and it is easier than you realize.
I have read so many articles claiming how difficult it is to be married and how much work it is to stay committed. I have read that there is no such thing as an infallible marriage. They are correct; however, I can tell you that it is possible to affair-proof your relationship if you want to do what it takes to make it so.
Affairs do not just happen to people. Monogamy is a choice.
How am I qualified to give advice on marriage? I am not a relationship coach. I am not a psychologist or a marriage counselor. I am a three-time divorced woman. I have been the cheater and the one cheated on. I know exactly how to do marriage wrong. It took years for me to finally get it right. I now have a near-perfect marriage and it is easy.
What does it take to have one of these easy, near-perfect marriages?
I have discovered through much heartache that to have a happy marriage it takes four components. Like a car that will not start without all, it’s parts, an affair proof marriage has to have these four things to work.
Time, affection, respect, and honesty are the four essential parts of an affair-proof marriage.
You as a couple must decide together that you will not settle for any less than those four things. Then, together, take steps to make those things happen every single day of your married life. It will not work if you only make time to have a date night once a month. It will not work if you only kiss your spouse goodbye as you rush out the door to work. It will not work if you only use polite manners when it suits you and it will certainly not work if you only tell the truth only when it benefits your personal agenda. It takes thought and consideration but making time, affection, respect, and honesty a priority does not feel like work if you want to stay married and if you truly love your spouse. It takes both of you. If your spouse is not willing to do these things with you, your marriage is already doomed.
You must give your marriage the best of your time. Marriage takes a lot of time spent with your spouse that is spread out across the day. Not the remnants of time you have after you do all the other things your life requires. Make the time you give your marriage a priority.
To start with, Give your marriage the first and last thirty minutes of your day. Set your morning alarm for thirty minutes earlier than normal, lock the door, and stay in bed. Change your morning routine to accommodate the first few minutes of every day to love your spouse. Give your spouse your complete attention. No screens, no getting dressed, brushing teeth, no distractions for at least thirty minutes. Do whatever you have to do the night before to ensure you have that small fragment of time. You can make excuses all you want. There are kids to get ready for school. There are things you have to do to make it to your job on time. Fine, do those things after this thirty-minute closed window of time. This is not the time to discuss bills, the children’s grades, what’s on the calendar, or what’s for dinner. Do not talk about anything outside of that closed door. This is the time to tell your spouse with words and affection how important and cherished they are to you. I am not talking about sex, but I am talking about physical love, talking and listening. Tell them why you love them. Give this time to just being with your spouse.
When you are in that set-aside time, show your spouse genuine affection. Touch them in a way that makes them feel like they are special. Look at them, really look at them. Remember why you love them? Remember what it was like to make out with your spouse before you were married? The thrill of just touching? Remember that butterfly feeling they gave you with a simple look and a smile? That electric feeling. Hold on to that for the first thirty minutes of every day. Make it a priority. You will eventually grow to crave this time. You will feel out of sorts when you miss it for an unexpected reason.
You will want more. The thirty minutes will not be enough. Next, you will add a second thirty-minute block to the end of your day. Not only will you find that you want to add a second block of time, but you will also start carving out time throughout the day. Stealing moments to touch, hug and just be close.
Always show your spouse respect. Some of the marriage experts agree with me when I say do not disrespect your spouse in public, around friends or family. I am going to tell you do not disrespect your spouse at any time. When I hear a married couple speaking to each other with snide offhand remarks in a public setting I wonder just how bad they must speak to each other in private. Respect is more about the person giving it than the person receiving it. It shows that you love them unconditionally. Tell your spouse how you feel. speak random affirmations of love and mean them. Don’t just give them empty words.
Find ways to show respect to your spouse. If you know they do not like a thing you do, don’t do it. If you know a pet peeve of theirs, try to make it disappear. Do not discuss your problems or personal business with others outside of your marriage, including your parents and children. Do not give other people reasons to disrespect your spouse. Respect your spouse for who they are to you, not for what they do or don’t do. Do not correct or contradict your spouse in front of other people, especially your children. If you disagree that’s fine, you do not have to agree, just tell your spouse when you are alone that you do not agree with them. Work it out in private.
Do not take your spouse for granted. This is also a form of disrespect. Your person owes you nothing. He or she does not have to cook or clean for you. Also, you owe them nothing. You are in this marriage together. You are a team. Do not just assume that because one of you likes to cook that they will always will. Acknowledge the things your spouse does for you. Appreciate what they do as if it is the last time they will ever do that wonderful thing for you. Then, let them know you are thankful for it.
Decide as a couple that you will not lie to each other. Vow to never commit or accept adultery in your marriage. Then tell each other what will happen if one of you were to break that promise. For example, I told my husband I would not stay married to him if he gave any part of his heart to another woman. I will not be his second choice. Make it clear to your spouse that you will not cheat and that you will not tolerate them cheating on you. Then be honest with every thought, word, and deed. Do not keep secrets. Do not tell them things that you do not truly mean.
“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” — Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (1886)
I don’t have all the answers, however, I know this much is true: time, affection, respect, and honesty are the four elements of an affair-proof marriage. If you are missing any one of these elements, your marriage is at risk of failure.