Shannon would tell you that she thought they were “living the good life…”

They had 3 children who were grown and out of the house; life was nothing but blue sky…she felt as though they both were living out the reward of having raised their children.

In May of 2017, Shannon had decided to try a new app out on her phone.  Her husband had taken a motorcycle ride (which she usually was always along for), but this time, had other pending obligations.  The app she had installed on her phone, viewed her husband at a parked location, her curiosity got the best of her and she drove to his destination.

It was there she discovered him leaving the affair partner’s condo.

Her sense of what was real, was gone.

After searching online for ways of protecting herself, she went into “fix it” mode. She realized her marriage was worth saving and that life could be better post affair! They made huge changes (sold their home)… only to find out 5 weeks later that the affair never really ended.

Find out how Shannon has reconciled her marriage and learn what steps have aided her in the recovery process.

March 7, 2020 – Jane & Shannon Tele-Seminar

Listen Now!

Laura – Joan – Katherine – Jenny

In this podcast, four betrayed wives candidly share their recovery journeys; Laura, Joan, Katherine & Jenny. Reconciliation, Divorce, Decision-making, Empowerment & Recovery. The candid truth! It’s all here.

Laura was married in 2003 and has two young boys. She had a good marriage for the most part, with a lot of adventure and fun. Yet, looking back she sees that the relationship had been out of balance. She gave more than her husband.

D-day came, 3 1/2 years ago, on the first day of school when her youngest was heading off to kindergarten. She found herself shaking with anger as her husband, to his credit came clean with the whole truth, revealing not just this current affair, but two other affairs that had occurred earlier in the marriage.

Laura went into shock. Thinking about her husband’s affair became all-consuming. She felt as though she was no longer present in her own life. She found herself becoming someone she didn’t recognize. She would stand at her desk (she worked at home) shouting “I hate you. I hate You. I hate you.”

Today, she stands at her desk and shouts, “I love my life.” She is able to see life clearly. She is able to see the effort that her husband put in to be there for her and to grow and become a better man.

Find out what she did to make this journey from hate to love. From devastated to happy and grateful.

Joan had been married 29 years to a physician, when she found out about his affair.

As a prominent figure in a small town, they had nowhere safe to turn for help. Joan describes her post disclosure days as a swirling nightmare. She had always assumed that an affair would be the end of her marriage, but when it happened to her, she thought differently. Perhaps throwing away 29 years in the emotion of the moment, might not be what she really wanted.

Divorce is not easy. It costs a lot of money, and you’re still stuck with the pain. Unfortunately, there is no easy way out of the pain.

Today Joan can laugh again. The affair is no longer all-consuming. She has regained her “lightness” and her confidence. Find out how she did it!

Katherine, a strong Christian, was married 27 years, college educated, married in her 30’s for the first time. Together they had 3 lovely daughters. Her husband, a CEO of a publicly held company. Both she and her husband were sure affairs would never be part of their marriage. She had a very blessed life.

Her husband’s first affair was 6 – 9 months in duration. They worked through it … to a degree, renewed their vows, and moved on. A year later they found themselves under great stress again. They pursued Christian counseling. Like Joan, because they were high profile, they isolated themselves, which was not a good thing.

Katherine did not want a divorce. However, her husband continued his affair. Katherine found herself without hope. It was as if she lost herself.

Yet, she says, had she known back then what she knows now, Katherine believes their marriage may have been saved. What made the difference? What are the lessons she learned?

Jenny and her husband were high school sweethearts. He became a dentist. She a veterinarian. They were best friends with a tight loving marriage. She had been married 18 years when her husband got caught up in an affair.

The affair partner started telling everyone in their small town. Jenny found out when a friend called and said, “I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s affair.” In response, Jenny (who was driving her tractor at the time) threw her wedding ring at her husband and kicked him out.

She didn’t sleep for 4 days, she lost 40 pounds, she buried herself in work, listened to angry girl music, and isolated herself because she was afraid to go to town. This was her great, perfect marriage! Her post disclosure eyes shot daggers at everyone.

Today Jenny is totally different. She learned how to be herself again. She is only 10 months out from D-day. What she has to share, might make all the difference for you.

Listen now!

March 2, 2020 Tele-Seminar – Laura, Joan, Katherine & Jenny candidly share their stories

Following Through On Doing The Right Thing


Following Through On Doing The Right Thing

  • Have you ever struggled with following through on doing the right thing?
  • Do you ever struggle not doing the wrong thing?
  • Have you ever felt like no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to get things right?
  • Or, are you ever confused about what to do?
  • If you answer yes to any of these questions, then this article is for you.

 I came across these words and felt that they summed up how we can feel. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do!

“My biggest struggle was DOING the right thing…” -Brian Bercht

I, too, struggled with knowing what the right thing to do was. But my greatest struggle was DOING the right thing. And coming in a close second was my challenge of NOT doing the wrong thing.

To my surprise, virtually everyone, both men and women, struggle to follow through on doing the right things and how to avoid the wrong things in affair recovery. So don’t despair! You’re not alone! And you can move beyond this.

Counter-Intuitive Actions

The affair recovery journey is one that is made up of many counter-intuitive actions, actions that don’t make sense, actions that could appear to make things worse, actions that cause us to feel uncomfortable, and actions which may be contrary to the latest internet blog or latest twitter post. These counter-intuitive actions are not always recognizable for men, nor are they easy to do. However, the more a person practices these actions the more one begins to see the positive results. Rewards, progress, and forward movement soon appear in that person’s life and marriage.

A License to Act Inappropriately?

Struggling to follow through on doing the right thing is not just for men, nor is it exclusively for those who have acted unfaithfully. It is just as relevant for unfaithful women as it is for the men and women who have been betrayed. It is important to understand that everyone is solely responsible for his or her actions, and nothing that someone else has done to them gives them license to act inappropriately. Victor Frankl, author of “Man’s Search for Meaningwrote Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances is to choose one’s own way.”  Which basically lets us know that we can’t blame our bad actions on someone else’s behavior.

