i have always hated adultery, infidelity, cheating...whatever you want to call it. but before it happened to me, i never understood how it happens, why it happens and how devastating it is. i also didn't know that it can be prevented.
the reason i felt the need to write this post at this time is seeing several people in my life experience this pain in the last year. i never realized how widespread infidelity was.
once it has happened, you can recover from it - i do believe that. (see http://www.marraigebuilders.com/) but nothing in your life will ever be the same. i wish that no one would ever have to experience the pain that i, and so many others, have had to experience. and i wish that i was in a position to help people prevent it. this is my only platform to possibly help someone, so i'm gonna put what i know out there. if even one person somewhere is spared this terrible pain by putting my words into practice, i will feel successful. although i (and that person) may never know that an affair has been prevented, i still want to try.
you may be thinking this doesn't apply to you. but if you are married, or ever plan to be married it does. if you think "it can't happen to me" that is your first mistake. it may very well never happen to you, but you need to be aware that it can. on a side note, i really hate to use the phrase "happen to you" b/c it sounds like it's no one's fault. adultery doesn't just happen. it is a selfish, irresponsible action done by someone. a terrible pain inflicted on one's family.
so anyway, most everything i know about affairs and how they start and why they start can be found on http://www.marriagebuilders.com/ - it's defintely worth the time to check the site out and educate yourself...if i had only known then what i know now, i could have nipped it in the bud before it ever started! not that i would want to change the past or change where i am today, but for someone who may be able to prevent this heartache for themselves, that site is a must-read.
one of the primary ideas on MB is the idea of emotional needs and a love bank. according to dr. harley, everyone has a "love bank" for each person in their lives. when someone's love bank maintains a consistenly high level, it causes you to feel love for that person. and ideally, the love bank you have with your spouse will always have the highest balance of all of your love banks. but what usually happens in affair situations is that the spouse makes more withdrawals than deposits. this can happen over time when you start to neglect your spouse's needs. you get caught up in the demands of your career and your children. you don't take time to make your spouse feel special and loved. you assume your spouse knows you love him/her and understands that you are extremely busy. in short, you take your spouse for granted (or he/she takes you for granted). then along comes mr or miss "makes me feel important". this person doesn't have to worry about whether the kids are sick, making the mortgage payment on time, or why you still haven't fixed that leaky sink. this person makes plenty of deposits in your "love bank" b/c yall seem to have so much in common and he/she always makes you feel good. in turn, you make deposits into this person's love bank and over time, you both start to feel "love" for each other.
i think you can see where that scenario is going.
so, in order to prevent your spouse from being vulnerable to an affair, you need to keep the love bank full. the primary way to make deposits into someone's love bank is to do things that fulfill their top 3 (or so) emotional needs (EN). dr harley defines an emotional need as " a craving that, when satisfied, leaves you with a feeling of happiness and contentment, and, when unsatisfied, leaves you with a feeling of unhappiness and frustration. "
the 10 primary emotional needs that dr harley identifies are:
- sexual fulfillment
- recreational companionship
- honesty and openness
- physical attractiveness
- financial support
- domestic support
- family commitment
please follow this link http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi3300_needs.html to find descriptions of these needs and how to meet these needs. you will also find a link to an emotional needs questionnaire which you can print out (2 copies) so you and your spouse can identify your top emotional needs and begin to make an effort to fulfill those.
in my opinion, this topic is important for all married people. bo and i are both very aware of each others needs and make an effort to fulfill them. it's not only for people whose marriages are in trouble. it's for anyone who is married, who wants to stay married and wants to be as happy as possible in their marriage.
good luck making your marriage as fulfilling as God intended it to be!