10 Ways To “Affair Proof” Your Marriage



Many people look at infidelity as an unforeseen natural disaster that no one saw on the radar screen; it just happened without warning. But the reality is that we can often see it coming and we can sometimes prevent it from happening as well.  Does “affair proof” mean that if you do these 10 things that it’s a 100 percent guarantee that you will never experience an affair?  Of course not. It means that you are doing some very important things that will significantly decrease the likelihood of an affair striking your marriage.

Authors Brett and Kate McKay provide some important points on affair proofing a marriage which I’ve used as a basis for the thoughts below. Here are 10 ways to affair proof your marriage.

1. Avoid temptation.

Several years ago, I made a trip to Orlando, Florida for a business meeting.  I arrived at my destination and the guy I was meeting with came out to my car to greet me. He noticed that one of my office team members drove up in a separate car and he said, “Oh, Jennifer must have another meeting today in Orlando, huh?” “No,” I replied, “I just don’t travel alone with a woman.” He seemed a bit surprised, but I think he understood my reasoning even though we spent a few more dollars in gas to get there in two cars.  I also avoid intimate conversations about my personal life with any women other than my wife, Susan.  Many an affair begins when people start talking about their personal pressures and problems with another person besides their spouse. They feel like the other person empathizes and understands them better.  This can then lead to a feeling of closeness, which, if left unchecked, can lead to an intimate emotional or physical relationship.

2. Date your spouse.

Establish a “date night” and treat this time as sacred by putting it “in ink” on your calendar.  Some people are able to do this every week.  Susan and I find that every other week seems to work better for our schedules.  Make your date something fun and interactive.  Have dinner at new restaurant, play tennis, go bowling, go dancing, take a walk or take a class together.

3. Stop the pornography.

Pornography destroys people and relationships.  Porn creates unrealistic and false expectations for your sexual relationship with your spouse.  It promotes the lie that relationships are all about getting, instead of giving. Another lie about pornography is that “I’ll do it one more time, then I’ll stop.”  But some is never enough, you always want more.  Pornography is like a drug, you always need more and more and something stronger and stronger for the high to continue. As a result, soft porn leads to hard porn.  And pornography often leads to an extramarital affair. So, what should you do? Start by bringing to light what has been hidden in darkness by sharing your struggles with your spouse, pastor or friend. Immediately flee from it and avoid pornography completely.  Put your computer in a very public place in your house or get rid of it for a season of time.  Never erase your computer history.  Allow your spouse to hold you accountable.

4. Be romantic.

It doesn’t take much to be romantic. A short love letter or email only takes a few minutes to write. Putting a post-it note on the mirror telling your spouse that you “can’t wait for your date tonight” can work wonders.  Flowers for women are always welcome, even if you picked them up from the grocery store on the way home. These small gestures show your spouse that you’ve thought of them and will help you reinforce your commitment to your partner.

5. Initiate affection.

Studies show that couples who are affectionate with each other stay together. Make an effort to initiate spontaneous affection with your spouse. Give them a hug or surprise kiss and say how much you love them. Hold their hand when you’re out together.  Cuddle without making it a precursor to sex. These small gestures will help strengthen the physical connection that every relationship needs.

6. Have sex regularly.

Men sometimes stray because their wife is not interested in having an intimate sexual relationship.  It happens all too often, and it’s easy to understand why interest in sex wanes.  Exhaustion, busyness, emotional distance and many other things cause sexual encounters to wither. While those might be valid excuses, they must be dealt with to the extent possible so that the welcome mat of physical intimacy will be rolled out in your marriage.

7. Talk some and listen always.

Find some time each day to have meaningful conversations with your spouse. If you have children, find a few moments after you put them in bed. Talk about what you did during the day. Discuss what you’ve been thinking about lately. Share your dreams with them. And be sure to be a good listener by dropping what you are doing, making eye contact, and showing that you are genuinely interested in what they are saying.  The idea is to deepen the bond between you and your spouse. It’s harder to withdraw from your spouse when you’ve made such an emotional investment.

8. Share interests and recreation.

When you first started dating, you probably had everything in common. Well, at least you thought you did. So you would spend lots of time together doing things you both enjoyed. Then you got married and started working, having kids and dealing with the cares of this world. Pretty soon there were fewer things you did together.  So if you don’t have something you like to do together, talk about it and agree on one thing you’ll do as a couple.

