What if you might be facing divorce?

Facing a Divorce

Facing a Divorce

What if you might be facing a divorce?

Gayle shares with women who are facing a divorce, how to divorce with dignity and come out strong on the other side, with restored joy, and living life to the fullest. In the end you win! It might be “hell” in the middle, but your middle is not your end.

Gayle says, “I always appreciate being able to help others, because divorce is one of the most painful experiences. I have now been divorced for 13 years. God hates divorce, and I understand why.”

“I was married for 35 years. My husband was a minister/motivational speaker. He had an affair with a 20 year old in our church.

” As a result, I was forced to deal with some hard questions in my life. I was codependent. I was full of fear. The sign of a codependent family is when they can’t discuss issues. That’s how our family was, so many unmet needs.

“Then, a friend told me, ‘God gave me a word picture for your life. It’s like you were holding a gunny sack with a cat inside. The cat was jumping around trying to get out and you were holding it altogether, being tossed to and fro by the bag. Then one day the cat got out, and it was all over. The cat was your husband.’

“Another big wake up call came when my son said to me, ‘Mom, you’ve got to do something. Dad is killing you!’

“After counselling with some really wise people, we got together as a family and did a family intervention, but my husband didn’t receive it. He just walked out the door.”

To hear the rest of Gayle’s amazing story, the validation for anyone struggling with betrayal, and some great help and advice for anyone else facing a divorce, start listening now.

Take Your Life Back

You are loveable! You are valuable! You are worthy! I want you to know that no matter how bad things seem for you today, there is hope for you on the other side. No matter how much shame you feel, your shame can be lifted. Don’t give up. It’s time to Take Your Life Back.

You are good enough. The hard work you’ve done is enough. If you are the betrayed spouse (despite what our culture tells us), the affair is not about you. When someone mistreats us, the problem lies with the person doing the mistreating, not with the person who is being mistreated.

Yesterday, I experienced a different kind of Easter – one without family – one where I had to work. Easter, Thanksgiving & Christmas have always been for me holidays where it is important to celebrate together with family. We could’ve celebrated with family, but it didn’t work out that way this year. It felt weird – kind of like non-Easter.

At some point during the day, I had a little glance at FaceBook filled with pictures of my friends, family & acquaintances all gathered with smiles and Easter eggs, looking so happy together, and it hit me.

It hit me how hard this would be for those whose families are at this very moment crumbling, hanging in the balance, on the verge of being torn apart forever because of infidelity. I thought, too, about the masks people wear, trying to hold it altogether when their hearts are broken, and they feel they can’t tell anyone. I’ve got answers for you.

I felt compelled to encourage you today. I care about you.

Has your husband been unfaithful?
Is this the most difficult thing you’ve faced in your life?
Are you confused about what to do?
Do you feel isolated and alone, like no one really understands?

I was there once too. I am not there any longer, but I remember what it was like to be there. That is why I designed the Take Your Life Back program especially for betrayed women.

Initially when I designed Take Your Life Back, I imagined serving you Martinis on a beach, while we hugged and cried together. But Take Your Life Back does not involve Martinis or a beach. Why? Because if you have enough money, you can pay someone to serve you Martinis on a beach, and while that might temporarily placate the pain, it won’t help you to live your life one bit better when you go back to face reality.

So instead, at Take Your Life Back we work hard, and by the end of these 3 life-changing days, you will have your peace, joy and self-confidence back, along with clarity about how to move forward, and you will have tapped into strength you didn’t know you had.

Take Your Life Back is for you whether you are reconciling or divorcing. It’s not about healing a relationship. It’s about healing you. However, if it is your desire to heal your relationship, the truth is, it’s a lot more realistic to engage well in couples work after your anger and your broken heart have been addressed, and you have your strength and confidence back.

Healing from an affair/s is not an intellectual journey. It’s a heart journey. Over the 3 days, we will help you to deal with the trauma, get beyond the intense sadness and/or anger, gain perspective, rebuild your self-esteem, and make sound decisions that will help you to move forward in your healing and ultimately live your best life beyond affairs.

Another great benefit is that you will end up with a group of truly great women as friends to support you on your journey. And the great thing is, with technology today, it’s not hard to stay in touch, no matter how far away they live. Better yet, they are not in your personal acquaintanceship circle, so you aren’t risking sharing with people who may gossip, judge you, or be full of unhelpful advice.

