Are You in an Emotional Affair?

16 04 2018

Individuals are “hooking up” at the workplace, on social media and along the sidelines of their kids sporting events. We tend to have an insatiable desire for understanding and a listening ear and when we receive that from someone other than our spouse, we are walking on shaky ground.

Dr. Gail Saltz psychiatrist with New York Presbyterian Hospital said this concerning affairs, “Many people convince themselves so long as there is not sex it is not an affair, but it is. It has to do with secrecy, deception and betrayal and the emotional energy you are putting into the other person vs. your partner. The most difficult thing to recover from is not sex, but the breaking of trust. Those involved in an emotional affair are often in denial. They do not think they’re having an affair at all. The denial keeps them guilt free and they tell themselves, ‘It’s just a friendship.’”

So, how do you know you’re in an emotional affair? Dr Saltz shares ten warning signs:

  1. When your meetings are kept secret from your spouse.
  2. When you say and do things with someone you would never do in front of your spouse or you would feel guilty if your spouse happened to show up.
  3. When you make it a point to arrange private talk time with this person.
  4. When you share things with them that you do not share with your partner.
  5. When you avoid telling your partner how much time you may be spending with this person.
  6. When you are stating things about your marriage that you should not be telling another, opening a window to your heart and unmet emotional needs.
  7. When you begin discussing your marital dissatisfaction.
  8. When you tell this person more about your day than you do your partner.
  9. When you “ready your appearance” in anticipation of seeing this person.
  10. When there is sexual attraction spoken or unspoken between you.

What to do:

  1. Pray, confess to God, ask for forgiveness and repent.
  2. Treat an emotional affair like any other affair – cut it off fully and completely (stop calling, stop email, stop texting, etc.). If you do not end it, you will not rebuild trust with your mate.
  3. Stop flirting; stop daydreaming about it.
  4. Realize that you cannot even remain “friends” with this person.
  5. Turn your heart away from it and toward your marriage relationship.
  6. Put your emotional energy into healing yourself and your marriage relationship.
  7. You must take responsibility. You got yourself into this mess, you need to own it.
  8. Become trustworthy in order to work at rebuilding trust. Be accountable with your whereabouts, come home immediately. Do not allow questioning or wondering on your mates part with thoughts of “where is she?” or “how long could it possibly take for him to go to the hardware store?”
  9. Be open with your internet use and cell phone use, hide nothing.
  10. Look long and hard at why you did it, how you found yourself in this position.

You cannot redo anything, you simply must move forward. You must walk in honest confession and humility. Humility keeps you from becoming defensive and blaming another.

You must forgive one another and yourself. There is no greater answer than the forgiveness of God through the love of His Son. You must remain accountable. Accountability is a huge ingredient because marriage infractions always take place in an environment of deception.

Get outside counsel and direction as soon as possible. Do not try to do it all yourself. Re-attach yourself to your mate. Most likely you have moved away from one another in some areas of your relationship. Pray with and pray for your life mate. Finally, you must learn to rest in the redemption of your Savior.

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The Men In Your Life Are Looking For Respect

26 02 2018

Recently while in the nation of New Zealand, a friend pointed to a fellow teacher and said, “See that older gentleman?” I assured him that I did. He went on to explain, “I am younger than him and I am retired from teaching.” I asked why he chooses not to retire figuring the conversation was leading that way. My friend replied, “He tells me he wants to continue teaching because it is far better than going home and living with his critical wife.”

 

Men long for respect. Paul, the Apostle, admonished wives to respect their husbands. (Ephesians 5:33) A man can handle not being loved, but he cannot handle not being respected. I think God knew that about a man. If a man does not feel respected by his wife and family, he will stay at work longer, he will hang out at the bar after work or he’ll go to the fire company and loiter with the guys. Men don’t care if their friends do not express love, but if men feel disrespect it will be the demise of the relationship. Men do not need their supervisors to express any form of love, but they long to hear words of affirmation on a job well done – respect.

 

I read a recent study that indicated 74% of men would choose the preference of feeling unloved in the world around them rather than feeling disrespect. These men indicated they would choose to live with a wife who respected them, but did not love them. Do men need love? Of course, but the need for respect has a higher personal value. Consider this: Even while a sports team is performing poorly, they will still resonate with the female cheerleaders on the sideline pushing them forward with their optimistic, upbeat and affirming cheers.

 

Be a cheerleader in the life of your husband, your son, your brother or your Dad today.





Valentines Day: Are You Your Spouses Healer?