Four Common Factors 

Our failure to do the correct thing can be rooted in a number of deeper issues, some of which may require long-term professional help, and if this may be you, then by all means get this help. However, for the majority of us, we find that there are a few common factors, which hinder us from doing the right thing. Lets take a look at 4 of these.

1 – Lack of Awareness and Understanding

The first factor, which hinders some of us men from doing the correct thing, and still leaves us doing the wrong things, has to do simply with our lack of awareness and understanding. Sometimes a man doesn’t know what he needs to do to in order to make things right or to help things get better in his relationship. Perhaps he hasn’t taken the time to figure it out or considered that there might be some other way of behaving. He can be stuck in a belief that he isn’t required to change anything about himself,  that things will ‘just’ work itself out on its own, or that he doesn’t need to do any changing and if there are any changes to be made then they are with his spouse.

However, if you are reading this, then you are not likely to be one of these individuals (unless you are married to such a man). For those that may feel like they are in a relationship with a guy like this, keep reading as some of the other factors may play a bigger role in his life than you might have guessed.

Feeling The Shame

On a side note, it is important to understand that for many men who gain some new knowledge or awareness on how to behave differently, they often can feel more shameful once they have understood how inadequately they acted. These ‘new’ awakenings may trigger a man to shut down and self-loathe and quit trying. Depression could set in.

2 – Levels of Doubt

A second factor that can hinder a man from following through on doing the right thing, while often repeating actions he knows aren’t right, will be his own levels of doubt. Not just doubt that the action works, but also doubt that he has what it takes to do it. Skepticism. Second-guessing. Yes-butting. And other forms of reluctance get in the way of a man engaging in practicing these new skills.

There can also be a sense of pride, not needing anything or anyone to tell them what to do. Our male pride and conditioning tells us that we don’t really need outside help to solve our problems. Frankly, asking or seeking out direction from others can reinforce a sense of weakness and even failure, which then keeps us stuck in the behaviors we know we need to adjust.

Being Reluctant to Engage

In addition, even if a man has learned to seek out help or to ask for advice, he may be reluctant to engage in the actions that are laid out for him. He may tend to second-guess the counsel he hears, doubt that the advice will really work, and/or be suspicious if what he hears will genuinely result in him being able to do what he knows to do. He may even have tried a few things to correct some of his actions, yet he still finds himself slipping back into old and bad habits. The suggestions or advice may not have had the lasting results he was hoping to obtain.

3 – Facing Opposition

A third factor is that a man who wants to do the right thing will often face opposition, in one form or another from the person he’s trying to change for. Some men hear what they may need to do and may have even seen it work for others and even try to do what’s right, but as soon as he faces some opposition or a person doesn’t react like he expects, he just throws in the towel and quits trying. He is like the seed that is scattered on shallow soil, which takes root quickly and sprouts up, but when the winds and heat of adversity arrive, the plant suddenly withers and dies. The shallowness of the soil prevents the plant from flourishing. As with the plant, so it is with some of us men. We lack the depth of strength to continue on in spite of the heat we face. So we give up and quit trying.

4 – Isolation, Independence, and Self-Reliance

The fourth factor is unquestionably the most common theme that plays out in the lives of each man who struggles with consistently following through on doing the right thing.  It is a man’s propensity towards Isolation, Independence and Self-Reliance, which leads us to deny the loneliness most men feel today. We don’t have anyone who will encourage, challenge or correct us.

Lonely and Isolated

Men today are lonely and isolated and, to a large degree, friendless. Yes, many of us have hundreds of ‘friends’ on Facebook, or may have thousands of Twitter followers, or may even have a fairly active social life, but if the truth were told, most don’t have anyone that they can be truly genuine with. Men today have abandoned connection for convenience, choosing to forgo any close relationship with another guy, and instead replace it with fantasy football (or similar).

In the hundreds of men I’ve spoken with over the years, when asked how many close male friends they have, nearly all say none! Yes, there are some that do have some good friends in their life, but the vast majority do not have one single man they can really be honest with! If I were to ask their wives how many close male friends their spouse has, the reply is generally zero.

Conditioned to Believe – We don’t need help

As men, we are conditioned to believe that we don’t need anyone close, we don’t need any help, we are the captains of our own ship, we are in charge of our life, and we don’t need to have another man close to us. Some have replaced close male friendships with close female relationships, which in the end, usually causes hardships, disappointments and failures.

Sadly, it is even worse for the for the man who has acted unfaithfully, because the sense of shame, humiliation and/or embarrassment is so great that he can’t find anyone that may accept him. For the man who has been betrayed, they also don’t feel like anyone understands them or knows their pain.

Seeking Genuine Relationships

The solution to the problem of not doing what we want to do is found in having some genuine relationships with other good men so that we can be encouraged, challenged and corrected from within a safe context of acceptance and understanding. An intelligent man is one that understands his success is dependent upon the association he keeps. So finding good men and connecting with them will be one of the most important factors to consistently follow through on doing the right thing.

Your Past does not need to be Your Future

Finding these good men will also help us with the sense of loneliness that most men face today. We all need someone to lean on, and the sooner we have the courage to admit this, the sooner we begin to find a cure for our shame, isolation, needing to keep up appearances, and our loneliness. We all need someone to tell us that we are good enough! Your past does not need to be your future!

Stay Strong,

Brian Bercht

To find out more information about our Man of Honor Seminar, click on this link or call 360-306-3367 or email info@beyondaffairs.com (All messages are handled with utmost personal care and confidentiality.)

For more information on how to recover from affairs, click here.

Book recommendation: Enemies of the Heart: Breaking Free from the Four Emotions That Control You, By Andy Stanley

Should I Fight for Marriage?

QUESTION: Dear Anne – Should I fight for my marriage? … or would doing so weaken my position? And perhaps even set me up for continued abuse?

Should I fight for Marriage

Should I fight for marriage?