Given what you are facing now, if ever there was a time when you deserved to give yourself the gift of the support, wisdom, knowledge & encouragement you need. Now is that time!

Register Now!

Ever since coming home from Take Your Life Back I’ve been doing great! I’ve had several breakthrough moments, directly because of what I learned at the retreat and how I am changed. I am inspired. I cry when I need to, I laugh bigger than I have in months, and my anger has diminished greatly. I was living with my anger like a roommate. I’ve gained self-acceptance and my voice. I’m done being a people pleaser. Take Your Life Back helped me to process all the hurt from my divorce. I am now able to face the challenges of single life. I’m never going to let some guy shame me again and make me doubt myself. – Corrine, Texas

What’s stopping you from registering, and getting the support and answers you need now?


YES, BUT YOU ARE WORTH IT! The program costs what it costs, because we refuse to run anything that is substandard. We limit registrants to 30, and bring in 1 coach for every 5 participants, so that each woman gets the personalized attention she needs specific to her situation. You will not be lost in a crowd. This is not a 9 – 5 program, where you listen to lectures, and get black & white handouts in a church basement.

We meet at the Marriott hotel. Your registration includes quality materials, 2 nights hotel stay, 3 lunches and 24 hours of instruction.

In so many cases, unfaithful husbands have spent thousands on their mistresses, prostitutes, call girls, massage parlors, phone sex or pornography, often lavishing the other women with expensive gifts or giving them money for clothes, accommodations, education, paying off their loans. Therefore $1600 for their wife’s healing is comparatively small.

Other times it’s our perception of priorities. You may not think twice about spending $1600 on a new couch, a vacation, education, or sports for your children. So many times I’ve seen someone say they can’t afford Take Your Life Back, and a couple of months later they are on vacation in Mexico having a terrible time with their unfaithful spouse and their unhealed marriage. For most, we simply have a perception that we shouldn’t have to pay for this kind of healing while we accept other (less important) expenditures as normal. If we need a medical procedure done, it often costs us out of pocket much more, and we don’t think twice about it. The truth is our emotional healing is even more important, because when we are down, we struggle with everything else in our lives. It’s not worth it to remain unhappy.


… YES, BUT WE HAVE WOMEN WHO ATTEND TAKE YOUR LIFE BACK FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD. You can do it. I get that for many this is out of your comfort zone and for many you’ve never travelled without your husband before. Wherever you are coming from, I’d be happy to talk you through your challenge with this over the phone. At the end you will be stronger for it.


THAT WILL NOT HAPPEN. Take your life back is both for those who are divorcing and for those who are reconciling. We don’t influence you one way or another in the staying or going. Instead we help you get stronger and more sure about what is right for you. If you desire to heal your marriage, and if your husband is a good man doing the right things to help restore your marriage, you are both going to be so glad you came. It will help you to reconcile.


YES, BUT YOUR HEALING IS WORTH IT. If you were physically ill, you would have to take a day off work. The same applies to being emotionally “sick.” When you get your strength back you will be far more effective at your job. For me personally, after my husband’s affair, I was unable to concentrate on my work and took an 8 month leave of absence. Several weeks after I returned to work, healed, my boss called me into his office and literally doubled my salary. He said: “I have no idea what happened to you while you were away, but your worth twice as much now, and I wanted to honor that!” While your story probably won’t be as dramatic as mine, I am confident that one day off work, is going to be more than worth it.


DO IT FOR YOUR CHILDREN! YOU WILL BE A MUCH BETTER MOM WHEN YOU’RE HEALED. When we had young children, there were times we needed to leave our children and we never had family close. We always found good people to watch our kids. Often we did exchanges with our kids friends. They took our kids for a weekend, and then we took their kids for a different weekend. I know you are the best person to take care of your children, but (if your children’s father is not willing or able), there are other good people who will take excellent care of your kids. It will be a good experience for them. And multiplied times better when they get their happy and effective mom back.


YES, BUT YOU ARE STILL STUCK. We’ve had women attend “take your life back” whose husband’s affair was 30 years ago. Back then there was no program like this. Take Your Life Back is still completely unique. There is no other program like it. Deep down all that hurt of what happened years ago is still there, still affecting your life today negatively. Time does not heal all wounds. It’s time PLUS doing the right things. No matter how long ago your spouse’s affair/s were, it’s not too late to finally address that pain properly, so you can leave it behind you forever and be truly free.


