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The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want #39152
12/22/10 06:06 PM
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Mark1952 Offline OP
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I've been working on this for a while now and since some have asked me directly to begin a discussion on the subject, I decided to post what I have so far and we'll see where it goes.

I am putting this in the Construction Zone, because my part of it at least isn't yet completed. So here is a place to begin.

Since my experience lies primarily with Marriage Builders, much of my terminology and vocabulary will come from that source. This is not a guide to fighting an affair and is not intended to be such. It is meant to be a guide to help those beginning recovery to understand the possible ways of reaching a great marriage in spite of infidelity and one that is no longer defined by anything related to the affair with problems related to current events instead of past failures as the primary focus within the relationship.


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #39154
12/22/10 06:08 PM
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Originally written in June of 2008, this is a general list of advice for those wishing to restore their marriage after an affair. Some of it applies to the cheater and some to the cheated. Some aspects apply to both sides of the marriage. It is based in part on an article that originally appeared on WebMD.com and since I lost the specific link long ago, I don't know if the article still exists.



Ten Steps to Recovery:

1) "You have to stop the affair," says Jamie Turndorf, PhD, a couple's therapist in New York. "You can't reinvest in the marriage if you have one foot out the door."
2) Remember that there will be ups and downs after an affair. "The road to recovery after an affair is jagged, and that is completely normal," says Michele Weiner-Davis, author of Divorce Busting, The Divorce Remedy and The Sex Starved Marriage.
3) "The person who had the affair needs to be willing to discuss what happened openly if the betrayed spouse wants to do that." (Weiner-Davis)
4) "The person who had the affair has to be willing to be accountable for his or her whereabouts, even though he or she thinks that may be unfair." (Weiner-Davis)
5) "There needs to be a willingness to make promises and commitments about the future, that an affair will not happen again." (Weiner-Davis)
6) The betrayed person should set the timetable for recovery. "So often the person who cheated is eager to put the past in the past, but he or she really has to honor the other person's timetable." (Weiner-Davis)
7) "The person who had the affair should examine the personal reasons for straying and what needs to change to avoid temptation in the future." (Weiner-Davis)
8) As for moving forward, both people in the relationship should take responsibility for building a new foundation. "Both people in the relationship should ask the other what he or she can do to rebuild the connection and what actions should be avoided because they are breaking it," says Turndorf. "Even the person who was cheated on should say to him or herself, "What role did I play in driving you away and what can I do to make you more connected to me in the future?"
9) Try marriage therapy or take a marriage education class. "You really need to find a counselor or therapist who is pro-marriage, and can help get your relationship back on track," says Weiner-Davis. "Steer clear of therapists who see infidelity as a marital death-sentence "it isn't."

The original article had the above nine steps to recovery listed. I add this one:

10) Develop a plan to restore the love to the marriage. It needs to be a plan to improve intimacy and passion and not just commitment. It will be what happens from now on rather than what you do with the past that will matter most. You can't fix what happened, but you can fix the relationship so it doesn't happen again.

It is the discussion of developing this plan to repair the marital relationship that I am hoping for in this thread.



mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #39158
12/22/10 06:10 PM
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Why Ask Why?

One of the first questions most betrayed spouses ask when they find out they have been betrayed is "Why?" We want to know why this person we loved did this to us and why they inflicted such pain on us. We want to know why they were willing to abandon all that was once held dear and why they lied to us all along the way.

The problem with asking the question is that there really isn't one answer or even a list of answers that will explain it and so we end up with an unsatisfactory explanation that causes us to wonder even more about the future than we already did.

Frank Gunzburg points out that there can be many reasons that can point to why an affair happened.

This from Gunzburg:

  • Some people cheat because they aren't getting their needs met within the marriage and are under the deluded notion that going outside the marriage to get them met is a legitimate answer. It isn't.
  • In some cases people cheat because they have never learned to honor boundaries. They know the boundaries are there, but do not hesitate to step over them.
  • Some, usually men, think that they are not real men if they turn down an invitation from someone attractive.
  • Some people are thrill seekers who just can't pass up the opportunity to get a thrill. The very fact that they are doing something that is considered taboo compels them to engage in an affair.
  • Some may cheat because they have low self esteem. They get a sense of self worth from finding someone who is attracted to them and cares about them.
  • In some cases, a person may have a sexual fetish that their partner is not willing to meet, so they go outside of their marriage in order to have these selfish desires fulfilled.
  • A very common theme is that people cheat because their spouse no longer makes them feel special. These people go outside the marriage thinking that someone else might fill this gap.


Whatever the reasons, cheaters cheat because they have the mistaken notion that going outside their marriage will solve their problems or fulfill some unmet need or complete some aspect of their character.

Gunzburg suggests that some people have a defective sense of commitment. He says this usually applies to men. They expect themselves to be totally honest in all aspects of their lives in every situation, but feel they don't have to be when it comes to dealing with women. Though they vehemently deny it, these men have a denigrating view of women in general, placing them into a second class status. Frank Pittman discusses this in depth under his description of philanderers in his book Private Lies: Infidelity and the Betrayal of Intimacy

Gunzburg goes on to say that you can ask the question "Why" until you are blue in the face and each time get a different answer. You will never get an acceptable answer because there really is not an answer that will make infidelity acceptable to the betrayed spouse.

The reason a betrayed spouse seeks this answer of course is that they feel that they need to find out why an affair happened in order to prevent it from happening again in the future. This is really based on the mistaken notion that in order to change a behavior you must know why it is happening. This is a relatively common idea in modern psychology that seeks to explain why a person acts in a certain way based on some experience or lack of experience of the past.

But you don't have to understand family dynamics and chemical reactions in the brain in order to stop smoking. The action can be avoided without understanding the addictive properties of nicotine or the emotional component that compelled a person to begin smoking to begin with.

In some cases exploring what went into the cheater's choice to cheat can help protect them against doing it again, but that isn't universally true and it isn't understanding why it happened that will keep your partner from cheating again. It will instead take hard work, by both the betrayed and the betrayer to avoid future affairs by changing the relationship at its foundational level. Much of this work will be in regard to communication which must be completely honest, not about the affair and why it happened, but about unmet needs, wants, desires and resolution to conflicts that can cause a rift within the marriage.

Neither of you need investigate why it happened in order to recommit to changing things going forward, and remain faithful to each other in the future. It does require a sincere commitment to doing things right from now on and a willingness to work together to rebuild the foundations of the marriage.

What is most important is that both of you want to do what it takes in order to heal and restore the relationship.

Asking "why" will most likely result in answers that are nothing more than justifications from the wayward spouse. It will be a list of things that were "wrong" with the betrayed spouse and the relationship, most of which can be dismissed as simply unacceptable in answer to the question. There is no justifiable reason to cheat and break your vows. Selfish desires, past wrongs either real or perceived and a lack of something in the marriage cannot make cheating acceptable since if a marriage is not worth keeping, then it should be dissolved before an affair takes place. Most often the list of "whys" is composed primarily of things that the wayward spouse used in order to justify the affair to him/herself at each step along the way. They were created in response to the affair rather than being the cause.

