What does love feel like? 10 signs of true love

Love is the feeling that has most inspired human beings in absolutely all areas of life. Countless songs, books, plays and other works have been dedicated to love. However, it is very complex to identify when it is true love, given the predisposition we have to feel it.

The question that many people ask themselves is what does love feel like and how do I know if we are facing true love? The first answer, thanks to science, is a little easier. Love is a set of biological and chemical processes, as biologist and anthropologist Hellen Fisher explains.

Certain hormones are activated in our bodies when we feel love and make us feel good about sharing with our loved one. It is not only a sexual impulse, but involves many bodily functions. Thanks to this, we can achieve the recognition of a real feeling of love.

Keys to recognizing true love

Such is the importance of love in human behavior that researchers in various fields of knowledge have sought to find explanations. An empirical analysis of Sternberg’s triangular theory focuses on the combination of the three elements that identify balanced love. They are:

  • Intimacy
  • Passion
  • Commitment

According to the researchers, true love must have all three components in the right measure, in order to be healthy and fruitful for both parties. In relation to these aspects, we bring you 10 signs so that you can recognize if what you feel for that special “someone” is true love.

1.     It’s good for you and everyone notices it

The main key is well-being. As biologist Hellen Fisher explained, love produces positive changes in the body. If that person improves your mood, your spirits, you feel like getting ready, you feel good about yourself, it is probably true love.

2.     You can be yourself

This is an extremely important point. Real love will not make you change; it will not force you to be who you are not. Rather, it will motivate you to grow as a person, as the person you already are. It will validate you even more and will never seek to extinguish your essence. If this is not the case, be careful, it may not be a healthy relationship.

3.     You can talk to each other through looks or gestures

When there is trust between two people, communication is one of the points where it is most expressed. Understanding each other without words is a strong indicator that the connection is real, that you are developing a love language between you. You will see that it goes beyond words, too, to the actions of love.

4.     You help and support each other

If there is love, there is mutual support. True love is unselfish and cares for the other as well as for oneself. In a couple, working for each other’s personal well-being will be the impetus for forming a healthy and lasting dynamic.

5.     You respect each other

A very common problem in couples that do not work and where love is quickly extinguished is the lack of mutual respect. As hard as it may be at times, respecting each other’s time and God’s time in a couple is essential.

In Romans 12:10 the Bible tells us about the importance of respect in love. If you feel that with “that person” there is a sincere respect for each other’s times, ideas, ways of expressing yourself, tastes, etc., then it is love.

6.     You strive to resolve every conflict

The best couples are not those who don’t fight, but those who strive to resolve every situation in the best possible way. Respect also plays a major role in conflict resolution. There should be no room for offence, anger is no justification for hurting your partner.

If there is love, every conflict will end with a resolution that brings you closer together and makes your relationship grow. The bond will be strengthened rather than fissured, and will bring you closer to a broader understanding of your values and responsibilities as partners.

7.     You don’t complement each other, you understand each other

It is important to uproot the idea of complementarity in love and replace it with understanding. Romantic stories have shown us an ideal version of love that, in many cases, is not possible to live in reality. These expectations end up wearing out the partners and lead to disbelief in love.

An article from the Faculty of Psychology in Uruguay points out the importance of a love based on understanding between partners. We are not “better halves”, God created us complete and whole. What you should seek is to be in one spirit with each other and with God, so you will know that it is a love of blessing for you.

8.     You laugh together easily

Scientific studies show how laughter is an indicator of love in a couple. It also reflects a healthy relationship and sincere feelings. It’s simple, laughter is associated with the ability to express ourselves freely, healthy situations that make us happy and good chemistry between the two of us. That’s love!

9.     You don’t need to hide anything from each other

Of course love is based on trust and full knowledge of each other. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have “secrets” from time to time, a surprise or a plan for the future. It means that there are no aspects of your personality or your past that you seek to hide.

If you feel an obligation to hide it is because something is not right in the relationship or there is no real love. A relationship cannot give rise to lies or deception between partners, let alone fear of showing each other who you really are.

10.                       You have projects together

Finally, an indicator of love is creating projects together. When there is love, there is a desire to share every aspect of life and to plan new things together. If you try to include each other in every plan you make, it is because you truly love each other.

Analyze your relationship before moving on to the next step, so you will know for sure if it is true love. If you have any questions or concerns about this or other issues, don’t hesitate to call 407-618-0212 for expert care.

Things your marriage counselor is thinking, but not telling you

When you start working with a marriage counselor you are taking the first step in changing the atmosphere of your relationship. It is a big step, and the best way to rebuild the most important bond you can have. But, in many cases, it can lead to doubts and insecurities.

Leaving your relationship in the hands of a third person is a difficult decision to make. The trust you both place in the therapist is very high, so it is logical to have doubts about what he/she will do or even what he/she thinks. That’s why today I’m bringing you your counselor’s best kept secrets.

Yes, as you read it, in this blog I will tell you what your marriage counselor thinks, but will never tell you. The next time you go for a consultation, you will feel more confident about opening the doors of your relationship to let in this new breeze.

What your marriage counselor doesn’t tell you, in sentences

Why am I sharing this with you? Not so that you will question your marriage counselor in the next session. It is for the purpose of understanding his or her work and its importance to your partner. So that you can take ownership of that time and space to work on yourself and your relationship.

Of course, each professional is different and the ways of understanding therapy and applying it to a specific case vary. However, the following phrases will surely make you feel identified. Don’t forget that if he or she doesn’t say them, it is for your growth. Keep these tips in mind when you doubt him/her.

