Infidelity, cheating and unfaithfulness has been around since the beginning of time; however it has become even more complicated by what constitutes being unfaithful in relationships. Traditionally, cheating was classified as having a physically intimate relationship with someone other than your partner. But nowadays, cheating has many faces and colors. Of course, this is not to say that physical intimacy with someone other than your partner is a lesser offense than any other type of unfaithfulness.
One type of infidelity is the texting and phone affair. Flirty, suggestive or sexually explicit text messages or pictures are sent to someone other than your partner. You also can over share intimate information with this person as well. Another type of infidelity is cyber cheating. Again, this is flirting or over sharing with another person. You may also be searching and/or posting on dating sites. It can also include viewing porn regularly that negatively impacts your emotional and sexual relationship with your partner. A third type of infidelity is emotional cheating that starts off as an innocent friendship with a “work spouse” and/or your best friend. You spend a lot of time with this person and, before you know it, you are confiding and sharing your thoughts, fears, dreams, and secrets with this person. You have an affection for this person that is typically reserved for your partner. Often times, emotional cheating can lead to physical intimacy. And lastly, there is physical infidelity. Simply put, physical infidelity is sexual intimacy with someone other than your partner.
No matter what type of infidelity it may be, it is equally damaging to a relationship. If you are doing anything that you wouldn’t want to share with your partner (or God), or you know it would hurt your partner, then you probably are doing something that you should stop doing.
Listening well is a necessary skill as it impacts the quality of our relationships with others. How many of us have heard our children, friend, and/or partner say, “Are you listening to me?” or “You never listen to me.” With the listening we do all day long, one would think that we all would be so much better at listening. However, many times we are only hearing the other person because we are too busy performing several other tasks at the same time. Other times we are deep in thought about our own attitudes, thoughts, and feelings about the subject. Then there are times we are just too sleepy to listen attentively. And of course, we are all guilty of selective listening.
Listening well isn’t just hearing what the other person is saying, but also paying attention to verbal and nonverbal messages as well. So how can we listen by concentrating on how and what they are saying as well as what they are not saying? It’s interesting how the lessons that we learn in childhood prove to serve us well in adulthood. Below is a song that some learn in preschool. Next time you really want to practice listening well, try implementing the words of this song.
The idea that “every couple has unsolvable problems” sounds depressing. That statement probably wouldn’t make a single person eager to get hitched. Even thought this is a fact but it doesn’t spell doom for most relationships. Once you comprehend this reality it’s a bit freeing in a sense.
“There is value in choosing a long term partner and realizing you will be choosing a set of unsolvable problems you’ll have for the next ten, twenty, or even fifty years.”
Most divorces and affairs occur due to these “unsolvable problems.” Don’t kid yourself by thinking the grass will be greener with someone else. If you leave your husband or wife and pick someone else you will only be choosing another set of unsolvable problems. Perhaps the second set of unsolvable problems will be worse than your first set. Problem is that often times couples don’t have a clue what these problems are until they are married a few years. You will not find a marriage without perpetual and unsolvable problems.
For instance: Wife is a neat freak and husband leaves his underwear on the floor of the bedroom because he’s got “big” things on his mind. This drives the wife NUTS! She has repeatedly nagged him to “just put them in the laundry hamper!” Husband claims he just didn’t think of it because he has been preoccupied with getting the bills paid, which he always manages to do even with the family’s small income. But wife trades in her husband for another man that shows interest in her and who is a super neat freak. She thinks “this will solve the problem I had with husband number one, him not keeping the house clean and respecting how hard I work to keep a orderly house.” So she realizes new husband will keep the house very clean and she has less to do around the house and for a few years she is in heaven! But the honeymoons ends abruptly. After a few years wife begins noticing some patterns. Husband number two is not concerned with how they will pay the bills and in fact often spends lots of money on things they don’t really need. In a few short years this leads to their financial ruin. Wife wishes she‘d learned to cope with underwear on the home’s floor in marriage number one because now she doesn’t even own a home; the bank foreclosed on it!
The difference between a happy marriage and one in trouble is how you address and cope with perpetual and unsolvable problems. Realize that the grass is not green on the other side of the fence, it’s just a different type of grass but all lawns have weeds!
Marriage was once considered to be a contract or institution between two people that was ordained by God. Marriage created structure, allowed for procreation, built families, and was based on love. Marriage was made to be permanent. It untied two people (man and women) permanently trough love and marriage with a charge to procreate. This model was based of the Christian view that church is the bride of God and together Christianity would be created and maintained. We have strayed so far from this concept. Marriage is no longer sacred or permanent and the ideal of ‘for better or for worse’ has completely diminished. Marriages used to last through the good time and the bad. The concept of for better or for worse was incorporated into vows because God and the ancestors knew it would not be easy but the commitment was worth it. Now marriage is more about the wedding and the dress. Marriage has become a contest. I cannot count how many times I have heard people, including friends of mine say, “I have to hurry and find ‘Mr. Right’… I’m getting old”. Age should not be a determining factor in marriage, love should be the main factor. We have become so trendy and liberal that cohabitation and divorce have become part of the norm. We have even strayed from the concept of the bride and her groom that same sex marriages are accepted. I am not here to judge just voice an opinion. Over the last few decades the factors of marriage have changed so drastically that even the Christian church has a contractual view of marriage that now prevails over a more covenantal understanding of the institution. This divorce rate is even with the marriage rate. That should not be and until we can get back to the sanctity of marriage this will continue to happen.
A dad was telling me that when his baby girl comes home to tell him about a boy who told her that he loves her, he is going to sit down and read 1 Corinthians 13 to her and then ask, “Does he love you like that?”
Robert Sternberg says love is based on three different elements and 7 different stages. Stenberg says the three elements are intimacy, passion, and commitment. He says that if a relationship has at least two of these elements, it will survive; however, if it only has one of these elements, it will not.
He outlines 7 different stages:
Liking – warmth, closeness (intimacy but no passion or commitment)
Infatuation – love at first sight (passion but no intimacy or commitment)
Empty Love – unhappy marriage/relationship (commitment but no intimacy or passion)
Romantic Love – close emotionally and physically but no future plans (intimacy and passion, no commitment)
Companionate Love – long-term marriage/relationship, close emotionally but not physically (intimacy and commitment, no passion)
Fatuous Love – dating, courtship and marriage fueled by zeal but no attachment or closeness (passion and commitment, no intimacy)
Consummate Love – ideal relationship, sexually, romantically, and emotionally in sync; harder to maintain than achieve (passion, intimacy, and commitment)
Do you agree? If you used this rating scale, how would your relationship rate up?
“The fabric of our lives” is the slogan for Cotton Incorporated. A very true statement, especially for my husband and I. We recently celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary and there are many threads that are coming together to make us. As I review the past two years of marriage with the person that I love, I realize that we only just begun weaving the threads together. We are constantly working to improve our bond by coming to God as one, supporting each other in our endeavors and enjoying special, intimate moments. Throughout the two years, we have had our share of arguments and achievements. More days that were good, opposed to bad. However, our fabric is in no way perfect… and I don’t believe that it is meant to be “perfect”. Perfection is a standard that we will never reach, so I’d rather stay in the moment and count the blessings that we have made progression. I admire those that celebrate 20+ years of marriage. One day I hope that my husband and I reach that milestone, along with more. After all, with each anniversary the “traditional gift” gets better and better.
Have you sat back and admired your progression with your spouse lately? Regardless if you have made it to year 2 or year 52… be thankful that you have a partner in life that chose to share their pain, joy and love with you. Thank your spouse today for what he or she has brought forward into the relationship that makes you strive for progression.