Gunzburg suggests that it might be time to let go of this question. While there might be reasons why it happened, figuring out doesn't take you much closer to rebuilding your trust and reconciling your relationship. What he says will move you in that direction is figuring out what each of you needs from the relationship, communicating how these needs have been neglected and working out how your needs can be interfaced with your spouse's needs so that both of you can get what you need and want.

To me, the more important questions are how and what.

How can we establish a marriage that will prevent either of us from going outside our relationship to get our needs met by someone else? How can we make sure it never happens again? How can we learn to trust each other fully and how can we find the love we once had for each other?

What can the betrayed spouse do to help the wayward spouse avoid crossing the boundary again? What can the wayward spouse do to help the betrayed spouse heal and learn to trust him/her again? What will make the marriage more impervious to adultery by making it one that lacks nothing that either requires from it and keeps the romance alive going forward into a future together?

It will be by rebuilding the love for each other that you will recover, not by understanding the psychological components of adultery or the justification process required to make the affair an acceptable choice in the cheater's own mind. The question needs to be not why, but how and what. How did we get here and what are we going to do now? Those will be the things that will lead to healing and a healthy marriage. Even if this marriage fails and you move on to marry someone else, understanding the answers to how and what will help you in the future, but asking why will leave you scratching your head in frustration.





mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #39160
12/22/10 06:13 PM
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Therapist and author Frank Gunzburg says that there are three phases to recovering from an affair for couples that choose to remain together. There is really one more step that needs to be addressed before the process can begin and that is that the affair must have ended fully, completely and in totality. As long as any portion of it remains, there can be no steps to recovery.

This is entirely within the domain of the cheating spouse. Not only must a commitment to the marriage be renewed but all remnants of the affair have to be done away with. One of the most important aspects of this is that there must be no contact between the affair partners for any reason or Phase I, as indicated by Gunzburg, can't really begin to take place. The emotional baggage related to the affair can only be dealt with by the betrayed spouse once a sense of safety has been restored and if day to day interaction between the affair partners continues, there is likely to be a continued sense of loss and comparison in the mind of the betrayer.

This also requires that all mementos of the affair be done away with; no matter how justified the cheater feels in keeping them around. Ticket stubs, books, receipts, programs for events, gifts including CDs, pictures, letters or even things related to the affair such as specific articles of clothing purchased for the promotion of the affair or for any specific event of the affair must all be eliminated for any real healing to begin. This includes the personal healing of the betrayer as well as the betrayed. Failure to eliminate all such things will eventually result in a return to longing for what has been lost or to the discovery of these things by the betrayed spouse at some time in the future which will result in a resetting of emotions and the clock to recovery back to the beginning.

This can't be emphasized enough. For recovery to actually begin the affair must be gone with no hope, longing or desire for it to continue and without anything left to remind either of you that it once was anything of sincere value. This does not indicate an event, but as has been described elsewhere, a process. Yet any process is a series of individual events that must occur in sequence and all must take place before the process is complete. Much of this process will likely take place as part of Phase I and may even be revisited as part of Phase II but there must be daily renewed commitment to the process itself for recovery to have any hope of taking place.

Your hope, as betrayer or betrayed must lie in the future of the marriage and not in the past. It will take current events and present actions to accomplish this monumental feat. Things will be relived often as phase I and Phase II unfold but the focus has to be on today and eventually tomorrow as well for the marriage to become one that makes both of you happy.

Frank Gunzburg's Three Phases of Recovery:


Phase I: Individual Healing - Understanding and sorting through emotional problems.

Phase I is all about YOU whether the betrayed or the betrayer. While the betrayed spouse most often has the most emotional turmoil to sort though, the betrayer also has a lot of emotional baggage to deal with as the result of the affair.

When a person is affected by infidelity, whether cheater or cheated, the first thing they do is look for reasons why it happened. They want to know the details of the affair. They want to know why their loved one cheated or why they themselves became unfaithful. But this is really externalizing the problem; that is, it seeks to explain our feelings and emotions and even actions in light of something outside ourselves. It is looking outside ourselves for answers and solutions to the turmoil within us.

We need to stop looking outside for answers to what lies within us. We need to stop trying to figure out the other person and start trying to figure out our own emotions. We need to look, not without, but within. We need to be honest about our own emotions and pain and thoughts concerning the affair.

Phase I is all about developing strategies to deal with your own emotions, thoughts and feelings about the affair. All the rest can and must be addressed, but each of us must first deal with our own raging emotions and learn how to deal with them so we can act rationally without a desire to inflict pain on the other. This is especially true for the betrayed spouse, but applies to the wayward spouse as well.



Phase II: Healing as a couple - Working together to identify and resolve key issues and problems.

Phase II which can only begin after Phase I has been dealt with is where you begin to work together to identify what was wrong with the marriage in the first place. It can help identify what it was that was lacking or that should not have been present that contributed to the climate that led to the affair.

The critical components of the relationship are examined in this phase to establish a set of requirements needed by both of us in order to build a marriage that will address both of our needs while avoiding the pitfalls that led to the affair in the first place.

This is also the phase in which you will examine what is required by the betrayed spouse as to details of the affair. Some may want to know every single thing that happened with a timeline and minutia that even the cheater may not be able to recall immediately. Others might not want to know much of anything because they can't avoid replaying the scenes over and over in their minds. Suffice it to say that what is required is that the cheater is willing to provide as much detail and information as the cheated spouse desires. As long as they are asking, the questions should be answered.



Phase III: Negotiating a Renewed Relationship

In Phase III is where we get down to the really hard part of rebuilding the marriage. It is this phase that really must continue forever, or at least as long as you remain married to each other. This is where we get to the application of Marriage Builders methods and create a marriage that makes us both happy and fulfilled. Since needs, desires and emotions can and will change over time, this phase can never really come to an end. It is really what we should have been doing all along.

Both the betrayer and the betrayed needs to communicate openly the truth about their emotional state and their ever changing needs so that it gives their spouse an opportunity to fulfill those requirements. It means always communicating honestly, both positive and negative emotions and feelings so that neither of us can ever again use resentment over something that is missing or something that we wish were not there as grounds for justifying going outside the relationship for what we seek.

It requires spending time with your spouse and becoming transparent so that you can fully trust each other to not only remain faithful, but to provide that which each of you needs from the other. It is really a contract that you both must accept that spells out the details of what the marriage is to become in order to make it the marriage you both want.

Acceptance of the terms of this contract is what will give you protection against infidelity in the future and give you a marriage that will make you both happy. BOTH of you need to accept this contract for it to have any value. The marriage has to be fulfilling and a source of happiness for both of you if it is to survive and recover.

