What Is and Isn’t Appropriate When it Comes to Opposite Sex Relationships Outside of Your Marriage (Part 2)

Situations and Circumstances You Need to Be Careful With

While this article is meant to be a guideline for you and your spouse, you both will have to decide what you’re okay with and what you’re not okay with. Maybe you’re both okay with certain things that other couples wouldn’t be, and that’s for you two decide together. However, there are some situations you should talk about even if they never happen—it’s always better to be safe than sorry. A few examples might include:

• Hiring a personal trainer of the opposite sex
• Having a business partner of the opposite sex
• Carpooling alone with the opposite sex

Any situation that would involve your spouse spending a significant amount of time alone with a person of the opposite sex is a situation to be wary about. Yes, it’s important to trust your partner and for him to trust you, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful and protect your marriage. Being too loose or comfortable with things like this in a marriage can often lead to betrayal and destroyed trust.

What To Do When Boundaries Are Crossed

If you find yourself developing feelings for a “friend” of the opposite sex, you better have some boundaries put in place for yourself, like cutting off the friendship, confiding in your spouse about the friendship, and preventing something like this from happening in the future. The sooner you stop things from progressing further, the better off all parties involved will be. As always, if you feel the need to hide what’s going on, it shouldn’t be happening, end of story.

If you have nagging feelings that your spouse might be involved in an inappropriate friendship, bring your feelings out into the open. Talk to your spouse in a way that makes him feel safe enough to be honest about it. Even if a boundary has been crossed, don’t give up on your marriage or lose hope that all is lost and your marriage is over. Start talking about what led you two apart and why this happened in the first place. If the both of you still want to make things work, there’s always hope to reconnect and rekindle your marriage. LIFE Marriage Retreats can help you have those important conversations in a place of safety and healing.



What Is and Isn’t Appropriate When it Comes to Opposite Sex Relationships Outside of Your Marriage (Part 1)

Imagine you just got married and you and your spouse are happily starting out your life together. However, you notice your spouse is still communicating with a close friend of the opposite gender that he had before you were married. While you know nothing is going on, you can’t help but feel ill at ease. It makes you a little anxious and you realize you’re not comfortable with it. Why is that? Read on to find out how harmful such outside relationships can be:

Close Friendships Are Not Appropriate

 In any close friendship, you share thoughts, hopes, feelings, and emotions with that person. There is an old saying that says “Don’t water the neighbor’s grass, use it on your own to make it green.” Most people who have engaged in an inappropriate emotional relationship with a member of the opposite sex confess that they confide more of themselves to that other person than to their spouse. In almost every case, had they shared more of themselves with their partner, the marriage would have been strengthened and improved. Instead, it is left to wither, leading to a cycle of feeling unfulfilled in the marriage which leads to engaging inappropriately with a member of the opposite sex, which leads to the marriage feeling even more negative, and on and on.

Engaging in intimate emotional interaction with someone of the opposite sex brings the risk developing romantic feelings for him or her. Sharing emotions with someone other than your spouse is not only dangerous, as it can lead to sexual infidelity it is extremely hurtful for your spouse who deserves to be the one you’re confiding in. A couple should realize that it is their well nurtured emotional connection that plays a powerful role in creating a warm and satisfying physical connection. It is easy for a partner to get confused, feeling that they have a connection with a person outside of the marriage in which they feel understood and accepted. They don’t consider that such a relationship does not have to deal with financial issues, parenting problems, tensions with in-laws and other distractions that are common in a committed marriage relationship, and that if they take the time to share and problem solve with their spouse, the relationship will grow into something that is unattainable outside of the marriage.

Having a close friendship with someone of the opposite sex is not worth the risk. Even if you’re not attracted to the person or you think you’re strong enough to never let anything happen, don’t put yourself at risk. Most affairs, emotional and physical, start out with two people who were “just friends” that, when confiding in each other about personal things, grew to care more for each other than was appropriate. And what’s the natural next step when you develop feelings for someone? Physical affection.

