Is your marriage safe? Nobody gets married with the intention of having an affair. When we take our vows, we really believe that we'll be able to remain true, forsaking all others for our new spouse.
So what happens to so many marriages? Somewhere along the way both men and women find that fidelity is easier said than done. Some spouses have a single lengthy affair, others have serial affairs, and there are those who have one short, single transgression, never to be repeated. Some of these spouses even leave their marriages for their new love.
But whether an affair happens to your marriage is more than just a roll of the dice or crossed fingers. It's more than just good intentions. Affairs rarely happen out of the blue, they happen to unsatisfied people in unhealthy marriages. Fortunately, the health of your marriage is something you do have control over. There are steps you can take and ways to be vigilant to keep your partnership exclusive.
Recognize that Either of You Could Have an Affair
One of the biggest 'mistakes' is believing that it can't happen to you. It can. If you take your partner's fidelity for granted, then you could be setting yourself up for a surprise. Even people with seemingly perfect moral compasses are susceptible to outside attentions. Lonely people naturally look elsewhere for intimacy. If you and your partner realize that no marriage is risk-free, then you're likely to create the emotional and physical climate for an affair to be quite unlikely.
Don't Have Repetitive Private Lunches with Someone of the Opposite Gender
It may happen that you occasionally have a private lunch with a boss, a colleague, or a visiting client of the opposite sex, but don't make a habit of it! Offices are prime places for affairs to develop. Regular lunches with colleagues begin to become cozy, friendly, and a little too intimate. Avoid this at all costs!
Don't Have Flirtatious (or Secret) Relationships in Your Life
We're wired to attract members of the opposite sex. We have entire industries built on this instinct (make-up, perfume, and clothing, for example). Sure, it's natural to find certain people wildly attractive. But don't kid yourself that a little 'harmless' flirting never hurt anyone. It has. When you play with fire, eventually you get burned. Don't strike this match on Pandora's box! If you do have a flirty interaction, tell your mate about it.
Have a Full Disclosure Policy in Your Marriage
This may seem like an extreme measure to some people but it's important to have a foundation of complete honesty. Once you begin keeping things from your spouse, especially with regards to other relationships, then your spouse becomes the outsider. It's better to come clean with all potentially threatening interactions. In fact, having a foundation of honesty is important for all aspects of a relationship, from finances to emotions.
Nurture Your Relationship
This is perhaps the most important key to an affair-free marriage. If you value, appreciate, and cherish your partner, then he or she will feel satisfied in the marriage. If your marriage is based on positive energy and gratitude, then there is little cause to stray. When you think of your relationship as hard work, your marriage becomes about as much fun as mopping the floor. Relationships simply require regular attention and nourishment. Keeping your relationship healthy every day is easier than you think. In "75 Habits for a Happy Marriage," I offer a host of simple and short ways to nourish your relationship that are easy to integrate into your busy life.
An affair is hurtful and damaging to any relationship, but if you utilize these 5 tips you'll be well on your way to keeping your love strong and healthy.
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