I imagine that you feel afraid that if you attend Take Your Life Back there is going to be this expectation for you to be healed after. Take Your Life Back does not negate your healing journey. It’s time PLUS doing the right things. You cannot take time out of the equation. The great advantage of attending Take Your Life Back early is that from then on you will be able to engage your healing process more intelligently and better equipped. ATTENDING EARLY WILL DIMINISH THE TIME IT TAKES TO HEAL, AND YOU’LL BE ABLE TO AVOID MISTAKES THAT MAKE HEALING EVEN MORE DIFFICULT.


Take your life back gives you the best of both worlds. There is that saying, “no woman is an island.” It’s okay to be a private person, but you are still human. And for us as humans we need others in our life, especially when we are struggling. Our independence often comes from past experiences where we have had to fend for ourselves. The truth is when we tell even a small part of our story to someone who gets it, our own pain diminishes just a little bit. TELLING OTHERS WILL GIVE YOU MORE POWER, MORE STRENGTH AND MORE HEALING. The great thing is when your sharing is exactly with this small group of strangers, who are experiencing the same thing, the human support aids in our healing, and yet, we are free to leave that program and never see any of those people again. No one in your world needs to know where you went for that weekend. So you have still maintained your privacy.

Restoring Sexual Intimacy after Infidelity


Dear Anne, I am a betrayed spouse working on restoring sexual intimacy after my spouse’s affair, and we are struggling with intimacy issues. There are things my husband and I used to do that we no longer do. I ask my husband about it and he says, “I don’t like…” kissing for example. Yet I know there was significant kissing with the other woman, so this makes me feel inadequate. Any advice on how to deal with this?

9 Keys to Restoring Sexual Intimacy after Infidelity

An affair always has a profound affect on a couple’s sex life. It tends to go towards one of two entirely opposite extremes. Either the betrayed spouse goes into what I call “super sex god” or “super sex goddess” mode. In this case the sex life of the couple often becomes great after the affair. If you’ve read my book, “My Husband’s Affair Became …” you’ll realize this is what happened to us. This is not necessarily a good thing, because the better sex is motivated out of intense pain. The betrayed spouse is busy comparing themselves with the 3rd party.

1. Don’t Compare Yourself to the Affair Partner

We are always wrong when we compare ourselves one to another. People are like colors, or flowers, all beautiful, unique, and different. To say, that one is better than another is to err. For example to say that red is better than blue is somewhat crazy. The world would be at a complete loss if either color didn’t exist. In every person one can find strengths and weaknesses, things that might be better, and things that are not as good. So trying to feel good about yourself by comparing yourself to others sets you up for failure. There is always going to be someone prettier, sexier, smarter, funnier, better with children, more talented at something … whatever.

Better sex resulting from an inward comparison with the 3rd party eventually needs to move over into being based on restored love, trust, and security in the relationship – knowing you are loved and found desirable by your partner for who you are – not because you are competing (and feel like you’re winning) against another person, which is a recipe for failing at restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity long-term. To feel good about yourself by comparison is founding your relationship on a weak foundation that will in time crumble.

The Other Extreme – “I am repulsed by you!”

More frequently, however, a couple’s sex life goes to the other extreme after an affair. The betrayed spouse is so sickened by the thought of their spouse having sex with someone else, that they feel repulsed by the idea of being sexually intimate and restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity feels impossible.

2. Get beyond feelings of guilt, shame and unworthiness

As the question above indicates, sometimes failure at restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity comes from the person who has been unfaithful. They can struggle because of feelings of guilt, shame or unworthiness. Some may be struggling because they have not ended their affairs, or they are fighting an inward struggle where they are grieving the loss of the affair partner. This is normal (although painful for the betrayed). It takes 3 – 6 months of no contact with the affair partner for the unfaithful to get beyond grieving the loss of their affair. They are not grieving the person (as we often think), but rather the feelings they had. During an affair the unfaithful spouse often thinks they are in love with their affair partner – really they are in love with the reflection of themselves in the adoring 3rd parties eyes.

Intimacy issues should never be put into cookie cutter solutions. They can be as complex as we are as people.

3. Recognize that when it comes to restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity “WE” have an issue

It’s important for any couple dealing with intimacy issues after an affair to realize, and never say, “he has an issue” (of the husband), or “she has an issue” (of the wife). When it comes to intimacy, say “we have an issue.” Because intimacy in marriage is a “we” thing.

