Adapted from: 3 Defenses Against Affairs, by William McKenna
People are not getting married in large numbers and why would they? Statistics show that about half of all marriages end in divorce. Television shows and movies often depict marriage in a negative light while leading viewers to celebrate when a character has an affair like it is inevitable and desirable. While no two marriages are exactly alike, there are some very basic and proven ways to “affair-proof” your marriage.
Openness and Transparency
Openness and transparency in our marriage starts with an attitude of the heart where I allow myself to be vulnerable to Paul. If I begin to keep emotional secrets-holding back my thoughts and feelings- then I run the risk of keeping other secrets. Secrets between spouses can lead to trouble. Finances that are not co-mingled can lead to “secret” credit card accounts and/or hidden savings. These can facilitate an affair much more easily than if both spouses are have full knowledge of their financial holdings. Lack of disclosure about where I am going and with whom signals an “attitude of independence” or” I have a right to my time”. These attitudes get in the way of my intimacy with Paul because they indicate a lack trust. When couples keep things hidden from each other on the computer, whether it’s social media accounts or pornography makes building trust difficult . The couples we know who are in the most secure, loving, and nurturing relationships, do not keep these kinds of things hidden from each other.
The more loving, affirming, and positive couples are toward each other, the more secure they feel in the relationship and the less likely they are to stray from their vows. As we mentioned in our last post, words matter. Looking for ways to positively affirm your spouse is life-giving – “You’re so good at...”, “I appreciate that you…”, “I admire the way you…” These are words that build Steph up and help her to know she is loved right now in that moment. Of course, the words I choose can have the opposite effect – “Why do you always do that?!” “You never listen to me…”, “Why can’t you be more like…” If a person hears enough put downs (subtle or overt), it’s only a matter of time before she seeks affirmation from someplace (or someone) else.
Without stepping on anyone’s religious toes, please allow us to point out the truth of a statement you may have heard: “The couple that prays together, stays together.” It’s a fact that in our relationship the more devoted we have become to practicing our faith together, praying together, and worshipping together the more steadfast and fully committed to our marriage we are. Adhering to virtue not only helps keep us on the “straight and narrow,” it actually promotes strong marital health and happiness.
We strive to be proactive in creating a strong and loving bond in our marriage. This requires us to evaluate our attitudes and behaviors from time to time to see if they are creating distance or unity. While we may not be shielded from the ups and downs in life, we are fortifying our relationship to withstand them.