ANNE’S ANSWER:
Okay, so let’s say, the person you love, has gone off the deep end and has not only acted unfaithfully, but above and beyond that is being mean in unthinkable ways. Their behavior is frankly horrible. And while you may or may not have seen previous signs of this unwanted behavior before, you NEVER imagined it could get to this. (And you are nice people!) What is  happening right now, does not make sense.

“I’m leaving our marriage, because you don’t like sports.”

“We don’t laugh together anymore.” (Really? What has the unfaithful spouse been doing lately to bring  more laughter into the marriage?)

“You’ve been controlling me.”

We have a saying at Beyond Affairs, “The thing is not about the thing.”

The Finger of Blame

A person who is having an affair will often pick a fight in order to justify to themselves their wrongful behavior. To avoid painful self-reflection, they cast the finger of blame towards the innocent party.

Usually, the one leaving the relationship has spent months, and sometimes years, creating a distorted story in their heads to somehow justify their wrongful behavior to themselves.

When the wounding spouse tells the innocent spouse that they are ending the marriage, the innocent spouse usually feels shock, devastation, hurt, rejection, fear, loneliness, anger, depression, and confusion! Even if there have been problems (which there may not have been), you never imagined something like this could be happening to your relationship. You know the path they are choosing is not only hurting you, it is hurting them! The fact of the matter is if they continue like this they will end up being the one with the biggest hurt. If you want revenge, it’s simple. Let them go. Without knowing it, they are destroying their own lives.

Emotions are out of control

Hurt and misunderstanding are having a hay day!

It looks as though your relationship has ended. What are you supposed to do?

Today, I found myself reflecting on this question. When someone you love says your relationship is over, do you respect their boundary and wait? Give them time? Or do you fight for them?

I began thinking about all the “sensible” approaches one might read in books, hear from your friends, and/or your counselor.  Sometimes the advice you get doesn’t even match, and sometimes you just find yourself more confused than ever.

ANXIETY – Worrying about the Past & Future

You find yourself, asking the question: What’s wrong with me? What did I do wrong?

This is anxiety – worrying about the past. No doubt you have made some mistakes. Every human being has. That said, most likely, you have been a good wife, husband, mother, father.

Then you ask: What should I do? You are afraid – afraid of making a mistake, afraid of doing the wrong thing, afraid of losing the relationship, afraid of being alone, afraid of being judged, criticized, and rejected.

This is also anxiety – worrying about the future.

What you want to aim towards is to stop living in the past. Whatever has been cannot be undone, only learned from. Stop worrying about the future. Fearing the future only makes things worse. Aim to live in the moment. What are you feeling? Own those feelings.

The Irresponsible & Over Responsible

There is a responsibility continuum. Some people are irresponsible. They are the worst. They say mean things, blame others, hurt people, don’t keep their promises, get angry, abusive, and usually struggle with addictions. In short their lives create problems for the people around them, because they keep messing up. Their family is walking on egg shells.

Other people are over responsible. They say they’re sorry all the time, even if they haven’t done anything wrong. They show up on time, pay the bills, manage things, care for everyone, and say “yes” all the time. These people are great to be around, always so nice, always doing everything for everyone, yet they are equally out of balance.

Both the irresponsible and the over-responsible are wrong. Healthy lies in the middle. There is a balance.

How to work on yourself…

If you are over-responsible, you need to move back to the center of the responsibility continuum, and stop carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. Don’t do for others what they should be doing for themselves. Don’t fix everything. Say “no.” And speak up for yourself. You are not really loving people, when you allow them to mistreat you.

If you are irresponsible, you need to start taking responsibility, move down the responsibility continuum towards responsible. You are responsible for your own life. Quit blaming everyone else for the problems/hurts in your life. Get some help for your addictive behaviors. You think your, “I’m going to do life my own way” approach is a sign of your independence and freedom. What you don’t realize is the paradox. Your rebellious spirit robs you of the very freedom you are fighting for.

Self-control and responsibility give you your freedom. Being irresponsible keeps you in chains.

Most of the people who will read this article are the overly responsible … And they are in a relationship with the irresponsible.

WE TEACH PEOPLE HOW TO TREAT US

If we are not being treated with respect, we are responsible for allowing this to happen, for putting up with it. It is the responsibility of the over-responsible one to stop enabling the abusers behavior by continuing to be nice and quiet when we are mistreated. Most do this because they are afraid of conflict, afraid of being alone, or because somewhere along the line, they have developed a deep sense of unworthiness, and don’t see themselves as worthy of being treated better.

Now your eyes are opened. You can no longer remain in your state of comfortable abuse. Your relationship is hanging in the balance and you want it back! So you are reading this article, hoping that I’m about to lay out the magic formula that tells you how and if you should fight for your marriage…

You are unique, your spouse is unique, and the relationship dance, the two of you have been dancing is unique too. There is no one size fits all solution. There are, however, principles that make relationships work.

Desperate times may call for desperate measures

When the “shit hits the fan,” it’s time for common sense (a very uncommon thing), and time to follow your heart. After all, you are the only one who is going to live with the outcome of the choices you make.

Like the words in the Bon Jovi song …

“It’s my life. It’s now or never. I ain’t gonna live forever. So I’m gonna live like I’m alive!”

In almost every situation in my life, I make big decisions carefully. I do my research. I seek good counsel. Carefully and thoughtfully I proceed. I make sure my actions are above reproach, and that no one can point fingers of blame at me for the way I handled myself. And in most of life’s situations this is a good idea and serves me well.

WHAT DID I DO WHEN MY HUSBAND WAS LEAVING ME?

When my husband was leaving me for another woman, as I reflect back, I did not actually act this way. I didn’t have time! There was no formula. No one understood me and my husband anyway. (You can read about all this in My Husband’s Affair)

In addition to getting mad (expressing that to God in my private prayer time), I took a stand in my heart. I said to myself, no way, THIS IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!! I am going to fight for my marriage!  In my case, I suppose, I had two things to go on. 1. I knew my husband was a good man, and that he loved me. (That’s important, because it’s not true for everyone who will read this article.)  2. I have an unshakeable personal faith in God, and I know He has the power to hit my husband on the head with a spiritual 2×4 (big long piece of wood). I know how to pray. (And thank goodness, sometimes God hits me on the head with that same 2×4!)

