Torn Asunder Workbook: Recovering From an Extramarital Affair

Torn Asunder Workbook: Recovering From an Extramarital Affair

by Dave Carder

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Based on the principles in the besstselling Torn Asunder--a book that has helped thousands of people survive infidelity--this revised and expanded workbook offers five crucial services for hurting couples:

  • Stabilizes the marriage in the initial crisis
  • Provides structure for the emotionally volatile environment
  • Brings closure to the "old" marriage—the marriage prior to the affair
  • Establishes skills necessary for the "new" marriage pattern
  • Answers the questions: How could you do this to me? Why did you do it?

The Torn Asunder workbook is built around daily twenty-minute homework exercises, initiated by each spouse on alternating days for ten to fifteen weeks. Working with your spouse might be the last thing you want to do right now, but it’s essential to your long-term recovery, whether or not your marriage survives.

Healing won’t be easy. But the Torn Asunder workbook provides hope, encouragement, and practical advice on the journey. Take the first step today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802471369
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Publication date: 10/01/2008
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 470,010
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

DAVE CARDER serves as Pastor of Counseling Ministries at First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton, CA. His specialty is Adultery Recovery and Prevention for which he has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Health, and The Learning Channel, has done training for the US Army and Navy, plus multiple tapings for The Tony Robbins Passion Project, Marriage Uncensored, 100 Huntley Street, Salvation Army Leadership Training, and the American Association of Christian Counselors. His interviews and articles have appeared in Ladies Home Journal, USA Today, The Counseling Connection, and various other magazines and journals. He is the author or co-author of Torn Asunder: Recovering from an Extramarital Affair, Close Calls: What Adulterers Want You to Know About Protecting Your Marriage, and Unlocking Your Family Patterns: Finding Freedom from a Hurtful Past. He holds the Michigan Limited License for Psychology and the California Marital and Family Therapy license, and has graduate degrees in Biblical Literature and Counseling Psychology. Dave and his wife, Ronnie, have been married 49 years, have four adult children, and eight grandchildren.

Read an Excerpt



Moody Publishers
Copyright © 2008

David M. Carder
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8024-7136-9

Chapter One Key Concepts for Recovery

During more than thirty years of helping husbands and wives recover from infidelity, I have found that several critical concepts have aided couples in surviving this catastrophic marriage event. You may find some of these concepts not easy to swallow; in fact, you might have quite a reaction to them. That's OK. But give careful thought to the frequency of their acceptance in couples who recover fully before you abandon them. In addition, be sure to read chapter 4 of the book Torn Asunder before you proceed with this chapter of the workbook. Please read those pages now.

In this chapter, you will receive your first homework exercise, the "Marital Satisfaction Time Line." You'll come face-to-face with the issue of divorce and the freedom each spouse has to stay in-or leave-the marriage. If you are the infidel, you will be faced with numerous questions that you must answer frankly and openly. You will assess the affair pattern, you will consider the personality and history of the "other woman/man" involved in this marriage, and last of all, you will learn some techniques for anger management and recurring depression issues.

Now let's look at some of those difficult yet crucial concepts mentioned earlier.

Shared Contribution

The most common form of marital deterioration is one to which both spouses have contributed. The subsequent marital infidelity is what I call the "entangled affair," or "Class II affair." In this workbook, we will not be concerned with the exact percentage of each spouse's contribution le a marriage's fracture, and neither of you should be, either. Arguing over who contributed more to the destruction is useless toward rebuilding this marriage. What's done is done, and now you must spend your energy on processing the past and building for the future. It is necessary to acknowledge a shared responsibility so that each spouse has equal influence to shape the marital outcome, the future pattern. If you see the affair as the sole fault of your spouse (as though you were perfect), you will have no influence over the future shape of this marriage. How can you improve upon perfection? Do not let your spouse either blame you completely tot the affair or, conversely, assume total responsibility for it.

We need a balance here. As a marriage deteriorates, both spouses are at risk for infidelity. It is just a matter of time to see who falls first. Each of you has had "close calls," and by admitting it could have been you, instead of only the infidel, you help level the playing field.

Spouses less than happy with the marriage send out signals that give off news of their dissatisfaction. There are interested individuals out there who are "scanning" for these signals, both men and women. No one ever forced a spouse to have an affair at gunpoint; rather, both of you contributed to a marriage pattern which made an affair almost inevitable.

