discussed: acknowledging and discussing attractions to others with your spouse;
avoiding secrecy in your marriage; working to meet each other's needs;
developing a satisfying sex life in your marriage; and dealing with personal
insecurities and issues from your past.
In this final segment we will conclude with a discussion of
the following four ways to affair-proof your marriage, plus review the full
list of all 12 marriage-protecting suggestions.
personal relationships with others of the opposite sexBuilding
friendships with persons of the same genderBuilding
a personal protective relationship with God
Four Ways to Affair-Proof Your Marriage
1. Set mental boundaries.
An affair doesn't begin in a bedroom. It begins in the
recesses of the mind. As you preventively set a mental filter to reject any
sexual thoughts or inappropriate imaginings of anyone other than your spouse,
you safeguard your marriage from the destruction that will accompany
Do not even entertain thoughts that put you with anyone but
your spouse. If you are really trying to be accountable to God then he'll let
you know when you are in dangerous territory.
I remember once having a passing thought about someone that
was probably inappropriate. I had an immediate flash feeling that God was
aware. I felt like I heard the words, "Laura, come on, you know better
than that." I was duly chastised and immediately vowed to be more diligent
with my thoughts.
If we pay attention to our conscience it will let us know
when we are wandering into dangerous territory. But if we ignore it, we will
lose the ability to hear it and heed it.
2. Avoid personal relationships with others of the opposite
Having vulnerability plus opportunity can lead to affairs.
Cut out any chance for inappropriate intimacies to occur. This would include
avoiding personal relationships on the Internet, and maintaining professional
boundaries with friends or co-workers.
Affairs don't just happen out of the blue. A lot of small
choices have to be made before an affair can actually occur, such as responding
to an e-mail, having lunch together, text messaging, etc. Stay away from
anything that could give infidelity a chance. Prevention is much better than
There was a time in our marriage when I struggled with
postpartum depression. I'm sure my husband's needs weren't being met very well
during that time. I asked him what he would recommend if a husband felt some
attraction during a difficult time in his marriage. He said that's when you
make sure you aren't doing things that would create an opportunity.
If you're vulnerable, make sure you don't have opportunity,
and if you have opportunity make sure you're not vulnerable.
3. Build friendships with persons of the same gender.
Good friends can be a great resource for helping you to
avoid doing something stupid that you'll soon regret. But these relationships
need to be more than just superficial in order to be effective. Good friends
can also meet some of our needs for companionship and emotional connection.
4. Build a personal protective relationship with God.
Having a commitment to something greater than yourself, or
even your spouse, is a significant protective factor in marriage. Having a
marriage where you are both accountable to God makes it easier to make good
choices even when your needs aren't being met. God can always make up the
This is where beliefs plus behaviors must be in alignment. A
desire to do what's right coupled with actions to avoid opportunities and
vulnerabilities is how you keep behaviors in line with beliefs.
Affairs are a counterfeit
Without the fullness of marriage, an affair is nothing but
an incomplete counterfeit of the real thing. Marriage can never compete with
the fantasy world of infidelity. In marriage you have to deal with the full
package of life, whereas an affair allows temporary access to an illusion.
It reminds me of a movie where the husband was having an
affair with a woman that he perceived to be "all that." It wasn't
until he had lost his wife that he realized all her good qualities that he
missed. He also began to see all the negative characteristics of the
I'm a huge fan of marriage and all it's exciting
possibilities. We must protect our precious marriages from the vulnerabilities
and opportunities that Satan will use to ensnare us. You can avoid being a
casualty in Satan's snare of infidelity.
The following is a review of the safeguards discussed in
this three-part series to affair proof your marriage:
- Be introspective. Develop greater self-awareness
- Avoid selfishness
- Communicate openly in marriage about anything
- Acknowledge and discuss attractions to others with your
Work to meet each other's needs
Develop a satisfying sex life in your marriage
Deal with personal insecurities and issues from your past
Set mental boundaries
Avoid personal relationships with others of the opposite
sexBuild friendships with persons of the same gender
Build a personal protective relationship with God
Your marriage protection homework
I challenge each of us to choose just one thing we can do to
build up our marriage. Some of the specific suggestions you could consider in
affair proofing your marriage include:
with each other a list of the top 10 things that make you feel loved and
yourself to think more about your spouse's needs and welfare than your own.Regularly
sharing thoughts and feelings with each other in an open and honest way.Looking
at and thinking about your spouse more admiringly.Finding
ways to add more fun and playfulness into your relationship.Working
on improving your sexual relationship, so that both of you enjoy the passion
about past hurts you may have, and ways you can share your insecurities and
vulnerabilities with your spouse. This could be done with the help of a
counselor or through journal therapy.Maintaining
a constant self-improvement focus in your life.Avoiding
relationships with people of the opposite sex.Building
friendships with members of the same gender.Disciplining
your mind to reject any inappropriate thoughts.Deliberately
improving your spiritual connection to God.
Marriage is worth our best efforts. God bless us all to
safeguard our marriages from sin, and create the joy and fulfillment that this
sacred relationship affords.