eo Insights

Life starts with what you believe


Simply Say ‘I Do’ – Part 1

Pre-marital couples often ask me, ‘what is the best advice you can offer us before we get married?  Interestingly, couples who have been married for many years ask a similar question, ‘what is the best advice you can give to help us restore love to our marriage?’

Regardless of the age or stage of the relationship, my answer is always, ‘Learn to say ‘I do’, everyday, with your body, soul and spirit’.

Saying ‘I do’, will mean different things to different people. I find that these simple words invoke dream-like ideals, thoughts, images or sensations that our mind has defined as marriage.  More often than not, we say ‘I do’ to a dream of love; or a dream of feeling committed to another person, of growing old together, ’til death do we part;’ Often it is the dream of Hollywood-style sex, when the chemistry is always perfect, where our physical senses arouse an unyielding fire that is only be consumed by passionate love-making, that is satisfying and fulfilling. Or it could be the dream of sharing each others thoughts without a spoken word.

Sadly, it doesn’t take long for most couples to realize that their dreams have horribly mislead them.  At some point, couples find themselves waking to the harsh reality that they have not married a dream, but a real person with faults, who is unable to read minds and often misinterprets thoughts and intentions.  A real person whose touch stirs up more irritations than goose bumps.  The thought of spending the rest of life with this insensitive individual seems more like a prison sentence than utopia!

This is when saying ‘I do’ really matters!

Saying ‘I do’, is not something we do once at an altar, with friends and family watching.  Saying ‘I do’ is not signing up for lifelong security, or sex, or linking arms with my best friend.  Saying ‘I do’, is a moment by moment, day by day, year after year experience of choosing to connect with the person you have married, body, soul and spirit (for better or worse amidst the good, the bad and the ugly!)  It’s learning how to engage unconditional, caring and romantic love at the right time and place.  Saying ‘I do’ is choosing mature love regardless of the circumstances.  When we say ‘I do, body, soul and spirit, we take the limits off love.  When we take the limits off love, the real dreams of love will begin.

And that’s the best advice I can give to any marriage!

The ‘Say I Do, Body, Soul, Spirit’ course comes with four, 30 minute audio teachings and a workbook filled with thoughtful exercises to deepen your understanding of loving your partner.  It can be purchased at http://www.elaineolson.org, click on the Resources tab.

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Hope For Recovery – After An Affair Part 3

‘Mommy, can you kiss my boo-boo better?’ Time and again, with a little love and attention, the wound that once seemed so devastating, would nicely heal.

As created beings, we were designed to heal.   We have the native ability to recover from trauma, be it physical or emotional. George Auden1 said it this way, ‘Healing is not a science, but the intuitive art of wooing nature.’

This is good news for recovering from an extra-marital affair. Of course we cannot put a time line on how long the recovery will take, but if we remain proactive to encourage the work of healing, it will occur.  The question is ‘In an environment of tremendous hurt, broken trust, guilt, shame, sadness and anger how can partners promote the work of healing? Here’s my starting points.

For the Unfaithful Spouse

Prevent Relapse – Interestingly, relapse prevention is an idea introduced long ago when a woman caught in adultery approached Jesus. He advised her to ‘go and sin no more’2. Practically, that means, don’t relapse. Recovery is encouraged when relapse is no longer an issue. If relapse is a threat, recovery remains on hold. If relapse occurs, the recovery process starts from the beginning.

Over Report – Absolutely tattle on yourself about everything you do, where you were, what you’re thinking and certainly if the affair-ee tried to make contact. Since most betrayed spouses despise the role of policeman in the relationship, adding resentment and stress, take it upon yourself to over report. Transparency and accountability are critical.

Make Your Spouse A Priority – I’m guessing this what went wrong in the first place. Many people think their career, the kids or looking out for #1, should be the top priorities. Nope. That’s a sure way to invite an affair. Your spouse is your priority. Think about it, in no other relationship have you invested so much, risked so much or have the potential for so much gain or pain. Make your greatest investment your highest priority. Somehow that just seems like common sense!

For the Betrayed Spouse

Challenge Your Faith – I’ve often said that faith isn’t faith until it’s put to the test. This may be the greatest test your faith will ever endure. And while you may question it’s existence or feel it’s horribly weak, a willingness to repair the marital damage is an indication of tremendous faith! There is courage deep down in your heart, even if you have to dig around to find it.

Challenge Your Faith – You probably need to read that first point again (and again tomorrow, and the next day and the day after that).

Hang on Tight – Recovering from an extra marital affair feels like the emotional roller coaster ride from hell! There are days you will feel close to your unfaithful partner followed by days you wish murder was legal. You’ll recklessly shift from hopefulness to rage, from shame to desire and from blame to compassion. These twists and turns are normal. During this gut-wrenching journey, mental strength, enlisted support and perseverance will strap you in tight. Hang on, at some point the ride will end.

Although an affair is incredibly hurtful, our God-given ability to heal is more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. There is hope for recovery!

1English Physician and Professor 1872 – 1956

2John 8:11