One critical element in surviving infidelity and healing your marriage is to repair and deepen your emotional connection with your spouse.
A marriage bond can break when both spouses aren’t committed to continually working to maintain, strengthen and build their connection to one another. And if your spouse has cheated, this connection suffers a devastating rupture.
Launch these 3 rules today to begin healing the rupture to your emotional connection with your spouse.
Repairing the Emotional Connection
You don’t want to be miserable in your marriage. And if you are in a position of working to survive infidelity, you may wonder how to get back to some form of common ground with your spouse, and to a place where you can honestly say that you have a wonderful, strong relationship.
But right now, you may not know how to get from here to there. Your internal dialogue may sound like this:
“Will we ever have a normal, intimate conversation again, or will we always be arguing about the affair details, always in anger with one another?”
“What should I say that helps move our marriage forward, but doesn’t mean I’ve let him off the hook for cheating?”
“Our marriage is in shambles, so I don’t see how we can ever get to a point of having a healthy, loving relationship.”
“She/he will never change, which means our relationship is doomed.”
After a spouse cheats, the victim is filled with doubts about their or their spouse’s ability to heal and repair the relationship. Building a strong emotional connection with a spouse who has devastated you and caused this rupture in your relationship may seem like an insurmountable task. You are faced with handling the loss of trust in your relationship with your spouse—and all the other negative after-effects.
It won’t happen overnight, or in a week or month—especially if the revelation of the affair is very fresh. There is a lot of internal work for both the victim and the cheater to do before expending the energy to work on healing the marriage.
Also, building anything—especially a marriage—takes time, effort, and a stubborn attitude that says, “This affair does not define me, nor does it define my marriage, and we will move past this.”
Here are the 3 rules to help you begin…
The first rule to implement is communication will, from this day forward, be based on 100% honesty. Create an open-door policy, meaning—you won’t keep any secrets locked away in an internal mental closet.
Have you ever had the feeling that someone you know, and this includes your spouse, wasn’t telling you the whole story about something? Or you felt that something was bothering them, but when you asked, their reply was ‘It’s nothing’? You knew there was more, and yet, this person won’t share what this more is, and so you question their secrecy and doubt their honesty.
By following a guideline of 100% honesty and transparency, neither you nor your spouse will be left in doubt. Otherwise, building trust will never be successful if you always have a question in your mind about what you are hearing (or not hearing) from each other.
Rule 2: Set Questioning Ground Rules
Following on the heels of advising you to use 100% honesty, it’s also fair to caution that honesty can have some bite to it if you’re not careful. If you ask questions that you’re not sure you want the answers to, it’s better not to ask until you’re sure you do.
Also, if honesty is being used as a bludgeon to beat the cheater with more guilt, understand this is not constructive if your long-term goal is healing. The goal is to survive infidelity and move forward, not stay caught up in a wash-and-spin cycle of emotional backlash.
It helps if you and your spouse decide on a list of what types of questions are okay, and which ones are not. Also, when answering a question and trying to employ honesty, both spouses must use common sense and good judgment and know how to answer honestly—but with diplomacy.
Rule 3: Arrange a Talk Date
When going through the after-effects of an affair, it’s a challenge to communicate on many levels. If the victim wants to bring up the topic, but the cheater happens to have had a bad day at the office, the cheater may snap at their spouse because of bad timing. This can stifle the type of communication needed that moves you forward, creating yet another marital setback.
What a couple in crisis can do is set an appointment, a time and place to meet and talk, with total focus on each other. It may seem odd at first, but if your marriage needs help, and your relationship is strained, your conversations need structure until they can feel natural again. By pre-arranging a time, both spouses can prepare themselves emotionally and psychologically, clearing their mind of other matters and giving their full focus to their partner for a block of time.
These rules will take time and patience to implement, but each one helps move your marriage forward, away from the period of infidelity and on toward a stronger, more powerful emotional connection.
I’d be honored to hear about your experiences and what you have done to heal the emotional rupture brought about by an affair…
Have you set any rules in your relationship, post-affair?
What was communication like initially upon learning about the affair?
How are you working on repairing your emotional connection with your spouse?
Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,
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