Looking Outside your Marriage for Comfort

She sat in my office and began to tell me about how her marriage unfolded. One day, out of the blue, he told her that there were these things he found wrong with her. They were silly things.

I braced myself because I knew it was coming…… I have heard it all before.

It starts with “I’m not attracted to you. You don’t do __________ right or you never do ___________.”

It then goes to “I’m just not in love with you anymore.” As though love just ups and walks away one day. I am going to give you a hint: It doesn’t. Love is a choice.

Next confusion starts to enter in on the part of the one who is being told these things. They wonder what is wrong with them. Are they no longer lovable? What can they do to make themselves loveable?

Finally, the bomb drops. I braced myself because I knew it all along: there is an affair. It can be physical or it can be emotional. Either way—they have handed over their heart from their spouse to someone else outside of the marriage.

Here is where deception begins to enter in. Deception starts to say, “It’s okay—you don’t love them anymore. It’s okay—they are not right for you any way. You were too young when you married them. You made a mistake. You can’t live life to the fullest with them….they just drag you down.”

So many lies coupled with a chemical imbalance. You see, when you meet and start to flirt with someone new—dopamine levels in your brain begin to surge. It gives you a craving to want to be around them. And guess what?!?—overtime those levels drop and you learn how to be in a committed relationship with a human. A messy human. A relationship that is not butterflies and thrills, but an actual relationship where you must face hard things and grow together.

Hopefully at this point, you can see how important it is to guard your relationship from outside distractions and enticements. They will always be there—I guarantee it. Recognize what those deceptions starts to sound like, because the lies do not sound any different no matter what the relationship is. Do not be deceived.

And if you feel as though you are not happy with the hard things of life in the marriage you are in—go and get help. Being open to help and trusting the counseling process actually helps deepen the bond between you and your spouse in such a satisfying and connecting way that cannot even touch the superficial feelings you first have when you are flirting with someone for the first time. That bond is not easy to get to—it takes work and it is worth it.

-Lindsey Castleman, marriage and family counselor and co-creator of the marriage workshop “7 Conversations to Enrich Your Marriage.”   Connect with Lindsey at findyourpathway.com and 7ConversationsNas