 “It’s good that they fight”

When a couple attends such a consultation it is because they detect conflict. Recognizing it is the key to begin to solve the problems in the marriage. Although it may seem contradictory, many come to the counselling office ashamed of the state of their relationship and try to minimize things.

Wrong, the marriage counselor must see clearly what is going on in order to guide the work in the right direction. If arguments or fights come up in front of them, they will be more than grateful. That means that there is a mutual interest in starting to put problems on the table to visualize and heal.

 “Do you really want to be together?”

Many couples go to counseling without knowing if it will be the end or if there is still hope. Psychologist Sergi Vilardell explains that in current times intolerance in couples is becoming more and more frequent. It has become “normal” to want to leave the relationship without trying to overcome conflicts.

In this context, the counselor will try to assess whether there is still genuine interest in the relationship. He or she will look at whether both partners are contributing their efforts and dedication, or whether it is a one-sided relationship. In either case, there is hope. But rebuilding that mutual love and trust will take a long process of renewal.

 “I’m not going to tell you who is right, none of you are”

One of the main human reactions to conflict is to try to look for those responsible. It is not that it is wrong to look for it, nor that there is no responsibility for the problem. However, when something doesn’t work in a couple, both should take responsibility and acknowledge their part. Remember that you are also “guilty” if:

  • You did nothing to resolve it.
  • You let time go by without talking about it.
  • You were not clear about how it made you feel.
  • You didn’t give the other person space to express themselves.
  • You pretended you didn’t care in the first place.

There are many more reasons why both should accept your part. Without going any further, love must be protected by each person doing their part to heal the damage of conflict. The therapist will not tell you who is right but instead will guide you both to finding where you have failed and how to improve.

 “¿Why are you asking me what you should be asking yourself?”

Have you ever felt that your counselor is not answering your questions? You are probably asking the right questions, but to the wrong person. You are the one you should be asking. That’s why your therapist doesn’t answer them directly, but wants to direct you to find that solution.

Psychologist and therapist Adriana Mireles explains that the outcome of therapy depends to a large extent on the work of the patient – or the couple. It is about the way in which each one assimilates it, and not only in the consulting room. Don’t expect someone else to answer what you need to discover in order to grow in your integrity.

“I know this scares you, that’s why I’m telling you”

Have you ever left counselling with the feeling that your counsellor has offended you? Do you feel that he or she has touched on a sensitive subject or even a fear? Don’t think that they don’t know or that they are doing it to hurt you – on the contrary! Your counselor is trying to have a positive effect, even if you don’t see it.

There are a variety of neurological studies on fear as a promoter of action and physiological reaction. If you hope to bring about changes in your environment and improve conditions for your partner, it is essential to face your fears. Through them, you will achieve new and different, more thoughtful and measured responses.

Acting on impulse can lead to unwanted actions, with harmful effects on the other person. Your counsellor wants you to work on your ability to adapt to conditions that are not your usual comfort zone. Be confident, it will help you grow on a personal level.

 “I won’t tell you what to do, I’ll help you figure it out for yourself”

In relation to the previous point, your counselor will not tell you directly what to do. He or she will help you to bring about changes in your behavior progressively and with careful work on yourself. At the same time as he or she does the same work with your partner. That is exactly the method of behavioral therapy.

I hope these tips will help you to trust your marriage counselor and get you on the road to therapy that really heals your relationship. If you want to know more about counseling, or want to contact a therapist, don’t hesitate to call 407 618 0212.

The 3 Most Important Elements in a Lasting Marriage

Today I want to share with you the 3 most important elements in a marriage to be happy and lasting. Many experts in the field of psychology have explained over time that marriage is a difficult bonding process to maintain.

It seems that couples are becoming less and less committed or are afraid to take the risk of establishing strong and healthy bonds. To give you a better idea, the NCHS (National Center for Health Statistics) noted that the years 2017-2019 saw the lowest marriage rate ever. Even by 2020, this rate continued to decline dramatically.

It is true that, as human beings, our emotions and thoughts are very complex. Moreover, there are many external factors that can shake a marriage. So what makes a union last, what is the most important element in a marriage that keeps it from falling apart?

3 Important Elements in a Lasting Marriage

I know you are thinking that one of the most important things in a marriage is love. Let me tell you that it takes much more than that. Of course it is essential for a couple to have love, but it is not everything.

Many times in talking with my patients, with the people I help as a therapist and pastor, I find that there is love in the relationship, but there is no commitment, no willingness to change, no respect, to name a few things.

While it is true that a healthy and lasting marriage seems like an extremely difficult road to travel, it is not unattainable. There are 3 very important things that need to be in place in your relationship for your marriage to be happy.

1.   Knowledge

Recent Cornell University research on happy marriages showed that, despite the different factors in a relationship, there are three common elements present in successful marriages.

The first of these is knowledge, both of yourself and of your partner. If you know yourself, your interests, what you value in life and what your goals are, you are likely to want a partner who is supportive and has similar values to yours.

As I have told you before, marriage is a union between two totally different, unique people. However, it is necessary to share a space with common interests and values in order for the marriage to have a solid foundation.

Sometimes in my consultations couples arrive with some difficulty or problem and I ask them: Do you know what your partner likes, what he/she loves, what he/she values? Do you know what he/she likes to do in his/her free time? Do you have an idea of what his/her goals or projects for the future are?

What can I do to get to know the other?

I always recommend reading and applying the Gottman method, developed by the mathematician and psychologist John Gottman. This renowned doctor explains that in a healthy marriage there must be a deep friendship, that is, the couple must know each other intimately. By intimate I mean your personality, your hopes, dreams, weaknesses, likes and dislikes and more.

