Wednesday, May 13, 2009

i know i said i wouldn't post about relationships...

but i am.

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 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 - 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:
  • affection
  • sexual fulfillment
  • conversation
  • recreational companionship
  • honesty and openness
  • physical attractiveness
  • financial support
  • domestic support
  • family commitment
  • admiration

please follow this link 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!


  1. This is very interesting. I admire you for putting it out there. I know you've been through some really tough stuff and it's cool that you want to use it to hopefully minister to others. Daniel and I have had some very serious talks about the safeguards we choose to place on ourselves because we're both human, and you're right -- it CAN happen to anyone, especially if they haven't chosen to guard against it... I'm curious: does Dr. Harley address the issue of being too needy? Because it seems like these thoughts place the responsibility of preventing an affair on the spouse -- when we are all responsible for our actions and sometimes, a person will cheat because they have MANY other issues or just because they want to, and there is not much their spouse could have done to help. Is it easier to be faithful when your "love tank" is full? Absolutely. Should we go out of our way to show unconditional love to our spouses? Yes, we should. But I am reminded that we only love "because He first loved us." It seems to me that marriage is the best picture God has given us of His love for His people. If, in marriage, we are to love as God has loved us, then should we not love just because and not because our needs are met, etc.? I'm just curious if he discusses any of these thoughts because I would think to be a well-rounded book on marriage, some of these things would need to be brought in...

  2. i don't recall ever seeing him say anything about being too needy. but i'm not sure.
    his site and his work mainly focuses on couples who have already experienced infidelity in their marriages and he teaches them how to help repair the damage.
    for me i just use the info i learned to keep my marriage healthy. because i never, EVER, want to experience that again!

    and i agree, we should love just because God loved us - but, if we love our spouse, shouldn't we try to meet their needs? try to make them happy?
    because if we are going to be married, let's at least both be as happy as we can be. that's what bo and i TRY to do - we definitely have our bad moments, but the good by far outweigh the bad!

  3. i agree wholeheartedly -- that if we really love our spouse, we should aim to make them happy and love unconditionally. i just didn't know what perspective he was coming from and i'm glad he's out there to help those who want to try to repair the damage -- together, because we know that it takes two and not just one... there's a really awesome book -- the love dare -- it challenges you to learn to love your spouse unconditionally more and more each day. i would recommend it to anyone who wants a really good lesson in love!