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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

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Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Ace] #90742
04/05/11 02:46 PM
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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
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Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: ] #96677
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The Policy of Radical Honesty

One of the most basic emotional needs Harley identified is that of openness and honesty. So for someone who has this as one of their top needs in order to feel safe, happy and loved, telling the truth can make massive deposits into their Love Bank. But Dishonesty is also a Love Buster for many, even those who do not have honesty as a top need. Lying can for these people cause huge withdrawals for their Love Banks, destroying the feelings of romantic love they have for their spouse.

Few of us would say that we value lying above honesty. Most of us would claim that it is important to be honest and say that we strive to be honest in our daily life. At our jobs, when dealing with friends, when we get that extra dollar back in change at the Walmart we just about all would say that honesty is the best policy. Lady Grey even suggests that honesty is paramount when interacting with our lawyer for legal issues. So, it seems, honesty might be important enough to consider in our marriage as well.

When we have a romantic relationship with someone, we find that honesty can be a bit more difficult than in situations where the only thing at stake is our integrity. Suddenly we find ourselves finding areas where things don't always seem so black and white when it comes to truth and sharing that truth with our spouse. We find all sorts of reasons why a lie would be of benefit to us while truth could have a cost we aren't always willing to pay.

Quote:
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 Radical Honesty, sometimes abbreviated as PORH, can be seen in four parts.

  • Emotional Honesty
  • Historical Honesty
  • Current Honesty
  • Future Honesty


There are times when dishonesty appears to be a good short-term solution to a problem. It can prevent a conflict; let you off the hook for thoughtlessness, keep a hurtful action from being discovered. But if you lie to your spouse one time, in order to prevent that lie from hurting your spouse or to keep your spouse from discovering your lie and hurting you in return, lies will need to be maintained, layering one upon another to prevent the truth from appearing.

Sometimes the truth can hurt us. This applies to the person sharing the truth and to the person finding out the truth. We even find ourselves saying that we wish we had never known about things, preferring to live in a fantasy than to understand that the person we have given our heart to is capable of hurting us. Even the most negative reactions to truth however do not destroy intimacy. It is the lies that prevent real intimacy from being built. And when a lie is discovered, it makes massive Love Bank withdrawals. So might the act that is being hidden, but if the act is covered with a series of lies in order to prevent its discovery, the lies simply compound the hurt for the person being lied to.

Let's look at the 4 parts briefly.

Emotional Honesty Reveal to your spouse your emotional reaction to the things he or she does and to those things in your daily life that can affect you emotionally. Share both positive and negative emotional responses, especially to the behavior of your spouse. Positive reactions shared with your spouse demonstrate what you would like more of while the negative emotional reactions can show them what to avoid to prevent hurting your feelings. To withhold this kind of information just about insures that you spouse will not be able to act in ways that enhance your love for them while making it more likely that they will do things that will hurt your feelings and make your love for them diminish. So lying about your emotional response to the things your spouse does can prevent you from getting what you need while making it more likely that he or she will end up doing something that will hurt your feelings.

Honesty does not require brutality, however. Even radial honesty does not have to be brutal. Being honest does not mean being disrespectful or making demands or lashing out in anger. Expressing your feelings is not the same as demanding something. Trying to coerce or leverage your spouse into doing something he or she is not enthusiastic about is not sharing your feelings, it is acting thoughtlessly.

If you judge your spouse and tell them that they are wrong, or that their feelings are wrong, that isn't honesty either. It is disrespect. Of course if you lash out in anger to punish your spouse we aren't talking about honesty but rather about Angry Outbursts, which can hurt your spouse and so is a Love Buster; that is, it withdraws units from your account in your spouse's Love Bank.

Historical Honesty You should reveal to your spouse information about your past, especially those events that demonstrate a personal weakness or failure. In a marriage, you and your spouse will have to make many choices and decisions together that can affect your life in many ways. Understanding how your own weakness, for example, your inability to hold down a job, might make your spouse less willing to take out a mortgage that requires two incomes to afford. Or if you have an addiction to alcohol, your spouse might not choose to build that wet bar in the basement.

But what if it was a moral weakness? What about when you had an affair since you were married? Telling the truth could end the marriage. Telling the truth could make your spouse hurt you in return. And it would surely hurt them. So maybe telling them looks like a bad idea. Yet failing to share that kind of information prevents you from being known for who and what you are and accepted and loved anyway. It prevents unconditional acceptance and prevents being loved in spite of your failures.

Now some revelations should not be made lightly. Perhaps a professional should be present or a trusted friend. In such cases safety is the overriding factor and is more important than the message itself. The revelation might have to be made after separation in some cases.

Yes, I can make a serious case for times when "confession" of an affair or other transgression should not be made. But the likelihood of a long happy and healthy marriage is pretty much negated by something that would fall into such a category. Yet in some cultures confessing an affair could cost you your life. The trade off in such cases is true intimacy between you since a lie, once established must be maintained and will forever stand as a barrier to developing the strongest of connection.

And there might be case where abuse is the order of things in the relationship and confessing something as serious as an affair might cause you to be harmed, even killed. I suggest that you not confess under such circumstances until you have made provision for your safety. But even then, failing to confess and remaining in the relationship simply delays the abuse if the truth were to ever come out, at which point, not only would the original lie be involved, but the maybe years of lying required to keep the secret will also be in play.

So if you really believe you might die (or even think it could be possible) by being honest, please don't tell all. But if you live in such a relationship, I would think you have a bigger problem than how to confess some transgression and perhaps you need to look into another change in your life.

Current Honesty In strong marriages, couples become interdependent and sharing schedules can be essential. Knowing what time to have dinner ready, who will pick up the kids from soccer practice, or drop them off at school in the morning is pretty much required to make the family work smoothly.

In weak marriages, coupes fail to share what they are doing with each other because they are engaging in thoughtless behavior. They know their spouse would not approve of what they are doing so they hide their actions.

So what do you have planned for Saturday? Does your spouse know about it? Is your spouse in agreement with that decision?

Future Honesty Failing to share what we plan to do can cause all sorts of havoc in a marriage. Most often, when we hide the plans we have from each other, it is in order to avoid conflict. We already know that our spouse will have a hard time with what we plan to do, so we keep it hidden. So know we not only act in a thoughtless way, but by hiding what we plan until after it is done also shows our spouse that we have no empathy for his or her feelings.

But when we hide our future plans from each other we are being dishonest. We are acting without regard to our spouse's feelings and showing that we don't care for them at all. We are demonstrating that our own selfish desires are more important than their feelings. The truth is, we don't want our spouse to know what we have planned because they might do something that prevents us from getting to do what we want. So we end up living parallel but separate and secret lives where thoughtless behavior and selfishness can reign supreme.

