Tag Archives: Michele Weiner Davis

Book Review: Healing from Infidelity by Michele Weiner-Davis

Blog post title + book coverMichele Weiner-Davis is a licensed social worker, marriage and family therapist, and well-known relationship expert. Many of my readers might recognize her name from her book The Sex-Starved Marriage. Her most recent book is Healing from Infidelity: The Divorce Busting® Guide to Rebuilding Your Marriage After an Affair, and she was lovely enough to provide me a copy to read and review.

The focus of Healing from Infidelity is obviously to help couples put their marriage back together after one of you has had an affair. While I believe that adultery is a valid reason for ending a marriage (see Matthew 5:32), an affair doesn’t necessarily mean the end. Rather, Jesus also said:

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Once the marriage vow is made, you should make every effort to keep this covenant relationship. God compared His own people in the Old Testament to an adulteress, and yet He restored their covenant time and time again. (See Hosea 3:1, Jeremiah 3:11-15, Ezekiel 16:10-17, 59:63.) Sometimes a marriage cannot make it—and certainly abusive or sin-filled marriages are not in God’s will—but sometimes what looks hopeless can be saved.

Weiner-Davis does not come from Christian perspective, but she is an advocate for marriage and her book gives specifics on how to move from the brokenness of marital infidelity to the health of a happy marriage.

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Her chapters alternate between addressing the betrayed spouse and the unfaithful spouse, recognizing what each needs and should do at various stages of reconciliation. Having worked directly with couples to put their marriages back together, she speaks from experience and includes lots of practical advice.

It all begins with believing that you can revive what appears to be lifeless—your flailing marriage. “In all the years I’ve been helping couples heal from infidelity,” Weiner-Davis says, “I can tell you that there’s only one time when I start to worry about the fate of their marriage. It’s when one or both of the partners start to become hopeless.”

From my viewpoint, Christian spouses should have a leg-up on putting a struggling marriage back together. We believe that “What is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 18:27) and that we have “the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 1:19-20, NLT).

But I also understand that couples walking through the fallout of infidelity need concrete help getting out of the pit and back into trust and intimacy. As Michele states, “…this is a great opportunity to fix what has been broken, either before, during or after the affair. In fact…it really is possible for you to have an even better relationship than ever before.”

And I’ve seen it: Couples who went from the heartbreak of adultery into the happiness of marital intimacy. It can be done.

I recommend Michele’s book for those who are in the midst of that pain and wondering how they can ever get themselves back. While there are a few places where I disagree (for instance, her tips on remaining with an unfaithful, unrepentant spouse contradict the Christian position), overall this is an excellent resource.

Weiner-Davis shows real compassion for the betrayed spouse, as well as giving lots of great tips on becoming an emotionally healthy person regardless of outcome. Since I firmly believe that healthy and happy marriages are made with two healthy and happy individuals, this is a win-win for the spouse and the marriage. She also lets the unfaithful spouse know what they need to do to re-establish broken trust and care for their betrayed spouse’s heart.

Moreover, each spouse gets a good sense of where the other is coming from and how to view their spouse without greater resentment and anger than is reasonable. (And yes, some is quite reasonable when you’ve been cheated on. But dwelling only in anger won’t heal your marriage.)

She includes a whole chapter on how to address sexual intimacy in marriage after the affair. When should you get back into the bedroom? How can you rebuild trust? What role should sex play in getting your marriage back on track?

Michele shoots straight about what’s required to make it all work, while still highlighting why you should have great hope that your effort will pay off. I love her balance of positive confidence and realistic candor.

You don’t have to throw in the towel. With resources like Healing from Infidelity AND leaning on God to help you through, you can go far beyond restoring your relationship into building an even better marriage.

Marriage & Intimacy Books to Read in 2015

During the holiday season, I did quite a bit of book-buying. Consequently, I have a To Be Read pile that rivals the Tower of Pisa, both in height and tilt. In addition to the usual fiction titles I consume, I have several marriage and intimacy books on my 2015 Read List.

As I stated last year, I am not endorsing these books. In fact, I never endorse a book I haven’t read. These are simply books on my reading list. If I believe they’re worthwhile, I’ll share my review in the future. (You might want to check out my Goodreads account.)

[Italicized descriptions are from the author/publisher, and links are Amazon affiliates.]

Sex-Starved Marriage CoverThe Sex-Starved Marriage: Boosting Your Marriage Libido by Michele Weiner Davis. It is estimated that one of every three married couples struggles with problems associated with mismatched sexual desire. Do you? If you want to stop fighting about sex and revitalize your intimate connection with your spouse, then you need this book. In The Sex-Starved Marriage, bestselling author Michele Weiner Davis will help you understand why being complacent or bitter about ho-hum sex might cost you your relationship.