It’s important to understand some of the purposes of sex and intimacy. They include:

– To Heal
– To Comfort
– To Reconcile after an argument
– To Build self-esteem (and a sense of masculinity in the husband)
– To Express love in a profound way, when words simply are not enough
– To Connect on a deeper level
– To Relax
– To Please one’s partner
– To Feel sexual or attractive

4. Restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity should happen as soon as possible (without either partner feeling forced or violated).

Many professionals believe it’s important for couples not to reunite sexually after an affair too soon. I disagree. I could not think of a time in a couple’s life when the above list is more crucial than after an affair. The goal, then, is to reconnect sexually as soon as the couple can do so without either party feeling forced or violated.

5. Restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity should not be considered a sign of reconciliation

It’s also important to realize that restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity should not be considered a sign of reconciliation. A lot needs to happen in order for husbands and wives to recommit to a marriage after an affair. True healing takes time, but it’s hard to heal if sexual intimacy is to be put on hold for months. If sexual intimacy = reconciliation, most betrayed spouses will not be able to engage. It’s best to let it be understood that having sex together doesn’t mean, we’re all good now.

6. Learn how to discuss sex openly and honestly with your partner

A couple needs to learn how to discuss intimacy openly and honestly in a non-judgmental way. This is one of the topics we help couples with in the Healing From Affairs Intensives. Intimacy issues should not be discussed during intimacy however. And if you have an intimacy experience that does not go well, just hold each other and take the pressure off. Never discuss what went wrong in the moment. Have that discussion some other time. In other words you separate difficult conversations about sex from times when you’re engaging in sex.

7. Focus on Lovemaking Sex while restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity

There are two different sexual styles; lovemaking sex, and wild adventurous erotica. Both are perfectly fine in a healthy marriage, however, during the affair-recovery period, it is recommended to focus on lovemaking sex, while the bond of love and trust are in the process of being restored.

8. Healing the betrayed’s broken heart will lead to restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity

Restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity requires patience, gentleness and understanding. David Schnaarch in his book, Passionate Marriage, says that generally sex therapy cannot be done, without doing marriage therapy at the same time. And marriage therapy cannot be done without doing sex therapy. Marital issues and sexual issues tend to mirror each other in a relationship. What is happening in your marriage will tend to show up in the way you are (or aren’t) engaging in intimacy, and what is going on in your intimate life with each other, will tend to be acted out in how you’re doing your marriage.

9. Be willing to do with your spouse things you did in your affair, if the betrayed spouse desires to try it

In restoring a marriage after an affair, it’s important for the one who had the affair to be sensitive to the needs of the injured partner in restoring reassurance of their sexual attractiveness. When people engage in certain acts of intimacy in their affairs, it is most conducive to healing for the unfaithful partner to be willing to do those same things in the marriage, if their injured spouse desires it.

For example, a typical scenario might include something like during the affair the unfaithful person had sex in a car. Now the injured spouse wants to have sex in the car too (which the couple may never have done – or not since they were teenagers). Often times the “affair-high” leads one to do things they might not normally find desirable (like having sex in a small car). Let’s face it. A bed is much more comfortable, than having to fight to avoid the steering wheel, gear shift, and wondering who might see you. But if the betrayed spouse now wants to experience this, if you love them, if you really care about healing your marriage, just do it. Otherwise things like this easily become sticking points that hinder restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity.

Remember, to love someone is an action. It’s not only about you.

So in the case above where the one who had the affair engaged in kissing with the affair partner, but does not want to engage in kissing in the marriage, definitely this is a problem that needs to be explored. It’s not okay. What is the reason behind this? Is it guilt? Shame? Ongoing promises or attachment to the 3rd party? Hygiene issues? Something about the way the kissing is done? Open, honest discussion needs to take place.

One thing is for sure a marriage void of sexuality and intimacy is a marriage doomed to fail. So if you’re having intimacy struggles, find the help you need to get beyond it.


Anne Bercht

©Copyright 2019 Anne and Brian Bercht. All rights reserved.

How to rebuild your self-esteem after an affair?

Do you want to know how to rebuild self-esteem after an affair? Listen now to this candid podcast by Anne Bercht.

