Our church’s marriage ministry asked us to make a video answering how we protect our marriage against infidelity. Once the video is ready I’ll try to get a copy, but in the meantime here are the top three ways we protect our marriage after eleven years of marriage:
The biggest protection against infidelity is communication. It’s beyond the basic and cursory “how was your day?”, or “check out this funny video”, or “what time are you going to be home?” questions. We’re talking about sharing your feelings, concerns and dreams with each other. Our goal is to get to a place of zero secrets, and that can be tough. Aiming at sharing your complete self is the goal. As you talk more, share less about the transactions of your day like what happened at work and share more about how you felt, even if it’s uncomfortable. In addition to increasing the quality of conversation, increase the frequency. If date night never happens in your home, schedule one. If date night is always with other people, try going out with just the two of you.
Communication is not just verbal – it’s physical as well. As you work on sharing your thoughts and aspirations, include improving your physical communication. Are you being as affectionate as your spouse needs? Are you being intimate as many times a week (or day, lol) that he needs. I love PDA, so I’m constantly desiring more hugs and kisses. If you know your partner’s love language, then speak it!
2. Offense & Defense
Being transparent with each other proactively guards your relationship from slippery slopes. We share access to just about everything: phones, social media and finances. These are some of the top areas where deception starts, so making sure you have access to each other’s personal communication is a great way to be transparent with each other. We don’t “check” on each other, but I don’t worry that he’s hiding something because I have all his passwords. We share a checking account, so all the finances are managed primary through one account. I have been known to ask him to unfriend a person or two for posting too many half-naked photos, but for the most part as long as there’s full transparency trust can build.
On the other side, there are a few ways that you can defend your marriage. The first area is clothing. My Hubby has some pretty muscular thighs, so not all pants fit his sexy legs quite right. This means that when we’ve indulged in too much Thanksgiving, he may not be able to wear everything in the closet. It also means that I can’t get caught up in the female fashion show. You know what I’m talking about, wearing the cutest, brightest or a little too tight – and not for the guys, but as we know, they are looking as well. When I bring home a new outfit, I always ask Hubby if he likes it and likes how it fits. If he doesn’t – back it goes.
How you interact with people outside of your marriage is extremely important. Constantly talking negatively about your husband to your girlfriends, having close friends of the opposite sex that you text, call or hang out with, and those “small” physical touches, such as gently touching an arm (although usually these interactions are unconscious actions) can sometimes be perceived as flirting. After attending a work event with me, Hubby pointed out that I hug a lot, so I’m starting to scale back on all the hugs.
Finally, avoiding foul language has really helped guard our marriage. When you don’t curse, people make a lot of assumptions about you. That you don’t party, don’t drink, don’t do Vegas, etc. Some of these assumptions may not be true, but you don’t get invited to a lot of things that may be surrounded by open invitations to infidelity.
Lastly, pray together. I’m sure there’s some amazing statistics out there about the minute chance of divorce for couples that pray together. Praying requires communication and transparency in a special way. If you find praying together challenging, you can start with aiming for one day a week. Set an alarm on your phone, and strive to pray for 30 seconds together. You can start simple, and ask God to help you love your spouse the way He loves them.