We both cheated. Can our marriage be saved?
Can our marriage be rescued from the affairs we both had?:
I have been married for 10 years now, but we live separately with my spouse. We each had an affair, which destroyed our union. Is it possible to salvage our marriage?
An affair has consequences that could last a long time in a relationship if the path towards reconciliation is not properly handled.
You should peg the desire for reconciliation to what you are not willing to lose in the relationship.
In most instances, couples, in their desire to resume intimacy or fellowship, take the short cut to reconciliation. This is simply not the right approach to heal your marriage from the affairs you both had.
A marriage is made by two people and should something like an affair attack it, the people involved end up hurting differently depending on how they handle pain, failure, and the wrong done against them.
Therefore, trust must play an important part in the journey towards healing.
A marriage that enjoys lasting healing must embrace the following steps in the healing process:
One, recognise the wrong done and the consequence it has had on the relationship. We should realise that pain inflicted by those close to us hurts the most and has the tendency to linger on.
As a matter of principle, affirmation and assurance are necessary to rebuild trust and genuine desire to fellowship.
Two, acknowledge the pain that this affair brought. Pain brings about physical, emotional and even spiritual distance.
Often, the person experiencing the pain remains fixated on their pain, and the person who caused it becomes all they think, talk about and focus on, thereby shrinking their world. Some get depressed, become distant and hostile, while others look for ways to revenge.
Third, it should be the desire of both spouses to seek reconciliation genuinely and promptly.
Avoid forcing your partner into reconciling with you. Instead, let your partner seek reconciliation because they desire it.
The negative emotions that accompany the pain of an affair cause strain, depression and anxiety.
Reconciliation must seek to address these concerns patiently and fully.
In addition, you both must prove to one another that you are committed to rebuilding trust, faithfulness and behaviour that is accountable.
This will bring credibility to the reconciliation process.
Fourth, seek accountability support from another trusted couple, spiritual leader or a qualified counsellor. Accountability will help hold partners true to their commitments. Such accountability should be long-term so as to pick out any gaps that appear along the way.
Of importance, when a spouse makes the decision to forgive, they must, in the same breath, make the choice not to use the wrong against the offender in future.
Do remember that letting go does not mean forgetting the wrong action against you. It also does not mean that you excuse or tolerate such behaviour.
Forgiveness basically means that you make a conscious decision to let go of the desire to get even, hit back, or retaliate. I suggest that you follow these principles and give reconciliation a chance.
Can a sexless marriage survive?
I am a regular reader of your column and I commend you for the great work you are doing.
I am 26 years old, currently dating a man I met seven years ago.
We started off as friends because I was in another relationship then, which resulted to a pregnancy.
Unfortunately, my ex abandoned me when I gave birth, but my then friend, now boyfriend, was there for me.
As time went by, we became close and he asked me to be his girlfriend, and I accepted. We have tried to get intimate, but he is unable to rise to the occasion.
At the beginning, we thought maybe it was because we had just started dating.
We did not think anything was wrong so we decided to continue trying but as time went by, nothing changed. In fact, it got worse.
I have tried every trick in the book to see if it can help our situation, but the situation remains the same.
He now wants us to get married but as much as I love him, I can’t fathom a sexless marriage. I also don’t want to hurt his feelings, so I am in a very difficult situation. Please help me, I am so confused.
There are some issues that stand out here. First, you are a single mother from a relationship that needs to be concluded.
Ensure this is done to avoid future connections that could jeopardise your plans. In all this, remember that you share parenthood with a man who abandoned you.
I am not sure how you and your current boyfriend have dealt with it. I feel like you rushed into an intimate relationship with your current boyfriend.
I am of the opinion that sex out of marriage has its own consequences. You already have a baby with the first man who abandoned both of you. I feel that you should have waited to have things in order, get to know this new man well, get married and then be intimate.
You have to accept that you are a sexual being and that your sexuality is connected to your present and past experiences.
Feelings of shame, guilt from past actions or experiences, worry and anxiety can have a negative impact on a couple’s sex life. Since sex has a lot to do with the state of one’s mind, past actions or fears can affect their performance. In addition, some body dysfunctions can affect a person sexually. Every spouse deserves sexual intimacy, pleasure, fulfilment and connection to their spouse. Sex though, is not all there is in a marriage. I suggest that instead of struggling with intimacy, you concentrate on building your relationship first.
Ask yourself this: if something happened to either of you that will impede sexual relations, would your marriage end? Love is not just about feelings but a conscious choice to commit to another regardless.
I read somewhere that sex should not be seen as a servicing activity. It is a relationship. You are solely responsible for your sexual feelings and actions. Such responsibility helps place marriage where it should be; a commitment to the ideals of love such as patience, endurance, perseverance, and self-control.
Can you really ‘affair-proof’ your marriage?
Yes, you can. Here is how you can make it happen.
Start with the attitude of being certain that you will not stray. Recognise that there are many people who are attractive and might be quite attractive to or attracted by you.
Shake hands with this idea but also make sure that the door is not open to exploring or taking it any further than noticing it, because you know that you will not follow up on any inappropriate relationship outside of your marriage.
Secondly, establish clear boundaries with your partner. There are a lot of nice, interesting and attractive people in this world.
If you find someone that might fit that description, steer clear unless your spouse is around. If this person might be a co-worker or someone that you might see on your own, limit your contact to work or professional conversations.
It is amazingly easy for a simple friendship to develop into something much more important. Thirdly, talk openly about sex.
While affairs are rarely just about sex, often, they may be about a need or a desire to have an active sex life… or sometimes just to be touched and held. If you are unhappy with your intimate life, talk with your partner (and not with someone else) about it.
By PHILIP KITOTO