14 02 2018

In God’s word, Ephesians chapter five is where we often find ourselves concerning the husband and wife relationship. We tend to quote those parts that we like in these verses, but often fail to remember the parts that require effort from us. For example, what man doesn’t like the fact that God requires  a woman to respect her husband? And, what woman doesn’t like the part that asks a husband to love his wife?

 

Recently while teaching these principles, it hit me that these particular scriptures are words of healing for a marriage. In other words, if we actually believe them, embrace them and act on them, we will bring healing to our marriage relationship. Within this thought is another. We have three very different options in marriage that we can embrace.

 

We can be a destroyer in our marriage, a manager or, thirdly, we can be a healer. To not love and to not respect will eventually bring destruction to our marriage relationship. To neither destroy nor bring healing will only manage our relationship and not move it forward. Many couples have chosen this position because it’s easy and takes little to no effort. Management accepts what is and takes no further steps for healing change.

 

The position I believe God requires of us is to become a healer. When husband’s love as Christ loved, healing will be the result. When wives respect and honor as Sarah did Abraham (See I Peter 3: 5 & 6), healing will be the outcome. These scriptures are not spoken to us as an option or even good advice, but rather anointed and written by God to empower your marriage with healing so that you and your spouse, out of wholeness, can bring healing to one another and eventually other marriages.

The very best gift you can give your Valentine today, is a heartfelt desire from  and through God to be a healer!





Is Your Marriage Healing You?

22 01 2018

We hear far too many reports about marriages that are not lasting. When marriage is full of selfishness, insecurity and immaturity, marriage becomes an attempt to receive healing from our spouse, i.e., if they’re the problem, they’re the solution as well.  When our spouse deals with the same inadequacies, they are unable to give what we’re looking for. Over a period of time, the thought of having married the wrong person is often generated.

 

But marriage in its purest, God-given form is not meant to harm us; rather, God gave us this gift to heal us. Let’s face it, our spouse can bring the worst out of us. But, seriously, how bad is that? Do you desire to identify and face your worst? When you identify and face your worst, you can actually begin to work on the issues in your life. Too often we blame our spouse for our worst and then think they’re the problem, believing the lie that all would be better if they would make all the changes.

 

Here’s a little secret. As you and your spouse begin to discover your inadequacies and insecurities, do not blame them on one other, rather use them to pursue personal healing. Persons who are healing will bring healing to others. The healthier you become, the healthier your marriage can become.





5 Ways to Identify Growth In Your Marriage

15 01 2018

Occasionally it’s good to evaluate our marriage progression. Today I want to share five ways in which we can identify marriage growth and maturity. Don’t be discouraged if you feel overdue in any of these areas; just realize maturity does take time and personal revelation for change.

 

1. Seeing the need of your spouse as more important than your own need. Number one is a sure-fire indicator of a maturing self-concept. To move toward the need of another before your own provides a clear sense of good will, pure heart, wisdom and, not the least, servanthood.

 

  1. Celebrating, embracing and enjoying your differences. When you stop fighting over your differences and start realizing your need of one another’s gift mix, a significant hurdle in a marriage relationship is realized. Embracing the difference for the good of the whole is an amazing and freeing team concept. We all married someone different from ourselves and when we learn to embrace those differences as a positive, we will experience tremendous growth in our marriage relationship.

 

  1. Seeing the need to work on personal wholeness rather than wishing or demanding your spouse change first. It is often said that you cannot change anyone but yourself. Marriage brings truth to that statement like no other relationship. When you realize it’s you that needs to grow, to change, to mature, you reach a healthy state of mind.

 

  1. Realizing you are best friends. You are in that place of desiring to serve and help one another. You are one another’s safe place. You trust each other explicitly. You share the honor and respect you both desire and deserve.

 

  1. Asking God first. You have come to the place of releasing demands and expectations of each other as you have learned to simply ask God – pray first. You have come together in prayer, knowing there is Someone to whom you are accountable and are in desperate need of for continuing marital growth.




10 Reasons Why We Need a Local Church in Our Lives

16 10 2017

I recently returned from serving a local church in Chicago, IL and was reminded in so many different ways of why we each need a local church in our lives and the lives of our family. To me it is imperative to be in close relationship with those persons who care about you and your family. It is essential to have that connection for not just receiving, but giving as well.

So, here are 10 reasons for being intentionally connected to a local church.

