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Authentic, Satisfying Relationships Are Developed Over Time

Jim Daly on

Q: I was recently shocked when a coworker said he's heard that having an affair can actually spice up your marriage. I'm sure that's wrong, but I'm at a loss as to what to say in response. What's your take?

Jim: My take: ALL of the best social research shows that having an affair will certainly NOT "spice up" the relationship in any positive long-term way. Infidelity has been described as a huge bomb detonating within a marriage. At Focus on the Family, we hear from hundreds of people every month who confirm that imagery. The effects on everyone involved are devastating.

Affairs are driven almost exclusively by emotion. The euphoria and excitement of infidelity can seem intoxicating. In fact, "intoxication" is a perfect descriptor -- because at their core, affairs are virtually identical to alcohol and drug addiction. Neither addiction nor infidelity are rational, logical solutions to life's challenges. They're simply attempts to escape reality.

We all have legitimate desires for love and significance. But trying to fill those needs with the emotional high of an affair is just an illusion. You're not in love with a human being -- you're in love with the fantasy of what you wish your relationships could be. And just like every addiction, it'll eventually only leave you feeling even more empty.

The truth is that a truly authentic, satisfying relationship can only develop over time through years of healthy, intimate connection. So, I would tell your friend: Don't look for a quick fix that's nothing but vapor anyway. Invest your time, your emotions and your efforts into strengthening your marriage the right way.

And I would say to any reader: Maybe the idea of an affair has crossed your mind, or maybe you're already in one. Your marriage and your life can be restored. Our counselors can help; see


Q: My 6-, 11- and 13-year-olds all struggle with gratitude. How can I teach them to be thankful?

Dr. Danny Huerta, Vice President, Parenting & Youth: As a parent, you help set a healthy culture of gratitude in your home. This question is a wonderful first step toward that end.

Here are 5 quick things you can begin doing to foster a culture of gratitude at each age and stage of your children's development:

1. Teach the difference between a right and a privilege. Acknowledging and appreciating what they have teaches children the trust that what they have is enough. This helps free them from the vortex of always wanting more. Emphasize the importance of perception.


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