Ideally we who enter into the union of marriage/relationship do not do so with intent of failing. No one usually unites in marriage thinking “well once I am divorced…” Of course there are always exceptions to rules. You have people who marry to stay in the USA and those who marry for money etc… Usually there is a mutual understanding between these couples who do not marry for love. While surfing the web this week I came across an article written by Megan Northrup titled Immunized Against Infidelity: “Affair-proofing” Your Marriage; the article is based on a book written Dr. Shirley Glass. Here are some of the things I found most interesting about the article.
Many couples naively insist that they don’t have to worry about infidelity. “It will never happen to us.” Unfortunately, infidelity is surprisingly prevalent in our society. Conservative estimates suggest that between 20 and 25 percent of all Americans will have extramarital sex sometime during their married life (Atkins, Baucom, & Jacobson, 2001). That’s up to one out of four. And the idea that infidelity only happens to bad people in miserable marriages is a myth. It can and does happen, even to good people in happy relationships.
Today’s leading marriage experts have come up with many strategies for preventing infidelity from infiltrating your marriage. As you review the six preventive measures provided below, keep in mind that no one-time event or promise will affair-proof your marriage. Complete fidelity takes constant, conscientious effort. But the work is well worth the joy of having a husband or wife who is your faithful, lifelong best friend. Consider the wise words of author Peggy Vaughn: “Preventing affairs is not like having a one-time inoculation – or even getting occasional booster shots. It’s more like taking a pill every day for the rest of your life.”
Prioritize Your Marriage
“The No. 1 cause for the breakdown in marriages today is the same issue that causes infidelity. Couples aren’t prioritizing their marriage,” says Michele Weiner-Davis, a marriage and family therapist and author. “People spend time on their careers, their kids, community affairs, hobbies, sports. But they take their spouses for granted. It just doesn’t work that way.” In other words, to have a strong marriage, your spouse must come first.
Experts are increasingly concerned about two temptation arenas: the workplace and the Internet. One recent study showed that 73 percent of men and 42 percent of women who have extramarital affairs meet their partners at work. Be extremely careful with workplace relationships.
On-line relationships are also an increasing problem. Innocent chat room visits can endanger a marriage when someone discovers a “cyberspace soulmate.” When the honesty that’s missing in a marriage gets spilled out on the computer screen, emotional affairs can result, sometimes leading to adultery. Preventive measures include:
Remember that infidelity doesn’t always include sex. Emotional infidelity can breach marital trust and become as debilitating to your marriage as physical adultery. If you are sharing intimate emotional closeness with someone of the opposite sex other than your spouse in any arena, including the Internet, stop!
Know Your Boundaries
Experts say friendships with members of the opposite sex are possible and healthy if both parties know their boundaries. As one author puts it, you have to take an honest look at yourself and admit that maybe you can’t always “handle it.” When you honestly admit what might be a temptation to you, you will know where to draw the line.
If you’re wondering whether you’ve overstepped any boundaries, Dr. Shirley Glass says three signs indicate that a friendship between people of the opposite sex has crossed the line into infidelity: (1) emotional intimacy, (2) sexual tension, and (3) secrecy. Also, ask yourself, “Do I say or do things with this person that I wouldn’t want my spouse to see or hear?” If so, it’s time to take a step back and re-draw your boundaries.
Learn Conflict Resolution Skills
According to Dr. Carlfred Broderick, “Perhaps the most important single preventative of adultery is a developed and well-oiled mechanism for dealing with strain in the marriage.” It is crucial that you talk to your spouse about conflicts. Harboring resentment towards a spouse may lead you to seek sympathy from others, which opens you up to emotional attachments outside the marriage. Faithful marriage partners discuss their frustrations openly and honestly and try to reach fair compromises.
For more help on dealing with marital conflict, see Dr. Gottman’s “Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.” Principles five and six guide couples through dealing with minor and major marital conflicts and avoiding resentment.
Dr. Kevin Leman believes that “as a general rule, satisfied partners do not wander. . . . If marriage partners are getting enough attention, affection, and sexual fulfillment at home, they are not likely to stray into an affair.” This tends to be particularly true of women, who are more likely to have an affair because they feel unhappy or unfulfilled in their marriage than for any other reason.
Dr. Glass points out that when someone has an affair, it doesn’t necessarily mean he or she isn’t “getting enough” at home. It could mean he or she isn’t giving enough. Either way, adding romance to your marriage will help protect against you or your spouse looking elsewhere.
Here are some guidelines for romantic success, suggested by experts Howard Markman, Scott Stanley, and Susan Bloomberg, in their book Fighting for Your Marriage. Take a look at the guidelines and create your own plan for romance in your relationship:
Finally, to “affair-proof” your marriage, strengthen and deepen the bond between you and your spouse. “The more a couple knows each other, the better off they are. If you strengthen the bond between the couple, there is not so much temptation to look elsewhere,” says psychologist Susan Townsend.
So what do you think?