let me share with you some interesting facts about what it takes to produce a good bottle of wine.
A lot of winemaking success comes from doing counterintuitive things. Because if you grow grapevines without limits, boundaries or restrictions—and in near-perfect environments with all the resources, comfort and convenience—at best, you'll produce mediocre vines, and at worst, you'll end up with nothing but sour grapes.
But on the other hand...
If you're willing to prune them hard and to crowd them with close neighbors... if you're willing to introduce some adversity and make things challenging for the vines by restricting water supply and by making them struggle for nutrients and resources... then your vines will do something remarkable. They will begin to focus and concentrate their efforts on reproducing themselves sexually... which means stronger vines and better-flavored grapes—the kind needed to produce excellent wine.
SO WHAT DOES ALL THIS HAVE TO DO WITH YOUR SITUATION?
Well, as it turns out, attempting to rebuild your marriage after a brush with infidelity gives you a lot in common with winemakers than you might first think. The reason? In both cases, being successful is often the result of doing counterintuitive things.
Let me explain what I mean...
Place a couple in a near-perfect environment (where every desire is readily met and every comfort and convenience is flawlessly accommodated), and give them total freedom with no boundaries, no limits and no expectations... and instead of creating the "paradise on earth" that you'd expect, what you're more likely to end up with is a sense of entitlement at worst, and a lifestyle of boredom at best. (Surprised? I'll tell you why in a minute.)
On the other hand...
Introduce some creative boundaries to the relationship... give that couple problems to work on, challenges to defeat, decisions to make, obstacles to conquer, conflicts to resolve, and introduce them to adversities and uncertainties that will require them to learn how to work together to overcome... and what you'll end up with (somewhat counterintuitively) is a couple whose relationship dynamic is richer, stronger, more and more emotionally satisfying than if those things were absent.
AM I SAYING THAT ADVERSITY IS GOOD FOR A MARRIAGE?
No, that's not what I am saying. What I am saying is that adversity is inevitable (every couple has them), so those couples who are willing to work together to learn how to overcome adversity and those couples who are willing to do things that are counterintuitive are the ones that produce that type of marriage that all the great love songs are written about.
Unfortunately, the opposite is also true.
Those couples that are unwilling to cooperate during times of adversity and those couples that take the stereotypical approaches to solving problems and dealing with challenges end up with the type of mediocre relationship that litters the road to infidelity.
Here's what I believe.
I believe that facing adversity is not the real problem. In fact, if you approach it right, learning how to overcome and rebuild your marriage after infidelity can actually become a growing opportunity. The real problem in (in my opinion) is that many couples take the same old approach, bring the same attitudes, beliefs and rules (many of which contributed to vulnerability of the marriage in the first place) to rebuilding the marriage. And so rather than the adversity becoming a relationship improvement opportunity for many couples, it ends up becoming the slide to decline. Let me explain what I mean.
DID YOU KNOW?Only about 19% of couples divorce immediately upon the discovery of infidelity. The majority (approximately 80%) do attempt to work it out—they go to marriage counseling, take second honeymoons, buy gifts, and spend months walking on eggshells or groveling, trying to make up for what they lost.
THE SAD NEWS?The majority of those couples won't be successful... because about 75% of those who attempt to work things out after infidelity divorce in about 18 to 24 months.
HERE'S THE REALLY, REALLY SAD NEWS.
Many times, the demise of the relationship isn't because the couple didn't try, and isn't because they didn't love each other. Often, the demise is the result of something they didn't even realize was happening. And that "something" often starts long before the affair.
If I gave you a dollar for every time I've heard a client say "Suzie, I thought we had a good marriage"... you'd be a whole lot richer than you are today. That's because one of the ugly truths about infidelity is this: infidelity is just as likely to rock a good marriage as it would a bad one. (Gasp!)
Why? I believe the reason is this: if marriages had a rating scale (a Zagat-type rating for marriages), then "good" would actually be the code for "average."
- IF A GOOD MARRIAGE WERE A HOTEL, IT WOULD BE A 3-STAR HOTEL.
- IF IT WERE A TERM PAPER, IT WOULD RECEIVE A GRADE OF "C".
- IF IT WERE AN OLYMPIC ATHLETE, IT WOULD WIN THE BRONZE MEDAL.
This means... when it comes to long-term romantic relationships, good = average. In other words, in a marriage (as in other areas of life), good doesn't get you great results—it gets you average results. And what's another word for average? You guessed it: mediocre.
Am I saying that a good marriage is a bad thing to have?
NO, that's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that when it comes to marriage, good can be a code for mediocrity.
I recently overheard a Michelin 3-star chef give an interview on television. The reporter asked him, "How is it that you're able to sell a hamburger for $30 when I can buy a hamburger for $1 on any street corner in America?"
I thought his answer put the concept of mediocrity into perspective.
He said, "No food is intrinsically better than any other food, but if you're willing to totally lavish it with attention and pour all your passion and love into a hamburger, then it becomes a work of art." He went on to say, "The opposite is also true. If you take the most expensive cut of meat and treat it like a commodity, then you reduce it to mediocrity. And you can charge a dollar all day long for mediocrity. I believe the difference in my prices reflects the additional love, passion and attention I lavish on my food, not the cut of meat."
- Mediocrity is convenient (minimum efforts needed).
- Mediocrity is predictable (lacks spontaneity).
- Mediocrity is safe (requires no risk).
- Mediocrity is lazy (lacks energy).
- Mediocrity is cheap (requires little or no investment).
- Mediocrity isn't special or unique (easily duplicated).
- Mediocrity isn't exclusive (everyone can have it/buy it).
- Mediocrity is indifferent (lacks passion).