9. Speak kind words.

After many years of marriage, I noticed that I wasn’t speaking kind words to my wife as much as I should.  It’s so easy to take the one we love for granted.  So, I went back to the basics. When I wake up in the morning, I say, “Good morning, honey.”  When I arrive home, I ask “How was your day?”  When we go to bed, I pray with her and say “I love you” every single night.  

10. Evaluate your vulnerabilities.

Sit down with your spouse and evaluate your vulnerabilities. Some people have jobs where they travel a lot. Being away from home in tempting environments can create challenges.  See #1 above.  Some have personality traits that open themselves up for infidelity. These traits don’t have to be bad either. For example, you might naturally be an empathetic listener or an affectionate person. There’s nothing wrong with that, but some people may take this attention the wrong way.

These are just 10 things you can do to “affair proof” your marriage.  I’m sure you can add a few to the list. Please do so by sharing your comments with me.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Tune up,turn me on….

    How about when one spouse lets themself go and adds weight and makes no attempt to lose it?(even after you gently remind them) Getting exited for sex is almost impossible when your spouse is over weight and doesn’t want to make an effort to take care of their body.
     It goes both ways (male and female) but as a middle aged guy the visual goes a long way for me to get exited about sex..She would make love daily if she had her way.. I know there are people out there that will say you should love your spouse no matter what shape the physical body is in,and I love my wife totally, and hold and kiss her all the time and I do my “duty” at times to fill her needs….but am totally turned off by her body and she doesn’t see the need to improve her health (not just for sex,but for heath in general-she has arthritis issues) I see other guys wifes taking the effort and looking good for their husbands.. Is it wrong to want a shapely wife, to be proud of and be turned on by her? (I know my shapely wife is in there..just under a few layers…)

  • Tune up,turn me on….

    Mark I would appreciate your adressing my comment about overweight spouses….

  • Jayne

    I completely understand and agree with your post, because the same goes here with me and my husband. We always hear that the woman doesn’t want it as much and often as the husband, but in my relationship I am constantly asking. Sometimes as a woman, being turned down by your husband is a blow to your esteem. I also hope my husband reads this article. 

  • Trish

    Anxious to hear what advice others might offer….  I can identify with this post so strongly, it’s like I wrote it. I thought I was the only wife who felt this way….  I love my husband SO much, but if there was a drug that would give me some energy after my long work day and help increase my desire, I would take it!  I know my husband deserves more sex in our marriage and my heart wants to give it to him – my body is just so exhausted and my libido is so crazy low.  It’s very sad.  This man is my whole world.

  • Tune up,turn me on….

    Mark… still looking for your straightforward honest imput/opinion on my post….

  • TCGfamily

    Believe it or not, my husband and I (almost 17 years) found this list off of facebook. We have chosen to have only one facebook account with both of our names on it. We both are on it inconsistently but find that when we can see each others comments and sense of humor that it brings us closer together. Gives us something else to talk about besides the “normal” happenings.
    We are experiencing a great year in our marriage. Both of us have had the experience of walking along side of close friends whose marriages are troubled by both pornography and affairs. In order to be good friends we have had to wrestle down again in our own hearts why we still love each other, what helps, and what hurts.

    We are aiming for what we have termed “intentional thoughtfulness” (our definition of romance)
    and staying on guard for “creeping separateness” that slow move toward distance. Instead choosing to be investing every day. 

    Thank You Mark for your time and energy. You have found two new followers today!