The fight for marriage

What I did to fight for my marriage … in the most unconventional ways, was not written about in affair recovery text books or approved by any counselor. Here are some the things I did to fight for my marriage.

  1. I put on my sexiest clothes and showed up unexpectedly at my husband’s workplace.
  2. I asked a man (whom I knew my husband respected) to go talk to my husband.
  3. When my husband got angry because our daughter called the other woman and was shall we say, unkind, and my husband told me to get my daughter under control, I informed him that our daughter was not going to be required to behave at a standard that was higher than that which her own father required of himself. I suggested he get the log out of his own eye instead of worrying about the speck in his daughters eye.
  4. I chose to confront the other woman (nicely and wisely with dignity). My husband forbid me. I did it anyway. (Last I checked it’s not that smart to listen to someone who is not in their right mind at the moment.)

The Ultimatum Letter – Love, Truth & Dignity

5. When my husband told me he was now going to be just friends with the other woman, I gave him an ultimatum. My ultimatum letter was neither angry, nor full of threats. It was a letter full of love, truth and dignity. But it didn’t pull any punches. “If your “friendship” with this other woman is so important to you, there is no time like the present for you to leave. If you want to be with me, this “friendship” ends now.” Was my husband, excited about this ultimatum letter?No he was not! Fighting for your relationship doesn’t mean your actions are going to make the other person happy, not initially. You have to understand, when someone is going off the deep-end, rarely do passive, saintly words of kindness, shake them out of their insanity.

6. I enrolled myself in university. By doing this I was growing as a woman instead of focusing all my energy on what he was or wasn’t doing.

7. I bought new clothes.

8. I made my husband accountable by telling a small group of close friends and family.

9. I was bold, fearless, and courageous. What did I have to lose? (I was already losing it, in my passivity!)

WHAT I WAS NOT DOING – (This is important too)

I did not yell and scream. I did not embarrass myself. I did not shame my husband. I did not use foul language. I did not wrap my arms around his leg when he tried to leave. (This seems strange to say, but others have tried this, and may mistakenly think this is fighting for the marriage. It’s not. That’s being unattractively needy and lowering your value.) I did not defame my husband publicly. I did not create an unpleasant scene at his workplace. I did not give away (or throw away) our money and/or possessions. I did not act irresponsibly. I did not break any laws, hurt anyone, damage property, or harm myself. I did not seek revenge. (Really there is a part of me that is revengeful … but I’ve really learned if you leave revenge up to God, he does it better.)

SHOULD YOU FIGHT OR SHOULD YOU WAIT?

Nineteen years later, from a healed and restored position, and with many years experience helping others, I asked my husband, where do you think we would be now if I had not fought for our marriage? What would you have done?

Here is his wise answer:

We really don’t know what we would do in any situation that we have not actually been in. We might think we know, but all too often, if it ever comes to it, we find ourselves not doing what we were sure we would. But what he has observed is this:

If the person you love is “ending your relationship” and you do not fight for it, if they are an “engager,” engagement makes them feel loved and cared for (even if the engagement is an argument with swear words). Disengagement makes them feel like you don’t love them. It can make someone feel like you don’t care.

When the abandoned person fights for the marriage, it either has a positive effect or it’s neutral, having no effect.

When the abandoned person waits passively, it either has a negative effect or a neutral effect.

Can I change the other person?

You cannot change another persons behavior, make up their mind for them, bully them or shame them into doing anything, but fighting for the relationship has a potential for positivity, and at worst is neutral.

Just remember that “fighting” for the relationship means putting out bids for connection with strength and dignity. It means being courageous, bold and valuing yourself.

Bullying, shaming, being mean, threats, anger, aggressiveness, hitting someone, belittling, or desperate behavior IS NOT “fighting” for your relationship. Instead they are signs of your own character weaknesses and are damaging towards your relationship.

The decision and choices are yours

It’s your life. It’s your relationship. It’s your future. You cannot control another person. You cannot force someone to love you, or to be kind to you. But you do get to decide how you will respond to the person you love and their wrongful behavior towards you.

You ask: Should I fight for my marriage?

You get to decide. Don’t be over responsible. Don’t be under responsible. Don’t be anxious. Don’t beat yourself up about the past. Don’t worry about the future. Live in the present. Own your feelings. Follow your heart. Don’t let pride keep you stuck.

Be strong and courageous!

Anne Bercht

How to Recover from Multiple Affairs

“I googled ‘How to Recover from Multiple Affairs'”

Sarah from South Carolina shares her experience at Healing from Affairs“Going into the weekend we had no idea what to expect. My husband was worried our story would be the worst case and that he would be the “bad guy” of the weekend. I felt as if we would be the worst case and it would cement all the reasons why I would need to leave the marriage. I found Beyond Affairs one night while googling “how to recover from multiple affairs.”

“I just wanted some sort of hope that it was actually possible. Beyond Affairs came up in my feed and I saw the next seminar was within a 2 hour drive and only a month away. I messaged the site that night and got a reply back from Brian Bercht within two days. I grabbed onto that lifeline and showed my husband.

“My husband was surprised I was looking for help, and maybe a tad bit hopeful as well. Up until we were pulling out of the driveway, I wasn’t sure if we should just cancel. What was the point? My heart was broken, and sadly this wasn’t the first time- how could I ever trust him again?

“I had so many questions that I had little hope of getting answers to: How could he do this? How could he do this, again?! How did a person cross so many boundaries? How could he not understand how everything related to one another? Did he hate me? Did he love me? Did he even like me? What was wrong with ME? Why should I stay? Should I stay?

“When I found out that my husband had another affair, I was in a state of shock. I was beyond angry and hurt, I couldn’t eat much, I slept very little, my personal hygiene was very much on the back burner.