It is the responsibility of each of you to know each other in depth, to know what you love, what you want in life. The best way to achieve this is by sharing experiences and having authentic communication, but this element is what I will talk about next.

2.   Communication

The second most important factor in a marriage is authentic communication. In the Cornell University study I mentioned earlier, survey participants responded that they believe one of the leading causes of divorce or separation is due to communication problems.

I totally agree with that statement. That’s why one thing I repeat whenever I can to the marriages I counsel is that talking to your partner is the best thing you can do for your relationship.

Authentic communication means opening up to the other person, being honest about how you feel, sharing your emotions and aspirations, and even your fears and doubts. But authentic communication also means actively listening to your partner, not just you talking and talking, but real communication between two people who love each other.

3.   Commitment

Last but not least, there is commitment. By joining in marriage, you and your partner have made a commitment, not only here on earth, but also in the eyes of God.

There is always the possibility of separation and some cases where divorce is the healthiest decision. However, experiencing your union as something unbreakable, something to protect and defend, and not as an obligation, will make your marriage much stronger and happier.

What about when things aren’t going well? my patients ask me, and my answer is that you have to respect and commit to the relationship even more! There will always be difficulties along the way, the challenge will be to find a way to resolve and emerge stronger from that situation.

Knowledge, communication and commitment as a happy formula for marriage

It is a known fact that in the United States around half of all marriages end in divorce or separation. This is according to statistical information from the CDC in the country.

Although this can happen for different reasons, how can a couple that has decided to get married make sure that they don’t end up in these statistics?

As in any relationship, marriages also go through challenges that must be overcome with the effort and commitment of both parties. There is no magic recipe to make your relationship last forever and be happy, but with the 3 common elements in every successful marriage that I presented you can achieve it.

Do you want to share some life experience or have questions about the most important things in a marriage? Contact me through this number 407 618 0212. I am here to listen to you and help you in whatever you need.

Stages of marriage: 7 phases that every long-term relationship goes through

Do you know what the stages of marriage are? Today I want to talk to you about this topic, which I think is fundamental to understanding the dynamics of long-term relationships. Although it is true that each couple is unique, most of them go through a series of distinct stages.

When two people get married they usually make the decision from the position of mutual illusion, which belongs to one of the first phases. But what happens later, when they live together, children arrive or a difficult situation arises?

On different occasions I have heard in my consultations questions like “Is love over, Dr. Duany?” I must tell you that it is not. It is not that love is over. The confusion lies in the fact that you do not know well the reality of love as a couple. Love is in constant movement. Everything depends on how you and your partner live and overcome the different stages of your union.

Stages of marriage: relationships go through these 7 stages

There are several theories that try to explain the stages of marriage. However, in this article I want to base myself on the 5 stages described by Jed Diamond, American psychologist, and add two more stages that I have discovered in my journey as a therapist accompanying couples.

1.   “Honeymoon” or “falling in love” phase

This is the stage in which both idealize each other, there are no defects and the only thing they manage to see are the good and wonderful things they share. They want to be together all the time, avoid arguments and even have intense sexual activity. In this phase it is as if they were still in courtship.

According to psychologist Jed Diamond, at this stage large amounts of endorphins are released in the brain, so the couple can feel great happiness.

This is also explained by Dr. Cindy Hazan, a professor at Cornell University, who revealed that humans can feel passionate for 18 to 30 months. After studying more than 5,000 people, she discovered that the life span of the falling in love phase was long enough. At the end of this “initial euphoria” stage, many people doubted whether they were still in love.

2.   Knowledge

I often tell people that this phase is the time when they “take the blindfold off”. The couple gets to know each other better and establishes a solid friendship within the marriage. If in the previous stage the defects were not seen, in this phase they can be seen clearly.

3.   Internal crises and disappointment

This is one of the most difficult stages of marriage to overcome. The couples that manage to overcome this phase are the ones that last the longest, says psychologist Jed Diamond. I often hear in my consultations, Dr. Duany, ¿Did the man or woman I fell in love with change?

Although in phase two some defects are already visible, the couple is still able to ignore most of them. However, in the third stage, these imperfections become practically intolerable. So, if you are in this stage, your biggest challenge will be to define whether you love your partner enough to accept him/her as he/she is.

4.   Overcoming internal crises and negotiation

After passing phase three and overcoming the crisis, idealizations are left behind and now a more realistic and stable relationship begins to be built. In the fourth stage, agreements, negotiations and the planning of common projects emerge.

It is possible that during this time, children may arrive (if they have not arrived during the previous stages) and the creation of joint businesses or other types of projects involving economic matters.

5.   Arrival of external crises

Unlike stage three, in which internal crises arise, in this stage the crises are produced by external circumstances. They are situations that come unexpectedly and cannot be controlled. If these crises are not managed correctly, they can negatively affect the marriage. Some of these situations can be:

  • The illness of one of the members of the relationship or of the children.
  • Becoming unemployed.
  • The death of a relative or close friend.
  • Change of country or city.
  • Changes at work.

As a therapist I assure you that, if each of you as a couple decides to face any external crisis as an opportunity, instead of looking at it as a threat, your marriage will emerge stronger from this phase.

6.   Empty nest syndrome

The children have left home and the couple is left at home alone. Although it is a necessary evolutionary stage, the couple does not always manage to cope with this new situation. In some marriages it can trigger the well-known “empty nest”.

However, this can be a phase to strengthen ties with your partner. As explained by psychologist Sonia Castro of the European Institute of Positive Psychology, one of the ways to improve this situation is to focus on the relationship, improve communication and return to those early stages of falling in love.