  • Guest


  • wish you would tell the truth

    One must look at themselves and reflect their own mistakes in order to move forward with their lives. Infidelity during before or after marriage, relationship, or whatever is unacceptable. This is just the reason why people who place their heart in their partner’s hands is so rare to see now a days. Since day one I gave my heart to my partner and did not look back. If she chose to stab it with infidelity then it’s her “job” who must find a way to make up for it. Sex is not all in a marriage. Men do not want just sex they want to love their partner and satisfy them physically, emotionally and spiritually. Living with someone before I got married I can relate to your story “…” You do not just “fix this”. I would recommend to speak to your “best friend” about your infidelity before trying to fix your “not of enough sex” issue you mentioned. There is nothing in the world worse than a woman complaning she is not enough(according to “wish I was more” title in your post) than a woman who flat out has the time, energy and obviously “balls” to cheat on their future husband. To then not put this obvious nimph character to good use with her “best friend”! I’m sure if your “best friend” knew about this dilema you are having after 18 years. “well maybe more”…. then he would of never left his crumbling family for a woman who obviously is waiting for her “nimph character” to come out again only to then blame her husband /best friend for her lack of “sexual interest”. You obviously should of never got married with him. You will “never be more” to him. Even if you were the best sexual dream for anyone in this world. Moral to this story: “Sex does not cure Infidelity”. Sleezbags who cheat on their husbands should cut them loose so they could find someone else who would love them and dedicate their lives in “working” towards a “sacred marriage”. Poor idiot your “best friend” is for wanting to have sex with his “wife” who obviously was never interested in the first place. Just think how crushed your son would be if he found out his future wife did the same and complained she was not into having sex and just wanted to do it quickly , since it was “just another job” as you put it. Good luck with your “best friend” hope he wakes up soon and sees his wife of 18+ years is just playing house!!!!!  

  • Walk9215

    Wow – you really read my post wrong and I think one sentence will clear up why I say that….it was him that cheated on me.  I was looking for some advice, not someone looking to dump their anger on me for some unknown reason.  However, I have to say I’m not surprised this was written by a man and listed as unregistered.

  • Your comment has been deleted because it violates our comment policy. http://www.markmerrill.com/markmerrill-com-commenting-policy/

  • Your comment has been deleted because it violates our comment policy. http://www.markmerrill.com/markmerrill-com-commenting-policy/

  • Pdx_jn

    Us guys have a “cycle” that is about 72 hours.
    Some more and some less but that is average.
    Cannot help it……a natural behavior that is in us.
    I had my wife read :Every Mans Battle” with me so she could learn more about the mans desires and “cycle”.
    I begged her to help me so that I would not lust anymore or focus my desires eslewhere.
    It did nothing.
    I flat out old her that when we are not intimate enough, I tend to focus on lust and porn.
    It did nothing.
    I prayed to God to please help me kick this problem and to make my wife be more intimate.
    Nothing happened.

    I am now in a position where an old flame wants to get together with me.
    I have not done it and do not want to.
    However, the temptation is killing me.
    I have had sex with my wife once in the last month and the need inside of me is great and it is eating at me so bad!
    What can I do?


    Stay away from the temptation!!!!  Continue communicating with your wife.  Offer suggesstions on how you can be fulfilled to her.  Start small and build from there.  I’ll be praying for you.  Communication is KEY!!!!


    I can empathize with having a full daily schedule and not having the energy to have sex at the end of the night.  I communicated to my husband what I was feeling.  He offered to help around the house.  Well, I have a tiny case of OCD and thing myst be done a certain way.  I have learned to let some things (housework) go  undone so that our sexual relationship can be “tended to”.  Some men won’t pick up the slack & help out until things begin to fall apart and it has a direct effect on them.  I heard a comedian/radio show host/author give the same advice.  When husband has to fix his own lunch and launder his own clothes, for example, then he’ll make the adjustment but he’ll be sexually satisfied.  When you take action, he will too.


    I’ve put on about 30 pounds in the 12 years we’ve been married.  I have 2 kids to show for it but that’s no excuse.  My husband gave me gentle reminders that didn’t work.  I became ill and suffered thru 3 consecutive rounds of strep throat.  He sat me down and gave me the “We need you to be healthy and live a long life…” talk.  I was in tears because he was right.  When I don’t release the days’ stress via exercise, over time I my body breaks down and I get sick.  Try talking to her about long term health and make dates where you two walk in the park, bowl, play laser tag, or whatever physical activities you can come up with. 

  • Robert murray

    Don’t do it my brother. It’s only false pleasure for a little while and definetly not worth it. Focus on being true to GOD instead of being true to your wife. For obvious reasons, reminding yourself that your  Heavenly Father holds you at a higher level of accountability than your wife does makes you able to be stronger to withstand the temptation that is so very real. GOD will show you a way out of it, but you have to look for it. GOD bless you my Brother.

