Single Ladies, Stop Believing Everything You Hear on Your News Feed About Men

BY: - 14 Oct '16 | Marriage

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Two weeks ago, I celebrated my eight wedding anniversary. I can’t believe it’s already been eight years. Moreover, I can’t believe I have known my husband for more than 20 years. It’s been an amazing ride.

So how have these eight years of marriage been? They’ve been pretty good. We’ve had our ups and downs, but that’s to be expected. We made it through the downs together and that has made us stronger. As for the ups—well those moments have made us really grateful for choosing each other.

Lately, I have seen a lot of stuff on social media about relationships and marriage. I read some of it, and I think it’s great stuff. Then, I read some stuff that makes me worry about the single women looking to these articles for guidance and expertise. I wonder if they are always able to filter through all this advice with their own lenses—unconcerned about what other people think and do.

I know that marriage is hard. I know that some days are downright painful. But I also know that I have never felt the urge to punch my husband in the face, run him over with a car or tell people that he’s “not about a damn thing.” I’m not there. I’ve never been there in the last eight years. And I hope I never get there.

And I’m not knocking or judging the women who have felt this way about their spouses because they have the right to feel that way. Those are real, raw human emotions. But I also won’t support this idea that all happily married people are full of sh*t because that just isn’t true. Some couples are genuinely happy together, despite the challenges they face.

My mom never found true love. I know it was something she wanted when she was young, but it never worked out for her. My father just wasn’t that dude. He didn’t come through when you needed him most. He wasn’t respectful and loving toward her. He didn’t provide the support and encouragement a man should provide his family with. He failed in all of those ways.

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Although my heart aches for my mother’s unfulfilled wishes, I know her heart celebrates the fact that I found the real deal. I found a guy who is everything my dad was not. And I don’t plan to make any apologies about it, which is something I feel like some people expect me to do. If you don’t think your man is worth much, don’t expect me to chime in with a “my man ain’t sh*t, too,” because that won’t happen.

And before anyone starts to wonder if I live in some alternate universe, let me be clear that I don’t. I know harder days are coming. I know that despite whatever loss we’ve faced as a couple, more loss lies ahead. I know that he will infuriate me at times and I will do the same to him. I know that we won’t always see eye-to-eye and sometimes sleeping in the guestroom might just feel easier.

But I also know that I believe in our happily ever after. I believe in our long trips to Paris and Greece after the kids are grown and moved out. I believe in a future filled with hope and understanding and love. And I believe this guy I chose to spend forever with will never let me down in a way that will make me fee like I wish I never chose him. I just refuse to believe that’s who he is. And if he turned out to be that guy, I would cross that bridge in that moment. But I am not going to live my life expecting him to be that guy.

So check out Facebook statuses, read articles, talk to friends—but do it all knowing that the choice to get married (and whom you choose to marry) is deeply personal. Only you can know how your man really treats you. Only you know your true motives for marriage. Only you know what’s in your heart.

So don’t believe the hype of the perfectly happy couple without any troubles. They may be genuinely happy, but what they have is not perfect. And please don’t believe the bitter hype that there are no great men out there and being married is like being in full-blown combat. It may be for some people, but it’s not some normal way of life for all folks who get married.

Consider all your options, be real about your expectations and never plan to change who someone is. You can’t. If you can see a lifetime of happiness with the person your man currently is, you are on to something special. Yes, marriage is hard at times, but I wouldn’t define it as hard; I would simply define it as another element of life. You take the good with the bad, and you make the most of it.

BMWK family, what are your thoughts on how people should decide on whether or not marriage is right for them?

About the author

Martine Foreman wrote 494 articles on this blog.

Martine Foreman is a speaker, writer, lifestyle consultant, and ACE-certified Health Coach who specializes in helping moms who want more out of life but feel overwhelmed and confused. Through her content and services, Martine is committed to helping women embrace their personal truth, gain clarity, and take action to create healthier, happier lives. For more on Martine's candid views on life and love, visit her at candidbelle.com. To work with her, visit her at martineforeman.com. Martine resides in Maryland with her husband, two kids and sassy cat Pepper.