Next we can discuss the various ways of creating a new marriage that both of us can commit to without any reservations. It too is a process that must change, reinvent itself along the way and continue as long as the marriage remains intact if it is to prevent a repeat of the conditions that resulted in the affair.


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #39194
12/22/10 07:01 PM
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Thanks for starting this, Mark.

claps claps claps

Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #39203
12/22/10 07:14 PM
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Hope it's OK that I added a link to this thread from the Recovery forum entitled The Turning Point.

Ace

Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Ace] #39235
12/22/10 08:06 PM
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Yes!
I've been thinking about this type of thread for awhile.
No time right now, I'll be back at some point.

Thanks Mark. thumbsup


26 yrs. married
There's nothing more powerful than a woman with an open heart ......
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Vittoria] #39249
12/22/10 08:29 PM
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First some general background of what I have found to be effective in my own marriage.

The plan of recovery that I used was that of Willard F. Harley Jr. and his Marriage Builders program. Since so much of his materials focuses on saving marriages damaged seemingly beyond repair by infidelity it is often not realized that his actual program was designed to help prevent it from happening. This has to do with Phase III in my post above. It is working to arrive at a better marriage than existed before and can even be applied to a good marriage to make it great. As Family Dynamics Institute phrases it in the literature for their Dynamic Marriage course it can take your marriage from hurt to healed, mediocre to magnificent and good to great.

A lot of programs exist today that strive to improve marriages from a myriad of sources. The focus of many of them is on communication styles or improving intimacy within the relationship. They often work in various ways to make communication more respectful, less threatening and more accepting of the differing views of the marital partners. This in itself is s worthy goal but what many of them lack is a way to overcome the inability to communicate that results from the marriage partners differing definitions of the words used to communicate with each other. The vocabulary of men is different than that of women and the emphasis of each person's personal choice of words used to communicate and relay information can have a profound effect on their ability to actually get a message across without one or both becoming frustrated.

One thing that Harley's program does better than most in my opinion is that it provides a common vocabulary that once learned can address this problem for both partners in the marriage. By identifying each person's emotional needs and addressing those things we tend to do that hurt each other as the result of thoughtlessness we can acquire the ability to state what is lacking or what is damaging to our own emotional state so that what is needed can be communicated with less chance of misunderstanding.

When Harley began counseling couples who found their marriages in a state of brokenness, sometimes as the result of an affair but not always so, he asked couples he was seeing to answer the question as to what would make them want to remain married to each other. At first, many of these couples could see nothing that would make them want to be together and had little hope of ever really being happy with their marriages. When pressed further and after rewording the question in many different ways, nearly all eventually replied that if they were in love with each other again, or perhaps really for the first time, they would happily remain in the marriage.

This led him to examine what being in love really was from a standpoint of being able to identify what led to the condition and also to what caused it to wane as time went on. Research then current was just beginning to address the things that happen in the brain of a person falling in love along with the effects of PEA and how it eventually diminishes and the strong attractions of early romance seem to die. The role of the reward center of our brain and chemicals such as dopamine and oxytocin in romantic relationships had not yet been discovered or explored and so Harley's research centered on real life people and what they reported made them happy, wanting to be with each other and what made them unhappy and wanting to avoid being together.

As a behaviorist, Harley looked at actions and reactions instead of brain function. His research took place in a clinical setting rather than in a laboratory like that of John Gottman and centered on his clients which was not a random population but made up entirely of couples whose marriages were failing or had failed. Thus his plan was focused entirely on fixing broken marriages and did not deal with marriages that were already functioning in a healthy way or that had not yet reached a crisis point. His plan was based on changes in behavior rather than reasons that might exist for that behavior or why certain actions resulted in specific reactions on the part of the spouse.

Later research actually reinforces his approach in many regards and some of that research has begun only in the last couple of years and is ongoing including that of Helen Fisher in her studies of the human brain AS it is reacting using a technique using functional Magnetic Imaging or fMRI that did not exist until only very recently. What fMRI does is to take a picture of the brain that indicates areas of heightened activity during the process and not just under static conditions. It uses the brains metabolism certain chemicals and identifies what sections of the brain are most active during the presence of certain kinds of stimulus. This is where Harley's approach and Al lizard brain discussion are finding common threads that can lead to better understanding of romantic love relationships.

Harley coined the concept of what he called emotional needs to describe those things that worked to stimulate people into feeling happy and contented. These are the things that work in that lizard part of our brains that Al Turtle is discussing elsewhere on these forums. Harley was able to identify ten basic categories that these things seemed to fall into but also acknowledged that any individual might have a whole range of emotional needs not addressed by his ten categories. His focus on the ten things he selected to address was the result of finding that they were not just the most common but that everyone had as things they required to be happy and feel content at least including some of these ten things.

So Harley worked to find a way that would let each person determine his or her own specific set of emotional needs. He developed a questionnaire that let each person rank the emotional needs in order of importance and also allowed them to list any other specific things that they might see as needs, even those that might be situational or circumstantial. When he began to analyze the data provided by this process he discovered that his list of ten covered the most basic of needs for most of the people he tested. What he had not counted on was how profoundly different the ranking was going to be between the spouses. Men typically ranked 5 of these things as most important and women typically ranked the other 5 as most important. Even in cases where things from the predominately male list were chosen by women and from the women's list by men, the differences between the spouses was shocking.

He realized that the things that men instinctively saw as being the cause of happiness and those things women needed in order to be happy were most often totally different things. This meant that what men did to try to make their wives happy and what the wives did to make their husbands happy were failing to actually do what was hoped for.

Harley identified the ten most important needs of most people and categorized them as differentiated by sex as follows:

For most men-
  • Sexual Fulfillment
  • Recreational Companionship
  • Domestic Support
  • Physical Attractiveness
  • Admiration


For most women-
  • Affection
  • Intimate Conversation
  • Financial Support
  • Family Commitment
  • Honesty and Openness


Harley eventually also realized that 4 of these fall into a unique class he calls Intimate Emotional Needs. These 4 are Sexual Fulfillment, Affection, Recreational Companionship and Intimate Conversation. He calls these intimate emotional needs because they are indicators of true intimacy but also methods by which intimacy is developed. For more on what intimacy means to a romantic relationship see Al Turtle's website and his discussion here of Safety along with Robert Sternberg's Triangle Theory of Love, which I mention in my blog along with a diagram linked in my signature line [i}I Was Thinking[/b].

Harley then turned his attention to those things that made people unhappy in a relationship. He called these things Love Busters which was the title of his second book. He eventually categorized these things into six distinct categories and named them as follows:

Angry Outbursts
Disrespectful Judgments
Selfish Demands
Independent Behavior
Annoying Habits
Dishonesty

He again developed a method of identifying and ranking these things in order of those that did the most damage to the relationship by causing negative emotional reactions when they manifested themselves. The first three are instinctive things that we are all born with and that are related to that lizard brain and its need for safety. The other three are learned behaviors and while just about anything we do without thinking about its effect on our spouse can do damage, two of the three, Independent behavior and Dishonesty are common enough to warrant their own categories. Annoying Habits really covers the range of things not covered by the other 5 since they are all learned and therefore fall into the category of habits. This might include just about any action or activity that we repeat often without thinking and that makes our spouse feel unhappy or unsafe as it relates to Al Turtle's discussion elsewhere on these forums.