If dishonesty is a Love Buster, honesty is the only real alternative for those who hope to maintain a romantic 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] #145335
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Three States of Mind In Marriage The Giver and The Taker


Have you ever felt like you were married to someone with multiple personality disorder? Or that your spouse was really one of twins, one good the other evil, one selfish and the other giving and caring?

Some of us seem to be able to negotiate in business and accomplish nearly anything. We are patient, willing to compromise, able to hold out for those things most important and could bring about world peace if only the governments of the world would learn to negotiate like we try to do. Then we go home from work and either we need something from our spouse or he/she needs something from us and our negotiating skills go right out the window. We end up having a huge fight, the reasons for which get lost in the hurt we heap upon each other and perhaps spend the next few nights sleeping on the couch in the family room, the dog and the big screen TV our only close companions.

Inside each of us, in that part of our brain that Al Turtle calls our lizard, dwells two sides of our personality. One side is dedicated to protecting us from threats, making us feel safe and trying to make sure we get what we want and need from others. This part of us wants to be happy, content, and safe and doesnt care what anyone else wants or needs right now. It is willing to make anyone unhappy in order to gain happiness and fulfillment. Dr Harley calls this side of us our Taker.

The other side wants nothing more than to give to others. It wants other people to be happy. In fact it wants so badly to make other people happy and satisfied that it is willing to sacrifice what we want or need in order to bring it about. It is even willing to sacrifice our own safety so that someone else can feel fulfilled. Harley calls this part of our personality the Giver.

When someone provides something that we need in the way of making us happy or showing care for us by making us feel safe and fulfilled, we want to keep that person around to get those things from them. If however, a person makes us feel unsafe, fails to provide what we need and want or causes us to feel less than satisfied, we would rather that they just go away and leave us alone. This is the way the Love Bank model works. The more a person does to meet our needs and avoids making us feel neglected, the more we feel safe when with the person, the more we want to be around them. We are even willing to sacrifice or to compromise in many ways in order to keep them near.

The other side of this is also true. Whenever someone makes us feel unsafe or if the person fails to provide the kind of things we want and need, we begin to separate ourselves from that person and are unwilling to give much of anything to them.

In marriage, in large part because of our commitment to each other, these two sides of us can cause a great deal of conflict in our interaction with each other. When our Love Bank is full, we are willing to give and give up almost anything in order to keep our spouse happy, connected and around forever. But when our spouses account in our Love Bank falls below a certain level, we start to see only what we are not getting, what he/she is not providing and if we begin to feel unsafe in the relationship, typically due to thoughtless behavior by our spouse as they try to take more than we are willing to give at the moment, we withdraw our support from them and distance ourselves until we feel safe or until we start getting what we need from them, or in the case of an affair, from someone else.

Harley describes what he calls Three States of Mind In Marriage as a way to demonstrate this. He calls these three states Intimacy, Conflict and Withdrawal.




If our spouse does things that make us feel safe, secure, satisfied and provided for, we share ourselves with him/her and are willing to provide for him/her what is needed in order to feel the same. We feel close to each other and feel like we are sharing the deepest part of ourselves in truly intimate ways. We feel as if we are in a true state of intimacy and everything we do revolves around getting even more of that kind of feeling.

This is the State of Intimacy. We feel fully connected, satisfied with what our spouse is giving us and it is when we feel this way that we become more willing to give so that we might get even more from him/her. We are even willing to sacrifice our own happiness in that moment in order to make our spouses happiness more certain. We become unselfish to the point of being willing to give up almost anything in order to provide for our spouse. Our Giver runs all negotiations between us and we even start to give with little expectation of anything in return. We become selfless toward our spouse, often to our own detriment.

If our spouse does something that causes us to feel threatened, we pull away. If we still feel connected, bonded and committed to the relationship, we start to look for more from him/her and want more than we are getting. If they suddenly fail to provide what we need and want, we react the same way. The simplest threats and the most prolific are not the result of our spouse wanting to cause us harm, but simply the result of thoughtlessness. Our spouse does not consider our feelings and desires or needs before doing something and that thoughtlessness indicates to our deepest emotions, inside of our lizard brain, that they do not have our best interests in mind and could actually do something to harm us. For most relationships, we could quickly set aside our reaction to such things and move past them to find common ground or simply walk away. However, when we are committed to each other, we cant do those things so easily and must balance what we need from our spouse in order to regain that feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment and safety.

This is when our Taker shows up at the negotiating table. Our Taker doesnt really care what our spouse wants. It wants us to be safe, secure, satisfied, fulfilled and happy even if it means that he/she will be unhappy, feel threatened or be unsatisfied with the outcome. We want more from the relationship that we are getting and we demand that we get it. Compromise is difficult, giving is almost impossible and until we feel safe and happy again, we are going to be like that two year old that wants something at the checkout in the supermarket. We will make our desires and our unhappiness known and will make everyone around us, especially our spouse, miserable until we get it.

If thoughtless behavior or unmet needs continue long enough, we start to widen our boundaries in subtle ways and prevent our spouse from gaining access to that part of us that feels threatened or unsatisfied. If the emotional distance between us becomes wide enough, we simply shut our spouse out of our lives. We begin to seek what we want, need and those things we desire to feel satisfied from other sources. Not only are we unwilling to give anything to our spouse, but we are unwilling to accept anything from them as well. Our Giver stops giving and our Taker gives up caring. We become emotionally disconnected, are unwilling to share ourselves with our spouse and if the cause of our withdrawal was thoughtlessness that made us feel unsafe, we once again start to feel safe since we are no longer allowing our spouse to have access to our emotions.

If you look at the chart above, you can see that these three states are a sort of continuum. We move back and forth across the scale from one state to another as our underlying emotional state changes. If our spouse does something that makes us doubt his/her commitment to the relationship or shows a lack of care by failing to provide something we move toward self-protection and self-gratification. If however, he/she does something that makes us feel good emotionally, gives us a feeling of safety and security or provides just the right things to meet our most basic need of the moment, we move into the region that best describes our current emotional state.

Since much of our time together is spent in that middle ground called a state of Conflict, what we do when in that state determines if we move back into intimacy or throw up walls to separate ourselves further from the relationship. It is called Conflict because this state is marked by conflict as we seek to gain what we need from our spouse and as negotiations center on getting what we want without much willingness to give or give up anything in return. Our Giver takes a back seat and our Taker runs the show.