How to rebuild self-esteem after an affair? – January 30, 2019

We have a tendency to base our self-esteem on the value we perceive that others place on us. But this is a false foundation for self-esteem. When my husband had an affair, I felt like I had once been a coveted, priceless, one-of-a-kind designer dress that was esteemed above all others and now I was an old well-worn garment in a garbage bag, being dropped off as used goods at the salvation army thrift store to be sold for pennies (if someone would still have me). My husband’s affair left me feeling worthless.

Worthless, that is, until I got a grip on myself and realized, my value as a woman did not diminish when my husband chose to have an affair. (And a husband’s value as a man does not diminish when his wife decides to have an affair.)

Self-esteem is largely formed in childhood.

If you’ve had a more difficult childhood, you are more likely to struggle with low self-esteem than someone with a good childhood. And that can make affair-recovery more difficult for you, than for someone who comes into affair-recovery with high self-esteem. But even so, when betrayed, even the smartest, most beautiful, lovely people often find themselves feeling worthless.

I came into my marriage with very low self-esteem because of abandonment and neglect I had experienced at times as a child. I struggled with self-talk that said, “I am not enough,” and “I will never be enough.” I asked my husband often, “do you love me?” Little did I know, all this asking was tearing down his self-esteem, because he began to think, “I must be a failure as a man. Why doesn’t my wife know I love her?” It’s a vicious cycle when your self-esteem is based on false foundations.

When I think of it today, I realize how ridiculous it was. I was and am a valuable person, and so are you!

Unfaithful Spouse’s Suffer with Low Self-Esteem Too!

When affairs happen it’s not only the betrayed spouse whose self-esteem ends up in the toilet, but also the unfaithful spouse. After all they are the ones who not only failed their spouse, children and others, but they have failed themselves. They failed their own moral code. And now every day they look into the eyes of the person they love more than anyone else and can see the pain that they are responsible for. Frankly, I would not want to trade places.

Forgiveness and Acceptance after an affair

In this podcast, Anne Bercht shares the pathway to forgiveness and acceptance after an affair or any kind of betrayal or infidelity.

Forgiveness and Acceptance after an Affair – January 29, 2019

Forgiveness is the very last step in affair recovery, not the first. A healing process needs to be honoured. It can take two years or longer to get to this place. We have seen some couples heal in as little as one year. The common denominator with these couples is that they are the ones that found and attended one of our programs early in the healing process.

Acceptance is for some a preferred word over forgiveness. Everyone attaches different meanings to words themselves. The bottom line is this horrible, unwanted event has taken place, and no one can turn back the hands of time and make it unhappen, so we enter into a grieving process. We grieve the death of our marriage as we have known it. We go through stages of anger, sadness, denial, bargaining, and hopefully, when the healing process has been honored enough, we come to a place of acceptance – that is not to say it is okay that it happened. It’s not okay, but accepting that this is now part of our life story, that can’t be changed, but we can find happiness on the other side. Infidelity does not need to rob us of all joy in the future, unless we let it.

Forgiveness and acceptance after an affair does not necessarily mean we reconcile with our spouse.

It’s not the affair itself that does the greatest amount of damage to a marriage, but rather the mistakes the that husbands and wives make after disclosure.

One of the biggest mistakes the unfaithful spouse usually makes is minimizing, in other words continuing to lie, while claiming to tell the truth. Inevitably the full truth is discovered, and then it is almost impossible to restore trust, because the betrayed says, “how can I ever trust you again, when you lied to me, while claiming to tell the truth?

Want to know more about forgiveness and acceptance after an affair?

Click on the link above and start listening now!

Getting Past the Anger

Learn the secrets of getting unstuck, and getting past the anger after infidelity. Learn what doesn’t work, and what does work. Anne interviews Ronda who shares her story of intense anger, and how she moved past it.

“The angry beast doesn’t live inside of me any longer (or right now), thank you so much for helping me beyond the pain.” – Ronda

January 28, 2019 – Getting past the anger after infidelity

Recommended Reading for Getting Past Anger After Infidelity


 NOT “Just Friends” : Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity
This is definitely one of the best books ever written on the topic. After years of research and personal work helping others recover, Shirley Glass remains one of the most highly esteemed experts on affairs.