Having said that, let inc add this truth: If you're the spouse of the infidel, realize you don't need the infidel any longer. A premature commitment to the marriage at this point will stifle the work necessary for recovery. You are free to leave the marriage. Jesus said so (Matthew 19:3-9). You must see yourself as free to leave, so that you can make a choice whether to return to the marriage and to not come back merely because you feel obligated to do so.

Asking Questions

The faithful spouse has a right to know the answer to every question he/she has asked. It is important to bring secrets to the light. If this marriage stands any chance of being saved, both parties have to fully know this bit of their shared history.

Often the infidel seeks to protect the spouse by sharing information in a guarded or careful manner. To continue this behavior will make it almost impossible to rebuild trust between the two of you. It is too late to be careful, to be "discreet." At this point "discreet" sounds like "dishonest" to the spouse. Share exactly what the mate asks for-no more, no less.

To the faithful spouse I would say that even given all the painful information you learn about the affair, your task is to forgive and let go of your urge to seek revenge, to hurt the infidel back. On the other hand, I'm not saying that you should keep your head in the sand; being ignorant is not the answer. Rather, you need to eventually give up your need to exact payment from the infidel.

With that in mind, both spouses need to address the fears they feel about asking and disclosing information about the affair. Please complete the appropriate blanks about your fears.

For the spouse: My tears about asking-

______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

For the infidel: My fears about telling-

______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

CAUTION: Infidel: If you force your spouse to ask the "perfect question" in order to receive the answer they are looking for, you will be perceived as hiding something and there will be no trust as long as this perception exists.

Spouse: Remember, the infidel was "drunk" with infatuation. An individual in this state does not always recall sequences perfectly. They often don't remember details. There is difficulty in recalling experiences. Just remember what it was like when you had an inappropriate crush on someone in junior high or high school: The world stood still, you forgot to do your homework, you were lost in the dream world of "love."

It is common for the spouse to become obsessed with certain details and questions, asking the same ones over and over. The person is looking for a reason to either ease a lack of awareness prior to the disclosure or to provide justification for the affair. Some obsessing can be normal and OK, but it can also be overdone. If this obsession lasts more than two or three weeks, it will become a defensive posture, keeping a spouse from working on his/her own issues and causing the recovery process to bog down.

On occasion, after the marital fact-finding process, specific questions may need to be asked. If so, here is a ritual that often proves helpful to both spouses.

When the urge to ask a specific question arises, the spouse is to ask God out loud in prayer if this question is permissible to ask of the infidel and then wait for an answer from God. For example, the spouse would say, "God, I am going crazy wondering how my (wife/husband) ____________ (insert here the action that is agonizing to the person praying) with the partner without me knowing. Is it important for me to know this to heal our marriage?" It is amazing how well this works, and it makes the process safe for both spouses.

The Purpose of the Marriage

A second key concept lot the spouses to understand is the purpose of their marriage. Why did you select each other in the first place? There are two primary assumptions here:

1. You were not psychotic when you chose each other (although probably both of you at one time or another have said that to yourself!).

2. Most Western marriages are not arranged by parents. (Wouldn't it be nice to have somebody else to blame right now?) Therefore we must assume sole responsibility for choosing the other.

It sounds self-evident, but spouses in crisis often forget why they did choose each other. Here are some common reasons-see if some of them fit your pattern.

Maybe you made your choice to:

Round out yore individual shortcomings

Finish off a family-of-origin relational deficit

Heal pain existing at the time you met each other Provide escape from some current problem or difficulty

Feel needed or necessary for your spouse s existence or development

Find someone different than yourself to complete you

Maybe your spouse offered you a needed factor, such as security, time, money, or status. Whatever the reason, it has proven insufficient to keep your marriage safe from infidelity. You need to identify, the original reason(s) for your selection so that you can determine some new purpose, later on, for reconciling this marriage. You have space below to record what were some of your purposes for selecting the spouse you did.

What are some of the reasons I chose you to be my spouse?

1. ___________________________________________________________________________

2. ___________________________________________________________________________

3. ___________________________________________________________________________

4. ___________________________________________________________________________

Personality and History of the Partner

This is the only section of the work that will look at the partner, "the other woman/ man" in this affair. Understanding the partner is a key concept; it can hold some important clues as to why and how the affair took place and can even assist in the forgiveness process. Be warned: It will be painful.