There are two things to keep in mind when thinking about this. First is that because our Taker is unwilling to sacrifice or give anything as we seek what we need and want from our spouse, it can stand in the way of resolving conflict and prevent us from moving back into Intimacy. Secondly, if we are in a state of Intimacy, our Giver can cause us resentment and dissatisfaction as the result of being willing to sacrifice just about anything including our own happiness in an effort to make our spouse happy. It is then our own actions and choices that cause us to begin to feel unsafe and dissatisfied moving us into the place where our Taker seeks to balance the books by taking what we need at our spouses expense.

Because what happens when we are in Conflict determines whether we return to Intimacy or separate ourselves further, what we do to resolve conflict becomes of primary importance to the state of our relationship. If we fail to negotiate fairly or if we demand satisfaction at our spouses expense, we move them further away from Intimacy and toward Withdrawal. Likewise, if we sacrifice our own happiness in order to avoid the conflict or in order to give believing that it is somehow more noble or better than taking, we can push ourselves further apart instead of bringing us closer together.

What we do to resolve conflict then becomes more important than resolving the conflict itself. How we go about finding resolution matters more to a strong relationship than finding a common solution to a disagreement. It is better to disagree than to impose a solution that makes one of us feel threatened or unhappy with the outcome. This is true even when we find ourselves in Intimacy since our Giver can sabotage our own happiness and safety when we seek to make our spouse happy and we write an emotional check our lizard refuses to cash.



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: Ace] #145367
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Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Ace] #153139
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The Policy of Joint Agreement

Perhaps the most controversial of all of Harleys work is his Policy of Joint Agreement often called POJA. The reason it is so controversial is that it seems to go against our very nature as individuals. Our individualism is key in our society today and anything that appears to relinquish control over our own destiny is at odds with that view. The Policy of Joint Agreement says this:
Originally Posted By: The Policy of Joint Agreement
Never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement between you and your spouse.


The entire idea goes back to Harleys most basic assumption, that is, when we are married, nearly everything we do affects our spouse (emotionally) and that effect can be either positive or negative. POJA then strives to minimize the negative while optimizing the positive. The question then becomes, how can we insure that what we do will not have a detrimental affect on our spouses emotional response and the resulting loss of feelings of love while making it more likely that what we do will bring our spouse closer to us instead of driving him or her away?

The first trigger for most in looking at the POJA is the very first word, the word Never. Being one of those absolute things that we all so loathe starts us right off with an idea we just have a hard time with in that it seems to be saying that our spouse will have the final say in everything that we will ever do. We are giving up our own right to choose our own life and actions we might undertake and giving our spouse the right to make all choices for us. In a dysfunctional marriage this is the way the POJA would operate. It is no small fear and requires more fully understanding the process by which an enthusiastic agreement is reached in order to get to what we are really trying to get at here.

The problem we face whenever we want one thing and our spouse wants something entirely different or simply does not want the same thing we want is that we see two possibilities: 1) We get what we want or 2) Our spouse gets what he or she wants. We see only a zero sum end game where one wins and the other loses and for one to get anything at all, the other must give something up.

In the context of our Giver and Taker and the way each operates in the three states of mind we find ourselves in within the marriage, POJA is designed to allow our cognitive abilities and processes to override our emotions. Since our Giver is that part of us that wants to make our spouse happy and our Taker is that part of us that wants to make us happy, both our Giver and our Taker should see the benefit in POJA. Both our Giver and our Taker can be satisfied by adhering to POJA . Because our Giver is willing to make us unhappy when in a state of intimacy in order to make our spouse happy and our Taker is willing to make our spouse unhappy when we are in a state of conflict in order that we might be happy, POJA prevents our Giver from making us unhappy and also prevents our Taker from making our spouse unhappy. It lets our Giver give by enthusiastically agreeing and it lets our Taker get while preventing us from doing it at the emotional expense of our spouse by requiring enthusiastic agreement before we act.

What we usually fail to see is that in almost every single case there are not two possible outcomes or even two possible choices. There are in fact many possibilities, some of which we find less desirable and some we find more so. The process of arriving at full enthusiastic mutual agreement requires examining the possible and available choices to try to discover one such option that is most likely to give us what we want while at the same time giving our spouse what he or she wants. The problem we face is not so much one of my way or not my way versus my spouses way or not my spouses way, but finding a perhaps different way of each getting exactly what is actually wanted. This usually requires redefining what it is we are each looking for in order to prevent it from being a matter of mine or yours without understanding entirely what mine really is and what yours really entails.

We might be able to negotiate world peace with little problem focusing on the real issues or negotiate a contract with a vendor or client that we both find to give us both exactly what we want. We might be able to do it so easily that we believe we are supreme negotiators yet when it comes time to negotiate with our spouse for something that we want or need, we find ourselves unable to articulate our real intent, unwilling to give anything we hadnt already chosen to give and unwilling to give up the thing we are seeking. We resort to that compromise we believe solves all such impasses and find a way to get what we want while promising what our spouse wants later or simply give up all possibility of getting what we want and find resentment growing inside us over being made to submit to our spouses demands. Ultimately, one of us wins and the other loses. The winner feels triumphant, energized and thrilled only to pay a price later of loss of intimacy, lack of support for other things in the future and finding the loser unwilling to even consider any arguments for what they want the next time negotiations are needed.

The loser feels threatened, unsafe to remain tied to this person who can act selfishly in spite of how I feel about something, sad, hurt, unloved and adamantly certain that no further submission is going to take place... ever Resentment remains in the aftermath, perhaps for years and depending on how big the loss is perceived might be found one day on a list of times you were being an uncaring jerk as you negotiate again, this time for division of assets in your divorce settlement.

Future negotiations also become bleak prospects as we begin to refuse to negotiate fairly and each seeks to leverage the other to be sure that our views are heard. If we lose often enough, we stop offering to negotiate at all and start simply doing whatever we want to do without considering how it might affect our spouse. We simply take with no thought of giving in return until we each end up living as if the other doesnt exist, moving farther apart daily as neither of us feels safe in the relationship and the only way we see ever getting what we want is to get it on our own.

The problem is that our normal way of dealing with each other is based on our emotional state at the time. If we are in a state of intimacy, our Giver is willing to give up almost anything, since our Giver is that part of us that wants to make our spouse happy, even if it costs us our own happiness. If we are in a state of conflict, our Taker is in charge of all interaction between us and our Taker is that part of us that demands we are satisfied, no matter what it might cost our spouse emotionally or otherwise. A single failed negotiation can cause our Giver to step aside and our Taker to reign supreme in all future attempts making us each totally selfish in seeking only what we want from the other without regard to what it might cost our relationship or our spouse.