“I remember walking into the hotel, my husband and I wondered if they would have “Healing From Affairs” signs all over the place. We worried that EVERYONE would know the reason we were there, to our relief that was completely not the case.

“Brian and Anne Bercht understand what we were dealing with. They have walked in our shoes and they are professionals and discrete.

“During the seminar my husband and I had so many lightbulb moments we probably could have lit up time square. I, the betrayed partner was validated in my feelings and told many times that nothing I did caused his affairs. It was not my fault. I was also able to see how my husband got to this point. And I was even able to gain some empathy for him. That one I never saw coming.

“Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t feel sorry for my husband and I wasn’t ready to forgive him by time we left, but my husband and I both left with something we went there for- hope & tools. We were given many tools and were also reminded we wouldn’t be going the next few weeks alone. Brian and Anne did calls with us weekly helping us continue to grow and heal as a couple.

“Today, a little over a year later I can honestly say without a doubt, that if it were not for the help of Anne, Brian and their team we probably wouldn’t be together – or maybe worse than that, we might still be stuck. Being stuck is awful, and I highly encourage those who no longer want to be stuck to reach out to Beyond Affairs. It has been one of the best things we’ve ever done for our marriage. My only regret is that we didn’t do it after the first affair.”

  • Sarah, South Carolina

To Find out more about the Healing From Affairs Program, click on this link or call 360-306-3367 or email info@beyondaffairs.com (All messages are handled with utmost personal care and confidentiality.)

For more information on how to recover from multiple affairs, click here.

For information about free support groups: BAN – Beyond Affairs Network

 

Healing a Marriage after an Affair – 9 Keys

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

Healing a marriage after an affair

Healing a marriage after an affair 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, but hat’s not true. True healing is remembering the affair, and 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 and the roadmap that we are now able to give you.

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

Once healed we looked back on our 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.”

The Healing from Affairs program we have now developed deals directly 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.

Leaning into the pain is key to getting beyond it. Trying to bury it, skirt around it, or avoid the issues will keep you stuck, and prolong your 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 (or not 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 that what you are suffering is not fair, but inflicting more wounds is counterproductive to your own healing and well-being.

It’s our experience that when it comes to healing a marriage after an affair, mistakes made after disclosure can often cause even more damage than the affair itself. Couples who heal the quickest and with greatly reduced unnecessary agony are the ones who get our help early in the journey rather than later.

9 Essential Steps to Recovery

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.) Healing a marriage after an affair requires that the affair partner is no longer given insight into what is or isn’t happening in the marriage.

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.

What about Communication?

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 capitalize on your strengths and overcome your 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. A framework is given that makes talking about difficult issues safe. Those same talks that are probably now perpetuating damage in your relationship can be turned around to bring healing instead.

Understanding How & Why Affairs Happen

4. Discover the core issues behind “why” the affair really happened in your 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.

The Role of FORGIVENESS in Healing a Marriage after an Affair

6. Forgive. Forgiveness is a learned skill essential to healing a marriage after an affair. It comes neither easily nor naturally because it is contrary to human nature, which tells us those who wronged us must pay a price.

Forgiveness is not forgetting about it, condoning the wrongful behavior, or releasing a person from the consequences.

Reconciliation and forgiveness are not equal. In the Healing from Affairs Intensive we are able to teach you the skills both of forgiveness and proper apologies. It’s not just about the betrayed forgiving the unfaithful. Forgiveness goes both ways, because there are no perfect people and no perfect spouses, so even though the betrayed has not had an affair, there are still ways we’ve hurt our spouse and need to ask for forgiveness.

Forgiveness is the final step to healing a marriage after an affair – not one of the first ones. Quick forgiveness is cheap forgiveness. Early in the journey it might seem unfathomable how one could ever get there. It’s wise, therefore, not to focus on the end goal when the journey has barely begun.

SEXUAL STRUGGLES when Healing a Marriage After an Affair

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.

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.

How long does Healing a Marriage after an Affair take?

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 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.

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

Separate Affair Issues from Marital Issues

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.

Christa from Dallas, TX said:

“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

What if your spouse is not yet doing the right things?

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 unfaithful 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 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.

PSS – Don’t hesitate to contact us for help. We’ve spent the last 19 years doing what others have called “impossible” and healing a marriage after an affair with great success! We can help you achieve “impossible” too!

Don’t hesitate. Find out more about our up and coming marriage seminars, because this is a place where you can find health and healing.

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

Mental Struggles – Slaying the Affair Demons

Question: What was the silver bullet, that slay your affair demons – those mental affair struggles you have? Did you ever feel just apathetic? Last weekend was 33 years that we have been married. WE are, I am, four years past discovery day.  Do you at this stage get those sudden moments as if a snake was in your gut, as you look at your husband and visualize him with the other woman? Frequently when I suspect my husband may be reflecting on the affair, not the ugliness we want to see, but rather thinking of the details of the good time, I feel robbed. I think of these thoughts as affair demons. You know when people describe something as priceless? Well, even many of those priceless moments are now, not remembered as having value. How could someone so devoted to his wife and family have an affair? *(he says it was his ability to compartmentalize!) I’m feeling so disillusioned, fearing I may never feel the passion and security of being married to someone I am proud of. I hate feeling so disturbed.

Answer: I can’t say I ever felt apathetic. I felt like a warrior. I saw myself as in the middle of a war fighting for my life and my happiness. My mental affair struggle felt as if a great evil were trying to take over my life forever, plaguing it with unhappiness and apathy towards life in general as you mention.

Slaying the Affair Demons and Seeking Joy 

I didn’t want to become one of those negative, bitter old ladies that no one wants to be around. I had to find a way to get my joy back, and if I didn’t, I was going to die fighting.  But, I refused to settle for just getting by, unhappiness or a mediocre marriage was not an option (I would leave the marriage rather than be unhappy or just so-so.)