From all of this, Harley developed a model for putting all of this together that he calls the Love Bank. It is his method of describing the cumulative effects of doing or not doing each of these things, both in providing for emotional needs and for committing love busters. His premise is that just about everything we do either enhances the feelings of love we have for each other or causes it to diminish. The net effect is that we either enjoy being together or would prefer to be apart. When the desire to be apart exceeds the desire to be together, what we call love wanes and is lost.

More on specifics of the plan to address these things will be coming soon. Discussion points can include further definition of what each of these things actually might be and how we can identify and provide what is necessary to fall in love again once our love has been lost.


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #39477
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Originally Posted By: Mark1952
Originally written in June of 2008, this is a general list of advice for those wishing to restore their marriage after an affair. Some of it applies to the cheater and some to the cheated. Some aspects apply to both sides of the marriage. It is based in part on an article that originally appeared on WebMD.com and since I lost the specific link long ago, I don't know if the article still exists.



Ten Steps to Recovery:

1) "You have to stop the affair," says Jamie Turndorf, PhD, a couple's therapist in New York. "You can't reinvest in the marriage if you have one foot out the door."

2) Remember that there will be ups and downs after an affair. "The road to recovery after an affair is jagged, and that is completely normal," says Michele Weiner-Davis, author of Divorce Busting, The Divorce Remedy and The Sex Starved Marriage.

3) "The person who had the affair needs to be willing to discuss what happened openly if the betrayed spouse wants to do that." (Weiner-Davis)

4) "The person who had the affair has to be willing to be accountable for his or her whereabouts, even though he or she thinks that may be unfair." (Weiner-Davis)

5) "There needs to be a willingness to make promises and commitments about the future, that an affair will not happen again." (Weiner-Davis)

6) The betrayed person should set the timetable for recovery. "So often the person who cheated is eager to put the past in the past, but he or she really has to honor the other person's timetable." (Weiner-Davis)

7) "The person who had the affair should examine the personal reasons for straying and what needs to change to avoid temptation in the future." (Weiner-Davis)

8) As for moving forward, both people in the relationship should take responsibility for building a new foundation. "Both people in the relationship should ask the other what he or she can do to rebuild the connection and what actions should be avoided because they are breaking it," says Turndorf. "Even the person who was cheated on should say to him or herself, "What role did I play in driving you away and what can I do to make you more connected to me in the future?"

9) Try marriage therapy or take a marriage education class. "You really need to find a counselor or therapist who is pro-marriage, and can help get your relationship back on track," says Weiner-Davis. "Steer clear of therapists who see infidelity as a marital death-sentence "it isn't."

The original article had the above nine steps to recovery listed. I add this one:

10) Develop a plan to restore the love to the marriage. It needs to be a plan to improve intimacy and passion and not just commitment. It will be what happens from now on rather than what you do with the past that will matter most. You can't fix what happened, but you can fix the relationship so it doesn't happen again.

It is the discussion of developing this plan to repair the marital relationship that I am hoping for in this thread.


Thanks, Mark,

This is an excellent basis for one of the most important discussions we can host on MA, IMVHO.

After 32 years of a dysfunctional marraige, 2 years of progressive disconnection (how's that for an oxymoron) and my H becoming a WH when he chose to have his needs met via OW, I was actually glad I had my "get out of jail free" card.

But I changed my mind when challenged to fight for our family.

After 4 false recoveries, my H decided to change when I finally gave up. He said he'd do anything to help me heal.

I asked my H what made the difference in his choosing to want to begin recovery and how we got started.

His answers:

Learning about Emotional Needs and Love Busters gave him hope that I could change so that made him want to make changes he needed to make, too.

IMVHO, the book Fall In Love, Stay in Love by W. F. Harley, Jr. provides the best plan for beginning and continuing recovery from a marital dysfunction with or without infidelity. In fact, FILSIL barely mentions infidelity.

The first and third statements I've bolded could be answered by FILSIL.

The second is where we were lucky; we have had an awesome MC who we've known for about 25 years but lost touch with him for about 10 years. Coincidentally (or by divine intervention) we reconnected with MC about the time we really needed IRL help with beginning rebuilding trust and beginning recovery. (Details in my blog on page 3 mostly.)

Again, thanks for starting this Mark.

Ace


Last edited by Ace; 12/23/10 02:54 PM. Reason: move here from post above

We're overcoming decades of marital dysfunction including abuse, passive aggression, gas-lighting & infidelity (both of us).

Our Weird and Ongoing Story
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Ace] #39480
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Acey,

Did you want to post that again or did you have a brain spasm or something?

Mark


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #39482
12/23/10 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted By: Mark1952
Acey,

Did you want to post that again or did you have a brain spasm or something?

Mark


dang you're too fast....i saw your name on line and thought I'd finish moving this before you saw it.....sorry! I'll wait until all your posts are entered before commenting. Guess I'll start a thread on the Recovery forum now.

Ace

ETA: I'm jest tryin' ta hep. My post seemed to disrupt your flow after I saw your last post so I thought I'd quickly move it down here. But I forgot that when I c/p I lost all the font defaults and had to reinstate.....so I wasn't so quick. Plus I panicked when I saw your name pop up on the side bar and had to redo a bunch of stuff. when you move this thread you can omit all the cr@p, right? Hope so. I'll shut up now. LOL {....for now at least!) blush

Last edited by Ace; 12/23/10 03:07 PM. Reason: cuz Lucy's tryin' ta 'splain what she's tryin' t'do....knowing full well that YOU can delete it if ya don't like it LOLOLOLOLOL
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #39552
12/23/10 05:21 PM
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In our efforts to provide a plan that is uniquely that of Marriage Advocates, this thread is the substance of how that plan will be developed for those who will read and study the material that the Professor (and others to join in) is outlining for us. I call Mark the Professor because he is one in the traditional sense of the word.

This forum is not owned and operated by a Guru. This means that we can formulate what could be called the MA plan without the need to get so busy defending or attacking a particular Guru's take on a given point to the end that we ignore a better alternative from somewhere else.

This particular thread is associated with the substance of what makes sense and Mark (as others will hopefully do) is tying in plans and methods from many sources to arrive at a multifaceted approach for providing quality advice free from personal bias and one that meets the test of needing hard data for credibility.

This ties in hand and glove with the peer counseling thread, which has always been more geared to HOW to deliver the message as opposed to WHAT the message might be at its most effective.