 Co-Worker Relationships Are Appropriate Within Reason

Obviously you’re going to have to work with members of the opposite sex when you’re at work and that’s completely normal and fine. However, you still need to set boundaries. Do you need to have a business “meeting” at dinner that night with just the two of you? No. Should you work on a project outside of work or after hours just you two? No. It may seem extreme to not allow such interactions, but completely avoiding the situation keeps you from putting yourself in compromising situations.

Be self-aware. Do you find yourself subtly flirting with a co-worker? While it may feel harmless, it’s dangerous all the same. Subtle flirtations can lead to emotional connections, and that’s when your red flags should go up. Think about it: When you start liking someone and begin to date, it always starts out with fun flirtations that, if reciprocated, attract you to that person. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you can’t still feel attraction—that’s exactly why having these other relationships can be dangerous.

Sometimes situations with the opposite sex arise that are out of your control. Just state your boundaries to whoever you might be in this uncomfortable situation with and make sure you’re transparent with your spouse. When everything is in the open, you won’t risk wanting to hide a relationship. (continued in Part 2)



How to Set Healthy Boundaries in Marriage (Part 2)

3. Use “If…Then” Statements to Create Them

 So what does a boundary look like and how do you create one? Here’s an example:

  • If my spouse starts to lose his temper and begins to lash out, then I will, verbalizing a time-out, leave his presence and choose not to engage until he cools down.
  • If my spouse does not divulge a relapse in a sexually addictive behavior, then he must sleep on the couch that night.
  • If I feel anxious or worried or intuitive that something is amiss and my spouse is hiding a bad habit (alcoholism, pornography, etc.), then I have the right to confront my spouse about these feelings.

The “if” part indicates what the boundary is or surrounds—not allowing yourself to be around an explosively angry spouse; the “then” part indicates what will happen when that boundary is crossed. The next section discusses these “then” statements (which are also often referred to as consequences) in a little more detail. If you’re still feeling confused and uncertain about how to set boundaries and what a healthy boundary looks like, you’re not alone. Learning how to set boundaries that are effective and good and true is not easy—it takes time, trial, and error, but you will eventually get it right if you keep trying.

 4. Design Appropriate “Consequences” and Follow Through

 It’s important that you create consequences (the “then” part of a boundary statement) along with the boundaries so that if a boundary is crossed, whoever the offender is will know that it’s not okay and that it won’t go unnoticed. Creating appropriate and effective consequences is essential, but not always easy, as it should NOT be a way to punish your spouse, but should be a way of keeping you safe, secure, and at peace. Here are some tips for creating effective consequences:

  • Don’t create them when you’re feeling angry and impulsive
  • Make it realistic and related to the action
  • It should be appropriately severe for the situation
  • It should be something you can enforce every time it happens, because if you don’t, the behavior will continue
  • It should be immediate as possible
  • It should be respectful

Following through with the consequence when a boundary is crossed is absolutely essential. When you enforce the consequence, it not only keeps you from getting hurt over and over, it helps the person who hurt you to come to a self-awareness of his actions over time. Whether he chooses to change based on this self-awareness is up to him, but at least these consequences will help bring clarity to the situation.

 5. Read Books to Learn More About How to Set Boundaries

 Learning how to create, set, and follow through with boundaries and consequences is not easy for those who’ve never done it. Sometimes it’s not even easy for those who have done it before! That’s why continually researching through books, articles, and respected friends and colleagues is critical if you want to establish boundaries that will work in helping you feel safe and protected. As always, practice makes perfect, even when it comes to boundaries.

One example of an excellent book about boundaries is What Can I Do About Me? by Rhyll Croshaw. In this book, the author narrates how she went from being a happily married newlywed to a devastated and crushed wife when she discovered her husband had a sex addiction and had been soliciting prostitutes. She then goes on to explain how setting boundaries and seeking outside help and counseling eventually led to her marriage being saved. It’s a very realistic, yet hopeful book about how, if both partners are willing, a marriage can be saved despite its darkest moments.






Tips for Dealing With Tragedy in a Marriage (Part 1)

Tragedy—whatever form it may come in—has a way of bringing those affected closer together or tearing them apart. When it’s a husband and wife dealing with the tragic events, the losses can get even higher if they can’t figure out how to cope together. If you want to be the spouses that cling to each other instead of tear apart, take these tips to heart:

  • Remember that people grieve in different ways.

