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Book Review: Anatomy of an Affair by Dave Carder
Dave Carder has been a pastor and a counselor for over 40 years. He specializes in adultery recovery and prevention. He is the author of Torn Asunder: Recovering From an Extramarital Affair and coauthor of Unlocking Your Family Patterns: Finding Freedom from a Hurtful Past.
I got the privilege of hearing Dave Carder speak at the American Association of Christian Counselors conference in Nashville this year. So I was thrilled with the idea of getting to review his book Anatomy of an Affair.
The most important thing to remember is that a vast majority of couples don’t enter into a marriage believing they are going to have an affair. Infidelity happens for multiple reasons due to various issues and risk factors. Arm your marriage with this knowledge!
Five classes of Emotional and Sexual Betrayal
Dave starts off the book with helping couples understand the five different types of affairs. While you may think an affair is an affair, that’s not really the case and it’s certainly not the case when a therapist helps a couple repair from an adulterous relationship. Each type of affair has it’s own pattern of progression and emotional involvement. This means the reason the extra-marital relationship took place to begin with is for differing reasons.
Dave then separates the book into three different sections. The book has examples of marriages that Dave has counselled over the years to serve as real-life examples of how easy an affair can take place if a couple is not actively guarding against it.
Section 1: The Risks of Who You Know
Anatomy of an Affair is filled with not only amazing knowledge to protect your marriage but also worksheets and guides for you and your spouse to process together.
Dave discusses the importance of understanding who your Dangerous Partner Profile is. If we are honest with ourselves, there is a certain type of person of the opposite sex that we are attracted to. The book breaks down all of the different aspects of the ‘dangerous partner’ that we need to be aware of. We then need to be aware of the members of the opposite sex that we interact with that fits our profile.
Dave presents a formula that is important to remember High-Risk Factors + Stressors + Dangerous Partner = close call (a situation the may lead to an affair)
The book goes on to describe the risks of having emotionally charged friendships (of the opposite sex) and the danger of reconnecting with an old adolescent romance or secret crush.
Section 2: The Risks Within Your Home
This section is rich with information that will get you and your spouse discussing your family of origin and your marriage in ways you never have before.
Dave focuses on the importance what each spouse has brought to the marriage due to family of origin and personal factors. Some risk factors include a history of infidelity within your family of origin, single/blended families, physical abuse, sexual molestation, early promiscuity, and learning disabilities.
The book also addresses how certain times and behaviors within your marriage are also more dangerous and ripe for affairs. There is then a place within the book for you and your spouse to identify your risks. This will help you know how to appropriately guard against infidelity.
Dave discusses a marital history satisfaction project that is powerful and informative. The book gives you step by step information on how to fill out the chart. And then you and your spouse will have a wealth of information about your past to protect your future.
Dave also describes three different types of marriages that have higher risks for affairs. He describes them as the Windshield wiper style, dial-tone style, and empty-next style. Each from the outside look great but on the inside may be on the brink of a close-call if a dangerous partner were to enter the picture.
An important aspect of your family of origin that Dave addresses is anger, power, and control. Too often couples bring their past dysfunctional experiencing into their current marriage.
Section 3: The Risk of Remodeling Your Relationship
Dave has a whole chapter on forgiveness, respect and trust. These are vital ingredients to help a couple recover from an affair. The book goes step-by-step in how to approach and achieve each of the aspects.
Another component that Dave discusses in reigniting the passion within your marriage. So often marriages fall into ruts and the relationship becomes mundane. Dave expressed, and I’ve seen this too in working with couples, that so many people who had an affair described it as “exciting”, “fun” and “passionate”. Well a way to stop an affair from happening is to make sure your marriage doesn’t become stale! But it takes intention and the book gives great examples.
At the end of the book Dave adds a quick quiz to check on the significance of opposite sex friendships, a contract and a Do’s and Don’ts list with the opposite sex.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to safeguard your marriage! Read Anatomy of an Affair!
Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book by Moody Publishing in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.
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