Arguably, marriage is the cornerstone for just about any society and culture known to man. It is the glue that holds societies together both in terms of of how most folks live and how most folks are raised, our family of origin, or not raised as the case may be.

Social conditioning starts with family. Marriage is about family, and ideal social conditioning environment from which to raise our next generations, those who follow us, our kids.

For the past 15 years, countless books and all sorts of web sites have been published and started to the end of developing a model for a higher quality of marriage given the changing dynamics of our culture. About ten years ago, various web sites thrived with information and discussion.

This trend is beginning to subside a bit as the lessons of various books and forums has begun to creep into the conventional wisdom of folks who have never read a book on relationships nor participated in a forum.

And the trend now continues with collating information and plans from all sorts of professionals and amateurs alike to the end of finding something that makes sense for those in need and those who would work to learn as much as they want. This is an ambitious plan, yes indeed. But doable, in my opinion, over time and with effort.

Enjoy.

Larry


It's often the truth we hide from ourselves that causes the most damage in life.

My old email address no longer works.
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Larry] #39921
12/24/10 01:49 PM
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Well, now that my journey to the hilltop has become an assault on the summit of K2...

Y'all need to remember that thing about unmet expectations always leading to disappointment.



mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #39945
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Thanks for all your efforts, Mark.

Last edited by Ace; 12/24/10 06:41 PM.
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Ace] #39978
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The Love Bank

The one thing that defines Dr Harley's work is his use of a model that he calls the Love Bank. This model is based on the assumption that when we are married, nearly everything that we might do or choose to do affects our spouse emotionally in some way. It strives to explain and attempts to quantify to some degree the emotional reaction we all have toward certain actions, inactions or responses of those with whom we interact.

Though his research did not address the scientific or neuro-chemical processes involved in the way our emotions react to situations, it does have sufficient basis in the scientific research, much of it having occurred since Harley first described his model. As a behaviorist, his description is based on responses as observed rather than measured though more recent work by such notables as anthropologist Helen Fisher indicates a strong correlation between the inner working of our brains and the day to day stimulus provided by interacting with others. Harley's description of the Love Bank is in my opinion a very workable metaphor for describing our reactions to what other people do and likewise for explaining the way they react to what we do.

Whenever we have an interaction with any person, we experience some sort of emotional reaction to that encounter. This reaction can range from strongly positive to neutral to strongly negative. If when we are with a specific person our emotional reactions are predominately strongly positive, we desire to repeat those experiences. Harley calls this sort of reaction a deposit into our Love Bank. At the other extreme are those interactions that leave with us a negative emotional consequence and these are referred to by Harley as a withdrawal from our Love bank. The sum of these reactions to other people determines our overall emotional response to the individual person.

If when we are with a person our overall net emotional reaction is positive, we say that we "like" the person and if it is more toward the negative, we "dislike" them instead. Harley suggests that there is a point at which the mere presence of a person can in itself cause us to experience a strong emotionally positive reaction. He calls this the romantic threshold. Simply being with the person gives us a good emotional experience and since we desire to experience that feeling even more, we want to spend more and more time with that person.

The opposite also can occur in our everyday life. If whenever we are with a person our overall emotional response is negative, before long the mere presence of that person causes us to have a negative emotional response. We become unhappy simply by being with that person. The negative and positive emotional response does not need to be entirely the result of what the person does or does not do, only that we are with that person when we experience that response. Thus the day to day stress of living a life together complete with bills that need to be paid, children that demand ever more of our emotional and physical energy and a house that requires maintenance can all have a deleterious effect on our Love Bank.

The Love Bank model then attempts to describe those things that cause positive and negative emotional responses in those we interact with, specifically those with whom we have a romantic relationship and more specifically our spouse. The rest of the program talks about those things that cause positive responses and those that cause negative and seeks to maximize the good while minimizing the bad so that the overall emotional reaction will be positive until we desire spending time together simply because we make each other happy simply by being together.

Along the way, Harley's model takes into account the way decisions are made in the relationship, the process by which each person can identify those things that cause the greatest positive or negative emotional reactions and even what steps a couple might take to enhance their emotional response to each other and thus the bond between them. He does this by identifying those things that each person needs to feel happy and those that make him or her unhappy and gives a common vocabulary to both that allows for these needs and things to be avoided to be communicated in ways that can be understood by both husband and wife.


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #39979
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Emotional Needs

As Dr Harley began counseling couples who sought his help in saving their marriages, he began asking the couples what their specific complaints were about each other. At first he got answers such as "feeling neglected" or "we never have sex" or "he doesn't earn enough to support our family" or perhaps "she never wants to go to the softball games with me anymore." As he began to dig deeper and asked "What would make you happy with your spouse?" he began to see a pattern develop and the things people expressed a need for started to clearly fall into specific categories. He was well aware that people required certain things in order to feel happy, satisfied and cared for in a relationship but what surprised him most of all was that the categories into which what men desired from the relationship were so different than what women told him they desired from the relationship.

He found ten specific things that always seemed to be high value needs for most people. He also found that men typically had as their top 5 of these the same 5 things. Likewise, women tended to have as their top five emotional needs the same five as other women and few men would state high need for what the women expressed as needing and vice versa. He found too that while this pattern was statistically significant it did not always prove to be true and so he categorized the top ten emotional needs of most people in a way that each person could determine the combination of what made them most happy within a relationship. He then developed a method of quantifying the need for any emotional need in such a way that it was reproducible and could be taught to the couples themselves so that as needs changed with circumstances or time, they could identify what was missing and learn to provide for that need to keep marital satisfaction levels high for both spouses.

The five emotional needs Harley identified as being typically associated with men that he interviewed were as follows:

  • Sexual Fulfillment
  • Recreational Companionship
  • Admiration
  • Domestic Support
  • Physical Attractiveness


The five emotional needs that Harley found were typical of what women would rate as their top needs were these:

  • Affection
  • Conversation
  • Honesty and Openness
  • Family Commitment
  • Financial Support

Since these were the "typical" needs of men and women and his desire was to help not just "typical" marriages but all marriages, he developed a questionnaire that would help an individual discover the highest priority needs for their own happiness. This questionnaire can be found here. This questionnaire can help couples identify what each marriage partner needs most from the other and assist in devising a strategy to learn to supply those things for each other. The hope is that by learning to meet each others top emotional needs, the vulnerability to allowing someone from outside the relationship to begin to meet those needs can be eliminated. It is also hoped that resentment that results from not having a specific need met (or combination of needs) can be minimized.

Harley also acknowledges that any given individual might have as one of their most important needs something that does not clearly fall into one of his ten basic categories. His questionnaire makes allowance for each person to identify anything not included in his list of typical needs and specify what that might be.


Explanations and further discussion of emotional needs can be found on Dr Harley's website by following this link. and reading the description of each emotional need by following the embedded links.

