As a marriage and family counselor I am always dealing with issues of sexuality, infidelity, and betrayal as well as intimacy, honesty, courage, and integrity. A rash of recent public scandals – from Tiger Woods to David Letterman, from Sen. John Ensign to Gov. Mark Sanford, to the suspected shenanigans of Jon Gosselin of reality TV's Jon and Kate – might make it seem that sexual infidelity is sweeping the land. Many of my clients want to know how to prevent an affair. Here’s what I tell them.
1. Renew Your Vows Every 7 Years
There’s a joke I heard that could even be true. A man and a woman have been married for 57 years and their friends and family are throwing a party for them to celebrate so many years of love. After the party the woman says to the man, “It was a wonderful gathering and I’m so glad all our family and friends could get together to celebrate with us.
“But I have a question that has been bothering me for years. Why don’t you ever tell me you love me?”
The man looks at his wife of 57 years with surprise. “Why I did tell you I loved you the day we got married. If I should change my mind, I’ll let you know.”
Too many people assume their relationship will just coast along once it gets started. Well, it won’t. My wife and I have been married 31 years. It is the third marriage for both of us. Every 7 years, we renew our vows and recommit to our marriage. And we tell each other often, “I love you.”
2. Don’t Let Nature Take Its Course
Many people assume that if two people love each other and trust each other they don’t have to worry about affairs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Biologically speaking we come together in order to create children who we can raise until they are of an age where they can have their own children.
Through most of human history, when we reached the age of 40 or so, our children were grown and on their own and we enjoyed the last few years of our lives and then quickly died. Now that we’re living through our 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and more and more of us into our 100s, we need to rethink marriage.
Nature is through with us a lot sooner than we’re ready to check out. We have to continue to renew our vows to ourselves, to stay committed to life, even though nature may be pulling us to the great beyond.
3. Our Biology Wants Older Men To Cheat On Their Wives
Think of the world through the eyes of your genes. Their goal is to get themselves passed on. The only way they can do that is to get another human to have sex with the body that houses those genes and hope a baby is created. It is a biological reality that women reach an age when they can no longer reproduce. We call it menopause. Men reach an age when their hormones begin to drop and they become more and more irritable and antsy. We call it “male menopause.”