Getting Past Anger

Getting Past Anger

There is often a thin line between anger and hatred. After I discovered my husbands’ unfaithfulness, I found myself grappling with strong emotions of anger and hatred, murder and revenge, emotions so strong, I didn’t know I was capable of feeling such things. I couldn’t imagine ever getting past anger I felt, yet I was desperate to do so, because neither could I imagine continuing to live with it.

“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” – James A. Baldwin

Getting past my anger came through a decision to forgive, to let go, and to lean into the pain that was behind my anger, instead of trying to run from the pain, deny its existence, or escape from it through some sort of destructive coping mechanism like alcohol, drugs or other self-defeating behaviors.

Our hatred and our anger are merely outward expressions of our pain.

If we are honest with ourselves, while we claim, “I want to get past my anger,” another part of us wants to hang on to it. Anger releases adrenaline into our bodies, which feels good, and we can become addicted to this, and therefore addicted to anger. Anger gives us a surge of power. Experiencing anger, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. Anger is a positive emotion given to you for your healing. Ideally, we take the energy from our anger to take positive action to change our lives. The problem is not the anger itself. Anger can be both positive and negative. It’s what we often do when we are angry that so easily becomes a problem.

Hurt people hurt people. Never are we more likely to hurt someone then when we ourselves are hurting. The secret to getting past anger, is to break the cycle by being willing to have compassion and see the pain in the person who hurt us, the pain that was behind their hurtful, selfish actions. Yet many betrayed spouses will be read these words, and think, “Screw you and screw the pain of my spouse. I want to hold onto my self-righteous rage!”

But is that working for you? Are you getting your joy back? Are you being the person that you want to be?

Pain subsides only when we acknowledge it and care for it.

In her book, “Braving the Wilderness,” Brene Brown wrote:

“Anger is a catalyst. Holding on to it will make us exhausted and sick. Internalizing anger will take away our joy and spirit; externalizing anger will make us less effective in our attempts to create change and forge connection. It’s an emotion that we need to transform into something lifegiving: courage, love, change, compassion, justice. Or grief, regret, or shame and we need to use it to dig into what we’re really feeling. Either way, anger is a powerful catalyst but a life-sucking companion.”

“I can’t think of a more powerful example than the sentence, “You will not have my hate.” In November 2015, Antoine Leiris’s wife, Hélène, was killed by terrorists at the Bataclan theater in Paris along with eighty-eight other people. Two days after the attacks, in an open letter to his wife’s killers posted on Facebook, Leiris wrote:

“On Friday night, you stole the life of an exceptional being, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hate. I don’t know who you are and I don’t want to know. You are dead souls. If that God for whom you blindly kill made us in his image, every bullet in my wife’s body will have been a wound in his heart.

“So, no, I will not give you the satisfaction of hating you. That is what you want, but to respond to your hate with anger would be to yield to the same ignorance that made you what you are. You want me to be scared, to see my fellow citizens through suspicious eyes, to sacrifice my freedom for security. You have failed. I will not change.”

“Courage is forged in pain, but not in all pain. Pain that is denied or ignored becomes fear or hate. Anger that is never transformed becomes resentment and bitterness. I love what Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailish Satyarthi says in his 2015 TED talk:

“Anger is within each one of you, and I will share a secret for a few seconds: that if we are confined in the narrow shells of egos, and the circles of selfishness, then anger will turn out to be hatred, violence, revenge, destruction. But if we are able to break the circles, then the same anger could turn into a great power. We can break the circles by using our inherent compassion and connect with the world through compassion to make this world better. That same anger could be transformed into it.”

We pay for anger with our lives, and that’s too big a price to pay! Decide getting past anger today. Replace it with love and compassion. Get past your anger by acknowledging the pain behind your anger, letting yourself grieve your loss, and processing your hurt.

How do I change my spouse?

How do I change my spouse?

How do I change my spouse ?

 At the beginning of every Healing from Affairs Intensive Weekend for couples in affair recovery, where couples receive a roadmap and all the tools to navigate their own journey, and make good decisions, whether that means staying or going … we know that almost every wife enters that seminar room (whether she is the betrayed spouse or the one who had the affair), thinking, “I sure hope Brian and Anne can change my husband!” At the very same time, almost every husband enters the same room, thinking “I sure hope Brian and Anne can change my wife?” They both think, how do I change my spouse?

Oh, husbands and wives, don’t usually ask directly, “How do I change my spouse?” They have much more sophisticated ways of asking, such as….

