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Strengthening Marriage: Affair-proofing your marriage, Part 3

In part 2 of "Affair-Proofing Your Marriage" we

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.

  1. Setting

mental boundariesAvoiding

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

infidelity.

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

sex.

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

repair.

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

difference.

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

"other woman."

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:

  1. Be introspective. Develop greater self-awareness
  2. Avoid selfishness
  3. Communicate openly in marriage about anything
  4. Acknowledge and discuss attractions to others with your

spouseAvoid secrecy

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:

  • Sharing

with each other a list of the top 10 things that make you feel loved and

cherished.Training

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

available there.Thinking

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.