7.   Deep connection and transcendence

After having lived together for years and having overcome the different stages, there comes a phase of tranquility, of absolute connection between you and your partner. Psychologist Silvia Sanz, an expert in marriages, explains that if you have reached this stage, you have forged a mature love. Intimacy is strengthened, common spaces are sought and you have learned to live even with discrepancies.

Have you been able to figure out what stage your marriage is in? Understanding which characteristics, challenges and work needed at each stage can help you handle the difficult times better and more wisely.

If you have been able to identify the stage your relationship is going through and need help, or if you have doubts about the stages of marriage, contact me. You can call me at this number 407 618 0212 and I will be happy to help you.

10 ways to make an effort in your relationship

Do you feel like you can’t find ways to make an effort for your partner? Are you afraid you can’t show your feelings the way you’d like to? If your relationship is showing warning signs of lack of commitment, you’ve come to the right place. This is a problem I often deal with in my consultations, I am here to help you find your way, your relationship has a future.

In a relationship, interest in each other should be demonstrated every day, so that both will be aware of the love they have for each other. This is something that can flow naturally through the love language that the couple has in common. However, sometimes it takes an extra push to show it.

Don’t feel like a failure if you haven’t found a way. A little effort from both of you can radically change the reality of your relationship. All you need is the will to do it and the commitment to assume your mistakes, in order to be able to change them into solutions.

Ways to make an effort for your partner

I’ll show you 10 ways to make an effort to renew that bond and love will find its greatest expression. If you have come this far, it is because you notice that there is something you are not yet offering to your relationship. By starting by recognizing these shortcomings, you can build a process of change.

1.    Evaluate your relationship and detect flaws

In 1986, psychologist Robert Sternberg published his Triangular Theory of Love. In it, he explains the relationship as a triangle where the parties join together to achieve “consummate love”, that which has all the necessary elements for a couple’s full development.

According to the author, the three key elements that cannot be missing in a mature relationship are intimacy, passion and commitment. These keys guide the search for a healthy relationship, without disproportions in any of them. If you want to know in depth what aspect you should work on, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does your relationship have a special connection beyond your individuality?
  • Does physical contact between you flow naturally and willingly?
  • Is there a sincere interest between the parties in building their relationship every day from the little things?

A relationship that has an excess of passion and full sexuality may not be forming a true intimacy. It must be expressed both in desire and in building a special bond between both of you. Likewise, commitment must be expressed in the way you face every situation that arises together.

2.    Motivates confidence

A fundamental part of every couple is trust. In order to demonstrate your effort and commitment to your partner, creating an atmosphere of mutual understanding will be a valuable tool.

You may feel that your relationship is lacking this aspect on the part of one or both partners. If that is the case, don’t worry, you can regain trust in your partner. This process may take some time, but you can be sure that it will serve to work on your love and renew feelings.

3.    Maintain companionship

When a couple consolidates, it is very common to begin to feel the discomfort of routine. In this context, the reasons that led them to choose each other and decide to share their lives may lose focus. Here, the greatest danger is that this bond is broken and the members turn to their individualities.

A report by the University of Palermo among married couples in Argentina showed that the most valued aspect by couples is companionship. This, according to the data obtained, is the greatest sign of love and the key to a lasting relationship. Support your partner in his or her projects and always make him or her part of yours.

4.    Recognizes the actions of love

If you want your partner to notice that you make an effort in the relationship, make them feel that you value their gestures. No matter how small, an act of love should be received with appreciation and gratitude. Not acknowledging their attentions can lead to insecurity and frustration in your partner.

5.    Look for ways to express your love in ways they like

At the same time, if you don’t pay attention to the other, they will end up believing that you are not interested in them or that there is no more love. One of the ways to make an effort in your relationship is to think of ways to convey your feelings knowing your partner’s preferences. It should not be exclusively gifts, sometimes actions are worth more.

6.    Put yourself in their shoes

For years, psychology and neurosciences have been searching for answers to the complexity of emotions. In a couple, understanding and tolerating each other’s emotional processes is very important.

An article in Athenea Digital magazine points out the implications between emotions and language. Taking the time to listen and understand what your partner is feeling can heal wounds and strengthen the bond.

7.    Improve communication

In line with the previous point, maintaining optimal communication in the couple will avoid conflicts and clearly demonstrate the feelings of both. From asking how your day was to talking about trivial issues can help maintain a healthy dynamic.

8.    Create new activities to do together

The best way to show how much you value your partner is to let him or her know that you want to spend time together. Think of special times to share, keeping both of your interests in mind. Offer fresh ideas so you don’t fall into a rut.

9.    Pay attention to their worries

Don’t forget that a relationship involves sharing everything, including worries. Bearing burdens together can lighten the effects they have on your partner’s mood. Never minimize what is oppressing them, but rather, understand and try to help them find peace.

10.   Understands the different stages of love

Keep in mind that love will not always feel like that first stage of falling in love. The chemical processes that the body goes through when falling in love slow down over time. This should not discourage you, it is natural. Try to enjoy with your partner every moment of love with its virtues.

If you want to know more about this and other topics, or seek help from your partner, do not hesitate to call 407-618-0212. I will give you personalized attention from the hand of my experience as a therapist.

Is divorce the only solution if your partner cheats on you?

When you discover that your partner cheats on you with someone else, you go into a state of indescribable shock. And, in the midst of such an emotional outburst, divorce is one of the options you think about. I share with you the following true story:

After 9 years of marriage, Carol discovered her husband Johan’s virtual infidelity. He was exchanging erotic messages and images with other women.

They lived 2 years between infidelity (2 times), forgiveness and attending family counseling. Until, finally, she asked him for a divorce. Let’s dig a little deeper and find out what happened with this relationship and the decision to divorce.