  • How do I get my husband/wife to tell the truth?
  • How do I get my husband/wife to talk to me?
  • How do I get my husband/wife to calm down and stop being so angry?
  • Why can’t my husband/wife, just get over it? I said I was sorry already!
  • I don’t see the point in rehashing the affair story over and over, it’s just making things worse!
  • How do I get my husband/wife to listen to me? Understand me? Comfort me? Send me flowers? Stop sending me flowers?
  • How do I get my husband/wife to come to a seminar? Go for counseling? Read a book?

It is so easy to see what our spouse is clearly doing wrong! It’s so very difficult to see our own blind spots! We so desperately want our spouse to listen to us, to understand and to give us what we need, and to change! At the same, it is so difficult to them, to have patience, compassion and maturity – to slow down when emotions are heightened. It’s hard to be the very change we long to see in our spouse!

We want our spouse to listen. But are we listening?

We want our spouse to understand us. But do we understand them?

 Getting Past an Extramarital Affair

In the case of affairs, we often look back and wish the past could be undone, but it can’t be undone. It happened, and nothing will ever change that.

Then a sense of justice overcomes us, and we want those who’ve wronged us to “pay the price” for what they’ve done. If we’re the ones who’ve committed the wrong and are overwhelmed with a sense of remorse and regret, we even seek ways to punish ourselves as if that will somehow make us feel better – and we long for reconciliation with those we’ve wronged.

But the more one thinks about major wrongs like this, one realizes, there is no price, we or those in our lives can pay, that would be big enough to right the wrong.

The encouraging thing is today is a new day. There is a time to recognize we cannot change what is past, but the past does not need to define our future.

If you’re unhappy with the way things turned out in your past, be encouraged, because you can learn from your mistakes and build a positive future, by changing your behavior now. Who you were yesterday, does not have to be who you are today, nor who you will be tomorrow. Who your spouse was yesterday does not need to be who they are in the future. People do have the ability to change, if they choose to. It’s all about choices.

How Do I Change My Spouse?

Daily, I receive emails containing this exact question in various forms, so I’ve decided to share the secret with you … The answer of course is that you cannot change your spouse, but you can change the way you are responding to them.

 You Change Your Spouse by Changing Yourself!

“If we want to change a situation, we first have to change ourselves. And to change ourselves effectively, we first have to change our perceptions. We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they should be. And our attitudes and behaviors grow out of those assumptions.” – Stephen Covey, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”

Are you tired of being stuck where you are? Then you will need to be willing to challenge your own perceptions. Sometimes “your truth” is your enemy.

We teach people how to treat us!

When things are going wrong in relationships, what we often don’t see is how we are contributing to the situation. Every relationship establishes set patterns: he does this, she responds like that, which causes him to respond with …, which causes her to respond by …. etc. etc. etc.

The way to change the people around you is to change the way you’re responding to them. Do something radically different. The solution is not the same for every couple. But for every couple, you can rest assured, that if you do the same thing you’ve always done, you will get the exact same result you’ve always gotten.

 More often then not, when things aren’t going well for us, we simply apply more power and energy to the thing that isn’t working. To bring about change, we have to be willing to step out of our own comfort zone and do something different.

 “Until the pain of remaining the same, becomes greater than the pain of change, we don’t change.”

So what does it mean to change? What should you change? What could you change?

You ask yourself the question, “What have you been doing?” and “What results, if any, has that brought?”

Some wives have nagged their husbands over and over, telling them the things they need to do … and it isn’t working. If that’s you, your solution is not to nag more and louder. That’s more power to the thing that doesn’t work. Instead stop nagging altogether.

Some husbands have been ignoring their wives, and come home every night, hoping their wife won’t bring up the affair. Instead of ignoring your wife, lean into it, and initiate a conversation. Say, “I imagine you are probably really hurting about the affair, and you probably want to talk about it. So let’s go ahead and talk about it. What would you like to discuss?”

Some wives have been punishing their unfaithful spouse with unceasing anger, calling their husband names, saying, “how could you?” “You’re a liar!” “You’re a cheater!” While this totally makes sense, because you are hurting, and they did lie and cheat. But is this getting you the result you want? Do you even know what that result is? Rarely does outward expressions of mean and aggressive anger get anyone positive results. (People might be afraid of you, but that doesn’t help them to be more loving or more truthful!)