Part of this attitude to overcome my mental struggle, comes from my familiarity with a certain Bible verse. Jesus said (concerning mankind’s relationship with Him) “I know you well – you are neither hot nor cold; I wish you were one or the other! But since you are merely lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth!” Revelation 3:15-16

What Jesus is saying is “take a stand, love me or hate me, but don’t sit on the fence. The worst thing you can feel towards me is indifference: I don’t really like you, I don’t really dislike you, there’s nothing special about you, but there’s nothing bad about you either, you’re just kind of so-so.”

Don’t Settle on Feeling Indifferent

In relationships, that’s a nightmare. If you’re not going to feel really great about someone, really passionate, really committed, you’re better off to be fighting. At least fighting indicates some emotion and feeling (and caring). But to be indifferent about someone is real hatred. I was not going to settle for this indifference in my marriage. I was going to fight ‘til I had one or the other. You can’t be apathetic when you’re fighting. In my book, I depict the fight quite clearly. The mental struggle and slaying the demons can feel very real.

No, I don’t have moments anymore where I visualize Brian having sex with the other woman. Although this thought did hurt me, the thing that really hurt me, was the fact that he lied to and deceived me. It was the betrayal of trust that hurt the most. It helped to remind myself, that few people today are virgins when they get married, and we weren’t virgins when we got married. Maybe if we had been virgins when we got married, the sex-with-another-woman-vision would bother me more.

It also helped me to think, (and know) that the sex Brian and the other woman had together resembled  a couple of teenagers awkwardly struggling. The sex Brian and I share is fantastic and magical. It is like an ongoing symphony of lovemaking. The other woman can’t hold a candle to Brian’s experience with me in the bedroom. She was a cheap and unfulfilling substitute for what he genuinely desired with me. I know having been able to talk all these things through with Brian has really helped. Ultimately, there is just no way to turn back time and undo what has happened. It happened. I can’t change that.

Live in the Present Moment

Another thing that helped my mental struggle  and “slaying those affair demons,” was learning to live in the present moment instead of living in the past, which is really living in truth. What is past is past. It cannot be changed. But our past does not need to define our future. I live with and focus on what we have today. I accept that what has happened has happened.

Live in the present

I work hard to control my thoughts. A book “Feeling Good” helped me with this. I strongly recommend it. It is a book on overcoming depression by learning how to see things in their true light.

Complete the Puzzle 

Brian and I have spent hours discussing the affair, and Brian has answered ALL of my questions, many of these questions he has willingly answered over and over again until I finally got it. So I feel my puzzle is now also complete. There are no pieces missing for me. I get it. I understand it. I understand the affair to the same degree that Brian does. I would never have been able to heal the marriage if this had not been the case. Getting answers to all of my questions was essential for me. I also described this and how we did it in my book.

I know that Brian does not reflect on his affair as a good time today. He tells me (and I believe him) that whenever he thinks about the affair, he just wants to throw up, because of how he failed himself as a man, and how he failed me and our children. I guess the HARD WORK we have done in our marriage has really paid off. We had a good marriage before, but we had no idea it could be as good as it is today.

Seeking Genuine Intimacy

We both have grown in our own individuality and self-esteem. That has enabled us to disclose ourselves to one another on a much deeper and riskier level, but with that self-disclosure comes a far greater degree of genuine intimacy. It’s a wonderful place to be. Maybe share these thoughts with your husband, to motivate him. According to “Passionate Marriage” by David Schnarch the best sex and relationships are enjoyed by people in their 50’s and 60’s – obviously only the ones who do the work.

You ask: How could someone so devoted to his wife and family have an affair?

I’m telling you it’s possible and it happens often. It is actually perfectly possible for someone to be devoted to his wife and family and still have an affair. It is due to their short comings as an individual and their inability to even understand themselves, and their inability to communicate, to express their inner self and true needs to others. Because of this inability they have a vulnerability. The affair is like a drug that temporarily sooths these deeper pains which they themselves have been unwilling to face and deal with.

Use a Crisis to Figure Out your Inner Complexities

This is why it is essential for couples to do the work of healing in their relationship. They’ve got to use the crisis as a catalyst to figure out their own inner complexities and those within their relationship. Then they can change in the right places, at the root of the problem instead of dealing with outward issues. If the roots aren’t dealt with the outward issues just resurface in a different way. It is on what we do differently now that I base my trust in my present day relationship.

Brian now shares with me the inner stuff in his life that bothers him. He has learned to really understand himself (self-awareness) and how to communicate this with me. This is different (from our pre-affair marriage) and it feels good. I on the other hand, have learned to HEAR these things.  Even if I disagree or feel a bit hurt, I thank him for being honest and feel comfortable recognizing this difference in the way that we relate to one another.

 

 Don’t hesitate. Find out more about our up and coming marriage seminars, because this is a place where you can find health and healing.

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

Recommended Reading:

Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch, PhD

Feeling Good by David D. Burns, M.D.

 

Why Marriage Matters & What a Good Marriage Means

Is it possible to have real love and passion in your marriage? Don’t people just get tired of each other and grow apart with time? Is monogamy realistic, or are we expecting something which is contrary to the way human beings are wired? Does sex get old and boring if you have the same partner for a lifetime? Is new sex better sex? Our culture keeps telling us marriage isn’t important, but let me tell you why marriage matters.

What if you’re recovering from the pain of an affair? Can you ever feel truly in love again? What does it take to get past the sadness? How do you rebuild trust? How can you forgive? Can a marriage be truly good again after an affair? If so what does it take? Most importantly, can YOUR marriage survive and come out even stronger on the other side?

Our culture questions marriage

People are asking why marriage matters, and the whole concept of marriage is being questioned by our culture. Some are becoming cynical and giving up, saying it’s unrealistic. Yet deep down, isn’t that what we all want? Don’t we all want a passionate and fulfilling marriage that includes a life partner who is our best friend? Someone we can share life’s ups and downs with?

Why Marriage Matters

An exhaustive study of today’s college students revealed this important truth: “They are desperate to have one and only one marriage, and they want it to be happy. They don’t know whether this is possible anymore.-The Case For Marriage, Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher, Page 3

Let us leave aside personal bias and look at the facts on why marriage matters.