POJA seeks to overcome this by ensuring that we do not gain at the expense of our spouse. What is often missed is that it is also intended to prevent us from losing at our spouses gain. It seeks to find win/win solutions to all conflicts rather than to find any resolution that costs one emotionally while the other gains at his or her expense.

The reason we so often find ourselves being incompatible is that we make choices that lead to incompatibility. POJA can create a lifestyle that leads to compatibility by preventing our Taker from using thoughtless and selfish, even abusive behavior, in order to gain at the expense of our spouses emotions. It also stops our Giver from acting from the purely emotional side of us in an effort to make our spouse happy and so give more than we can give emotionally and remain happy. Harley says it this way:

Compatibility is building a way of life that is comfortable for both spouses.

Another word that should jump right off the page and hit you squarely between the eyes is the word enthusiastic. The word should make your Taker happy because it means that your spouse will agree with you whenever you want to do anything. It should make your Giver happy because it means that you will agree to make sure that your spouse will get what he or she wants in order to make them happy.

Your Taker will also notice that it means that your spouse can prevent you from getting what you want if your spouse does not agree with it. It will also make your Giver unhappy because it means that you will not be able to just give your spouse whatever he or she wants unless you agree that it is something that makes you able to agree enthusiastically.

At first following POJA seems like it would be impossible. Based on our emotional state at the time we will either not care what we want or not care what our spouse wants. Once a couple starts to follow POJA however they often find that it becomes much easier as both spouses are more likely to benefit from nearly every choice that has to be made. This is because it removes that emotional basis that keeps us stuck in acting from our Taker or our Giver alone and returns the decision making process to that part of our brain that analyzes things, looks at real data and consequences and keeps us from making the choices that affect our spouse as well as ourselves from purely emotional condition. It is when we act from emotion that we are not really acting at all but merely reacting and those reactions are not rational thoughts resulting in clearly defining and making choices but simply responses to current circumstances and the stimulus currently present around us. It is a short sighted way of making decisions and sacrifices future happiness for one or both for limited short term satisfaction.

POJA keeps us from making the choices we face and the consequences of those choices that follow in all cases based entirely on the part of ourselves that is ever changing, unstable in the best of times and is not thinking about the choices or consequences at all but merely responding to how we feel in this second in time. It lets us choose from our thoughts instead of thoughtlessness and feelings.

Next well look at using POJA to make decisions.


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] #299464
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Mark: " Next well look at using POJA to make decisions."

Is there any more to be added?

AITL

Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: Am I Too Late] #299492
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I'll be waiting for that one!


Accept what is,
Let go of what was
and have faith in what will be.
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: 20yrsdone] #299779
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I started reading this awhile back and just finished it - some excellent stuff here.

I have a question. Recently I was reading on another forum and I read a statement that went something like this:

Once someone has become wayward they need to deal with the fact that whatever they do or say can be questioned or considered suspect at any time for the rest of their lives.

While I do understand questioning things that are actually suspicious, I would love, Mark, to hear your take on this....behind the 8 ball for life feel of the above sentiment. Because I have to say, I w9uld be very uncomfortable with a spouse who felt that had that type of "hold" over me forever. It would feel like less than forgiveness, to be sure.

Any thoughts?

Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: herfuturesbright] #299791
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Hmmm. I am working through some of this right now. Questions come up, years later, about some event that now takes on new meaning. (That night you got up without telling me and left the house to go watch the eclipse? )

I'm making it a point just not to ask those questions any more. I KNOW. I don't need to dwell on it, it really was what I didn't want to believe. We don't have to talk about it any more, talking would just be a way to punish you further.

I think once I get the acceptance thing down, I may have more to say.


Chrysalis
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: herfuturesbright] #299797
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Originally Posted By: herfuturesbright
I started reading this awhile back and just finished it - some excellent stuff here.

I have a question. Recently I was reading on another forum and I read a statement that went something like this:

Once someone has become wayward they need to deal with the fact that whatever they do or say can be questioned or considered suspect at any time for the rest of their lives.

While I do understand questioning things that are actually suspicious, I would love, Mark, to hear your take on this....behind the 8 ball for life feel of the above sentiment. Because I have to say, I w9uld be very uncomfortable with a spouse who felt that had that type of "hold" over me forever. It would feel like less than forgiveness, to be sure.

Any thoughts?


I just read something similar this morning from an e-mail from BAN.

Quote:
"When youve been unfaithful and you answer questions about the affair truthfully more than likely your betrayed spouse will not believe you. You have proven yourself to be untrustworthy and right now they are therefore not likely to believe much (if any) of what you say. Thats normal. This said if you are telling the truth, you will be just fine. Truth stands the test of time. Just keep telling the truth, in time, they will trust you again. Of course telling the truth means your behavior matches your words. If your behavior doesnt match your words youre in trouble."
End Quote

In my opinion, both Time and Consistency are paramount to bringing down the alarm signals, going from Defcon 1, down to Defcon 5 eventually.

If the BS can not, or is unwilling to offer as much forgiveness as warranted, then why bother trying to R?

AITL

Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: herfuturesbright] #299901
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Rather than spend a lot of time delving into why I think that lifetime blame and shame are not productive, let me give you a portion of an article that was written for professionals who work in the field. FTR, I think each view of infidelity listed here has some merit. I think the individuals involved in each case has a lot to do with how a couple must deal with the affair. To reach a new and better marriage, the resentment and anger must be put to rest and a true relationship of equals must begin.

Quote:
Researchers, psychologists, anthropologists and clinicians significantly differ in their approaches to dealing with infidelity. Their views on infidelity effect their rationales for the causes and significantly color their proposed solutions. The different approaches are not mutually exclusive and, except for # 2, the moralistic view, complement each other. Following are brief descriptions of the different approaches to marital affairs.

1. Family or Systems View:
Infidelity, in this view, is seen as a "family affair" that must be understood and treated within the marital system rather than from an individual perspective. Therapists who have taken this position use marital therapy and Systems or Communication Theories to understand the relational dynamics that led to and/or sustain the affair. They shy away from blame and focus on issues of intimacy, communication, expectations, agreements and conflict management in the marriage. They look carefully at the familial legacy of each partner and pay attention to the phases of the marriage, i.e., years of marriage, ages of children, empty nest phase, etc. This approach contends that strengthening the marriage and increasing the quality of communication and intimacy can reduce the chance of infidelity. This approach also views the infidelity crisis as an opportunity for individual growth and a chance for strengthening and solidifying the marriage. The systems view also takes into consideration that the affair may serve the supposedly betrayed spouse. Some partners may even encourage the spouse to have an affair, as is the case with gay spouses who wish to avoid sexual entreaties from their partners by encouraging them to instead satisfy their sexual needs with others.