So if calling your unfaithful spouse names and raising your voice, and swearing and punishing hasn’t been getting you what you want, maybe try speaking calmly and directly asking directly for what you want (and you might want to consider apologizing for your mean and hurtful behavior while you were angry!) That would be radically different!

When I was on my own affair recovery journey, initially I did what most spouses do (which is exactly opposite to what they were sure they would do before it happened to them). I worked really hard to save my marriage, to get my husband to change, to get him to read books, and go for counseling. Somewhere along the way, I finally realized that I did not have the power to save our marriage. I did not have the power to change my husband, or to get him to do anything.

So I did something brilliant. I changed me!I stopped talking to him about the affair. (Imagine that!) I stopped telling him what to do. I enrolled myself in University and started working on the degree that I had always wanted. Guess what happened! My husband suddenly took initiative to read books, and to start doing what these books said. Then he discussed them with me. He began to think about his own behaviors. He began to change. He began working on himself. He became more loving. He started pursuing me (when I stopped pursuing him!)

He said, “You are growing tremendously as a woman, and it scares me to death!”Why did it scare him? Because he realized, that if he didn’t get with the program, he was going to lose me. Enrolling in University may not be your answer specifically, but I can assure you, that your answer is to stop doing what you are doing that isn’t working and do something totally different instead.

One unfaithful wife, who had ended her affair and all contact with the affair partner, and told the truth, coming completely clean with everything, found herself stuck for months walking on eggshells, while her betrayed husband stayed stuck in his anger. No matter how much she talked about the affair, no matter how much shame she bore, no matter how many times she apologized, no matter how many books she read, her betrayed husband stayed angry and often hurtful. She was being nice and loving and doing all she could, but he was not getting the help he needed. She was powerless to heal him. He was stuck in his anger, verbally abusing her, and sometimes frightening her, yet he couldn’t see it himself, because he was focused on how wrong she was for her affair, which she could not take back. He had loving moments, but she never knew when Jekyll was going to show up. She was living in fear, with her own needs as a woman for love, connection, gentleness and understanding unmet.

Then one night, things got completely out of hand. Not only was he yelling and screaming and calling her names, but he began throwing things. Her favorite vase, a cherished gift from her mother, slammed against the wall and shattered to pieces. And her husband left slamming the door and screeching the tires. That’s when the lights went on for her! This was not okay.

So, she did something radically different, something that ended up saving her husband from himself and saving their marriage. She left, got herself a good counselor, and wrote her husband a letter. Her husband did everything to try and get her back, but she told him that she would only be willing to speak with him again in the counselor’s office. He was not happy about this! (Your spouse will not be overjoyed either when you get smart enough and strong enough to change the dysfunctional normal in your relationship!) This woman loved her husband, desired to save her marriage, and wanted to do the right things, but she realized that what she had been doing wasn’t working (even though those had been the right things the experts told her to do). Did her husband need to change? Yes. Did she need to change too? Yes. Instead of focusing on what she had no control over, him, she focused on what she did have control over, herself. The pain of remaining the same had become greater than the pain of change!

Her husband wasn’t happy about it, but he met with her in the counselor’s office. There she read him her letter, which demanded a controlled separation. They worked out the details. In their case they only needed to be separated for one month, and her husband got help for his anger. Today, they have a loving, healed relationship, where they both feel safe. Trust has been restored. She changed herself. He changed in response.

While this is just one story, every affair recovery story, where a couple reconciles shares this theme, that while your spouse may be wrong, you can’t fix them. But if you will be willing to stop focusing on them, and figure out what you can change about you instead, you will find yourself empowered, and if there is hope for your marriage, if you desire to “change your spouse,” you’ll find they will change in response to the changes you make in yourself.

You want your spouse to take responsibility for what they have done? But are you willing to take responsibility for what you’ve done (or haven’t done)?

By Anne Bercht

PS – Don’t hesitate to contact us for help. We’ve personally helped more than 2,500 couples heal their marriages after infidelity. We can help you too! It’s not easy, but it’s not that hard either, and the rewards are so worth it!

PSS – For some reconciliation may not be the right route. We’ll help you figure that out too. Either way, reconciled or divorced, you still need to heal, so you can find happiness for your future, instead of dragging the baggage from this painful past into your next relationship! And for the sake of your children, get closure, healing and understanding, so you can move on responsibly, be happy and co-parent well!


Our contact information is at the bottom of this page!

©Copyright 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.