If your partner cheats on you once, would you forgive him/her?

“When your partner cheats on you, you feel completely betrayed and mocked.” “Trust fades and insecurity takes over you and the relationship.” “A lot of feelings come over you.”.

These are expressions of people who were cheated on by their partner. Some of them could not stand the anguish and doubt and decided to separate for good.

However, other spouses were able to forgive and save their relationship (between 60-75%). In my journey as a therapist and spiritual counselor, I have witnessed many marital restorations.

Now, with Johan and Carol, we see that there was more than one infidelity. Besides, that each had their chance for forgiveness with no apparent success, so why not consider divorce?

Which are the alternatives to divorce?

The pain of discovering that your partner is cheating on you can lead you to make rash decisions. However, stopping to reflect on what is best for both of you allows you to discover other alternatives.

Seeking professional counseling is one of them. Carol relates:

“Nothing can justify infidelity. But, in every couple counseling, Johan and I became aware of the weaknesses in our relationship. I couldn’t decide to end it without first giving us a chance to fix what was going on. For a moment, infidelity was no longer the focus of discussion.”

What’s behind the infidelity

According to the experience of this couple, behind the infidelity you are faced with several alternatives. These can be:

  • Standing in the victim position or opening up to the opportunity to acknowledge what you are both doing wrong.
  • Remaining in wounded pride or having the humility and willingness to make the necessary changes.
  • Succumbing to the pain or fighting back and exhausting all available resources.
  • Rediscover love.
  • Listen to your inner voice. If you still love that person, your heart will guide you toward forgiveness and finding the opportunity to be closer. Love is never tired of waiting (1 Corinthians 13).
  • Keep your eyes on what God has arranged for you and your happiness. To make the path of forgiveness, God must be the source of love and direction.

Carol also commented that, despite the willingness of both of them to change, it was very difficult to live through it. Especially when Johan was unfaithful again in the same way. And it was at that moment when she decided to ask her husband for a divorce, and he had to leave the house.

Is divorce ever an option?

At this point we have made it clear that, if your partner cheats on you with someone else, divorce is not the only option. Seeking professional help and embarking on a path of forgiveness and reconciliation are alternatives. However, divorce may be an option when previous actions do not end well.

Undoubtedly, when instead of finding strength and restoration the pain and damage continues, the healthiest thing to do is to separate. Especially when there are children involved who suffer the consequences.

Nor should we forget that each couple is unique in their experience. So, we see that Carol and Johan would not be part of the above statistic. What confused Carol the most was that Johan said he loved her and, actually, they had both made very favorable changes. So, what had happened?

What determines the possibility of divorce?

The level of marital commitment determines the possibility of divorce. When your partner cheats on you, he/she breaks a commitment of loyalty and exclusive union with you.

That is why, after the infidelity, it is essential to rethink what is the commitment between you and your partner and to express whether you are willing to fulfill it. To do this, you should review:

  • What have been their expectations of the relationship?
  • What satisfies them and what does not?
  • How do you think about loyalty and fidelity?
  • What makes them feel respected, secure, and trusting of each other?
  • What does God say about marriage?

If either spouse is unwilling to fulfill his or her commitment of loyalty, there is no point in staying together.

Understanding the marriage covenant is fundamental

In a subsequent counseling encounter, after the physical separation, Johan admitted that initially his action was because he felt insecure about his masculine capacity. But he also added:

“Deep down, I believe that these messages with other women are a passing thing and that I will never get to the sexual act with anyone. I only love and desire her.”

Here we see the root of his infidelity:

  1. He believed that infidelity was limited to sexual encounters with other people.
  2. He had not understood that his union with Carol established both physical and emotional exclusivity.

Since then, both renewed their covenant of marital fidelity, understanding that being one flesh is not limited to sexual intimacy (Proverbs 31:11, Ephesians 5:28,33).

There are new opportunities

If you have discovered that your partner cheats on you, you may feel anger, frustration and betrayal. And, this combination of feelings is not the best guide for making decisions.

Johan and Carol were able to save their marriage by choosing first:

  • Trust in God.
  • Speak honestly.
  • Listen and understand.
  • Renew your covenant of marital fidelity.
  • Make the necessary changes.

Infidelity should not be the means to strengthen the relationship, but if it happens it can be an opportunity to grow.

I can accompany you in your experience. Contact me at 407 618 0212.

Keys to building solid trust after infidelity

If you think that rebuilding trust after infidelity is not possible, you are wrong. I do not mean that it is an easy or quick task, but it can be achieved with a lot of tenacity and effort.

For God, marriage is valuable, so we must strive to strengthen it, especially after a crisis such as infidelity. Romans 12:12 tells us:

“Rejoice in Hope, Be Patient in Suffering, Persevere in Prayer.” Thus, God indicates that there is always a way to recover what is believed to be lost: with perseverance and faith.

3 Reasons to rebuild trust after infidelity

I can give you many reasons to rebuild trust after an infidelity in your relationship; however, I will limit myself to 3 whose validity has guided me during my trajectory as a therapist:

  1. Rescue everything invested in the relationship. And I’m not talking about material possessions, but about time, patience, love, work invested to build a marriage and a family. All the priceless things that you cannot measure in financial terms.
  2. Take up old projects or create new ones. t is not only about protecting memories and experiences, but also about looking towards the future. Think that you are starting a relationship with new, more solid foundations and infidelity will not define you as a couple.
  3. Marriage is an institution consecrated by God. Christians know the value of the institution of marriage to God. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24).

