Shut up, brain

Joey Garcia

My husband has always been overly friendly toward women. I knew this when I married him, but attributed it to his 20-year career in sales. He travels a lot, and recently I learned that not all of these business trips have been for work. He has apparently been partying, sometimes with female clients. One of his co-workers clued me in because she has been worried about his excessive drinking. I have noticed that he has been drinking more than usual, but I thought it was stress. How do I confront my husband without compromising his co-worker’s confidence?

If your mind tells you a story about your husband and a female client, put that tale aside. The inner storyteller is sometimes a distraction. Our mind returns to the imagined scenario until we are intoxicated by fear. Instead, focus on your love and concern. If your husband drinks to excess on a regular basis, his health and your marriage are at risk. But is your husband an alcoholic who hides his addiction from you through carefully scheduled absences?

You have your suspicions and those of his colleague, but you need more information to decide. Schedule a time to talk to your husband when you are each rested, sober and available. Turn the cellphones off. Sit next to him. Tell him that you have noticed a change in his relationship with alcohol. Explain that you think alcohol is causing a change in his relationship with himself (not caring what happens to his health) and your marriage. Avoid accusing, belittling or blaming him. State your feelings. If you are afraid, say so. If you miss him, let him know. Be transparent and vulnerable. Ask him to clue you in to whatever he has been doing. None of this conversation requires you to admit that one of his co-workers provided information. But what you know does demand that you take action to save your marriage. Invite your husband to see a marriage therapist with you. If he refuses, make an appointment with a psychologist and go alone.

Deepen that act of self-love by also attending Al-Anon, the 12-step program for people in a relationship with an alcoholic. With support, you will gain the strength necessary to make smart choices about your future.

I love my wife of 10 years, but when I kiss her, I no longer feel the passion that I felt in the past. Is it gone? Will it return? There is a woman at work who is easy to talk to. I find myself fantasizing about her. I wonder if my marriage is over and the universe is presenting me with someone new to love. What do you think?

If you have trained yourself to believe that love is based on feelings, you will conclude that your marital passion has died. But mature marital love offers a different thrill: the pure pleasure of familiarity. A couple’s knowledge of each other allows both to touch a deep reservoir of intimacy. That intimacy is built on the foundation of their shared history as life partners.

Try living in the present moment. Doing so will guide you into appreciating the relational shift into mature love. Allow yourself to surrender into this more profound and enduring union. Mature love is an education in trust and commitment, forces that are far stronger than feelings. Don’t avoid this spiritual growth by continuing an emotional affair at work. Face yourself. Assess whether you make it easy for your wife to talk to you. If you are passionate about invigorating your marriage, tell your wife daily what you appreciate about her. As you wean your imagination away from your co-worker and back toward your wife, passion will surely follow.

Meditation of the week

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time,” wrote Mark Twain. Why are you still tiptoeing around your dreams?

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