YOU MIGHT ASK... WHAT'S IMPORTANT ABOUT ALL THAT?Well, here's the connection: The number 1 thing couples say they want the most once infidelity rocks their relationship is for things to "return to normal." They want things to be the same as it was before the indiscretion occurred. Do you realize what this means? You probably already guessed it. It means that for the most part, they will go back to doing the same things, living the same way, following the same script, the same rules, and the same model and map of marriage as they had before. The result? Well, according to the latest statistics, approximately 80% will fail to thrive.
WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE?That's a great question. The answer is this: Once infidelity rocks a marriage, it's like an earthquake shaking the foundations of a building. If you simply repair the damage but you don't strengthen the building, it remains vulnerable to falling apart. So, to make it truly safe, you'll have to go beyond fixing to actually redesigning. You're going to have to make more than the minimum repairs; you're going to have to rebuild from the ground up. And to do that, you're going to need to follow a different blueprint than the one you had before.
A similar approach has to be taken when rebuilding a marriage after infidelity. It's not enough to forgive, kiss and makeup. It's not enough to plead and promise. While those things are important, they are only the first steps. There are other steps you must take to truly infidelity proof your marriage.
SO, WHAT SHOULD YOU TAKE FROM ALL THIS?Well, I think there are four key things that every couple who wants to rebuild their marriage after it has been rocked by infidelity:
NOW HERE'S THE REALITY CHECK
Once a marriage is rocked by infidelity, it will never be the same as it was before. But that's not bad news—that's good news! Because if you went back to the way things were, you put yourself right back on the same collision course that you had in the past.
So, here's what I want you to do:
I want you to perish any thought (and dance on their collective graves) that the relationship you used to have was "so special" or "so perfect" that it can't be upgraded. I want you to banish any feeling that you can't have it better—more passionate, more loving, with more open and honest communications—than you had before. You can!
BECAUSE HERE'S THE BEAUTIFUL TRUTH...
While infidelity is a deal breaker, it's also an opportunity to make a new deal. This means, however, that you have to get to a different, better and more rewarding model of marriage and relationship than you had before.
And if having that makes sense to you...
Then I'd like to spend the next few minutes giving you a brief intro to Marriage Rehab couples home study online course, telling you about how it works, what makes it unique and what you can expect—all with an eye towards helping you determine whether or not this couple's course would be a good approach for both of you. So let's begin by exploring what Marriage Rehab is all about.
WHAT IS MARRIAGE REHAB?
Marriage Rehab is my 21-step home study course for couples, during which I will coach you and your partner towards gaining the skills, insights and strategies you need to heal, overcome and redesign your marriage so that it's better and stronger than ever before.
- While other marriages end in divorce... you rebuild a marriage that's even stronger.
- While other marriages start to slip and decline... yours is thriving.
- While romance fades for other couples... yours is renewing.
- While other couples are starting to drift apart... you and your spouse are drawing closer.
- While for other couples, love is slowing down... your love is heating up.
I see my role in the same way.
As your coach, my job is to awaken the possibilities within you and your partner, to strengthen your motivation to go for more, and to inspire a more beautiful vision of what's possible for each of you as individuals and the two of you as a couple. I promise to show up 100% in this capacity.
THE KEY QUESTIONBy the end of your Marriage Rehab course, you will know the answer to the most important question you could ask yourself as a married couple: What allows us to create a marriage which is authentic, romantic, passionate and infidelity-free for life?
HINT: Once you and your partner discover the answer to this question, you will no longer have to "endure", but rather, you will learn how to truly enjoy your married life together.
AND THE BEST PART?
Since Marriage Rehab is an audio course that's 100% online, you can access it immediately and begin right away to take the steps to rebuilding your marriage. You can listen and learn at your own pace in the privacy and convenience of your home or take it on the road with you. It works on any device—computer, iPad/tablet, or phone.
And just in case you're still hesitant... here are 10 more good reasons to consider my Marriage Rehab online course.
THE GOOD NEWS IS...
You don't have to take that road. You don't have to stay in the same patterns, routines and old way of being together that made your relationship vulnerable to extramarital temptations in the first place.
If you wish it... this disaster could also become the doorway to a better, different and far more rewarding marriage and relationship than you had before.
Can this really be done? Yes, it can. How can I be so sure? I can be sure because I've done it myself in my own marriage and what's more, I've helped countless other couples do it as well.
So, the real question facing you right now... is not whether or not it's possible to rebuild a better marriage after infidelity (of course it is).
- Will your love age like a fine wine, or will it end up like sour grapes?
- Will your love life be exceptional, or will it be average?
- Will you settle for a good (mediocre) marriage, or will you upgrade to a passionate one?
- Will you rebuild a better marriage, or will you rebuild a replica of the same old relationship?
- Will you defy the odds, or will you end up as another divorce statistic?
The opportunity to discover just how much more is possible for you as a couple is not only knocking at your door, it's practically knocking the door down. And for those couples who are willing to answer that door, an exciting new journey begins.
BECAUSE I BELIEVEIf you are willing to make just a tiny shift in your approach to this adversity, and if you're willing to try something new, try a different map of marriage, then a sort of alchemy becomes possible (similar to the type that turns sour grapes into sweet wine)—one that has the potential to transform this relationship adversity into relationship enrichment experience.
AND WOULDN'T THAT BE THE ULTIMATE VICTORY?
For you guys to one day be able to look back and realize the heartache you went through was like labor pains that helped you to give birth to a more loving and beautiful relationship than you had before.
And if you're even remotely curious about how I can help you with that process of transforming this pain into inspiration for a better marriage, then I invite you to learn more about my Marriage Rehab couples home study course here.