Whether it’s a death or the loss of a dream or a diagnosis for a serious illness, you and your spouse are going to deal with tragedy differently. One of you may openly cry and want to talk and be held, and the other one may shut off and not show emotion. He may not want to talk right away and instead may want to grieve in silence. Know that it’s OKAY if you grieve differently. Give your spouse the space he needs to figure out how to deal with such a significant loss.

If you’re the one that needs space to figure out your emotions, verbalize that. Don’t leave your spouse wondering why you’re so closed off and silent. Simply tell him that this is how you grieve and that you need some time to think and internalize things before doing a big talk. If you’re the spouse that wants to talk and be held and you feel like your partner isn’t there to listen, verbalize that, too. Tell him you need someone to talk to and a shoulder to cry on, even if he doesn’t say anything. A listening ear is often the most comfort during a hard time.

  • Look for the silver lining.

As hard as it is to feel hope and peace in the midst of a traumatic event, it is possible. You can still find some good in your life even when you feel like you’re in the depths of despair. Here are some examples of things that can help lift that often-paralyzing sadness:

  • A smile, hug, or word of encouragement from someone you love
  • A beautiful sunrise as you walk through a park
  • A happy, healthy distraction from the pain, like a feel-good movie or an uplifting book or a night out with a friend
  • A list you’ve written of all the things you’re grateful for in your life at this very moment
  • A healthy outlet—painting, music, exercising, gardening, etc.
  • A conscious plan of how you are going to personally move to higher and happier ground and keep your marriage strong through this challenging time

Don’t let yourself fall so deep into the hole of grief that you can’t seem to find a reason to crawl out. If you are feeling this way, reach out to your spouse and communicate what you’re feeling. It may be worth it to go to a counselor or a therapist who can help you deal with the heart-wrenching emotions you’re experiencing. Don’t think that you’re somehow crazy or weak if you need to see a counselor. In fact, it takes incredible strength to seek out help.

(End of Part 1)


Is Forgiveness Synonymous with Trust?


When someone you love or care about has deeply hurt you, it can be a complicated process restoring everything you once had back to what it used to be. Contrary to what many people think, complete reconciliation doesn’t come with these three words: I forgive you. Forgiveness is but a step in the process of restoring a relationship that has been broken by betrayal. Forgiving someone does not mean you now need to completely trust him or forget what happened. Here’s a more in-depth look at the differences between trust and forgiveness:

Forgiveness and Trust Are NOT One and the Same

Simply put, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. It sets you free from the bitterness and hurt you’re feeling inside. All the pain you keep in your heart that almost feels tangible will be lifted and will evaporate once you decide to forgive.

Woman West Eternity Hands Love Trust Heart

Forgiveness is a solo endeavor. It’s something you have to work through independent of the other party. For instance, you can forgive someone who you may never see again or someone who has passed away. While a genuine apology can make forgiveness easier, ultimately, it isn’t necessary. Forgiveness is a decision you make on your own.  When you do, it will feel liberating like a weight or burden has been removed..

On the other hand, Trust is not the same as forgiveness. Trust requires consistent action by the offender in order for trust  to be granted. Trust has to be rebuilt, and while forgiveness is a part of that rebuilding process, granting forgiveness does not mean you’re granting trust, too.

If you’re the person who broke the trust, you may think that once you’ve been forgiven, things can go back to the way they were. This is not true and you should not expect this, as doing so will prolong the reconciliation process. The person who chooses to forgive you gets to set boundaries and then decide when to grant trust based on your consequent actions and if you prove you’re trustworthy.

Forgiveness is Given Freely While Trust Has to Be Earned

When you decide to forgive, you’re not letting the offender off the hook. You’re not all of a sudden alleviating the person of his accountability and responsibility toward the situation. Once again, forgiveness is for YOU, not the other person. It shouldn’t even be based on the other person’s actions. You can still choose to forgive even if the person who hurt you is not remorseful or does not want to change.

