Affairs seldom start in the bedroom. Most affairs start out as emotional affairs. Emotional affair is the term used to describe a relationship that has crossed the line from friendship to a connection level that should be reserved for your spouse. An "emotional affair" is an affair which excludes physical intimacy, and is usually based on emotional intimacy I have found in working with hundreds of couples through the years, that emotional affairs can be just as damaging as sexual affairs. The challenge with emotional affairs is that they can be so easily rationalized and even spouses who were not looking to be unfaithful can find themselves caught in these types of relationships. Emotional affairs are the result of a significant connection that usually starts out at the friend or colleague level. The truth is your relationship with your spouse most likely started in a similar way. The two major problems with emotional affairs is that while you are connecting with this individual you are not connecting and becoming more disconnected from your spouse. The spouse who is having the emotional affair ends ups spending the relational energy on their emotional affair partner as opposed to their spouse. The second problem with emotional affairs is that when they continue they frequently end up becoming physical. To affair proof your marriage be certain that you are not crossing the “friendship” line with anyone other than your spouse. How do you know if you have crossed the line? Here are six signs that you may have crossed the line:
1) You share personal information about your marriage and particularly your dissatisfaction with your spouse. It is easy to fall into the “I was just looking for the opposite sexes perspective” or “We were merely supporting each other”, but this is never healthy for your marriage and can definitely lead to an emotional affair.
2) You spend a great deal of time with this person, and this time is extremely important to you. Your time with this person is more important to you than spending time with your spouse. When you would rather be with this person than your spouse, you have crossed the line.
3) When you share good news or bad news with this person before you share the same information with your spouse or when you have the need to share personal intimate details of your life with this person, you have crossed the line.
4) You change your dress or your appearance for this person when you are going to see them. If you are concerned about your image with this person, chances are you have crossed the line.
5) You keep secret the amount of time you are spending with this person. You minimize or would be embarrassed if your spouse knew how much time you were putting into this relationship. If you have conversations that you would not repeat in front of your spouse you have crossed the line.
6) You start to contact this person at hours of the day that are different than normal “Friend” hours.
If you are having an emotional affair, do yourself and your marriage a huge favor and stop it immediately. Create healthy boundaries and distance between yourself and this person. Stop moving towards this person and begin to actively work on strengthening your own marriage. You may need the help of a relationship coach to end the inappropriate relationship and save your marriage, but the good news is that emotional affairs do end and marriages can survive them. If you would like to learn more about my alternative approach to marriage counseling, more information about booking a day long intensive, or to schedule a coaching session go to themarriagecoach.com or call me at 314-606-4272. Until next time, keep falling more in love!
My favorite holiday of the year is Easter. I love it because the day represents the Resurrection of Jesus and the greatest day in history. But I also love it because of its potential for marriages. It is a day that we remember how dim things looked on Good Friday, but on Easter morning, mourning was turned into joy. I see this happen all of the time in my coaching business. Couples come to me in crisis thinking that all is loss, and then they experience the joy of new life in their marriage. As much as I love the day, I also know that Easter can be a very stressful day for families. Many times the expectations of extended family, travel, Easter gifts, big family dinners and the rush of the day can cause significant strain on the marriage. To this end, I would like to offer four strategies to help make this Easter a little easier for you and your spouse. 1) This Easter make your marriage your highest priority. In the midst of trying to make the holiday special for children or pleasing extended family, it is easy to lose the connection with your partner. Make connecting with your spouse your number one priority this Easter. Make sure they know how much you love them and how special they are to you. Modeling this connection is the greatest gift you can give your children and it sets the standard for other people’s expectations of your time and your priorities. 2) Develop an agreed upon Easter plan. Take some time now to discuss expectations of the day. What are your priorities in terms of the day? Is it spending time with family? Attending a worship service? Doing activities as a family? Agree upon the priorities and activities before the day arrives. This will eliminate stress and disappointments the day of Easter and especially the day after Easter. 3) Be comfortable saying “No”. Give yourself permission to say no for the sake of your marriage and your family. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, your spouse and your kids is the gift of not getting sucked into unhealthy family rhythms that do not serve your marriage. I know of some families who have routinely made three to four “mandatory” dinner/party stops every Easter. They hate it, but just can’t say no. Consider saying no this Easter. Chose one and tell the other three that their turn is coming. 4) Consider starting a new Easter tradition as a family. Find one activity that you might add to your day that could enhance your marriage connection and bring your family closer together this Easter. Please share these four tips with anyone who might benefit from them this Easter. I want to wish you and your family the most Blessed Easter ever! If I can ever be of any assistance to you as you strive to bring new life to your broken marriage, or make your good marriage great, please visit my site at themarriagecoach.com or call me at 314-606-4272. Until next time, keep falling more in love!
Several years ago, my Farmers insurance agent (and friend), Kyle Heywood shared an analogy on the importance of having insurance. When you have something of great value, your natural inclination is to protect it. For most of us our most expensive assets are our homes and cars. For this reason, most of us have home owner’s insurance and car insurance. The truth is, our most precious asset is our marriage. Unlike our cars and homes, our spouse is not replaceable. (Or at least they shouldn’t be.) In the same way we protect our financial assets, we must have a plan to protect our marriage. One of the elements in creating a phenomenal marriage is to have a plan in place to protect the marriage from forces that have the potential to lessen or destroy the marriage. Imagine that your marriage is a beautiful castle that is located in hostile territory. If you owned a castle in hostile territory you would most certainly build a moat around it. The moat would serve as an advance warning system and defense against invading enemies. In the same way you can build a mote around your marriage. There are many ways to build this moat and protect your marriage, but for today I want to share my top two ways.