“The evidence from four decades of research is surprisingly clear: a good marriage is both men’s and women’s best bet for living a long and healthy life.”

– Linda Waite, The Case for Marriage, Page 64

The following is based on years of scientific research by Linda Waite (and other researchers), and are documented in her extraordinary book “The Case For Marriage”.

Why marriage matters statistically

  • 93% of Americans rate having a happy marriage as one of the most important objectives.
  • When men fail to be good husbands, they often fail to be good men.
  • Being married (but not cohabitating – surprisingly) boosts your standard of living by a third.
  • Married couples have better mental health and greater well-being than never-married, cohabitating, divorced and widowed.
  • Professor Harold Morowitz of Yale University observed based on data collected in the Hammond report of 1963 (the one that resulted in the Surgeon General warning on all cigarette packages stating: Smoking is hazardous to your health) that divorce is as dangerous to a mans health as picking up a pack-a-day cigarette habit. (Linda Waite suggests perhaps condom packages should also contain a warning: Not being married can be hazardous to your health.)
  • “Statisticians Bernhard Cohen and I-Sing Lee, who compiled a catalog of risks that increased chances of dying, concluded that for both men and women, “… being unmarried is one of the greatest risks that people voluntarily subject themselves to.”
  • Studies revealed higher levels of depression among divorced people.
  • Widowed and divorced persons are about three times as likely to commit suicide as married people.
  • People who live together are less happy and less satisfied with their sex lives than married people. (This is research – not opinions.)
  • People who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce later than those who don’t.
  • Married people have more sex and better sex than singles do. (Based on extensive research – not someone’s opinion.)
  • If more money is your aim, getting married (and staying married) makes it far more likely that you will attain that part of the American dream.
  • The longer people stay married the greater their wealth accumulates.
  • When a marriage ends, the same process that worked to build family wealth now work in reverse to drain the savings account. Everyone suffers, husband, wife and children.
  • Getting and staying married is by far the best strategy for acquiring assets.
  • According to research not only were married people more sexually satisfied than singles, but married people who attend church weekly and married people who strongly believe out-of-wedlock sex is wrong, were much more likely to be sexually satisfied than married people with less-traditional views.

The meaning behind partner attraction

According to marriage therapist and author Harville Hendrix in his imago theory: “it’s no coincidence that you’ve attracted your partner; that person is there to help you do the work of recovering from old wounds.”

Relationships are not solely a romantic pursuit, but a spiritual partnership that’s meant to change how you see yourself and the world. As my husband, Brian Bercht, likes to put it, “your marriage is meant to help you grow up,” and growing up is a good thing. We need to stop seeing relationships as nothing more than an act of selfishness. This me-ism philosophy is robbing people of experiencing the true love they so desperately long for in the deepest place of their hearts.

What does a good marriage mean?

A good marriage is not about finding your soul-mate, some magical person who alone can make you happy. (I wonder how many people who were sure they met their soul-mate retracted that statement a few years into marriage.) A good marriage is about learning to “be” the right person more so than about “finding” the right person. True love is about giving, not selfish gain. It involves sacrifice and commitment and those who find it experience the best life has to offer. Everything of value in life requires effort. You get out of life in direct proportion to the effort you are willing to put in.

A good marriage is not a coincidence, and it’s not about being lucky, it’s about learning the skills and principles that make a marriage work. We educate ourselves in every other area of life. Why do we think having good relationships will just happen? In school we teach our children everything except the one skill that could do more for their personal happiness and well-being than any other, and that’s how to have a happy marriage.

Are you going to leave your marriage to chance?

Use a crisis as an opportunity to grow

If you’ve had an affair in your marriage, are you going to just give up and quit? If you never loved your spouse, if your marriage has been miserable throughout its duration, then perhaps there’s no time like the present to get out. Not every marriage is salvageable after an affair. But  if you and your spouse love each other, if you’ve shared happy years together, we suggest you use this crisis as an opportunity for growth. We did it and we’re not extra special. If we can do it, you can too. We’ll show you how.

In their book The Case for Marriage, Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher conclude:

“Marriage (not divorce) is the means to health, happiness, wealth, sex and long life. In love victory goes not to the half-hearted but to the brave: to those ordinary people who dare to take on the extraordinary commitment marriage represents.” Page 46, brackets mine.

 

 Don’t hesitate. Find out more about our up and coming marriage seminars, because this is a place where you can learn how you can make your marriage work!

The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially

For information about confidential coaching with Brian or Anne click here

 

Forgiving and Trusting

By Anne Bercht

Tele-seminar – Listen Now! – A View into the Mind of the Unfaithful

Tele-seminar – The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity
What defines an affair? Why do people cheat? How do you rebuild? How do you build a strong marriage in the first place? With expert Scott Haltzman, author of “The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity” – This is a great tele-seminar!!

 

Forgiving and trusting after an affair

Forgiving and trusting after an affair

Question: I found out today that my husband is still in contact with a woman he had an affair with. He says that he didn’t just tell me the truth, because he was afraid of how I would react. I don’t understand this, considering I had the evidence that said otherwise to his story of “no contact.”

We are supposed to be working things out, and I want to be forgiving and trusting? How can I be forgiving and trusting if my husband won’t be honest with me, and insists on lying? I’m thinking with the way things are going, we should be getting some outside help. The truth is I don’t trust him. He’s continually giving me reasons not to.

Any suggestions / advice?

Answer: Sadly your husband’s behavior is very typical and it doesn’t necessarily mean he is a bad person or that there isn’t any hope for your marriage. There is an unwritten rule among cheaters: “If caught deny it at all costs.”

My husband, Brian, also did this in some instances, where he did not tell me the whole truth to “lessen the blow.” At the time he felt it was to save me pain, in reality, later, he had to admit the real person he was trying to save was himself. The problem is later, when it comes out, it hurts far more than if he’d just told the truth the first time.

