Aug 25, 2013

The Slow Fade Part three: Protecting your marriage in practical ways

This is the third and final chapter in this 3 part series.  I got distracted and failed to post this, but here it is... just in time for next week's new series on "The Mid-Wife Crisis".

In the first part of this series, I discussed the WHY.  Why does this happen??  Why does a man or woman betray the person they love in this way?  

In the second part I discussed the warning signs that you or your spouse may be going down this road. 

Today I will be discussing ways to protect your marriage {and yourself} from infidelity.

10 ways to protect your marriage from infidelity:

1. Seek an intimate relationship with your spouse.

I talked about ways to do this in a recent post, intimacy is extremely multifaceted and complex, and yet is simple enough.  Ultimately it's about being intentional; in time, communication and loving actions.  It takes two, but only one person has to be really reaching out to stop a drift.  Marriage only drifts apart, it never drifts together.

2. Spend time together, every day
No matter how busy you are, you should never be too busy to take a few minutes and connect with your spouse.  It could be as small as a back or head rub, or as time intensive as a nightly ritual of backgammon and wine.  Don't allow other things to take priority over your most valued relationship.

3. Be self-aware
Take time to check-in with yourself.  How are you feeling about your marriage? Why do you feel that way?  What actions can you do to change the things you wish you could change? Do not allow resentment and bitterness to build up in you without talking to your spouse or a trusted friend, ask for prayer and accountability.  Studiously fight the negative inner voices that are trying to destroy your marriage. 

4. Surround yourself with friends who are good influences
Do not allow yourself to be influenced by friends who regularly bash their spouses, or have a flippant attitude toward divorce or fidelity.  Don't choose as your primary friends single guys or girls who like to go out and party and pick up people in bars, because you can't do that (ever).

5. Steer Clear of Temptation
Are there other people (especially of the opposite sex) who you are feeling connected or attracted to?  Someone you look for every time you go to church or work?  Are their exes on Facebook who regularly contact you?  Avoid those people like the plague; if necessary un-friend them on Facebook and delete them from your phone. Tell your spouse if you are struggling in this way.

6. Focus on wooing your spouse
Rather than taking your significant other for granted, take time to win their love on a daily basis.  Don't know if they are feeling loved?  Ask.  Ask this question: "What is one thing I can do today that will make you feel loved?"

7. Be sensitive to your spouse's needs, rhythms and wishes
Are they a morning person? Are you a night person?  Try to find a time when they might feel most energetic before you seek physical intimacy with them.  Are they overwhelmed with tasks at home?  Take some time to complete some of those tasks to free them up so they can spend time with you.

8. Keep "fighting"
Many marriages on the brink of affairs are silent, because many times one or both partners are tired of fighting.  Healthy conflict is a sign of a healthy relationship.  It shows that you are fighting to keep your marriage healthy.  If one or both of you have issues that are unresolved, it may take some time and energy, but keeping those lines of communication open (even if it's unpleasant) is key to keeping your marriage growing.

9. Go to bed at the same time 5 out of 7 nights
I know that some couples don't have this opportunity because of crazy work schedules.  BUT if you are both at home at bedtime, unless you have a really good reason, just go to bed together.  It makes it more likely you will have sex, and it decreases the amount of alone time either one of you will have with the internet.  Late night internet use can be dangerous for many reasons, I think you can figure them out.

10. Create a Marriage Vision
Take some time to write down what a healthy and happy marriage looks like to you. Write down what you hope it will be like 5, 10, 15 years down the road.  After you each write out your vision, share it and discuss the differences and similarities and learn from each other!

Marriage can be hard work, it can also be intensely satisfying and fulfilling.  You have to work hard to feel the satisfaction!  Just keep praying, and remember... you said those vows and meant them, and so did the other person... assume you both still mean it and act accordingly.

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  1. This is an excellent article, AJ. I'm not sure if I've ever visited your blog before but you seem to be an insightful and powerful advocate for marriages. I would love to invite you to link this up with my Wedded Wednesday (on Wednesday) over at Messy Marriage. Glad to meet ya and hope we keep crossing paths, my friend!

  2. Thanks Beth! I would love to link up. If you tend to comment, I am pretty sure I would remember if you had visited before. Glad you stopped by today!


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