surviving infidelityHey everyone.  We just got back from our little getaway and didn’t have time to write a new post.  So…Here is another post that was originally run back in July of 2010.  We hope that it is beneficial for you.

There are some of you who are further along in the recovery process than others.  Surviving infidelity perhaps has now become more a process of strengthening yourself and your marriage instead of dealing with the immediate aftershocks of D-day and the emotional fallout from the betrayal.

Dr. Willard Harley, in his book “Surviving an Affair,” has four rules of marriage that can guide a couple to total recovery from an affair. 

Harley claims that without his four rules you will certainly fail in your efforts at surviving infidelity.

Rule #1:  The Rule of Protection

In a nut shell, you and your spouse avoid being the cause of each other’s unhappiness.  This can include such tendencies to be angry, disrespectful or selfish.  It’s important for you both to agree on virtually anything you do, as one spouse’s actions affect the other either positively or negatively.  This rule will also encourage you to work out any conflicts in a way that is mutually acceptable.  This in turn should help you to create a life that both of you will enjoy.

Rule #2:  The Rule of Care

This rule applies to discovering and understanding your spouse’s most important emotional needs, and then fulfilling those needs in a way that is mutually enjoyable.  Piece of cake, right?

Rule #3:  The Rule of Time

This rule tries to take a couple back to when they were dating.  The premise is that the only way that you can be successful with “The Rule of Care” is to spend time with your spouse, giving them your undivided attention – much like you did when you were first dating.  In fact, Harley suggests 15 hours a week.  During this time you will attempt to meet each other’s needs of affection, conversation, recreational companionship and sexual fulfillment. 

That’s a lot of together time, for sure.

While discussing this post last night, Linda and I were trying to recount the hours we spent together last week where we were alone and giving each other our undivided attention.  That means no kids, no TV and no computer, etc.  Sad to say, last week we didn’t come very close to 15 hours. 

The point is that yes, it can and will be difficult, but isn’t your marriage worth the extra effort to make it happen?  Plus, you can make it fun, exciting and romantic just as you did when you first started dating.

Rule #4:  The Rule of Honesty

I think this statement from Dr. Harley sums this rule up nicely:

“…honesty means never leaving your spouse with the false impressions about your thoughts, feelings, habits, likes, dislikes, personal history, daily activities, or plans for the future.” 

Honesty is essential for your marriage to be safe and to succeed.  It will bring you closer to your spouse emotionally and will prevent any destructive behaviors from forming.

To be successful at surviving infidelity and creating a strong and happy marriage in the future, following Dr. Harley’s rules can be a great game plan for making that happen.  But don’t just set the rules and go from there.  Schedule regular review sessions (part of your 15 hours!) to make sure that you are making steady improvement.  Taking these steps can help you recover and achieve the marriage that you have always wanted.



    5 replies to "Surviving Infidelity – The Four Rules of Marriage"

    • Michael

      I don’t think this is going to happen. But its a nice thought.

    • Broken

      Michael, ditto.

    • Jeffrey Murrah

      I like Willard Harley’s material. The rule of time is important, but challenging for many couples. I find that his 15 hours makes a good long term goal. For many couples, a place to start is setting aside time for each other each day and having meals together. When you are in pain, your focus is on taking the next step. Attaining the goal and aiming for it is just….to difficult for them to grasp.

      • Linda

        Jeffrey, I am curious, when you are working with couples do you encourage them to fill out the emotional needs questionnaire by Harley, do you agree with the love bank concept that he discusses in his book? I find it very interesting but it is almost like love becomes systematic. Checks and balances. Is that the way love it really is? Linda

    • Gizfield

      I have a problem with the “time” rule. If I wanted a boyfriend and dates, I’d be single. I want a man who has finally Grown Up, and appreciates an adult woman. That’s just me, I don’t feel that time talking about myself is that important. I have a child who doesn’t really see us that much anyway. Family time is the most important to me, and it is gone waaay too quickly as it is. Does anyone else feel this way? My largest regret about this cheating is that it has cut into time with our child. I think that my husband is on board with this as well.

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