Words of Life Devotions: Do Not Commit Adultery
You Shall Not Commit Adultery - Exodus 20:14
Wow- these are bold words from the Bible with a clear message- do not cheat. Yet “An estimated half of married partners cheat on their spouse”. What is going on? Cheating on your partner has a profound effect on them as well as any children involved. After an affair, the trust and safety in your relationship is damaged and hard to repair.
As a couple’s therapist, most people come to me because they are not getting something that they want in their relationship- love, communication, connection and sex. For the most part they blame each othe0r for the problem. That makes sense because when we feel unloved, disliked, not accepted, criticized and unappreciated, we usually do anything and everything to make ourselves feel better. If our needs are not being met, then we look elsewhere. I wish and pray that couples would seek help before they get to this point. Think of it like your car- you choose to maintain your car and put gas in it so it runs well- why don’t you do that with your relationships?
Can I make some suggestions for all partnerships?
1. Trust in yourself and work on your own insecurities: Before you can trust your partner - you have to trust yourself. You have to be able to love yourself before you love someone else. Change starts with you. Show up as your best self.
2. Be a RockStar - Be a Better Partner: The best defense against cheating is a great relationship. When our needs are met physically and emotionally, we don’t have as much interest to look elsewhere. How well are you meeting your partner’s wants and needs? Are they meeting yours? Both of you need to communicate honestly about what you need to feel fulfilled and fully happy. This can be risky and scary but so worth it.
3. Tend to Your Garden: The place between two people is called a relationship or a space- a sacred space. What you choose to put into that garden or space will grow and flourish or wither and die. Do things together that challenge you to grow together, not apart. We are not the same people that we were when we first started dating. We all change as we age and experience life. Look at your partner with curiosity not complacency. Be intrigued, not bored. How are you going to keep up with your partner’s changing thoughts, preferences, ideas and desires? How will they keep up with yours? Read books together. Go on a date without the kids. Attend church and volunteer for a new event or discuss Pastor Chris’s sermons. That would be an interesting conversation.
4. Understand your Partner: Do more listening than talking. Your partner is your best friend- your buddy- the person that you trust the most. If this is not the case -why not? Most couples who come to see me don’t feel safe with their partner, so they stop talking. It is hard to understand each other without trust. Make time to listen and understand each other. Both need to talk. Both need to listen. Use a lot of compassion and no judgment. You do not have to agree with your partner but try to understand their perspective or point of view. Once trust is found, laughter and connection will follow.
5. Take responsibility: We are responsible for how our words and actions make our partner feel. Apologize to your partner by taking responsibility for the problem, even just a small piece, and this will validate their feelings, promote forgiveness, and allow you both to move on. Blaming the other does not help healing. Loving your neighbor- partner- as yourself works wonders.
What do you think? Are there some changes that can be made? Prayerfully consider this homework- I challenge you to make time today to connect with your partner. Try some of these suggestions. Let me know if they work. If you are interested in talking more about this commandment or subject- let me know.
Prayer: Dear gracious and forgiving God, Thank you for our partner, family and friends and these relationships. These relationships are a symbol of you and your love for us. Help us to love, cherish and nourish these connections as you would want us to do. Guide us to know how to help ourselves and each other when we lose our way. Fill us with your grace as we live the life you have given us. Be with us now and forever. Amen.
Molly Riedel - Director of Caring