For better or worse; that was the commitment before God. And, although nothing obliges you to forgive a betrayal, if you still have the hope of rebuilding your life together, do not give up without trying.

Building trust, step by step

Let’s assume that, at this point, you and your partner overcame the crisis by deciding to stay together. This is a great achievement for the relationship, but without a solid foundation of trust this decision will not be sustained for long. It is a proven fact that mistrust undermines a relationship, damaging it irreversibly, if you do not work on its reconstruction. What can you do about it? I guide you:

  • Be consistent

This means that you must align your thoughts/feelings and what you express with what you do. Often our words tend to go in one direction and our actions in another. For example, if you call yourself an animal protectionist and you kick your pet you are being incongruent. This applies to everything, especially in your relationship with your partner.

  • Leaving lies in the past

It is related to consistency, but now I am talking about lying openly. Deception, in a couple, benefits no one. On the contrary, if you are in the habit of lying, the time will come when you will have an unstable mountain of falsehoods that will collapse at any moment. A single lie can ruin everything you have done to recover your relationship.

  • Repairing the damage caused

Words are not enough here; saying “I love you” is important, but you must understand that, in these circumstances, it is not enough. What you can do then: be on time for dinner with your partner, plan quality time alone, prioritize your activities with her.

  • Make your life “an open book”

This is fundamental. If you were unfaithful you must understand that you will no longer have hidden spaces from your partner. I mean that there will be no more blocked cell phone, incognito visits to internet sites or private passwords.

Even if you decide not to do so, your partner must have access to your social networks, messages and phone calls, bank transactions, online purchases.  You violated the cohabitation pact by destroying trust; these high-effort actions will tell your partner, without words, how much you care about them.

  • Establish real communication

It is time to listen to each other, without noise in communication. It is necessary to talk about the relationship, to express openly, but with respect, any topic, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.

If the channels of communication are not cleared, a true reconciliation will not be possible. No more half-truths; tell your partner what you want, what your expectations are, what you like and what you don’t like; what you long for your future…what you expect from them. Don’t wait for them to guess, express yourself without ambiguity.

  • Be patient

Building trust after infidelity requires a great deal of patience. It is a process that will probably require six months to two years for the clouds of insecurity and suspicion to begin to dissipate.

Reaching normality is a process that must be nurtured every day. Does that seem like a long time? Think of it as a valuable investment in your future and that of your life partner.

Build your home on faith in God

There is no better friend to a happy marriage than God. Shared faith and trust in the Lord sustains your union and gives you strength to move forward. Love for God is the rock on which you will rebuild what you thought was destroyed.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you” (James 4:10)

There are no impossible things for God, not even to rescue a marriage badly wounded by betrayal. If you and your partner are truly committed to this purpose, from the Lord’s hand everything is possible, even if it requires effort and dedication.

Restoring broken trust

All marriages face difficult times as a result of living together. Difficulties are not an excuse to be unfaithful. Therefore, deciding to rescue a marriage affected by infidelity means being honest about the resentments that generate dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

This is the time to be honest and communicate assertively, for which you may need professional counseling. Someone to help you address those behaviors that are damaging the relationship. If you call 407 618 0212, I can help you to start a new path together, with more maturity and mutual understanding.

Is it possible to overcome an infidelity? Know the phases to achieve it

Proposing to overcome infidelity is a complex task; this process involves the willingness and commitment to restore and rebuild a very battered relationship. It is not limited to an “I forgive you”, this is only the beginning of a path that is only made between two and step by step.

I am not talking about a necessarily linear process; however, in this article, I will give you a brief list of its main stages and how much progress you will make in each one. Were you a victim of infidelity? Have you been unfaithful to your partner? If you want to rescue your marriage, you will have to follow this path.

Process for overcoming infidelity

If you have already decided to overcome infidelity and move forward with your marriage, you must be patient and very persevering. In this work of reconstruction, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:8). Therefore, I think you must know, you must know the process that awaits you:

Healing phase to overcome infidelity

It is a time of trauma. It is especially difficult and the struggle to rescue the marriage begins. Both parties are expected to compromise; but the unfaithful person must have the willingness to repair the damage, through behaviors aimed at creating a minimum basis of trust. To do this, your first actions would be:

  • Ending the extramarital relationship. This is considered a high-cost or high-effort action that will demonstrate to the couple the firm decision to rescue the marriage. If you are not willing to give up the third party, there will be no reconciliation process possible.
  • Take responsibility for the fact. The denial of a notorious fact leads to infidelity, transgression, to an absolute lack of respect towards the partner. Taking responsibility for the acts committed shows honesty and willingness to repair the damage.
  • Ask for forgiveness. Infidelity deeply hurts the other person. It is essential that the unfaithful person empathizes with the pain of their partner; that they feel what the partner feels and, consequently, regret having hurt them and tell them sincerely. Being able to put oneself in “the other person’s shoes” is a great step forward.
  • Validating the suffering of the deceived person. We are still talking about empathy as a fundamental mechanism; but, in this case, it is a matter of not undervaluing the other party’s reactions. For example, expressions such as “you are exaggerating” or “it’s no big deal” deepen the gap and reduce the possibility of reconciliation.

This is a delicate moment, due to the intensity of the emotions caused by the discovery. Hence, the process begins with an explicit agreement on the minimum conditions to start the healing process.

Comprehension phase

Once the initial trauma has been overcome, a certain level of trust is established, which is required to begin to understand the events that occurred. We work on the ability to approach the subject with a certain emotional distance, without generating new crises. What are we looking for at this point?

  • To be able to talk about infidelity without aggression and without deepening the trauma.
  • To remember life together before the infidelity: dreams, good times, reasons to be together.
  • Visualization of a future together, with new plans and hopes.