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How I Came Clean After My Affair and How You Can Too

BY: - 14 Oct '16 | Infidelity

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I’m feeling like I’m in a Start Trek episode being transported back to 2002. I remember clearly because that was the year of our engagement…but it was also they year when I cheated.

In that moment of betrayal, I recall thinking all types of things, but the biggest reoccurring thought was: Should I tell him or just keep it to myself?

By default, these questions were raised, but by design, deep down inside I knew I would tell him because I believe ever so strongly in the following philosophy:

If you intentionally withhold the truth from someone not only are you continuously lying but, even worse, you are making a decision for them and robbing them of the opportunity to make their own decision. So, ultimately, you will forever be living the lie.

Did you notice the above words default and design are in bold?  Here’s why…

Both our engagement AND first year of marriage were impacted by affairs—my affair during our engagement and my husband’s affair in our first year of marriage. I quickly comprehended that our marriage could NOT successfully run by default.  Rather WE had to design our marriage and become intentional about DEVELOPING OUR marriage.   We had to understand what caused his affair and mine to ensure this would never happen again and to date it hasn’t…Glory! [Read Adultery Doesn’t Just Happen; 10 Honest (and Some Ugly) Reasons Why Your Spouse Cheated]

I’m not going to paint this process as an easy one, but it is possible.  Expect to jump some big hurdles between the affair and post happily ever after, including the first hurdle, which is being completely honest and coming clean to your spouse about your affair.

I remember the day I decided to tell Chris.  I went over it all day in my mind, as to the various ways it could play out. I waited till he came home from work and had a chance to relax a bit from the day.  I sat him down and said “I have something very difficult to disclose to you but I always want to be honest with you.”

I told him everything, and answered his questions honestly.  At the end, I told him “if you want to leave me, I understand” because I prepared myself for the worse.  Luckily, he said “I love you and want us to work past this.”  We went to counseling and did just that, worked past it.

Understand there is never the “right” time to disclose an affair, but I can tell you that working through our affair made our marriage stronger than before. [Read How Our Marriage Became Better After Two Affairs]

So how do you disclose an affair?

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Come Clean to Yourself

You have to get real with yourself before you can get real with your spouse. Getting real simply means acknowledging what acts have been damaging to you, your spouse and the marriage.

Don’t allow the devil to destroy you in terms of beating yourself up for this mistake.  Yes, an affair is a mistake…IF you are remorseful and don’t go on to be a repeat offender (which I talk about in greater detail in my book along with a chart that shows you how to navigate this very tough conversation).

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Come Clean To a Second Party

Do you feel led to come clean to a TRUSTED second party? Do you think this option will give you strength to come clean to your partner?

Explore your options in knowing who to turn to. The very people and places who make great counselors for the spouse who was cheated on can be just as useful to the wayward spouse.

[Read Beyond Betrayal; 4 Places to Turn to Immediately after Discovering Your Spouse Was Unfaithful.

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Come Clean with Your Spouse

Last, but certainly not least, you MUST come clean to your spouse.  Coming clean will likely be the most difficult decision you’ve ever made.  Remind yourself that you are doing the RIGHT thing and be courageous, trusting that you can do this…because you can! Here are my suggestions:

Before the Talk
You’re going to be revealing hurtful news, so you want to make sure your spouse is in his or her most comfortable setting, where he or she can absorb the information.

  1. Identify the best DAY and TIME for you both, with priority to your spouse. Select an open day to talk to ensure neither you nor your spouse is rushed. You will need time to let the storm settle afterwards. Also, choose a time of day that your spouse will be most receptive. Is he or her a morning person?
  2. Identify WHERE to do it. Your home is likely the best place to reveal the news. But consider which room setting works best. I’d recommend a living room setting, where you can consider leveraging your existing bond and intimacy. Sit alongside your spouse on the family couch, and hold your spouse’s hand while revealing the news.