When coaching couples who are healing their marriage after an affair, Brian is very careful and thorough in how he explains to the unfaithful spouse the importance of coming totally clean and not attempting to “lessen” the blow by withholding the truth. This only makes matters worse and more painful for everybody in the end. Trust is restored to a marriage through proven behavior and truthfulness over a period of time. Your husband needs to understand this.

 

Forgiving and Trusting starts with breaking all ties to the affair

The #1 step to saving a marriage after an affair is: breaking all ties with the 3rd party as our book clearly outlines, and in some cases it may be necessary to deliver an ultimatum. (A word of caution here: It is wise to seek counsel before delivering an ultimatum. Timing and “how” it is delivered are important.)

I find people tend to read my book very quickly the first time and miss so many lessons. It’s not a bad idea (and many people do) to read it a second time slowly (now that you know what happens next) and highlight and underline things that you relate to, lessons you see, or things you’d like to discuss with your spouse.

In many cases it’s necessary to deliver an ultimatum such as the one I delivered to Brian on pages 190 – 193 of “My Husband’s Affair …” At this point Brian had already recommitted himself to the marriage, but informed me he was going to be “just friends” with the other woman. There is no such thing. For several reasons, it’s usually difficult for the unfaithful person to make this clean break:

1. In many cases is the unfaithful spouse has developed genuine feelings for the other person.

2. In most cases the unfaithful person is gaining something from the affair that is pleasant or meeting a need, and they often feel reluctant to give up this “good feeling” even though deep down they know their marriage is what they really want. As my own husband Brian describes it:

“I was looking for a way out of this affair. Deep inside I knew I loved Anne and I did not want to leave her. I had hoped that Dave would listen to how I was feeling and the things that I was hurting about. I wanted him to understand the fear I had about hurting Helen. I didn’t really want to spend my life with her, but wanted in my marriage some of that fun we had been sharing.” – Page 44-45, “My Husband’s Affair …

(Since Brian did make that decision to work on our marriage, we have been able to really listen to each other, and generate more fun and excitement in our marriage than Brian ever had in the affair … and that fun comes without hurting people and all the other painful costs of an affair.)

3. The unfaithful spouse doesn’t want to be perceived as a bad guy in their affair partners’ eyes, which unfortunately is pretty much unavoidable. They have without realizing it created a situation where it’s inevitable that people they care about get hurt.

 

How can I be a forgiving and trusting woman, if my husband won’t be honest with me, and insists on lying?

Being a forgiving and trusting person does not mean you become a doormat and allow people to mistreat you. Forgiving and trusting is not condoning wrongful behavior by continuing to live with it. We can forgive a spouse, but still make a decision to leave a marriage, because the other party is unwilling to change their behavior. Forgiveness and reconciliation are two completely different things. Don’t confuse them. It is unwise to trust an untrustworthy person. Trustworthiness must be proven over time.

Read my previous two web articles on forgiving and trusting:
Twelve_Steps_to_Forgiveness
How-To-Forgive

Also I recommend reading the book “Boundaries” by Dr. Cloud & Dr. Townsend.

The reason I gave my book the title I did is not because we healed our marriage, but rather because I became a stronger, happier person on the other side. My husband’s affair was the most devastating experience of my life, but it BECAME the best thing that ever happened to me. I hate that the affair happened, and yet, I would not want to go back to being the woman I was before, even though who she was was pretty awesome. Who I am today is so much better. This is what I recommend for others as well. You cannot change your past, but you can change your future. We do not have a choice over what happens to us, but no one can ever take away your right to CHOOSE how you will respond to the wrongs done to you by others. 

You can choose to become bitter or better

I chose to work on growing and becoming a stronger, more emotionally healthy person. A person does this by learning.

Knowledge is empowerment, and you will do everyone around you a favor, as you learn how to be a better person. I’m not saying you are doing (or have done) anything wrong, that you now find yourself in this painful place of facing your spouse’s affair. Affairs happen to good people in good marriages too.

When we focus on the changes others should make we are always disappointed, and we make ourselves powerless, because we don’t have the power to change other people – only the power to change ourselves. We should focus on the part we can control, the part we can change, and that part is ourselves. As we change for the better, those around us are faced with new choices. They either change for the better as well, or find themselves left behind as we move on to a brighter future without them. The best hope for your marriage is YOU becoming a better person. The Take Your Life Back seminar will help you to do exactly that.

“The difference between the person you are today, and the person you will be five years from now, depends strictly on the books you read and the people you choose to associate with.”

Forgiving and Trusting – with an emphasis on Trust:

The same principles apply to trusting. Trusting means you trust where it is appropriate to do so, it doesn’t mean you keep believing someone’s repeated lies when they aren’t making any changes. Trusting doesn’t equal being stupid. Trusting doesn’t mean you become naive or blinded to reality. Some people can’t be trusted. People who trust, do not trust untrustworthy people. They learn to discern the difference. When a person has had an affair, they have broken our trust and that is a serious offense.

 

How can trust be restored?

1. Breaking all ties with the third party.

2. Total openness and honesty. Therefore more lies will be a major setback. The unfaithful spouse needs to understand that if they are to stand a chance of staying with you they cannot afford anymore lying. The unfaithful spouse also needs to understand that telling the truth is not merely giving truthful answers when asked, it also means disclosing relevant information, even if they aren’t asked. For example, if there is contact with the other woman/man, that’s relevant and it must be disclosed regardless of whether the betrayed spouse happens to ask that question that day or not. If they are not forthcoming with this information when it happens (not later), they are lying.

3. Proven behavior. Always believe the behavior and not the words. Words are somewhat meaningless after an affair. Prove it by your behavior.

4. Consistency. Doing the right things for an ongoing period of time will rebuild trust.

If you do not see your spouse doing the right things, you should not trust them. That would be foolishness. There is a big difference between being a trusting person and being foolish. Should I give a known thief my pin number? Does it mean I’m not a trusting person if I don’t? No, it just means I’m also smart. An untrusting person is one who is suspicious when there is no cause to be so.

It is a good idea to seek outside help when healing your marriage from an affair. The best and most effective pathway to healing is through a Healing from Affairs Seminar.