Expressing Marital Appreciation Can Prevent Affairs
Written By: Mark Smith
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While enjoying an end of year trip to Florida with my kids I had a chance to listen to M. Gary Neuman’s interesting book ‘The Truth about Cheating’.
Since this topic is my main specialty, unfortunately I listen to such material for fun. How is that for having issues? I read as much as I can on the subject because I plan to write about it extentively this year mainly by offering FREE E-books through our website familytreecounseling.com. The first FREE E-Book should be online within a month.
The main theme that stuck out for me was the author’s repeated emphasis that men crave and require appreciation, praise, respect, admiration and the sense that they are winners. He warned that if those qualities are in short supply then a man is vulnerable to gravitating towards those qualities from other sources. While he certainly did not excuse cheating by husbands not blame the wife for her husband’s transgressions, he did bring of a solid truth about the nature of men and the nature of marriage.
Like most marriage counselors, the author’s focus was on saving, fixing and advising ways that the marriage could be saved at all costs. It is a how to for women in dealing with cheating husbands of every stripe…have cheated, are cheating and someday might cheat. He dispenses a lot of solid advice but some of it seemed a bit manipulative in its nature. Those of you familiar with the Family Tree Counseling paradigm know that we approach the same issues from an alternative and we believe even more helpful perspective. We are much more focused on figuring out the family of origin patterns which get repeated from one generation to the next. Neuman gave some little sections of family of origin focus to each case he discussed. I thought those sections were by far the most powerful. There was a quite literally a killer example and I don't mean that disrespectfully, that really illustrated Family Tree’s approach…a woman’s husband was a partner in a successful business with his father and two siblings. She could not trust them and this caused major marital friction. She was convinced that they were being shorted by the family members. What kind of a family would a woman in this marriage come from? Her father was murdered at his place of business that he owned with his brother. The brother then made no allowances for his fallen sibling’s family, keeping the store all for himself. The business ultimately became extremely successful and the uncle’s kids were then allowed to become partners. She had reenacted her childhood. We all reenact our childhoods!
Cutting insight into these patterns can turn a hopeless unforgiveable wound into a proactive growth experience that empowers both partners to dig deep into their own wounded psyches as they humbly work together to rebuild their marriage from the ground up without judgment or punishment. We know that there are never any victims in any marriage. Read more about this liberation concept on our website, familytreecounseling.com.
Neuman does bring up an excellent point with the appreciation angle though. In the Biblical book of Proverbs the wise man does not warn the naïve young married man to beware of beautiful sexy woman who would seek to seduce them. He warns them of one extremely dangerous ploy – flattery. As the old saying goes, flattery will get you everywhere. If your childhood wounds make it difficult or impossible for you to express compliments, praise, admiration or appreciation to your husband then your marriage is in grave danger. Another old saying warns us that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The same fellow that you have grown to see and teat like a lunkhead who can do little wrong frequently ends up playing the role of mighty knight in shining armor to another woman. Be warned wives, there ARE women out there who would be thrilled to take your husband from you. If you have major abandonment in your childhood, your chances for just such a repeated major abandonment are astronomically high.
Neuman does get into a Family Tree like analysis of the childhood background of the example couples in his book. I think that he falls short of putting 1 and 1 together though. He never makes a case that while one spouse’s childhood wounds fit like a glove with their mate, the flip side of the coin is always true as well. Marriage is nothing other than a conspiracy of both parties reenacting their childhood patterns in unison and without much apparent insight into this fairly obvious fact.
‘The Truth about Cheating’ has a lot of truth in it. I enjoyed listening to it. If you combine it with Family Tree’s approach it gives you another set of tools to shift out of a victimy and into a proactive, self responsible and healing perspective that will encourage forgiveness, affirmation and mutual support and growth. It is worth reading and discussing with your spouse. That will encourage forgiveness, affirmation and mutual support and growth.
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