Plan the Talk
Also, I highly recommend scripting out what you will say BEFOREHAND. You can do this in your head or on paper. I prefer on paper because you are more likely to edit yourself and cut out parts that distract from your purpose of your disclosure.

Anytime you’re delivering bad news think of an Oreo cookie, delivering the confession in layers:

  • Top Cookie = Good News (Foundation)
  • Cream Filling = Bad New
  • Bottom Cookie = Opportunity/Good News (Paint a Solid Picture)

Here is an example of what it could look like: [Top Cookie] My love, (or personalized term of endearment) you make my life enjoyable in more ways than I can count and I’m truly grateful for you through the ups and the downs.  [Cream Filling] I don’t believe in keeping secrets from you, and recently I have and I’m not proud of this and want to come clean because I owe you that and owe our marriage that, as our marriage means the world to me. There is no easy way to say something hard, I regretfully cheated on you and have ended the affair (if you have).

It pained me to lie to you, and I respect you too much to go on lying to you. So I’m prepared to offer you full disclosure in sharing the whole truth with you now or later. [Bottom Cookie] I’m DEEPLY SORRY for my actions and feel absolutely horrible!  Please KNOW I LOVE YOU and want to spend the rest of our lives together. I’m truly remorseful about my actions, and pray that you will forgive me in your time. 

The above script is merely a sample template, please customize it as you see fit.

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During the Actual Talk
When you’re ready to make your confession, you should also keep a few things in mind. Coaching couples has taught me the following in terms of accepting responsibility for your actions:

  • Be clear. Don’t babble.  Explain what happened without giving information overload. Your spouse will be emotional, so confusing information and too much information will add to their stress. Your spouse will ask the necessary questions when he or she is ready.
  • Tune in to your emotions and express them genuinely. While I did encourage you to pre-script your confession, your apology needs to be sincere and meaningful—not just rehearsed words.
  • Accept responsibility. This means abstaining from placing blame regardless of marital problems that steered you astray. Don’t fall victim to the “Blame Game.” These exchanges can occur further into the conversation. Now is all about you coming clean!
  • Be remorseful. Express to your spouse just how horrible you feel. But don’t anticipate any compassion because, as harsh as it sounds. NOW is NOT about you!
  • Expect multiple conversations.  This will be ongoing. Immediately after this talk, your spouse may want to scream at you, hug you (surprisingly) or have nothing to do with you for a while. Be sure to respect your spouse’s need for space and processing. Give your spouse what she/he needs to recover.

After the Talk
You now will probably feel your guilt more than ever—now that you’ve seen the pain it’s caused your spouse. But it’s important to put your focus on your spouse—not your guilt. Walk in their shoes.  How would you feel if you were in their shoes hearing the news?

  • Allow your spouse the time he or she needs. If that means time apart completely or in different rooms. We were able to stay under the same roof, and I suggest this if you can.
  • Understand your spouse has a right to her/his anger. As you work to stay with your spouse over time, you will be subjected to their anger. Know it’s a part of the healing process of grasping what transpired.

[Read: From Hating to Healing; 4 Phases That Happen After an Affair and How to Get Through Them]

Healing for infidelity is hard—but it is possible. Despite our early affairs, my husband and I have been happy since and are now in our 10th year of marriage. Glory!

BMWK, have you ever had to break tough news to your spouse? What tips do you have to reveal a hurtful confession?

 

About the author

Da-Nay Macklin wrote 41 articles on this blog.

Coach Da-Nay Macklin is a Certified Christian Life & Relationship Coach, founder of the Courageous Conquerors Mastermind and Author of Love After Adultery: The Breakthrough Journey of the Brokenhearted Available on Amazon She is one of the nation’s leading experts on infidelity and a thought leader on maximizing potential as she assists couples and individuals to live life by design and not default. Da-Nay has been has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network’s show Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal after successfully navigating adultery in her marriage, and named one of the 15 most powerful women on the south side of Chicago. She now resides in Charlotte, NC with her loving husband and daughter.

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