Four of these emotional needs are in a subset that Harley refers to as Intimate Emotional Needs. These four; Sexual Fulfillment, Affection, Conversation and Recreational Companionship are both indicators of intimacy in a relationship and are also means by which true intimacy develops between couples. He therefore encourages couples to set aside time to ensure that these four primarily are being met within the relationship.

In order to be certain that these four are being addressed, he developed what he calls The Policy of Undivided Attention. Often abbreviated as PoUA or just UA, he suggests that a couple set aside time in the amount of 15 hours per week in order to meet specific emotional needs with extra emphasis on the intimate emotional needs. This time should be just the couple interacting without family, friends or even children present during this time. At first this seems unrealistic but since the intimate emotional needs generally cover two of the top 5 emotional needs for each person, and because these needs are difficult to meet for each other when others are present, his assumption is that unless time is specifically set aside to meet these needs, they are likely to go unmet for long periods of time.

The Policy Undivided Attention:
Give your spouse your undivided attention
a minimum of fifteen hours each week,
using the time to meet the emotional needs of
affection, sexual fulfillment, intimate conversation,
and recreational companionship.

.
More on the Policy of Undivided Attention can be found here.

Not merely things that make us happy, emotional needs go much deeper than that. They are things that make us happy (have a strong emotionally positive reaction) but when missing cause us to have a strong negative emotional response. While two of them are predominately physical in nature (Sexual Fulfillment and Affection) they are not physical needs; that is, they are not things we need in order to survive. They are however things that we require in order to feel connected to our spouse, at least for many.

Harley also acknowledges that emotional needs might change, typically as the result of circumstances. Because circumstantial needs are normally the result of a lacking in one of the needs, the top needs can change over time and as one need is better met, another then takes its place as the top need. Additionally specific conditions can arise that causes a specific need to become more important than it would be typically. Therefore it is a good habit to reevaluate the top emotional needs from time to time to allow for adjustment to changing conditions within the marriage.

As an analogy for this sort of changing needs I use the following example:

Imagine that you are wondering around outdoors in a blizzard. Unprepared for spending a long time under such extreme conditions you rapidly begin to feel the effects of the cold. Soon your entire focus is on finding a way to get warm and little else matters since it seems that your life hangs in the balance and unless you find shelter, you are not likely to survive. Your lizard brain fears for your safety and only finding shelter will make it feel safe. If the situation goes on long enough, you begin to make decisions and choices based on finding safety and not always based on logical reasons for doing specific things.

But now someone finds you struggling and invites you into their home where they have built a fire and you begin to warm up. As your fear of freezing to death or dying of hypothermia wanes, you realize that you have not had anything to drink in quite some time and suddenly begin to feel very thirsty. If the person gives you something to drink and your thirst is satisfied, you now begin to realize that you also have not eaten in a while and would really like something to eat. If you are hungry enough, what you eat is not really of that great of importance, only that you have something to fill your empty stomach.

So if the person helping you gives you a nice meal and provides you with enough food that you are no longer hungry, you have now satisfied the immediate needs of finding shelter and getting warm, quenching your thirst and even satisfied your hunger. But now you suddenly feel exhausted as the result of your ordeal and all you long for is to sleep.

Needs can be highly circumstantial and what is missing is what is most needed at any given time in our lives.


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #39991
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Love Busters

Just as Harley was able to identify certain things that when repeated seemed to contribute to the feelings of love that those who were married felt toward each other, he was able to also identify and categorize specific things that caused the feelings of love to be diminished. He calls these things Love Busters and like the emotional needs, they fell into distinct though sometimes overlapping categories. He found that these things fell into six basic categories as follows:

  • Angry Outbursts
  • Selfish Demands
  • Disrespectful Judgments
  • Independent Behavior
  • Dishonesty
  • Annoying Habits


Three of these six Love Busters, angry outbursts, selfish demands and disrespectful judgments, are instinctive ways we attempt to get what we want in life. The other three are actually learned behaviors that we tend to repeat without giving them much thought.

In the context of the Love Bank Harley uses to describe how what we do effects each other, emotional needs deposit into our account in our spouse's Love Bank and love busters make a withdrawal. The things we do consistently without giving them much thought are the things that can have the greatest affect on the emotional state of each other. Because we do them without thinking about them, we seldom stop to analyze whether they will make our spouse happy or unhappy when we do them. By identifying what we do that makes our spouse happy and repeating those things while avoiding doing those things that makes him or her unhappy, we can greatly affect the way our spouse reacts to us emotionally.

More on Love Busters can be found here.

Al Turtle explains the way our lizard brain seeks specific things in order to be satisfied and to feel safe. The first thing we always need is anything that is related to the feeling of safety. Safety overrides not only logic and common sense, but it will even override other needs we might have. When we feel safe, other things become more needed in order to be satisfied, but if we feel unsafe, only finding safety seems to matter.

What Harley calls Love Busters are those things that make us feel unsafe. Not just things that make us unhappy, they are really things that our lizard brain interprets as a threat to our well-being. The instinctive things we often do that try to get us either our own satisfaction or our own safety result in our spouse feeling threatened in that deep part of our brain where anything that causes us fear is seen as a threat to our safety.

Angry outbursts, selfish demands and disrespectful judgments are all instinctive means of attempting to manipulate others into providing for us something we desire or expect from them. They are seen as a threat because they contain by their very nature a suggestion of harm, punishment or retaliation for failure to comply with our wishes.

Independent behavior, dishonesty and even some habits cause our fear to become manifest because they show lack of empathy. In a romantic relationship we need to believe that our mate has our best interests in mind when they act. Our lizard brain feels threatened when they demonstrate they don't care about our feelings and so reacts negatively out of fear.

Because not everyone does all of these things all of the time and because not everyone feels as threatened by the same things to the same degree, Harley developed a questionnaire that helps couples identify those things that have the greatest negative effect on the emotional state of each spouse. There are two of these; one to be completed by the wife and one by the husband. They can be found by clicking these links:

Love Buster Questionnaire to be completed by the wife.
Love Buster Questionnaire to be completed by the husband.

These questionnaires as well as the Emotional Needs Questionnaire are from Harley's workbook he developed to assist in using his materials to help couples develop a plan to improve their marriages. This workbook called 5 Steps to Romantic Love can be purchased from his website or from many other sources. The workbook also provides strategies for helping couples overcome Love Busters and learn to better meet each others top Emotional Needs.

The workbook is available from Harley's website, from Amazon, Borders who have the book available in eBook format on their website, and from many other sources. It is one of the books used in the Dynamic Marriage course offered by Family Dynamics Institute that is the class my wife and I are now certified to facilitate. The questionnaires however are available free of charge in PDF format by clicking the links I provided and can be printed as desired for personal use. The same questionnaires also appear in current printing of Fall In Love, Stay In Love though because of the smaller book format can be difficult to reproduce.



mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #85415
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Harley's basic premise is that when we are married, just about everything we do affects our spouse. This effect can have a positive emotional response or a negative one. Since we tend to avoid those situations that cause us to react negatively on an emotional level and gravitate toward those things that have a strongly positive emotional effect on us, Harley sought to find some concepts that would lead to maximizing the positives while minimizing the negatives in an effort to strengthen the attraction between married people.