 

  1. Support – A local church connection provides support to family and/or us as individuals. It is a vehicle that God has chosen to provide spiritual and emotional support for personal growth. It is a spiritual family with fathers and mothers who will care about you and your future. (I Cor. 4:5; Heb. 12:9; I John 2:13, 14)
  2. Fellowship (koinonia) – The local church is a place of relational connection and belonging. It is a place of family with common life values. We are not alone in this world when we have a local church connection. We have people around us who personally care about our welfare. Wholesome and positive friendships can develop with our younger children, our teenagers and ourselves. An active, involved, dedicated and serious youth group can save a teen’s life. (Acts 2:42; I John 1:7)
  3. Service – The local church is a place where we can work toward and support a vision outside of ourselves. We all need something bigger than ourselves and a local church with vision can provide that. We can connect with the vision and find valuable ways to serve others. (Acts 12:24, 25)
  4. Gifts – It is a place for us to learn, practice and use our spiritual gifts. The body of Christ needs one another and the gifts that we each bring. Those gifts given us by God are not to be hidden, but made use of to serve others. The local church is the perfect place to use your teaching, serving, hospitality, prayer or mission gifts. (I Cor. 12: 12-27; I Peter 4:10)
  5. Resources – A local church is extremely important to a family. There are resources available at every age level to participate in. There are ongoing trainings and seminars for raising children, budgeting, marriage and the like. Often there are even counseling, coaching and mentoring resources. Families who attend church together have a clear advantage over those who do not – they have resources above and beyond themselves. There is far less isolation and far more family interaction with spiritual connections and challenges. (II Timothy 2:2)
  6. Outreach – A local church is often the vehicle for local community outreach. Local churches are involved with the homeless in their community, the after school tutoring and the missionaries serving overseas. Your family can have a direct effect and impact in the world by participating with these worthy causes. (II Timothy 4:5)
  7. Education – The local church is a place of education in the Bible and in practical Christian living. It is a place where our whole family can grow through sermons, Sunday school classes, seminars, video classes and so much more. (II Timothy 3:16, 17)
  8. Groups – Small groups provide accountability and discipleship for each of our lives. The small group setting is a place of greater relational intimacy while it provides room for open discussion and opportunities for praying together. (Acts 5:42; 16:34; 20:20; Romans 16:5; I Cor. 16:19)
  9. Giving – The local church is the place to give our tithe and sow financial seed into something that we know and trust. We can give elsewhere to a lot of really good causes, but it’s difficult to know where our money is going. Not so with the local church and the built-in responsibility that is offered. (Malachi 3:10; Matthew 6: 3,4; Romans 12:8)
  10. Accountability – When we are part of a local church, there is a provision aspect of someone watching over our soul, someone(s) caring about our daily life and our future. There is the possibility of others who we can look up to that are inspiring models in integrity, marriage, spiritual gifts, etc. There are positive peer relationships that help us to keep moving forward in our faith, growing, being challenged and calling us to a higher level of faith. There are businesspersons and homemakers that can help us walk out our daily lives. (Psalm 119:26; Hebrews 13: 17)

I have experienced all of these and more in many local churches and I appreciate the body of Christ so much. God is not angry at His church as so many speak today, but rather, He loves His church, He died for His church and longs for His church to be with Him one day. Until then, be a vital part of a growing, Bible believing and faith-filled local church body. You and your family will grow and help to grow others.





Staying Together Chapter Thirteen: The Six Most Important Words

9 10 2017

This completes a thirteen-week blog series that has shared a snippet from each chapter of our new book, Staying Together, Marriage: A Lifelong Affair by Steve & Mary Prokopchak. This book is available through House to House Publications.

We are settled. We do not have to always agree, but rarely do we disagree. Steve is Mary and Mary is Steve and we desire the very best and the highest goodwill for each other. We are not competing with one another and we are not jealous of each other. We will not settle for mediocre in our relationship and we will not allow a spirit of discontentment to show its ugly head. We both know that through the grace of God and His goodness to us, we gained something…or someone in marriage. When we said “yes” to one another, we said “no” to every other possible partner out there. We have no regrets.

What are the six most important words in marriage? Are you ready to hear them? Once you hear them, you will be accountable for knowing the right thing to say and to do.

You’ll find those six words, maybe nine, in chapter thirteen, the final chapter of Staying Together, Marriage: A Lifelong Affair. I hope you have enjoyed this thirteen-week series introducing you to our new book. Please order a copy for yourself today and one to give away to a couple you know. Please consider running a “Staying Together” small group to encourage other marriages.

Other ordering options:

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/staying-together-steve-mary-prokopchak/1125534926?ean=9780768414905

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Staying-Together-Marriage-Life-Affair/dp/0768414903/ref=sr_1_2?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1499959168&sr=8-2&keywords=steve+prokopchak

CBD (Christianbooks.com): https://www.christianbook.com/staying-together-marriage-a-lifelong-affair/steve-prokopchak/9780768414905/pd/414905?event=ESRCG








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