The euphoria of falling in love with our new babies is intoxicating. For me it was such a dominant force, that for a while it overshadowed everything else in my life, including my marriage. I took our marriage for granted, assuming it was strong enough to withstand any challenge. And it is incredibly resilient, but when a baby comes along we're tested like never before. Small cracks in a relationship may grow into colossal chasms and threaten the foundation of our precious family units.
When does a wife become an Alpha Parent? When they become the person who hovers over her husband when he changes the baby's diaper or prepares a meal, just waiting for him to do something wrong -- or rather, something different than she does -- so that she can correct him, criticize him or just take over with an exasperated, "Oh, I'll do it."
Too often, an unfaithful spouse whose affair has been discovered will continue to see and/or contact their affair partner. Sometimes this is done in secret. They may assure their spouse that they've ended the affair; however, their lack of transparency and untrustworthy behaviour indicates otherwise.
The truth is, many opposite-sex friendships are sustained because of a simmering attraction between two people. If circumstances were different, they could easily be sexual partners. And they know it. This underlying current of attraction makes talking, texting and spending time together as "just friends" all the more exciting. It has an erotic edge to it.
In my experience as a psychologist working with couples, unless a relationship has truly run its course, most people who cheat end up regretting their choice and hurting more people than they could ever anticipate. Wouldn't it be helpful to conduct a simple self-assessment to gauge the strength of your connection?
You look the other way and pretend not to notice or be bothered. You force yourself to not ask who your spouse is texting and not show how worried or hurt you are. You lay awake and stare at your partner's phone, wishing you could look through it but not wanting to cross that line. Finally, you crack.
The recent Ashley Madison hack hasn't just exposed user data - it's also brought to light our various attitudes toward marriage and monogamy in today's high-tech, high-strung society. There are many reasons people stray and technology enables infidelity in a way that is faster and easier -- although certainly not more secretive -- than ever before. Yet in the end, it is always a question of choice. "Will I break the promise I made to my spouse?" In the wake of the Ashley Madison hack, we're seeing a lot of "You got what you deserved!" opinions.
We spent our 19th wedding anniversary very much like we do every other day. Since that day and for almost two weeks, I have been contemplating the idea of a list. A list of 19 characteristics essential to a flourishing marriage. Without further ado, here are those nearly twenty. Because 19 is actually enough.