Harley developed three foundational policies to help establish an environment in which the feelings of our spouse are taken into account and to insure that we are doing things that will create a positive emotional response while avoiding doing things that create a negative response.

These three are:

__________________________________________________________________________________

The Policy of Undivided Attention-

Give your spouse your undivided attention a minimum of fifteen hours each week, using the time to meet his or her need for affection, sexual fulfillment, conversation, and recreational companionship.

__________________________________________________________________________________

The Policy of Radical Honesty-

Reveal to your spouse as much information about yourself as you know - your thoughts, feelings, habits, likes, dislikes, personal history, daily activities and plans for the future.

__________________________________________________________________________________


The Policy of Joint Agreement-

Never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement between you and your spouse.

__________________________________________________________________________________


Further discussion of these three policies will follow in subsequent posts. While there is some controversy surrounding these policies, I am going to attempt to make the case for each one but also freely admit that in a specific instance exceptions to following these policies can be found. I will attempt to list some of the instances of exception as well.


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I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #85650
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The Policy of Undivided Attention

I've already discussed this a bit but want to give it its own post.

The Policy of Undivided Attention says:

Give your spouse your undivided attention a minimum of fifteen hours each week, using the time to meet his or her need for affection, sexual fulfillment, conversation, and recreational companionship.

At first glance, this seems unreasonable to many, especially people with kids. But consider that during an affair the spouse conducting the affair will find all sorts of ways to make time to spend with the affair partner.

Women are often amazed when they discover that their husband had an affair since he has been working 80 or more hours per week perhaps for 20 or more years. But during an affair he somehow found the time for an extended lunch, a weekend without golf or hunting, the car only got washed when it was so dirty neighborhood kids began writing "Wash me!" on the windows and other "more important things" somehow became less important.

If you think back to your dating days, you likely made time for each other in all sorts of ways. You took walks in the park, met at the store while one of you shopped for something, attended sporting events together, even participated in various hobbies each other might have had. You also probably stayed up till the wee hours of impending dawn just sitting on the patio or porch swing or living room sofa watching movies made before you were born and just spending hours with nothing to do but talk. If you began dating when you were young enough you even found ways to be together when your lover was babysitting, perhaps his or her own sibling and maybe those children of neighbors, who were out on a date doing what married couples should be doing together.

In part you found a way to make time because knowing each other was the most important thing in your life right then. You wanted to be together and would sacrifice if necessary in order to make it happen. If the man played softball on Wednesday nights and then hung out at the bar till 2am, his girlfriend was there, cheering him on, participating in some way by keeping score or something similar and followed the team to the celebration of victory or the drowning of sorrows after the game had ended. Then you sat outside and talked in the car till the sun peaked above the horizon.

Somehow, you made it to work, made it through the day, found time for laundry and shopping and even watched after your little brother for 4 hours while Mom and Dad went to that dinner party at Aunt Gertrude's house.

So what happened? When did making time together a priority become something you could no longer do for each other?

Oh, I remember...

Kids!

Soccer practice.
Ballet class.
Carpool to school.
Carpool to the baseball game.
Watching other people's kids while they went to that dinner party at Aunt Gerty's...

And of course the lawn needed mowing.
The car needed washing.
The laundry needed to get done.
The kids had to eat.
Homework had to get done.
It was Turkey season.
It was Deer season.
The bass were biting.
The skeeters were biting.
The baby was teething.
We'd been up since the sun came up...

And in between we'd worked 40, 50 or 60 hours.

Anyone remember the old saying about how a family that plays together stays together?

One of our most basic needs as humans is the need to belong to something bigger than ourselves. Another need is to expand ourselves, to learn and grow and find new things to stimulate us.

Why do you suppose we can find time to get together and talk for hours when we are dating?

Why do we stop making the time to do those things after we're married?

The four intimate emotional needs of sexual fulfillment, affection, conversation and recreational companionship require that we be together in order that they be met. Typically affection and conversation are needs of most women more than of men. But sexual fulfillment and recreational companionship are just as important to most men. Even when other emotional needs are ranked higher by a spouse, these four are typically in the top five in some way for one or both of them. The only way they can be met is by meeting them on purpose and since they can't really be met in a crowded room full of people, especially if those people are about 4 years old or are demanding all of your attention, only by setting aside time to make sure they are being met will they ever get met. This is especially true for sexual fulfillment, but even intimate conversation is difficult at best with a houseful of of demanding children.

Affection can be met somewhat in passing. A hug, a touch, flowers for no real reason, chocolate candy, a freshly baked cake all might express affection for some. Recreational companionship might be doable as part of a bigger group but only if you are together when it happens. The other emotional needs such as financial support might only be met by going to work, but SF, Affection Conversation and RC, are usually met best when time is given to the meeting of those needs.

But there is also a sort of dynamic that takes place when this time, referred to by those familiar with the Marriage Builders concepts as UA TIME, gets used as a block of time set aside for meeting these specific needs together as a group.

I'm going to use fishing as my example since it is what I do for recreation. Other possibilities could include various sports including softball games, attending as a spectator at sporting events or skiing. Just about any recreational activity can be worked into this plan and since RC is typically one of the husband's greatest needs, we'll focus on one of his activities for our example.

My wife doesn't enjoy fishing nearly as much as I do. She'd rather be playing with horses. (I do this with her at times as well, so it isn't always one sided.) But when she goes fishing with me a couple of things begin to happen. First of all, I get to spend time with her that is enjoyable to me. This means that some of my most enjoyable hours are associated in my brain with her. (Think of Al Turtle's lizard brain here) This means that I am forming an association between being with her and having fun. I now want to spend time with her because it is enjoyable time for me.

For her, maybe not so much...

But as we fish, I get to show off my skills a bit and she can be impressed with my abilities, talents and finesse in getting that big ole hawg to bite and into the boat. She might even admire my abilities and prowess a little. (Admiration is typically a male need as well)

But while we fish, we get to talk. At first it might be about not much of anything important, but as the day goes on we get to share our hopes and dreams, our likes and dislikes and even spend a little time discussing the kids, the finances and a bunch of other stuff that we just never seem to get around to talking about. Before we know it, we're having intimate conversation.

We stop for lunch and walk hand in hand to the shade of a tree where we have a picnic lunch. We talk some more, walk together along the banks of a beautiful lake after we've eaten and maybe hold hands and perhaps even kiss or sit together on that park bench hidden from the view of others for a little making out or perhaps just sit close to each other. Affection flows naturally without a lot of effort and another need is being met without a lot of drama or thought.