However, if you’re offering forgiveness and want to reconcile (and therefore offer trust) as the next step, you should expect the other person to show that he’s worthy of trust and reconciliation. Forgiving shouldn’t change anything when it comes to the behavior you now expect from the offender. It’s just as important for the forgiver to understand this as for the person you’re forgiving, so that more misunderstandings (like the offender thinking he doesn’t need to follow boundaries because he’s been forgiven) don’t take place.

Reconciling with someone, which is completely separate from forgiving someone, is a much more complicated and grueling process. Why? It requires participation and a willingness to change on the part of the offender. Earning trust moves beyond forgiveness. It’s an interpersonal process—a joint venture that requires the offender to apologize, to show he’s sorry, and to offer hope that there can be a future for both of you again. Sometimes, however, trust and reconciliation aren’t possible. If the two of you can’t find a way to work through the hurt and betrayal and simply can’t get along, you may have to accept that reconciliation won’t happen. But remember that forgiveness is always, always possible.

Forgiveness and Trust Are Both Processes that Take Time

Forgiveness is an internal and unilateral process based solely on your ability to do the following:

  • Gain a clear understanding of what happened
  • Work through the hurt and anger
  • Learn how to feel safe again
  • Let go of the grudge and let the memory heal
  • Be willing to remember the past with compassion and hope instead of with a sense of injustice

This is not an easy process, and the timeline for forgiveness can either be short or extremely long, based on what happened. It helps to remember that forgiveness is not an event that happens at one time, in one place, or in one moment. Forgiveness is a process, which means you shouldn’t be hard on yourself if you can’t forgive someone right away, even if you want to.

Once again, forgiveness should not be based on the offender’s actions but on your own attitude and your willingness to see that forgiveness will set you free. Holding onto the grudge isn’t punishing the offender, even though it may feel like being mad at him is a sort of revenge. “Getting back” at someone by refusing to forgive does nothing to set things right. It only makes life harder for you.

While forgiveness should be offered freely, trust should be offered slowly. Rebuilding trust, which is a part of the reconciliation process, takes the two of you. You need to talk about what happened, listen to his side of the story, express your hurt feelings, listen for his remorse, and evaluate whether you both want to get to a point where you want to reconcile and give and receive trust again. It’s a process that takes time because you need to see if he’s willing to follow the set boundaries and show that he’s trustworthy over the next few weeks, months, and years. You also need to show that you’ve truly forgiven him by not throwing what happened back in his face every time you’re feeling hurt. You need to let yourself create a new way of remembering what happened—a way that allows you to change the memory of the past into a hope for the future that has both of you in it.






5 Signs There’s Still Hope for Your Marriage

5 Signs There’s Still Hope for Your Marriageretreats for couples

Perhaps you’re at a point in your marriage where things are hanging by a thread. You’ve heard of the wonderful benefits of attending LIFE retreats for couples, but you’re still wondering if there’s any hope for your marriage. If you and your partner feel this way, don’t despair. There is still hope, and these five signs will show you why:


  1.    Neither of you is ready to make things final. Perhaps you have not only contemplated divorce, but also brought it up several times. So why hasn’t it happened yet? Deep down, neither of you is quite ready to make that final decision, and you both know it. The fact that the divorce hasn’t happened yet is reason enough to give you hope.
  2.    You’re both interested in attending a LIFE marriage retreat. If you’re both willing to seek outside help by going to a LIFE couples retreat, that’s a positive sign. A shared interest in participating in something that could save your marriage is certainly a sign there’s still hope.
  3.    There’s still  love left. Even if you and your spouse can only believe that there’s still some love left in your relationship, that’s enough to work with. The smallest bud of love can blossom again if it’s properly nourished. Hold on to that belief of love, no matter how small it may be.
  4.     You both want to find happiness again. Does the thought of being happy together again bring you a sense of strength? Maybe you’re not yet willing to admit it, but more than likely you do want to find happiness with your spouse again. If both of you want this, there’s still hope.
  5.     Both of you are simply looking for hope. The fact that you and your spouse are both looking for hope in your marriage is a sign in and of itself that there is hope. It’s a sign that you don’t want the relationship to end and that you aren’t ready to give up. If you’re both trying to find hope, that’s a good indication there is hope.