2. The Moral-Puritan View:
Affairs, in this view, are seen as primarily individual, sinful and immoral acts of betrayal and therefore are likely to irreversibly damage marriages unless the betrayer fully confesses, repents and atones. Authors and therapists who take this puritanical-moralistic, often religiously based, position, generally view the betrayed partner as an innocent victim and put almost exclusive emphasis on the spiritual, emotional and relational rehabilitation of the betrayer.

3. Individual View:
This view focuses on the betrayer's emotional deficit, personality, addiction or phase of life issues. Men often philander as a way to affirm their sense of masculinity by "scoring" with as many women as they can. This approach looks at issues of sexual addiction, early history of abuse, personality disorders and exposure to parent's infidelity. It also attends to issues, such as middle-aged crisis, and often does emphasize marital discord as a significant causal factor in the affair. The focus in this view is on the individual's stage in life, development, history, culture and personality rather than a moral or familial focus.

4. Cultural View:
Affairs, in this view, are not seen as inherently pathological but are a quite normal and even a healthy part of marriage with some people or certain classes in certain cultures. Unlike the puritan or the pathological views, this anthropological approach cites the Japanese's "love wife" practices, the courtesan of the 16th century era in Europe (as depicted in 1988 film Dangerous Liaisons) and many other cultures where extramarital sex has been an accepted norm. Along these lines, the anthropological view also cites the Middle Eastern harem and many polygamous cultures as examples of cultures where multiple or extramarital partners are an accepted and normal practice, especially and often only for men.

5. Anthropological View:
Most anthropologists have documented that humans are not biologically designed to be monogamous and while they may be able to "civilize" themselves to monogamy, nevertheless they will follow the "be fruitful and multiply" tenet at every possible opportunity. Monogamy in the animal kingdom is so rare that those romantic Hallmark cards with pictures of swans or other types of lovebirds should more accurately feature the flatworm. Swans may mate for life, but they're not necessarily faithful to their mates. To a degree, on the other side of the debate is anthropologist Dr. Fisher's claim that human beings are among 3 percent of the world's 4,000 species of mammals pre-programmed for monogamy. With a handful of researchers, she has been investigating the "monogamy gene."

6. Modern Culture and Media as a Promotional Culprit of Infidelity
Affairs, in this view, are seen as a result of a permissive, modern, mass media culture that subtlety promotes affairs in the same way as it promotes violence. We live in a society that is preoccupied with sex and commercializes this sexuality in any way and form possible. Along with the obsession-fascination with sex, there is titillation surrounding other's affairs. The media has been sensationalizing affairs such as those of Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby and Prince Charles. Similarly, movies such as Same Time, Next Year, The Bridges of Madison County, and Prince of Tides and TV shows, such as Desperate Housewives, Sex in the City, normalize affairs and create a permissive atmosphere. The Internet and its booming pornographic and sexual businesses have probably contributed not only to an epidemic of online affairs but also to real life affairs, as well.


Full Article Here

From the same article:

Quote:
  • Ultimately, the key to healing from infidelity involves forgiveness, which is frequently the last step in the healing process.
  • To forgive is to pardon, exonerate, absolve, make allowances for, harbor no grudge against and bury the hatchet.
  • The unfaithful spouse can do everything right, be forthcoming, express remorse, listen lovingly and act in a trustworthy manner, and still, the marriage won't mend unless the betrayed person forgives his or her spouse and the unfaithful spouse forgives him or herself.
  • Forgiveness is letting go of anger and resentment.
  • Forgiveness opens the door to real intimacy and connection.
  • A sense of injury is an aggrieved feeling about something or towards someone as a result of real or perceived insult, harm or ill-intentioned actions.
  • One definition of resentment is "when one takes the poison, but hopes the other person dies." Resentment, according to this statement, is toxic to the person who feels it and in turn to the marital relationship.
  • Evidently, forgiveness and letting go of the pain inflicted is of extreme importance in healing from an affair. Holding on to the angry pain is a significant obstacle to mature love.



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] #300076
06/04/13 11:10 PM
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herfuturesbright Offline
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Thanks Mark. I did not have to endure "indefinite punishment" because of two things:

I DID confess, answer all questions, prove trustworthy again over time, and give J time

J chose to see the change in me and chose to believe I was no longer the woman who cheated, and he fully forgave.

I don;t see what I did as all that special - I mean, that should be EXPECTED after betraying one's spouse the way I did.

My H's response and recovery, on the other hand, I found and still find to be quite extraordinary.

Last edited by herfuturesbright; 06/04/13 11:12 PM.
Re: The Road to Recovery: Getting the Marriage You Want [Re: herfuturesbright] #305520
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The Art of Making Decisions In Marriage

Quote:
The Policy of Joint Agreement
Never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement between you and your spouse.


For a marriage to be a sustainable and fulfilling relationship for both of you, it must become, above all, a partnership between you and your spouse.

The world of business is filled with examples of the way a partnership works. When there are several partners, decision-making often breaks down into a simple vote. Those in favor of a decision and those not in favor of that decision state their preference and the majority wins. It seems clean and so simple that most decisions are finalized rather quickly and movement, for the good of the business and the detriment move ahead. The consequences, if they become negative, are sorted out when they manifest themselves over time. The consequences for the partnership are what can make or break the partnership and determine how long that partnership remains intact.

When groups of people vote to determine the direction of the group as a whole, the members of the group naturally fall into two camps.
  1. The Winners
  2. The Losers


The Winners feel empowered, vindicated and validated. The Losers feel disenfranchised, invalidated and resentful. Those on the winning side see the win as success while the losing side experience it as a failure. If one side loses often enough, the partnership, and the business itself, are threatened. When one partner or group of partners begin to feel disenfranchised enough, they withdraw from the partnership and the partnership is dissolved.

Quite often, partners will leave the partnership or others will seek to buy out his or her share of the equity of the partnership to break the cycle of winning and losing. Many companies that begin as a partnership eventually end up as a sole proprietorship simply because decisions that affect the business affects each of the partners on a personal level. It can become very difficult to continue investing in something that you no longer believe has any personal benefit and eventually, the interpersonal relationships within a partnership suffer when any partner or group of partners feels disenfranchised by what they see as disempowering choices made by other partners. Partners who submit to other partners dont feel like partners. They feel like servants and that dynamic can permeate the entire business. The result is often a climate of conspiracies, clandestine efforts to sabotage projects and power struggles that lead to a less than unified direction for the company.