So at the end of the day, we might shower and go out to eat instead of cooking dinner. We stop for a drink, maybe dance a little and when the night is over, as we climb into bed, we've both had our needs met, enjoyed our time together so much that sex is no longer a chore to be done by one of us for the other but something we can both enjoy and participate in because our Love Banks are both full and we WANT to be closer together.

Of course this assumes that we took the whole day to make the whole thing work out and spent our 15 hours for the week in one giant block of time...

Which of course doesn't happen very often when you have kids, jobs and laundry and dishes piled to the ceiling...

But unless we MAKE the time to meet these needs for each other, when will they be met?

There are 168 hours in a week. Assuming a 5 day, 8 hour per day work week and about an hour travel time each day each way, this leaves 118 hours each week. 56 hours will be spent sleeping on average for most people which leaves 62 hours. For argument's sake lets give chores such as cleaning, cooking, shopping and mowing the lawn, taking out the trash and washing the car three hours each day. This leaves 41 hours. Now suppose we give the kids 3 more hours every day every day of the week. that leaves 20 hours. Take away 5 hours per week to spend on "me time" which seems so important these days and use it for things like reading a book, sitting quietly alone in the yard drinking coffee or any other activity you simply cannot share with your spouse for whatever reason.

Find THAT 15 hours that is left, because THAT might be the difference between a long happy marriage and a short one filled with animosity.

Still don't think it can be done?

What do you do without your spouse for all or part of that time that could be eliminated if you really wanted to spend the 15 hours with your spouse?

Art Aron did a research project in which he assigned couples things to do. These things were things that one or both found interesting, something one or both found stimulating or something neither found interesting nor stimulating. He then looked at the three groups of people using fMRI techniques as they described their assigned date activities.

In those cases where one or both people found something interesting, there was a small peak in activity in areas of the brain associated with the pleasure centers, specifically regions associated with oxytocin.

The second group, the ones that were assigned activities that neither had ever thought of or considered doing together but that were described by them as stimulating or challenging, those same regions lit up much the same way they do when a crack addict is smoking crack.

The third group was the control and though for a few some activity above base line was detectable, much of that activity seemed more associated with trying something new together rather than by descriptions of the event itself.

By the way, these are the same regions of the brain that light up when people who reported being in love with someone for many years were shown a picture of the object of their affections, in other words, their long time spouse. (Helen Fisher did this study and it continues even now)

Why do you invest time in taking care of your yard?

It's because it's important to you that it looks nice and can remain something you can be proud of.

Why do you take the time to wash the car? Probably the same reason.

Why do you endure hours of mind numbing cold in order to bag that elusive buck? (talkin' 'bout deer here and not the almighty dollar) Same reason?

Is your marriage something that is important to you?

Is your marriage something you want to be proud of?

How much time is your marriage worth?

We often lose sight of the fact that when we first got together we spent time together because we enjoyed that time together. When it stopped being enjoyable to be together, we began doing things apart from each other. The time together became all about bills, kids, problems in school, projects that needed doing, laundry, news broadcasts of the latest crisis in the world or the latest gaff by our politicians. We didn't enjoy being together as much and so we gravitated toward things that gave us more pleasure. We tended to do those thing alone or with others rather than with our spouse and now simply can't make the time for our spouse because we would rather do something we enjoy.

Find those thing that can be enjoyable together and do them together or do something one of you enjoys and set aside the time as time in which you actually meet the needs of affection, conversation, recreational companionship and sexual fulfillment. Do it for about 6 months and see if you can't find even more time to be together.

And a note about work...

Do you plan to retire someday? Would you like to spend your retirement enjoying being with your spouse or running around looking for something else to do for those 60 hours per week you now dedicate to working a job?

Make the needs of your spouse a priority and set aside the time to meet them or they will never be met...

And neither will your own.


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #85698
03/23/11 11:40 PM
03/23/11 11:40 PM
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Chrysalis Offline
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Mark, fantastic post.

I had been meaning to post a personal example form the weekend in my blog but I will put it here instead.

This weekend we went to a travel show at the local convention center. We were hoping to get some ideas of what we would like to do in the next year or two. The idea is that we find something we are both enthusiastic about.

We were walking up and down the aisles looking at displays about African safaris and Caribbean beaches, and noticed there was a pool set up and people were lining up----in wet suits. They were giving a little intro to scuba diving! It took me a minute to realize H was asking if I wanted to go in with that "I'd really like to" look in his eyes.

I hesitated just a minute. New, unfamiliar, and with a few thousand people around. But I agreed. They found us wet suits and sent us into a cabana. We put them on. When we went out, they laughed and sent us back to put them on the right way. So we did.

And we spent the next hour or so flapping around in a 4 foot pool in scuba gear. It was a gas.

And of course, now we are thinking about scuba lessons.

There was a very noticeable deposit to a couple of love banks that day! New, unfamiliar, challenging, and fun.


Chrysalis
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Chrysalis] #85900
03/24/11 05:13 AM
03/24/11 05:13 AM
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Mark1952 Offline OP
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Mark1952  Offline OP
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Chrys,

I'm just guessing here...

Neither of you ever considered scuba diving as anything you wanted to do when you grow up.


The strongest bonds (brain chemistry wise) seem to be in couples that do a lot of exciting things together. Some of this might be related to a man's need for recreational companionship, but perhaps it is just the constant reinforcement of trying things that are new and doing it together.


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Mark1952] #85915
03/24/11 06:04 AM
03/24/11 06:04 AM
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Chrysalis Offline
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Chrysalis  Offline
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Mark,

I dunno about Chewie, but scuba diving was never even close to my radar.

You know, we have traveled a lot, but the most amazing adventure ever was when we went to a 3rd world country- Belize-- rented a 4- wheel drive-- and spent half the week in the jungle crawling Mayan ruins and learning about fer de lance, and half the week on the Caribbean, learning about hand-cranked ferry crossings. I cannot but smile when I remember that trip-- and that was when Chewie was still cake-eating. (And for you jealous ones, that is a very affordable week, and I can teach you how to do it-- PM me.) The country of Belize has 4 main paved roads. And i would go there again in a heartbeat.

Yes, new things and together. And realizing that Chewie didn't recognize his own RC needs.


Chrysalis
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Chrysalis] #85970
03/24/11 01:21 PM
03/24/11 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted By: Chrysalis
There was a very noticeable deposit to a couple of love banks that day! New, unfamiliar, challenging, and fun.

claps..... thumbsup..... highfive..... cool..... grin..... waves..... claps..... thumbsup..... highfive..... cool..... grin..... waves

Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Ace] #90742
04/05/11 02:46 PM
04/05/11 02:46 PM
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Squeaky Tree Offline
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\please can I do some of these new unfamiliar challenging and fun things?

We got this RC thing the wrong way round in our M.

Well done Chrys for getting on and doing it!


Married 22years (this year) ~13y since dday(?)
DD17 DS14
Which way do you like yourself? ~ Stosny
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Squeaky Tree] #92291
04/09/11 07:10 AM
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