In this phase, trust is still not strong because infidelity is very present; some techniques such as Christian meditation and mindfulness can be very useful to rescue the lost serenity and tranquility. And, although crises may occur from time to time, the intensity is decreasing.

Forgiveness phase

The purpose of the first stages of therapy after infidelity is forgiveness. It takes time and comes with the restoration of trust and security in the couple. Forgiveness does not mean permitting these events to happen again. It represents the release of pain, resentment, negative feelings, and thoughts that harm us physically and emotionally.

But you must understand that there is no specific time frame for forgiveness. You cannot allow pressure. Only you can know when you are ready to take this decisive step that means the healing of wounds. The Bible tells us:

“If they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them” (Luke 17:4).

Forgiving an offense is a Christian virtue, but we must do it from our heart and not from our lips. If forgiveness is not real and full, the basis for recovering the relationship will be weak and will not resist the weight of resentment.

Renewal of commitment is key to overcome infidelity

At this stage, forgiveness has occurred, trust and communication have been re-established, and the couple is ready to move on. Some people ask me if this implies that it will be easy; in my experience, couples who make it to this point in the process are successful.

I’m not talking about a road without challenges, but a strong determination to save the marriage is an advantage that will help them rediscover the reason for their union. The focus is no longer on infidelity; it becomes an experience, a learning experience that generated changes for improvement, strengthening your vows and your commitment.

What does this renewal imply to overcome infidelity?

  • In the first instance, to rescue the love that united them in marriage.
  • Establish the pillars of the relationship: respect, solidarity, and fidelity.
  • Rescue the relationship with God and strengthen spiritual values.
  • Look to the future by designing together a life project.

“Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14), the Bible tells us; but if you have already committed adultery or are suffering from it, it is time to stop and think about the value of your marriage.

It is possible to overcome infidelity

Getting out of the suffering that represents infidelity is possible. If you trust in God and his infinite mercy, you will feel that you can do anything; that pain, emptiness, and insecurity have no power in your life and do not guide your actions.

You are not willing to lose your marriage because of infidelity? Lean on God and seek professional guidance by calling 407 618 0212.

What to do if you live in a loveless marriage

Do you think you are trapped in a loveless marriage and can’t find a solution? Do you love your partner, but don’t feel the same from them? Or is it your feelings that have changed? Don’t despair or rush to consider that you have failed. You can get out of this. Don’t give up.

When you think of marriage, the concept of “love” is hardly missing from its meaning. However, love is something that has to be built every day, and it expresses itself differently in each person. You and your partner must choose to love each other every day and learn to express it in the language you understand together.

Note that a loveless marriage does not always involve abuse or violence. Indifference can also be a sign of a lack of love in the couple, as the psychologist George Levinger (1979) theorized in his work on the stages of marital relationships.

How to identify a loveless marriage?

Having a booklet that symbolizes a union does not imply an unequivocal formula of love. Many marriages fail to find the way in which they both need to give and receive it. This does not have to mean the end of the relationship. If there are honest intentions on both sides, it can be resolved.

For it to be possible to work out the love in the marriage, it is essential that both parties recognize that they need to build this bond again. If you feel that yours might be a loveless marriage, try thinking about the following questions about your relationship:

  • What is communication like?
  • Is fluid dialogue possible without verbal or physical aggression?
  • How much time do you spend with your partner?
  • Do you share quality time together?
  • Do you talk about your personal projects to support each other?
  • Is there physical contact between the two of you?
  • Do they feel comfortable giving and receiving physical demonstrations of affection?
  • Is there trust in the couple?

According to the renowned humanist psychologist Carl Rogers, in order to feel love, it is indispensable to be fully understood and accepted by the other. When this does not happen, it means that there is no love in the marriage. Letting a relationship move forward without love can lead to conflict and deep dissatisfaction.

It is possible to rebuild love in your marriage

Are you convinced that you are in a loveless marriage and want to rebuild it? Fortunately, that is the first step: recognizing and being willing to do so. All couples go through situations that challenge their ability to love. If they manage to overcome them, that love will be strengthened.

There are situations where trust is broken in such a way that rebuilding it involves a long process and a full commitment from both parties. In therapy, the most recurrent are cases of infidelity. Although it may seem difficult, it is possible to restore your marriage in such circumstances.

God speaks of love more than once in His Word. In Philippians 2:2, we read about the shared joy, the common feeling and the union that is necessary for love to exist. Therefore, the first step in finding the solution to the lack of love in a couple is to look for it together.

Talk to your partner

If you both recognize that the feeling has faded or never existed, speak honestly. Be honest with each other in expressing what you feel. You may find, in that dialogue, the fruitful path to building your own intimate love language.

Remember that it may take more than one long, emotional talk between the two of you. Don’t try to rush the process. If you let it happen naturally, it will be easier to reach a successful conclusion, even if it takes a long time. The important thing is that you don’t lose sight of your goal as a couple.

On the other hand, it is possible that only one partner recognizes the lack of love. If that is the case, don’t lose hope. Start by finding a way to express your feelings to your partner. If necessary, work on communicating with each other and then move on to building your love.

Spend quality time with each other

A fundamental key to building the language through which you and your partner can express and live your love is the quality time you spend together. In order to work on rebuilding your love, it is essential that both of you bring some of your time to the marriage.

When we talk about quality time, we do not mean the total number of hours spent in the same room or the same house. You should find space to dedicate yourselves fully to activities that strengthen the couple. It is also important not to neglect intimacy in marriage in order to preserve love.