In a partnership with an odd number of partners, voting always results in a decision being made. When there are an even number of partners, ties are sometimes inevitable. Once indecision results, the business and partnership stagnates until the impasse can be resolved. To prevent such an impasse, companies often go to great lengths to establish a method by which that kind of impasse gets resolved so the company as a whole can move forward. Without moving forward, the company is in peril and the point of having the partnership with it.

When there are but two partners, ties can be abundant. Voting is pointless because if one partner wants to move one direction and the other partner wants to go another way, neither side is likely to be willing to compromise on a level that will generate a clear path. In well-planned partnerships, this quagmire is sometimes overcome by selecting one partner as the managing partner while the other is relegated to the losing position. Those who lose often enough begin to feel threatened by the partnership and disenfranchisement again rears its head.

Some partnerships seek to overcome this dynamic by alternating decision making responsibilities and exchanging roles as the managing partner. One partner decides when there is an impasse now and the other partner chooses the direction the next round of incompatible ideas. Most of the time it works and many such partnerships thrive initially. Eventually some choice needs to be made that addresses some core value or vision for the partnership and the process of taking turns to rule ends up delaying the inevitable. Sooner or later, someone will be unhappy enough with a decision that he or she will begin to dismantle the partnership in overt or covert ways.

What is often overlooked in negotiations in a two-person partnership is that there are really three important aspects to every decision that is made. A decision might be better for one partner or the other partner and the one who feels like he is coming out on the short end of things is resentful and wants to prevent what benefits the partner at his own expense. Partners want to benefit from every decision and when one person gets satisfaction while the other is left investing in something that no longer satisfies them, the partnership is once more in jeopardy. When a person feels like he or she are not getting anything in return for the investment, that person is less likely to be willing to compromise and will begin to seek ways to balance the power of the partnership by coming out on top until sufficient satisfaction is felt.

What starts to get lost in this sort of struggle is the third aspect of decision-making and negotiation. What gets lost is what is best for the company or partnership. What is best for one or the other might not always be what is best for the business. When each partner seeks only self-satisfaction, the business begins to unwind until it is left unsustainable and pointless. Its value is now such that nobody is willing to invest anything into what is seen as a dying cause and the vision and mission that originally produced the partnership no longer exist and the business become irrelevant.

A marriage is a partnership that has two partners. What we have the hardest time remembering is that it is also another entity known as the marriage. What brought us together might have been what we each got from the relationship. When we forget that the relationship itself must be sustained in order for it to have any lasting value, we start to make decisions based on what benefits ourselves with each partner seeking self-satisfaction, even if it is at the expense of the other. This is where Dr Harleys description of the Giver and Taker sides of our personality shows itself and why the Policy of Joint Agreement is important to keeping the partnership alive.

There is a method of making decisions never produces winners and losers. Choices are made by reaching consensus. Consensus does not necessarily mean that everyone is in enthusiastic support of an idea, simply that no one is enthusiastically against the decision being presented. Everyone does not have to say Yes on every issue being decided, but anyone who is willing to say No can stop the decision from being made and so prevent any movement forward. I have been involved in several groups that operate in this manner and I know that it works well most of the time. The place where it begins to fail is when any person (or group) loses sight of the goals of the organization (the point of making the decision) and begins looking at things from a personal perspective. The concept works well until one person is not willing to support something and then that thing that plagues all interpersonal relationships begins to take shape

In most business negotiations, choices can be made for the benefit of the business. Negotiations are straightforward, with each side asking for everything and willing to accept what is equitable. In marriage, we encounter a problem much more quickly than it appears in business. That problem is how we feel in the moment. When we feel that the relationship is no longer equitable or that there is some inequality is a benefit to one spouse over the other, we feel threatened. This is not a choice we make; it is but the way our primitive brain works. If I am not getting what I want, getting it is the only satisfaction I can see and failing to get it is experienced as dissatisfaction, unhappiness and disenfranchisement.

This is where the idea of our Giver and Taker shows itself. When we feel like we are getting more than enough from our relationship and our return on investment is high, we are willing to compromise and give more readily than when we feel like we are coming out on the short end. When we dont get what we want (or expect) we are no longer willing to give anything that will benefit our spouse because it does not benefit us.

The more strongly we feel we must come out on top, the more likely it is our Taker is ruling our negotiations. When two Takers clash, it becomes a battle of wills (and willingness) instead of a logical function of making a choice. Our Taker does not negotiate well. Instead, our Taker seeks ways to manipulate, control and dominate the negotiations and is unwilling to fight fairly. What we feel is centered entirely on ourselves and our own personal return on investment. We have no expectations regarding what benefit the situation might hold for our spouse, only what is in it for me.

Early in a relationship, we are filled with raw emotion that makes us willing to give away anything to make our spouse happy. Those chemically induced highs and lows that resemble mental illness more than they do any sort of partnership cause us to do all sorts of things that later in marriage we are no longer willing to even attempt. We ignore annoying habits and shortcomings of our new love and see only the benefits of having a relationship. We become obsessed with meeting and meeting his or her emotional needs. We invest everything we have emotionally with little regard to what we might get back, simply because we are getting so much that we feel connected, bonded, special and like we have finally found our true soul mate. This is not sustainable for long, however, since the chemical rush of new love and limerence eventually slips into the shadows and soon we are left with how to work out a compatible and mutual equitable partnership.

Our relationship then becomes more or less important based on how we feel at the time. When we are getting what we feel to feel connected and safe with our spouse, we act in ways that shows our Giver at its pinnacle of power. We want to make our spouse happy and even giving up our own soul is on the table to make that happen. When we feel less connected and like we are giving more than we are getting back, our Taker demands that we are satisfied before we are willing to invest anything more. Until we are happy, our spouse is getting nothing from us that might make him or her happy, since we feel like we arent getting anything back, or at least not enough. It has become an inequitable partnership in which one partner feels disenfranchised.

Therefore, we stand in the way of anything that benefits our spouse. It isnt even that we dont like what he or she wants, simply that there is nothing in it for me. If we let our spouse have this (whatever this might be), things will feel even more unbalanced and our own account will plummet further into the red.


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] #305521
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Making Decisions By Following the Policy of Joint Agreement

When we are in that State of Intimacy, our Giver is willing to do anything at all to make our spouse feel happy and satisfied. Our Giver doesnt care if we are happy or not, only that our spouse is happy. When we are in a State of Conflict, our Taker wants only what we want to be happy. Our Taker cares not even a little whether our spouse is happy or even if he or she is unhappy. The Policy of Joint Agreement is meant to prevent either of these conditions from ruining our feelings for each other beyond what our daily interactions can repair.

