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I do alot of reading lately. Reading about healing after an affair. Reading about how to improve a marriage. How to build self esteem.

I found a few good tips on being happier, healthier and moving forward:

1. Practice Showing Gratitude. This is critical. When you show gratitude in all facets of your life, you are focusing on the good. Focusing on what you have, instead of what you don’t. Every person on earth wishes for things they don’t have. But the happiest people consistently find peace in what they have and show gratitude for it. Showing gratitude is also contagious. When you show gratitude toward your spouse, you create a positive atmosphere. And you get gratitude in return. Shortly after learning about my husband’s affair, I began a gratitude journal. It was amazing how much it helped me. At a time that I felt my life imploded and I was never going to recover, gratitude made me see that I do have alot of good in my life. I have much to be thankful for, grateful for.

2. Spend Time Together. Make each other a priority. Schedule time for date nights. You can’t grow in a relationship if you don’t spend time together. Try new things. Or rekindle some old passions that you let go of along the way. Play a game. Go skating. Whatever it is. Just spend time together. For me, this has been great. Most of my marriage, I felt second rate. I felt that everything was more important than me. I came last. Now, my husband makes time for me. I know there are other things he could be doing, but he puts it aside and spends more time with me.

3. Know Your Love Languages. I’ve been talking with my therapist about this one. Its another crucial piece. If you don’t know how your spouse receives love, you may never be able to show it so that they “hear” it. My husband is a words of affirmation guy. He needs to hear that I love him. He needs to hear that I acknowledge, respect and accept him. I’m more of an acts of service person. I still want and need to hear the words, but the proof is in the action. You can tell me you love me, but if you don’t act on it then I don’t believe it. For years we tried to communicate in our individual love languages. Not knowing the other didn’t get the message.

4. Active Listening. This has become a big part of my communication style and expectation lately. Its difficult, but when done right – gives the person talking so much validation. I don’t always want my problem solved. I definitely don’t want defensiveness when I’m talking to my husband about my pain. I don’t want justification. I want him to sit and truly listen to understand. Not listen to come up with his defense or rebuttal. Just listen to understand. Its one of the greatest gifts we can give each other.

5. Plan Your Future. Not just dream or talk about it. Plan it. Put in on a calendar. We should be planning our weeks together. Most of the stuff that matters, won’t happen unless its on a calendar. So true. My husband and I are good at the logistics of life. Making sure our daughter is cared for. Who has to work late what evening, etc. But we fall short of actually planning ahead for our date nights, nights to just talk. We should be making appointments with ourselves.

6. Don’t Forget About You. Do things that you love. Try new things. Remind yourself what is great about you. Spend time on you. Take care of you. Love you. There is nothing more important. How can someone else love you, if you don’t love yourself?

These are all simple and basic. But oh, so important.

Holding on to the past is the riskiest choice you can make. Because when you hold on to the past – you erase any chance that you can change.” – Mastin Kipp