According to a study by the University of Rochester, there is a close relationship between a successful marriage and watching romantic movies together and discussing them afterwards. This is because it involves quality time together as a couple, as well as opening up dialogue and helping with good communication.

Build new projects together

Setting goals together will help to strengthen the union. A marriage is a team, and the goal of every team is to achieve goals and overcome obstacles. Working towards a common interest will bring opportunities to enhance dialogue and share unique moments.

When thinking about these projects, it is imperative that you look for something you are both passionate about. Don’t try to drag your partner into something they don’t want to do. Setting goals that help you both grow individually will bring a sense of satisfaction to the couple as a couple.

Forge your personal growth together with your partner. Nowadays, psychological research has shown that the self-realization of the partners individually contributes to their durability. In addition, it prevents the feeling of suffocation in the couple.

There is still time to save your marriage. If you would like to receive individual help, do not hesitate to contact us. Each case is different, that’s why we want to get to know you. Call 407 618 0212 to be attended.

Did you fail your partner? 5 tips to rebuild their trust

If you have been unfaithful, you have realized your mistake and you feel that you love your partner, then rebuilding their trust is the next step. It is possible that, in the middle of this emotional hurricane, you do not know how to do it and that is why I want to accompany you.

Before we continue, I will tell you that rebuilding your partner’s trust is a demanding challenge and it is a slow process, but it is possible to achieve. Understanding these 3 truths will make you stay in the attempt without fainting. If you are ready, let’s go!

Some considerations to rebuild their trust

Your partner lives a roller coaster of emotions. That is why rebuilding their trust is an experience lived through feelings of anger, sadness, jealousy and doubt. Also, they ask themselves a lot of difficult questions.

Being aware of your fault will make you assume the consequences such as, for example, the fact that they are emotionally unavailable. You will have to give everything you have to restore the health of your relationship.

Today I share with you these 5 fundamental tips:

1.   Show your sincere regret

Did you tell them that you are sorry for your mistake? If you have said so, now is the time to prove it with facts. You can prove it this way:

  • Stop all contact with your lover. If you allow yourself to remain “as a friend” it is evident that you have not yet understood the hurt you have caused your spouse. Possibly, deep in your heart you want to remain attached to that person.
  • Avoid being defensive and pretending not to listen to complaints. Remember that your action has generated these traumatic feelings in your spouse. You may have to apologize often and give the details your partner requests.
  • Be honest. Always tell the truth and persist in transparency. Because if your partner discovers something that you have not explained with transparency, you will not be able to rebuild their trust and they will want to separate.

2.   Make the relationship your priority

Your daily planning, energies and interests should revolve around getting the relationship back on track. Strive to plan time together, let them know and feel that you want to be with them. Even spend time at home if you don’t feel ready to share activities outside the home.

Reflect on the things that interest your spouse. If you think you know the answer, try a little harder to find details you hadn’t considered before.

3.   Show your main interest: him or her

As a therapist, I have seen that a devastating consequence of infidelity is the personal insecurity that the partner who has been cheated on assumes. They feel unattractive, unappreciated, that they are not enough for their partner, and similar things.

Therefore, to rebuild their trust you need to help them to trust again in themselves by showing them that they are the person that you want to be committed to. The following actions can help you:

  • Acknowledge and express your gratitude for the opportunity they have given you after the damage you have caused.
  • Appreciate and praise their qualities and also be grateful that they share their wonders with you.
  • Tell them with words, gestures and actions that you love them and that you do not wish to lose them. Repeat this daily.
  • Make them feel desirable, that you like them and that you are attracted to them. Open your mind and creativity to court in a different way than you are used to.
  • Avoid lying or betraying trust again.

4.   Focus on reconnecting

After the cheating, your partner is distressed, so in trying to rebuild their trust you must provide them with a strong emotional connection. Emotional connection consists of being able to understand what they feel, attend to their needs and make them feel loved.

Expressions like “I understand your mistrust, but I won’t cheat on you again,” “I want to be with you,” and other similar expressions will make you a little closer. You may need to repeat this many times.

There is only one way to rebuild this bond: intimate communication. That is, being honest, expressing in words what you feel and understanding each other. It’s not easy to do and it can be painful, but continued practice will lead to new habits of trust.

5.   Don’t rush physical sexual contact

By connecting emotionally with your partner you can rebuild their trust in sexuality and in any aspect of the relationship. Well, when a couple feels emotionally connected they have the ability to harmonize and connect in the bedroom.

In his book The Science of Trust, Dr. John Gottman states that the relationship cannot begin again without the mutual pleasure of sexual intimacy. And, this mutual pleasure is born solely from the emotional connection that is built through intimate communication.

A rushed sexual encounter can be confusing and/or frustrating. For, both are emotionally vulnerable and distressed. And, what you rush into feeling can be unstable.

Make sure you make love to your partner at the right time and you will rebuild their trust completely.

God and intimacy in marriage

“A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2.24)

God is intimacy and unity and all his creation has this same quality (John 17.1). That is, what God has created lives in intimacy and connected to each other. For example, humans depend on the environment (plants, water, air) and, in turn, the environment depends on the care that humans give to it.

In marriage, to be intimate is to be one flesh. In other words:

  • The couple lives connected to each other (in intimate communication and understanding).
  • Both make themselves vulnerable and transparent in order to be known and to know the person they love.
  • Man and woman are naked sexually, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually and are not ashamed (Genesis 2.25).

There is intimacy when there is commitment, security and trust. Renewing the commitment with your partner implies rebuilding their trust based on the true intimacy that God intended for marriage.

I will be willing and happy to accompany you to face this difficulty. Contact me by dialing 407 618 0212.