I was riding my bike with a good friend last week, and we were talking about her marriage. Her husband committed several acts of infidelity over the course of their eight-year marriage, and now they are trying to figure out if they can go on and begin again.
Here’s the problem — she still loves him.
I listened carefully as she talked, realizing that she only spoke of all the terrible things he has done to her, and then every so often she would add, “but I still love him.”
The thing is, he is doing all the right things, at this point. They were separated for one year. During that year, he cleaned up his act, did everything that was required of him to make things right, and he has begged his wife to give him another chance.
So, what is the answer?
My advice to her was simple. You don’t have to decide right now. Give him a shot at being a faithful husband, and when all is said and done — you will know. You will know whether the good in your marriage will be able to outweigh the bad over time.
In the meantime, I suggested they find a good counselor. But more importantly, I suggested she stop focusing on all of the terrible things and start spending time doing things that are fun. I like to break this into three categories — romance with husband, fun with friends, peace with self.
Get romantic with your husband
Plan a trip away together. My husband and I have a couple of trips we love and we do them often.
Drive to a beautiful spot and sit and talk while eating the popcorn you just made at home.
Go for a walk or a hike close to home and take a picnic.
Head out for a drive-in movie.
Go have fun with your girlfriends
Go out to dinner once in a while with a group or friends, or cook at someone’s house.
Ride your bikes to a destination and shop at the farmer’s market or get pedicures.
Go on an overnighter when there is a special event. For example, a group of friends and I go to an Art Festival over a weekend and have done so for 30 years.
Spend time with just you and get into a peaceful place
Sit out in your backyard and read a book under a shady tree.
Soak in your bathtub when no one is at home.
A friend of mine taught me this: Meditate for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening. It takes a lot of practice to clear your head and sit still, but the payoff is great.
So here are the million-dollar questions.
Do people change?
Is it possible to take a marriage full of infidelity and turn it around?
Will there ever be a time when the two of you can stop focusing on what happened, and look only to the future?
Can you forgive and truly love again with your whole heart?
Only you can answer these questions for yourself. A counselor once told me that if you decide to stay in your marriage — you should only do so if you plan to be happy. There would be no point staying in a marriage if you plan to punish yourself or be angry all of the time.
If you have found yourself in this situation, begin to look forward right now. If you are still in love with your spouse, stop dwelling on the past and start spending time doing things that are fun for you. Commit to giving it one more shot.
You may end up with a better marriage than you ever had before.
Janeen Diamond left KUTV News in 2001 after the birth of her daughter, Gabby. Since that time, she has been actively producing commercials and special programming through her company, “Your TV Spot.” She has hosted several television and internet productions, and has been a spokesperson for several products and companies. Janeen is a contributing expert at HopeAfterDivorce.org, FamilyShare.com, CupidsPulse.com, and LAFamily.com.