Remember to focus your energy on hope, especially if you’re attending one of our LIFE marital retreats. Sometimes couples think the solution is through marriage counseling Colorado Springs offers or marriage counseling Fort Collins offers. However, the best place to find hope for your marriage is at a LIFE marriage retreat. Book a retreat today by calling 877-376-7127 or by visiting lifemarriageretreats.com.

3 Human and Relationship Laws Couples Learn at LIFE Marriage Retreats

3 Human and Relationship Laws Couples Learn at LIFE Marriage Retreatsmarriage counseling coloardo springs

If your marriage is in a place that warrants you searching for marriage counseling Colorado Springs offers, take a minute to reflect what LIFE marriage retreats can offer you. At a LIFE couples retreat, you’ll be taught certain Human and Relationship Principles that, if allowed to govern your marriage, will bring you and your spouse happiness. Here are three of those principles:

1.     Trust and trustworthiness. Being able to trust and be trusted is essential, even vital, in marriage. In fact, integrity, which leads to trust and trustworthiness, is one of the most basic foundations in any relationship. A lack of integrity (keeping secrets, telling lies, having affairs) always leads to broken trust and broken hearts. If you and your spouse are dealing with this absence of truthfulness and trust in your marriage, it is time to do something about it. Fortunately, the marriage counselors at LIFE marriage retreats can teach you how to work through issues of trust and to find mutual trustworthiness once again.

2.     Forgiveness. Another fundamental element of successful marriages is forgiveness. It can be extremely difficult to apologize for something, but it can be even harder to forgive your spouse for doing that something. However, if you refuse to extend forgiveness, the bruises and wounds caused by the hurt won’t heal—they’ll get worse. In order to make your marriage happier and healthier, you must learn to forgive without holding resentment.

3.     Commitment. When two marriage partners are bound to each other by their commitment to stay together, the chances of that marriage lasting are exponentially higher. It takes a resilient, firm commitment from both of you to truly make things work. If one or both of you is lacking the resolve to be committed, things will inevitably start to fall apart. At a LIFE marriage retreat, however, you can learn how to strengthen that resolve to be committed.

Don’t give up hope if your marriage isn’t what you want it to be. By going to LIFE retreats for couples, you can learn more about these Human and Relationship Laws that will strengthen your marriage. Instead of investing in marriage counseling Fort Collins offers, invest in the marital retreats LIFE offers. You will see life-changing results if you come willingly. Book a retreat today by calling 877-376-7127 or by visiting lifemarriageretreats.com.

4 Things You Can Do Every Day to Strengthen Your Marriage

Whether you’re at a point in your marriage where searching for marriage counseling Fort Collins offers is your only hope, or you’re newly married and wanting to build a strong foundation, these four things can help you create a marriage that will make it through those difficult times:

marriage counseling fort collins

1. Exercise. Believe it or not, exercising is an important key to having a healthy marriage. When you exercise, you have more energy, you feel better about yourself, you boost that feel-good serotonin chemical in your brain, and you alleviate stress and tension in your body. Consider walking or biking together for an even stronger positive connection. The results will be more positive emotions to your marriage, you will be more inclined to feel compassion, kindness, and happiness rather than anger, irritation, and despair.
2. Touch. A simple shoulder squeeze, hand on the arm, or caress on the cheek can sometimes speak louder than words when it comes to expressing love. Simple physical touch can go a long way in a marriage because it shows that you’re aware of your spouse and that you’re there for him or her. It’s a reassuring, comforting gesture that many couples forget is important.
3. Talk. Talking is one of the most fundamental and essential elements of strong marriages. However, talking is more than just a one or two-word exchange a day. It’s sitting down, looking each other in the eyes, and genuinely sharing and listening. It’s a way of reconnecting in our busy lives.
4. Be accountable. Take responsibility not only for your actions, but also for how you manifest your emotions. Avoid blaming your spouse for your negative feelings and behaviors. If you want change in your relationship, work to change yourself first. This will be the best way to invite appropriate change from your partner.

If you have been trying these things and your marriage is still struggling don’t give up hope. LIFE marriage retreats are designed specifically for couples that feel like their marriages are hanging on by a thread. Give our retreats for couples a chance by calling 877-376-7127 or by visiting lifemarriageretreats.com and booking a retreat today.