This book seems to hit many intimacy experts’ recommended lists. I’ve actually read a couple of chapters, but I didn’t get far enough. I’m going to knock this one out in 2015.

Every-Young-Womans-Battle CoverEvery Young Woman’s Battle: Guarding Your Mind, Heart, and Body in a Sex-Saturated World by Shannon Ethridge & Stephen Arterburn. Whether you have so far protected yourself emotionally and sexually, feel that you’ve been robbed of your purity, or have given in to temptation in some way, this book can help you achieve or reclaim sexual integrity. It can also guide you through the temptations and pressures of young adulthood while demonstrating how you can live your life to the fullest–without regrets.

There’s also an Every Woman’s Battle book, but I thought I’d read this one from the perspective for younger women. This age can be especially difficult, and it’s a time to set the tone for how you approach sex in life. Of course, you can recalibrate later, but it’s good to get it right from early on if you can.

Sheet-Music CoverSheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage by Dr. Kevin Leman. With his characteristic warmth and humor, Dr. Kevin Leman offers a practical guide to sex according to God’s plan. This frank and practical book is a perfect resource for married and engaged couples. Dr. Leman addresses a wide spectrum of people, from those with no sexual experiences to those with past sexual problems or even abuse. Using frank descriptions, this book has a warm and friendly tone that will help couples overcome awkwardness in discussing an issue important to all married couples.

This is a re-read. I’ve recommended this book before, but I found it at my local Half-Price Books (I’d loaned out my copy and, interestingly, never got it back) and want to revisit what Dr. Leman says about sexual intimacy.

For Women Only CoverFor Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn. The man in your life carries important feelings so deep inside he barely knows they’re there, much less how to talk about them. Yet your man genuinely wants you to “get” him—to understand his inner life, to know his fears and needs, to hear what he wishes he could tell you. In her landmark bestseller, For Women Only, Shaunti Feldhahn reveals what every woman—single or married—needs to know.

This is another re-read for me, but I want to revisit the concepts here. I’m also hoping to read Feldhahn’s most recent book, The Good News About Marriage: Debunking Discouraging Myths about Marriage and Divorce.

Songs in the Key CoverSongs in the Key of Solomon: In the Word…and in the Mood by John & Anita Renfroe. Filled with insights from a real couple on real issues, Songs in the Key of Solomon will get you and your spouse laughing, thinking, sharing, touching, and praying — possibly all during the same reading. Each offering in this devotional is designed to spark connections around issues that matter, so you’ll deepen your emotional, spiritual, and physical unity and ignite new levels of intimacy. (One devotional involves a bathtub and some candles…try not to get stuck on that one page over and over again.)

I don’t know Anita Renfroe, but she absolutely seems like my kind of lady — able to be funny when a laugh is what you need and serious when issues run deeper. And since I’m encouraging everyone else to read a sex devotional book this year (Intimacy Revealed!), I thought it’d be nice for my husband and I to go through some marriage-bed devotions ourselves.

Lovemaking: Enjoy Extravagant Intimacy in Your Marriage by Dan and Linda Wilson. Sex is meant to be beautiful, holy, and fun, and every married person can be skilled in the art of lovemaking. Lovemaking will help to: Increase your degree of sexual satisfaction, understand the purpose and pleasure of godly sexuality, learn how to give and receive love through sexual expression, renew passion for your mate, be equipped to be the world s greatest lover for your spouse.

Dan and Linda have both visited my site, and we share a similar vision. They let me know about the upcoming release of this book (in June, I believe), and I’m eager to read it.

Unveiled Wife CoverThe Unveiled Wife: Embracing Intimacy with God and Your Husband by Jennifer Smith. The Unveiled Wife is a real-life love story; one couple’s refreshingly raw, transparent journey touching the deep places in a marriage that only God can reach. If you are feeling disappointment or even despair about your marriage, the heart-cry of this book is: You are not alone. Discover through Jennifer’s story how God can bring you through it all to a place of transformation.

I’m soooo looking forward to this book’s release. In all my dealings with Jennifer, she has been kind, authentic, and godly, and I know her story will encourage other marriages. Look for my take on her book once I’ve read it (and maybe I can convince Jennifer to stop by).

Now what are your suggestions for the best Christian sexual intimacy books you’ve read? Or what’s on your reading list for 2015?

Of course, I’d love for you to put Sex Savvy: A Lovemaking Guide for Christian Wives or Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage on your list!

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Intimacy Revealed Book Cover

What does the Bible say about sexual intimacy?

Quite a lot actually. From marriage-specific scriptures to biblical principles, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage guides Christian wives through weekly devotions that shed light on God’s gift of marital sex.

Each week includes a Bible passage, application, questions, and a prayer. These short devotions will deepen your understanding of God’s design of sexuality and encourage you toward a holier, happier, and hotter marriage.

Purchase:
Amazon for Kindle
Barnes & Noble for Nook
Print book