When we want something we are not getting from our spouse, we stop negotiating and start trying to manipulate and control the outcome so that we get what we want. This is our Taker running the show and our Taker is a function of how closely connected we feel with our spouse at any given time. Out Taker has specific methods of trying to get what it thinks we should have. Among these are selfish demands (I dont care what you want, I want what I want and I want it now), disrespectful judgments (If you love me, you should give me what I want), angry outbursts (If I dont get what I want, I will make your life a living hell until I get it) and eventually, independent behavior (Ill just do whatever I feel like doing and how you feel doesnt matter one bit to me).

The more strongly we feel like we are connected to our spouse, the more willing we are to negotiate fairly and equitably. This speaks to what Art Aron calls the Inclusion of Other In Self. A graphic representation of this can be seen below:



At the top left is the way we view our relationship with each other when we are in a pure State of Withdrawal. At the bottom right is the way we see it when purely in a State of Intimacy. In between those ends of things, we see ourselves as being more or less connected with each other and it is the way we see the connectedness of the relationship that determines how willing we are to negotiate to resolution rather than resorting to manipulating each other to arrive at getting what we want.

The more we feel that our spouse is part of ourselves (the more connected we feel) the more likely we are to want him or her to be happy and satisfied with what we can give. The less we see our spouse as part of ourselves, the less willing we are to consider his or her feelings at all. Something else is at work here however, that makes staying as connected as the (perhaps ideal) model at the lower right might indicate. The more we feel connected, the more overlap there is between ourselves and our spouse, the more what our spouse does, says or fails to do or say, affects how we feel about the state we find ourselves in and how connected we feel at that moment. The more closely our spouse feels connected with us, the more what we do and say affects him or her as well.

When we have any sort of conflict, how we go about resolving that conflict affects the state of our relationship and the connectedness we each feel as a result more than the outcome of the resolution itself. If we hurt each other by way of manipulation or other weapons in our Taker's arsenal to try to get our own way in the conflict or negotiation, then our spouse backs up one or more levels in the IOS model until he or she feels safe to interact with us to resolve the conflict. What the Policy of Joint Agreement strives to do is to prevent our negotiations from driving our spouse farther down the scale. Winning might seem important at the time, but it is a self-defeating strategy since winning at your spouses expense, will cause him or her to move into a state of being less connected where accepting anything you might present in negotiation from being accepted. The more strongly we hold our ground, the farther apart resolution gets until one or both of us withdraws and negotiation breaks down completely.

By leaving the negotiation until we are more clear-headed and less emotionally inclined to turn it into a fight for control and dominance, we can prevent driving our spouse further into a place where negotiations become less likely to result in what we want. We might then be able (and willing) to seek options or solutions that allow us to get what we need and want without our spouse having to sacrifice (and to keep us from having to sacrifice so our spouse gets what he or she wants). In the ideal decision, both of you get what you want without the other having to pay for it at all. It can only happen when we both keep looking for that kind of solution instead of choosing one side of the debate and working to overcome opposition from our spouse so we can be the winner.

What we must do when we seem to be at am impasse is remember that because we are in a connected relationship, when one of us wins, we both win because the partnership benefits. We need to stay focused on the fact that we are members of the same team. Who has a bad day and who has a bad day matters less than whether or not the team wins. Who sacrifices a few points in batting average by laying down a sacrifice bunt to move a runner to where he might score on an infield groundball is as valuable as hitting a homerun and can mean playing in the World Series or spending October in contract negotiations or transitioning to a new career because the team has decided to look for new talent.

For more on marriage as a team see my article: Marriage Is A Team Sport

I am not suggesting that the way to negotiate is to sacrifice your own needs and wants for your spouse. That is the way our Taker sees the conflict before us. If our spouse wins then we lose. However, marriage is not a zero-sum sort of game. Each of us must be aware of what it takes for the team to win and not just what our contract at the end of the season can gain by trying to be a homerun hitter when the season is on the line.

Whenever we have conflict in marriage, it is more important to avoid hurting each others feelings than that we come to quick resolution of the conflict. What we tend to do, what our Taker convinces us to do, is to get our own way no matter what the cost in our spouses feelings. When things are clicking well and the relationship is close and connected, our Giver convinces us to do is let our spouse have his or her own way in things no matter what it might cost us emotionally. The Policy of Joint Agreement seeks to override and prevent either of these from separating us emotionally from one another while providing a framework for making decisions that affect each other emotionally.

One strategy for getting what we want always fails to work in the end. That strategy, another favorite of our Taker, is to just do whatever we want. We rely on the concept that to seek forgiveness is easier than to gain permission. We avoid the power-play and what we experience as control of ourselves by someone else by simply doing whatever we feel like doing at the time and expecting our spouse to get over it. What this ultimately leads to in our spouse is the disconnection and withdrawal until he or she can no longer receive value from the relationship at which time our spouse either checks out of the relationship entirely or his or her Taker begins to try to return some sort of equity to the relationship by choosing to make our losing a condition of self-satisfaction.


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] #305524
07/10/13 07:35 PM
07/10/13 07:35 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,072
SW Chicago 'burbs
Mark1952 Offline OP
Board of Directors
Mark1952  Offline OP
Board of Directors
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,072
SW Chicago 'burbs
Practical Considerations For Following POJA

It is in his discussion of the Policy of Joint Agreement that Dr Harley presents four guidelines for successful negotiation to prevent unwanted disconnection and hurt feelings.

These four guidelines are:

