Unfortunately, too many people wait to walk thru our doors once an affair has happened. Although there is hope if an affair has occurred, it is much easier to prevent one from happening by affair proofing it. How do you affair proof your marriage?
1. Make good communication top priority in your relationship. If you have trouble talking about things, how in the world could you expect yourselves to actually talk about struggling with the possibility of an affair? Can you imagine your communication being so open that you could actually talk to your spouse about an attraction you have to someone? That is what real, positive communication is about. If you struggle with communication together, it is a must that you find someone to help you with this.
2. Do NOT keep secrets- ANY! Be open and honest about feelings, thoughts, your whereabouts. I always say to clients, "If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to hide". Everyone has the right to privacy, yes, but in a marriage- what is there to be private about? Secrets fester and can do great damage. Additionally, if you don't want to tell your spouse about a contact you had or talking to someone, you probably shouldn't be doing it. A great gauge to appropriateness is to ask yourself if you will feel comfortable telling your spouse about it.
3. Nurture your relationship. Picture your marriage like a plant. If you don't give it any water, light, or attention, it won't survive. If someone comes along and waters your plant you better believe the plant will drink it! Not taking care of your relationship makes you vulnerable to affairs.
4. During times of stress, pay special attention to your relationship. Talk about the stressors. Having a baby, moving, new jobs, and parenting are all stressors that can effect relationships. Discuss them together to help empathize and problem solve.
5. Do not talk to persons of the opposite sex about your relationship problems. This is an affair waiting to happen. This is how emotional affairs start. It is best to talk to your spouse about your problems but if you need a trusted adult, pick one of your gender.
6. Set up rules and guidelines for using social media. If you set up boundaries from the start, it's easier to know what the expectations are. Specifically regarding the opposite sex. Be open and honest if someone contacts you that you feel could pose a problem with your spouse.
7. If an old flame contacts you, talk about it with your spouse. Awhile back, I had an old boyfriend contact me. Before I did anything, I talked with my husband about it. Not to codependently see what he "wanted me to do". To see, as a couple, what we thought would be best. I cannot tell you how much trust this builds between each other.
There are many more ways to affair proof your marriage. But these are a great start. Check out our blog tomorrow as Joleen shares what to do if an affair has already happened. Thank you for reading.
Written by Natalie Chandler
*Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.