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old memories
negative thinking
natural response
waste of time
good times
Marriage Saving - Asking The Right Question
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So you are in the situation where there has been a breakdown in a relationship, because of infidelity and an affair. It is perfectly normal to look at things and think 'what went wrong'? What do I need to sort out?

While this is a perfectly natural response, putting all your focus on the negative could mean that anything about the marriage that is positive gets shut out, as there is no space for it. It is then very easy to get into a negative thinking trap.

One question that you might be better asking is: 'what is good and valuable about our marriage'? Of course you cannot totally ignore the problems, but when you have accepted what they are and put in plans to deal with them, then is the time to take a close look at the good things about your marriage.

This type of thinking boosts your feeling that the marriage might actually be worth saving, whereas the negative thinking reinforces the idea that it is a waste of time even to try. You can see easily which of these is going to help your situation. This is when it is the time to focus on some of the things you might have been taking as read in your relationship and perhaps not appreciating their real value.

Maybe you both like the same music and dancing to it, or you both like singing in the bath. What was it about this person that brought you together in the first place? Could it be that you are both passionate about learning and studying, but college is over, so you do not do that any more. Or do you both like exploring historical places, but the advent of a family made this harder to do together?

It is very easy to discount the things that interested you in each other in the first place. To guide you in your search to accentuate the positive, see if you can make use of these three processes.

First process - look back on the good times. Get the scrapbook or the photo album out. Lay out those old records and tapes that you loved when you met. Try to find a photo which expresses one of those old memories, then get it blown up and stick it on the kitchen wall. You could also use it as a screen saver, so you look at it often. Share the memories - you know it would be good to feel this way again.

Second Process - make a list of his good points, or of the good points about the marriage. Perhaps you appreciate how well he copes with practical problems, or how intelligent and clear thinking he is. How he always looks smart and he can talk about any topic under the sun. What was it that made you a special couple? How do you compliment each other?

Third Process -  control your thinking. When you feel yourself focusing on the negative, give yourself a mental shake and turn your thoughts to the positive - the good things in the relationship. Keep doing it; the more times you consciously do this, the easier it will become.

Remember you are trying to move forward and save this marriage, not wallow in the past problems.

Now that you have survived an affair and faced the initial crisis, you could be well set to keep your relationship moving forward to a happier future.

In those efforts, I wish you all the best of the luck in the world - you deserve it for getting this far.

Street Talk

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