  1. The negotiations must be safe for both spouses. Nobody will be willing to negotiate with someone who is controlling, lashing out to hurt you or who is making the experience so uncomfortable and disappointing that you only wish to avoid any conversation with him at all. Therefore, rules must be present to assure the safety and protect the feelings of both spouses;
    1. Try to keep the negotiations pleasant and as cheerful as possible throughout the process. It can be easy when you are in a good mood but resolving conflict can be stressful and change our moods pretty quickly. We can quickly become defensive and argumentative and lose sight of the point of negotiating and try to take control or simply end all negotiations and put an end to what our spouse is asking of us.
    2. Make it safe to be honest and express feelings your top priority. When we feel that we are not being heard or that our feelings are not being considered as valid by our spouse, we become defensive, even offensive, in the way we say and present things. We lash out in anger, show disrespect and make selfish demands of our spouse in an effort to sway him or her into giving us what we want. If either of you becomes defensive, starts to get angry or becomes disrespectful, agree ahead of time that you will stop the negotiations and return later when clearer minds and less fragile and highly charged emotions are taking over.
    3. If you reach an impasse, agree to give the decision some time and for both of you to ruminate on your respective positions. Avoid seeking immediate gratification at the expense of your spouse and come back to it later, perhaps with one or both having a better or more expansive view or interpretation.
  2. Try to identify the problem from both perspectives. This is really what validation is all about, to empathize with the feelings of the other without seeking to change or modify those feelings in order to win the debate or argument. Another way to say this might be Seek first to understand and then to be understood.
  3. Brainstorm to find solutions to the stand-off. Brainstorming allows us to explore options, look for commonality, and build on strengths instead of responding from our hurt feelings and raw emotions. It lets us explore things we might not have considered at first and gives us more than just the two options of what I want and what my spouse doesnt want. Brainstorming helps us see that there are not really only two choices, but an entire range of options, many of which will still give us what we want. The more options we can come up with, the more likely we will be to finding a solution that gives us both what we want out of the deal. The result is a win-win instead of one of a winner and a loser, the former less likely to get much next time around and the latter much less willing to let you have your way next time no matter what might be in it for him or her.
  4. Pick the option or solution that best follows the Policy of Joint Agreement. Just because you havent found one yet, doesnt mean there isnt one. Maybe your spouse will not ever reach a point where the answer is Hell YES! Just maybe you can take that fishing trip this weekend with the guys if you mow the lawn before you go and agree to take her to dinner when you get back next week. The secret to finding a win-win solution is to keep trying until you find one that works without either of you having to be the loser and resent having sacrificed your own emotional well-being for the short tem happiness of your spouse.


I know many of you (maybe all of you) are right now thinking Well, what about? The kids need shoes, the house needs painting, the roof leaks, the lawn needs mowing and even the trash gets to go out once per week and he wants to take off to the backwoods for 5 days where lies and beer consumption will be the standard investment of the day. The car is in disrepair, the tires are bald, they just cut back on overtime at work and she wants to spend 100 dollars on a pair of shoes she will only wear twice and only once before they are out of style.

Perhaps the debate is a huge one. Where will we live? What car will we buy? What color should the walls in the bedroom be? Will her parents stay with you when they come to visit for three months? Will he get that new shotgun before waterfowl season or will you get those new shoes before they are hopelessly out of style?

The reason these kinds of decisions are so difficult is that you have not followed POJA in the past. You have each taken what you wanted, by broken promises that seemed like compromise at the time or by manipulation or simply by wearing each other down until one of you stops negotiations with the word Whatever! Your experience has been to make sure that you get what you want first, no matter what the emotional cost might be to your spouse. Maybe youve been on the other side and know that unless you put a stop to this nonsense, it will cost you more than you are willing to invest. You have together used control, manipulation and the methods of your Taker to coerce and demand what you want of each other until any connection and care for each other that is left teeters on the brink of disappearing forever.

One thing to consider in all of this is what is called the 24 rule. What you see before you might be monumental from where you are right now, but before you respond thoughtlessly, think about it for 24 seconds. What difference will the debate make in 24 seconds, or 24 hours, or 24 days or monthsor 24 years? Remember that I am talking about the NEXT 24 years and not the last 24. Is getting what you want more important than whether or not your spouse is hurt by the decision? Is your life and plans, hope for the future, the viability of your family less valuable than being right or winning?

What about life or death questions? I hear you asking. Like what, going to the hospital or watching the football game? Or maybe eating dinner for the next week or buying those shiny new pumps? Or are you talking about losing weight to prevent dying from a heart attack by the age of 40 or eating tofu and humus for lunch?

You see, how we each frame the problem determines how important it is to get our way. Happiness is at best a fleeting thing. We each want what will make us happy and that changes minute by minute, day by day throughout our lives. We never have all we want and there is always more we think might make us happy. Real joy and satisfaction comes more from appreciation and remembrance of what we have. What we share together, our marriage, our relationship, can be more satisfying for many years to come if we agree to stop chasing temporary rainbows and act and speak in a more thoughtful way instead of hurting our spouse to manipulate him or her into granting our most recent urges.

The Policy of Joint Agreement is meant to make us think instead of reacting to our emotional condition. It keeps us from writing emotional checks we will never be able to cash or demanding more from our spouse than he or she is willing to invest in our temporary euphoria.

Yes, there may be times when following POJA is unreasonable. If your spouse is abusive, having an affair and wants you to keep the affair a secret while you want his family to know what he is doing, following POJA would be foolish. If your spouse is an addict or drives drunk with the kids in the car, negotiating an end doesnt necessarily mean finding a solution that lets him keep drinking and driving the kids home from soccer while you sit waiting to hear that your family has been killed in a fiery crash. Those might be real life or death choices that demand that you act unilaterally.

There arent a whole lot of those in marriage and when they do appear, they most often are not hard to find solutions to that you can both live with. It is the choices like stopping off at the bar without letting your spouse know about it and buying those new shoes and hiding the receipt because you know he has been working overtime for months to buy that new shotgun and might tell you that your needs are unimportant to him.

A word of caution in implementing POJA in your marriage. Start with day-to-day stuff and work up to the decisions you havent been able to resolve in 20 years of being together. Start negotiating fairly but with a willingness to accept a perspective that might differ from your own. Seek to understand your spouses feelings before wasting so much emotional energy on trying to get him or her to agree with your viewpoint. Is what you are asking for really so important that you must sacrifice your spouses feelings toward you to get it? Is it something that must happen right now; or would waiting until a different time, or place, still get you what you want without making your spouse feel like he or she is paying for your happiness with his or her own?

Begin with What is your feeling about? "What would make you enthusiastically agree to? If I ___, how would that make you feel? Youll find that in almost every case your spouse either wants you to get what you want or has no preference that precludes you getting it. It is when we discount the feelings of our spouse, invalidate the way he or she feels and try to manipulate and coerce him or her into giving in to our whims that we find ourselves at an emotional impasse. Following POJA lets us set aside the emotions and use logic and thought to find an answer instead of thoughtless behavior that causes harm to the emotions of our spouse and makes defensiveness and self protection more important than finding a way to win 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] #305549
07/11/13 12:18 AM
07/11/13 12:18 AM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 4,657
L
LadyGrey Offline
Professional Attorney
LadyGrey  Offline
Professional Attorney
L
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 4,657
Plan LadyGrey:

Anyone considering recovery shall be required by law to read the forgoing and achieve a score of not less than 70% on a multiple choice test to be compiled with the input of posters who exceed 3000 posts, or, alternatively, have been banned from any marriage forum.


Bidden or not bidden God is present.
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