Saving your marriage after infidelity can be done. But, you both need to be on the same page before you can do it. Plus, you have to be in the right frame of mind to proceed, especially if you were the one who was wronged.
You’re the one who is going to have the most hurt and anger.
You are the one who may feel as if your trust is destroyed and your heart is broken.
But, there are ways to work through the issues at hand.
Before you start, take some time to meditate, breathe in and out. Center yourself and become calm. Then, get out a note book, or just a piece of paper, or you can use a document on your computer. Take that blank paper and turn it into a recipe for success for your marriage’s recovery.
Divide the paper into threes by putting two lines on the page at equal spots.
Them | Me | Actions to Take
In the first area, write down every last thing that you dislike about your spouse. In the middle area write down the things about yourself that you also do, especially if they match or go with the things you dislike about them, such as how you respond to them when they do the behavior you dislike.
In the last row write down actions you can take to make it better or how you can change your reactions to their behavior in a positive and loving way.
The point is to be honest about your own behavior in relation to theirs. The fact of the matter is, you can only control yourself. If your spouse comes home in a grumpy mood and takes it out on you, that is wrong.
But, if you are contributing to this wrong behavior by baiting her or responding in less than a loving manner due to their mood, you’re also responsible for the breakdown in your marriage.
For example, imagine this scene:
Wife: After a hard day at work where she had to stand on her feet all day, dealing with customers who are not satisfied with their products or services, being yelled at, and mistreated, she comes home tired, with a headache to a dirty kitchen and expectation of cooking dinner for the family.
Husband: After a hard day working outdoors on the construction crew building a new house, he comes home dirty, tired, thirsty and hungry after picking up the kids from after school care.
Both parties come in and blame the other for the lack of organization in the household, he runs to the shower, and she starts dinner. They go through the motions in silence until the wife starts snapping at the husband when he leaves his plate on the table and goes into the den. Then an argument ensues.
The husband acts like he has no idea what the problem is, and the wife becomes more and more infuriated as the evening unfolds. The kids are crying, and finally when it’s bed time everyone goes to bed mad. In the morning it all starts over, and the day carries resentments from other days just like it.
Both parties in the situation feel over worked, under-appreciated, and tired. Imagine how this could end up differently if both parties were trying to behave in loving ways toward the other spouse, putting themselves in their spouses’ place for the evening. It can make all the difference.
Same scenario in terms of coming home headachy, tired and dirty – but instead of coming home to a disordered house they come home to a clean house with dinner cooking away in the crockpot. The spouses hug each other, mom thanks dad for getting the kids, mentions her head ache, he pats her bottom.
The kids giggle, and run off to their rooms to put away their school stuff. They come back to help set the table. Dad goes to shower because he is, after all, dirty.
After dad’s shower, he comes in and gets his wife a glass of water, a Motrin, and offers to finish up. They finish getting dinner on the table together as they discuss their day. Dinner is enjoyed, everyone helps clean up the mess and they retire to the den to watch TV and enjoy a glass of wine and popcorn for the kids. Everyone goes to bed happy.
This takes a lot of effort and work, and every night won’t be perfect, but if you can decide on behaviors that you both want to emulate to your kids, and how you want to treat each other, setting guidelines for your own behavior and how you’ll react, even when your spouse fails to consider you first, you can defuse the worst of situations fast.
But first, you have to acknowledge your own faults and behaviors to ensure success.
To help you do better filling out the chart above, try keeping a journal. Every night write down your feelings into a journal. Then set a date and time to discuss what you wrote down with each other. When you discuss things, avoid using hurtful words. The best way to do this is to use “I” phrases instead of “you” phrases.
For example: “I feel hurt when you don’t acknowledge me when you get home from work.” Instead of “You always ignore me when you come home from work.” This puts the focus on your feelings and this will make your spouse more likely to change that behavior.
To get back to the love part of your marriage it might help to write down your love story. Every husband and wife has one, but sometimes it can be hard to remember. A fun thing to do is that each of you writes a story about why and how you fell in love.
Then choose a time to read the story to the other. This can be a very romantic way to get in touch with the love you felt in the beginning before resentments built up.
To improve yourself, write down what you think you need to improve about yourself. Then develop a plan with the support of your spouse to fix those issues. They should do the same. Each picks one thing to work on separately from the other.
Finally, it’s important when having any discussions about anything to learn to always ask questions before making assumptions. Miscommunication can be a cause of many hard feelings and issues. Also, every night before you go to sleep tell your spouse why you love them. Make it something new each night.
Never go to bed mad at each other. Always solve fights before you go to sleep and don’t forget to have sex. Believe it or not, even quickie sex can provide the glue you need to keep your marriage strong.
What is the one thing you want to change about yourself that will help improve your marriage?