Often the partner has a long history of promiscuity, a personality prone to this kind of pattern, and has demonstrated that they are better at what they do (through repeated seductions) than the infidel was at what she/he did (resisting temptation). This discrepancy in abilities doesn't make it easier for either of you, but it will help in the understanding of how this affair happened.

Write about your feelings if you think any of this is true of the partner. Then write why you think it is true.

______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

CAUTION: When a wife has been unfaithful, often the husband would like to view his wife as being seduced-which is really another way of saying she's innocent in this affair. Be careful of jumping to that conclusion. It might be painful to admit that she was a willing partner, but the truth is what matters. No one held a gun to her head, and this fact must be embraced by husbands (or wives, for that matter) who offer this objection to admitting the truth.

The Partner's Personality Patterns

Some personality patterns, especially those of some females, are prone to act out sexually. This workbook is not the time or place to explore all this, but if you suspect this to be true of your circumstance, I strongly suggest that you read The New Personality Self-Portrait by John M. Oldham, MD (Bantam). The first few pages of that book include a survey that your spouse and you can fill out on the partner to see if he/she matches the personality pattern prone to infidelity. Your scores will point you to the right chapters to read in that book. While you are at it, take the survey on both yourself and your spouse. This information will be quite helpful in an assignment that appears later in this workbook.

The Partner's History

Was this the partner's first affair? Did the partner get over this affair with the infidel by getting involved in another affair? Did the partner pursue the infidel? Was the infidel aware of this pursuit? Did the spouse sense this pursuit and voice caution about it early on? (This might make the forgiveness process a bit more difficult.) Write out your responses to these questions below:

______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

The Partner's Marital History

Individuals involved in affairs have a tendency to criticize their spouses. Who started the kind of provocative conversation that led to this affair? It could have been the soon-to-be infidel, the partner, or both. At this point, let's focus on the partner. Did the partner see his/her spouse as "all bad" and the infidel as "all good," or perfect, "meant for each other?" Was the infidel drawn into this relationship to help the partner with his/her had marriage?

Write below some factors in the partner's background, and the interaction between the infidel and partner, that may have played a role in this affair.

______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

Though painful, this kind of information is important to talk about together.

CAUTION: Sometimes the infidel perceives the need, at least early on in the recovery process, to protect the partner. The infidel feels responsible for some of the pain that he or she generated in the partner's life and might even feel an obligation to reimburse the partner for expenses he or she might have incurred during the affair. This is usually a huge source of anger to the spouse. If this is some of what you are experiencing as a couple, write about it below and share with each other later.

______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

Concerning the above caution, keep in mind this process of recovery will never be fair. In fact, the faithful spouse will have to "pay" for this affair twice-once at disclosure and again through this painful recovery process. So, in a sense, this is just the way it is, even though it feels inherently unfair.

Anger Management and Depression Concerns

Anger management is one of the largest issues you will deal with; the main book has an entire chapter devoted to the topic ("Anger in Affairs," chapter 9), with some exercises that are often helpful to the spouse. One of the exercises that can be incorporated here is to write out one's feelings as opposed to acting them out. Write out your feelings below, and also have an additional journal available, since it is doubtful that these few lines will contain all your feelings! If you are unable to share them with your spouse, maybe a same-sex friend would be available. Let it all out.

______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

One of the signs of the relationship's return to health is when the infidel finally feels that he/she has the right to get angry or irritated again at the spouse. Initially, most infidels feel like they deserve everything that is dished out to them, that they have no "legs to stand on" when it comes to a disagreement. Yet to continue to allow this practice escalates the spouse's apprehension, who fears driving the infidel back into the partner's arms. It is always healthy to write about your anger prior to talking about it. Later in the workbook, you will begin a dialogue model that will allow you to process the anger in a safe environment.


Excerpted from TORN ASUNDER by DAVE CARDER DUNCAN JAENICKE Copyright © 2008 by David M. Carder. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Time for Growth

1. Key Concepts for Recovery

2. Looking at Your Marital History

3. Marital Style

4. Preparing For and Processing Forgiveness

5. Rebuilding Trust

6. Reconnecting with Each Other

7. Family-of-Origin Practices That Predisposed Our Marriage to Infidelity

8. Patterns That Predisposed Our Marriage to Infidelity

9. Circumstances That Triggered the Affair

10. Things I Have Learned and Changes I Have Made

11. Into the Future

Appendix A: Workbook Homework Schedule
Appendix B: Select Marriage and Recovery Resources

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