3 Signs Your Marriage Needs a LIFE Marriage Retreat

3 Signs Your Marriage Needs a LIFE Marriage Retreat


marriage counseling San AntonioEvery couple will experience challenging times from both internal and external sources. Those times, though painful, will actually make a relationship stronger as the couple works through them in healthy ways.  However, some couples find themselves in the “down” spectrum of the happy scale for long periods of time, unable to rediscover the path to higher and happier ground, and end up searching for marriage counseling San Antonio offers or marriage counseling Las Vegas offers. These couples with unhappy and seemingly crumbling marriages can turn to a LIFE marriage retreat. If you’re not sure if your marriage is a good fit for a Retreat, evaluate if you are experiencing any of the following signs in your relationship:


  1.       Damaged or eroded Trust. Trust can be damaged by significant betrayals, whether infidelity or other forms of dishonesty. But couples also experience an erosion of trust over time as busy lives and distractions come between them. This can lead a couple to feel more like roommates than intimate companions, and result in their questioning whether they can really find happiness and fulfillment together. A LIFE marriage retreat will help you both express your deepest feelings and work through the difficult issue to become united again.
  2.       Lack of healthy and effective Communication.  Dwindling and/or damaging communication is almost always both a cause and result of a struggling relationship. It becomes difficult for partners to understand one another’s perspective and communication often ends up a fight to be right. At a LIFE Marriage Retreat you will communicate at the highest level at which you have ever communicated. You will build a foundation made up of the principles and skills that define every successful marriage, and will feel safety and respect as you discover the healthiest solutions to heal your relationship.
  3.       Serious, damaging effects from addiction. If you or your spouse is suffering from an addiction that has not been treated or overcome, the effects on the addict and the spouse are heartbreaking. There are no words for the turmoil that addiction causes in a marriage and family. Come to a LIFE marriage retreat to learn how healing, strength, and redemption can be found even in the case of addiction.


If you relate to even one of these three signs, it’s time to seriously consider attending a LIFE couples retreat. Instead of looking for marriage counseling San Antonio offers, book a retreat with us at our Texas Hill Country location. With the help of a LIFE marriage retreat, you can find peace and happiness in your marriage once again. Book a retreat today by calling (877) 376-7127 or by visiting lifemarriageretreats.com.

3 Reasons to Attend a LIFE Marriage Retreat

marriage retreat3 Reasons to Attend a LIFE Marriage Retreat

A LIFE marriage retreat is a four-day journey toward positive growth in your relationship with your spouse. It’s meant to help you find hope and healing in a marriage that is barely surviving, whether from severe addictions, broken trust, or an inability to communicate and solve problems. Couples who are experiencing the damaging effects of contention-causing issues in their marriages should attend a LIFE marriage retreat for the following reasons:


  1.       Experiential activities. At each LIFE retreat, couples participate in experiential activities that are designed to be a hands-on teaching tool for understanding fundamental relationship principles. Couples discover what these experiential activities are when they get to the retreat so that they have the opportunity to truly experience something new together. These activities help give participants that “aha” moment when it comes to understanding what makes a marriage work.
  2.       One-on-one counseling sessions. Each couple will get a chance to work one-on-one with marriage coaches during the retreat. These marriage coaches are experienced, professional counselors who give spouses guidance on how to express their feelings about difficult issues. As both husbands and wives open up about how these issues are affecting them, they can learn how to listen and how to solve problems more effectively.
  3.      Free time. The free time couples have during a LIFE retreat is extremely vital to their relationship growth. It’s during this free time that they get a chance to spend quality time together—something most of the couples attending the retreat haven’t had. Whether it’s walking hand-in-hand on the beach or riding bikes in the mountains, it’s important for couples to do something fun and enjoyable together.


If you’ve been looking for couples retreats or marriage counseling Las Vegas offers, you’ve come to the right place. LIFE offers a one-of-a-kind marriage retreat program to couples experiencing relationship trauma. There is hope for finding healing in your marriage. Book a retreat today at any of our three locations by calling (877) 376-7127 or by visiting lifemarriageretreats.com.