  • Shaupt

    I agree – honor God and do not give into temptation. I have not been intimate with my husband in years – mostly due to his medical reasons. Sadly, I hide myself from others so I will not be tempted. However, I learned a long time ago in a previous relationship that trying to fill myself with men who flatter me, tell me I am beautiful, tell me I deserve better…lead to temporary high and then very empty. The men who are saying this are not Christians. I have learned that living my life searching for a “feeling” to be satisfied is not satisfying. I will be honest, I am mad as heck that I have had to give up getting attention from my spouse and that my sex life is over…then there is the other part of me who remains faithful and I love him because it is not just about me and what I want. It is about honoring God and becoming more like Jesus. No one ever promised me that I would have a great sex life – I really wanted one but does not mean I am entitled. Jesus died on the cross for our sins and when he arose again – he had scars. This means that we humans are not promised a rose garden that God may not answer our prayers today or ever but one thing we know for sure is that on this earth we will have suffering and that comes in many forms. However, I do have praise because I do think some of my prayers have been answered…my husband told me I smelled nice and he thanked me for some work I did around the house. To me this was golden. My old self would have not been able to appreciate those simple comments if all I could think about was what I was not getting in my relationship. 

  • B.D. Keech

     As a man, I am expected to initiate sex in the relationship. I think that it is expected for the man to always initiate sex. I don’t know if it is because the man thinks it’s how it’s supposed to be or what. But, I have to admit that a woman who initiates the sex and shows some aggression really ups the self-esteem for a man, at least in my case. I really like it when my with shows that she finds me desireable and wants me. It makes me feel wanted and a little sexy. I personally wish this could happen on a more regular basis.

  • B.D. Keech

    My God, if only I had that problem. For me, I am the one constantly asking, but maybe I’m not giving my wife the chance to ask.

  • B.D. Keech

     Having sex everyday while taking care of three kids?!? Even though that sounds ideal for me, even I don’t think I could do it. I made an agreement with my wife where we schedule 3 days a week. To me, that is healthy. When you were going through your pregnancy, did you tell your husband everything you just posted here? If it was me, and my wife explained to me the way you did in your post, I would have been more understanding and maybe worked out a strategy. I think honesty is the best policy. When my wife explains things to me and tells me her feelings on something, I find that I am less resentful and more understanding about the situation.

  • B.D. Keech

     As a man, I found this very insightful since it is the same with my wife. After giving the kids a bath and putting them into bed, she then gets food ready for them for the next day. By the time she is done, I can see she is exhausted, but I do take that for granted.  For me, having my wife pleasure me on a regular basis is not the most important thing. Physically pleasuring a man is not all that hard. For me, I find it frustrating when I make love to my wife and she is tired and shows she is not getting any pleasure from the love making. It’s like a chore for her to fulfill my needs. I feel so inadequate, like I’m not a good enough lover, that my methods are not working, and it frustrates me. I’m more concerned about my ability to pleasure her than for her to pleasure me. Maybe I’m being selfish. She can also go about two weeks as well. I guess coming up with a schedule we both agree on is the best way to go. Though, I can totally understand about being tired and not being in the mood.

  • Ashley

    Can you post a link to this post? I couldn’t find it.

  • Gabriella

    have you tried putting in your fair share of child rearing? Idk why so many men expect everything to be done for them like their still the children??? I’m not saying that’s you but it’s just an observation.. They don’t put out or invest in the relationship but want to reap all the benefits… a woman wont feel connected to her husband and will secretly resent him if he doesn’t show concern for her by helping carrying the family load, women work too these days so household responsibilities, especially child care, should be shared, that’s just part of loving and investing in your children and should be a given… it’s so revolting to think of the guy who gets home expects dinner to be made while he watches football or soccer or w.e. with the kids running around, just disgusting… and I’m not even married yet and I can feel the pain and disgust of it… selfishness is a huge turn-off

  • Gabriella

    believe that if God says it can be done, it can.. and don’t buy the lie that it’s only human or natural because Jesus was fully man and never looked once upon a woman with lust in the 33 years of His sexless life, but yet He was faced with every temptation we have been, that’s straight up biblical truth buddy. Have faith that you are a new creation and the old things have passed away. Btw, if your heart isn’t with her because you look at other women or porn, she can feel that and if a woman is emotionally disconnected she won’t be eager to physically connect. Speak out your beliefs even to the “old flame” as a step of faith. You keep resisting the devil and he has to flee! If he knows he has no place in you he will not waste his time, but if you leave something as a possibility to entertain he is at the door knocking ready to grab a toe hold. Don’t even give him an inch.