The first way to insure your marriage against outside forces that seek to weaken your relationship is to make your marriage your number one priority. Make your spouse more important than other family members, your friends, your jobs, where you live, your home, hobbies or money. When many of us were married we included the phrase, “Forsaking all others” in our wedding vows. When we made that promise we were saying to our spouses, you are going to be my number one, forever. What about children? Shouldn’t they be our number one priority? Your children are your number one priority, next to your commitment to each other. The best gift you can give your children is put your spouse number one. It is the way to ensure sparing them having to be parented by another man or another woman in the future. Parents who make their marriage their number one priority, stay married and have extremely healthy children.
The second way to insure your marriage against outside forces that seek to weaken the relationship is to speak life over your spouse. I tell people to imagine that their marriage has ears. Everything that you say about your marriage has tremendous power over the quality of the marriage. When you talk about your spouse or your marriage to others never talk negatively. Several years ago, I met one of my wife’s co workers. It was a person that I had never met with but who works closely with her on a daily basis. I will never forget her opening line to me. She said, “David, I can’t believe I am finally having the opportunity to meet you. I have heard so many amazing things about you. Your wife adores you, you must be quite a husband.” I graciously thanked her, and it reinforced two things that I already knew about my wife. One, she really did adore me. And two, she spoke life over our relationship. Imagine if she had spent days on end complaining about the dishes that I leave in the sink, my working too many hours and my habit of clicking my toes. Imagine if she had gone to work and regularly complained about the ball and chain at home. Imagine if she had only referred to me as her “old man”. Instead she clearly had spoken life over me and our marriage. She had a picture of our family on her desk that her colleagues regularly asked about. In this way, people knew what her number 1 priority was outside of work and she had the opportunity to speak life over the relationship. These two insurance policies to have a phenomenal marriage are free, but if you neglect them they will cost you much more than money. Start protecting your most precious asset today, you will be glad you did and you will have a phenomenal marriage.
If I can ever be of any assistance to you as you strive to create a phenomenal marriage or if you would like more information about my alternative to marriage counseling, please contact me at 314-606-4272 or check out the stlouismarriagecoaching.com website. Until time keep falling more in love.
Does true love exist? For the past 35 years, Keven Clark has given his wife a single red rose every week. It is a tradition he started before he and his wife were married. Kevin came upon this tradition when he was a young insurance agent. He was delivering a life insurance check to an elderly widow when a package arrived. The women started to cry as she opened the box and found a single rose. Her husband had faithfully bought her a rose every week during their 60 years of marriage. Before her husband died, he had made arrangements with the local florist to continue the weekly deliveries for the rest of her life. This moved Kevin so deeply, that a few years later when he met his wife, he adopted the tradition. Aisha Sultan shares this story and many others in this past weekends issue of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. I can hear someone saying, “This is too extreme” or “This is too expensive” or “Why would you have to do this, it seems like my spouse ought to just know that I love” or “I don’t have to give my spouse anything to show my love”. I hear all of these things on a weekly basis in my coaching business. Unfortunately, I hear these things from people whose marriages are broken. This beautiful story from the Post has two incredible lessons for all of us who want phenomenal marriages. The first lesson is that great marriages are marked by thoughtfulness and giving. I don’t know Keven Clark’s wife or the elderly widow mentioned in the article, but I can imagine that they both felt and feel incredibly loved by their spouses. I can imagine their friends saying, “Your husband does what every week?” I can imagine their faces lighting up and their hearts being warmed every time they receive that rose. I was on the receiving end of this kind of love my entire marriage, and I can honestly tell you there was not a day that I did not feel incredibly loved. As we roll into 2018, what love tradition can you start with your spouse? Maybe you are not in a position to buy a rose a week but certainly you could write a handwritten note on a weekly basis. Make a commitment to get into the habit of giving on a weekly basis. The second lesson deals with the power of modeling. Mr. Clark was impacted by the actions of this widow’s husband. The truth is people are watching how you treat your spouse. If you have children, they are watching. Your friends are watching. What kind of legacy of love are you leaving for people who are observing your marriage? Make a commitment that in 2018 you are going to model for your children, friends and family what true love looks like. You will be glad that you did, your spouse will be blessed and you will have a phenomenal marriage. Please share this post with anyone who might benefit today. The truth is, true love does exist! If I can ever be of any assistance to you in your marriage journey, please know that I am available to you. You can learn more about my non traditional approach to marriage counseling or schedule a coaching session at themarriagecoach.com or by calling 314-606-4272. Until next time, keep falling more in love.
I saw something beautiful this morning at the Cracker Barrel. While I was standing in line waiting to be seated I observed the couple in front of me. This husband and wife were in their 80’s. The husband looked down at his wife, smiled at her, and the two of them embraced in the most beautiful public hug I have ever witnessed. They were clearly oblivious to anything else around them. I later learned that they are celebrating their 62-year wedding anniversary. I can’t help but believe that there is a connection between 62 years of marriage and this hug. No doubt there has been many hugs in their 62 years together. How about you and your spouse? Is hugging part of the rhythm of your relationship? If not, now is a great time to start. Research is conclusive. Hugging not only improves your marriage it also improves your health.
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