How to Remain Stuck

If there is one thing we have learned through this mess that we have to keep going back to each year, it’s the concept of prioritization. No, this is not going to be a self-help post, or a menial approach to six steps to peace, etc. etc. It’s more about seeing the world and seeing the situation through the right lens of prioritization.

Let’s face it. My affair, and possibly yours, happened due in large part to me making everything else, and everyone else, a priority except my spouse. Work came first, people’s needs came first, my affair partner came first, and even my kids came first. Samantha was dead last in terms of genuine concern, focus and attentiveness. My boss and his family even had priority over her in many ways.

When we allow life to get in the way now days, Samantha and I have to be very intentional on doing our personal checklist. It goes like this:

1.   How are we (Samantha and I) doing?

2.   Everything else…….

Don’t lose me in the sarcasm, but the fact is, if we’re doing OK, we can get through anything and everything.  If we’re not doing OK, all else is going to be hard and a challenge and probably make things worse. So WE need to be OK first, and if we’re not, we need to get help, and clarity, or time, or a date, or into a much needed difficult conversation maybe, and then all else will get in line, even the kids.

If you want recovery to blow up in your face make something else more important than both your spouse and recovery, as it will only remind your hurt spouse of how much you’ve hurt them and violated them.  Or, if you want your betrayed spouse to give up and remain stuck, continue to make him or her 2nd priority.

Or, if you want your unfaithful spouse to feel hopeless and helpless, respond to none of their efforts and continue to immerse yourself everywhere else, as eventually they will give up and give in to frustration and hopelessness.  Sure it’s their fault the affair happened, however if you both are working on saving the marriage, or if you are attempting to pursue recovery, it must be the priority right now.

The fact is, our spouse must take priority in our lives and if they are not, it will reveal itself with more and more pain and hurt and keep you both stuck. What has helped us more than I can describe, is talking heart to heart with Samantha and reminding her, even 8 years later, “How are we doing?”

It snaps us both back into shape and proper perspective and causes us to prioritize everything else in our life. When we do this, we are then a united front for financial matters, issues with the kids, fear of the future, or just normal everyday life with three kids.

I hope you’ll try this and make it a practice in your life of recovery.

If I can ever help, please let me know.

 

Add New Comment:

Comments

How to Remain Stuck

Let me start off by saying I am a betrayer, it was my fault and not hers. Prioritization is a huge issue I am dealing with. I am not saying this is a justification for what I did. This is and was an issue prior to cheating but it was not an excuse for what I did. The issue is that my wife still puts other mens feelings over mine. She put her brothers over mine the other night. Her sister and her husbands feelings are put over mine. Even our friends husbands feelings are put over mine. She has done this repeatedly in our marriage. I don't need to vent. I need to know how to live with this. Her response is that she just doesn't think about it or that the world does not revolve around me. I've tried to explain that her not thinking about me is the issue, not the specific acts. I am sure this sounds selfish of me. I just need to know the best way to handle being 2nd place to her family and our friends. I no longer think she will change on this issue since its been 18 years and she does not really acknowlege it. What can I do to live with this knowing that it will not change?

Ben......

Thanks so much for responding to the blog and reading it Ben. It's a tough one, but for starters, have you all gotten any kind of help at all on this? counseling? any of the AR programs? anything? that will give me better context for my response for you. what's very typical is that an issue like this goes unresolved as it's never cared for the right way. it will be extremely difficult, and some even would say impossible though i don't subscribe to that view, but nevertheless it will be very tough to get her to change just working through it on your own. you'll need a third party. reason being is, you all have been doing this marriage dance for 18 years, and there is no third party objectivity to intervene and help stop the madness. you're on the crazy cycle as emmerson eggerichs states. what about the infidelity....did you get any help with that recovery and restoration? i have more thoughts for you my friend, but if you can give me some insight into my questions that will help me give you more encouragement, insight and suggestions.

Samuel

Here is a little more background. I confessed this past February. We are seeing a counselor and have been to a marriage restoration retreat, but we made a mistake when we were in the initial throws of discovery by not going to a counselor right away. He has experience with infidelity counseling and while he is a professional counselor he is also guided by Biblical principals. This is the second counsleor we tried, the first was taking sides against my wife. He has been very good so far not taking sides and being objective. He has us reading Love and Respect right now as a homework assignment. She just still does not see this as that much of an issue. We are working through recovery / restoration with him as well, and has helped her work through the action of forgiveness. We have only really scratched the surface on this this issue because she needed to come to a place where she could begin to work on us and not just feelling lost in the incredible pain that I have caused her. Right now we are planning on a total of 18 months of counseling every other week. We set a goal so we would understand that our marriage cannot be fixed in just a few sessions. It is so difficult to continue to work on things when I feel like I am making monumental changes to fix myself and she continues to do the very things that make me want to give up.

accurate time period...

Ben,

thanks for the additional insight. i understand completely, as what you are dealing with in terms of feeling appreciated etc, is identical to the 'sex component' we dealt with in our marriage and early on in recovery. it was painful indeed, keeping in mind though, that i was the unfaithful party and i was to blame forever for my affair. the marriage is 50% your fault, but the affair is 100% your fault. regardless of what went on, we both could have done an endless amount of things before having an affair, but we didn't and it's on us. not condemnation, just truth. we'll forever live in the light of that revelation and that understanding, which is one of the components that will keep us forever dependent upon Christ to keep us, save us, help us and lead us. we learn more in our failures than we ever learn in our successes remember? moving on a bit, i still think it's pretty early on in this gig for you to be too frustrated. it will take time, but also time and consistency and surrender. one of the biggest struggles I had to deal with in my own life, was that i could NOT hurry Samantha or make her get it on sex, respect, affirmation or any of the sort. she's gotten it, and every so often needs a reminder and gets one from me so to speak, or helpful insight from me, or the Lord as well. shes doing much much better with it all for sure, but it's a challenge for her. compared to where she was she is light years ahead and beyond where she was a long time ago. but i had to trust that the Lord was behind our recovery and if it was important to me, it was important to HIM and HE would see fit to help her get the revelation. does that make sense? I believe he will get there with her, but it will take some time, and some strategy. sidenote, the love and respect book is EXCEPTIONAL and will speak to those issues wonderfully. we did that as well and it was a wonderful help to what we were going through. if this is still an issue at 16 or 18 months Ben, i'd then pray and ask the Lord for confirmation or clarity, and THEN if you have it, I'd have a big discussion with her about it and help her see how much of a blind spot it is in her life. but again, that's a while from now. she needs time to process this all and this is no easy task. she has layers to the trauma she is dealing with. for now, the best thing you can do is make it about her healing and do things like this (reaching out to others) etc to get help and insight for your own recovery while giving her time to get the help and perspective she needs. does that make sense my friend? talk soon and like we/they say in AA, one day at a time my brother.

Thank you!

Thank you! It all makes sense. I do want her to recover and if thats what she needs then I definitely want to provide it. I really appreciate your help on this. I cannot thank you enough.

What type of affair was it?

Our free Affair Analyzer provides you with insights about your unique situation and gives you a personalized plan of action.
Take the Affair Analyzer