  • Christine Wilke

    These are wonderful articles.

  • mk

    I appreciate this article and everyone’s insight. I applaud anyone who takes precautions with regard to #1 and I love your example of business co-workers. I have a husband who travels a lot for business and we have a wonderful marriage. He is a strong, independent man and I’ve never been one to nag or be jealous, but there was an awkward emotional affair that I was shocked to catch him in, over 15 years ago, but still, that altered some of my blind trust and naivety. I believe I forgave a long time ago and at times I forget it, but at times I don’t forget it. I do trust him and I feel badly that I have not been able to completely let go of some uncomfortable feelings I have with regard to a female, single, friend of his in the industry (not the one that we had incident with way back). Why does a married man who values church, family, and most things that are right think it’s ok for this particular friend to share stuff with married men? And why does the man not notice that this woman is inappropriate at times, mostly just friend stuff but still – why can’t she ask a NON-married man for help with her computer, or talk about the old work times, and all that with her female friends. In a way, I do think he just thinks of her as a friend, but she has never been quite as warm and welcoming to me. I am embarrassed because I am not generally this way, but other married women have felt uncomfortable by her as well, so it’s not just me and not just my husband – which somewhat makes it better and somewhat worse?! When I have approached the subject in the past with my husband, he feels it is an insult to him, that I don’t trust him, that I’m overreacting, etc. so I avoid bringing it up, but I am wondering if I need to talk to someone at our church to help me figure out whether there is a female gut instinct that I should be listening to here or if I should figure out how to truly let it go….obviously, it’s hard to explain it all here, but I’d welcome any insight. And I pray no one who knows me will know this is me writing this – never really posted on these things before….thank you.

  • Dorothy

    Amen Sue!!

  • madeleine

    Sexual union is so important–after all in the Church and in the Old Testament, if a marriage is not consummated…. it is not a valid marriage. Every sexual embrace is a renewal of our marriage unity and our covenant…. It is important to our marriage and to my husband—-even though I do not have a ” sex drive”, I keep a calendar log of our marriage embrace and make sure that we have love making several times a week. For my lack of physical responsiveness………..I take bio identical hormones ( prescribed by my Doctor—testosterone, progesterone, estrogen, and Armour thyroid– See Dr. Rozier’s book; “HEALTHY AGING”)–They do WONDERS for my sexual responses!!

  • Holly

    I, as a woman, will have to disagree with the comment that it’s the woman who deprives her husband of sex. In my case, if I could have it at least 3 times a week that would be great. However, it’s once a month if I’m lucky. That’s when our marriage seems to be doing good. My husband struggles with porn. He goes 6-8 months without it and then he skips work or waits until I go to sleep. He says he’s sorry. He says he will never cheat on me with a woman because 1: he’s married 2: It’s wrong 3: he doesn’t want to hurt me 4: he loves me. Hmm…shouldn’t he use these same reasons to stop with the porn? What’s the difference? His answer? A woman in person is real. I can’t touch the ones on the computer. Yet, he will tell you he knows it’s wrong. This all came about due to going out of town to work. Rooming with some guys in an apartment. One guy brought a woman along. My husband told them he was coming back home because he wasn’t going to stay in an apartment with a woman there because he’s married. So, of course, I ask why he didn’t stay and why he wouldn’t think of being with another woman. Hence, the 4 reasons stated above. I told him if he would’ve stayed, she came out of the bedroom naked, he lusted after her, but didn’t touch her he still would have cheated. The same goes with porn. He didn’t agree or disagree. He kept quiet. Like I said, he does good, stays faithful. That is until he goes to his mom’s. That’s where the temptation is. She won’t stop him. Claims she doesn’t know what he’s looking at, but she has to walk by the computer to get to the living room. I can’t tell him he’s not allowed to go over there. That’s his mom. We came to an agreement that he wouldn’t go over unless me or the kids are with him. That worked for a while. The other day he went by himself to pick something up from his moms. Couple days later I find him over there on the computer. So, how can he avoid temptation if it is at his mom’s? This is when he struggles with porn. He’s a great man, a great father, and a great husband except for this one addiction. I’m not ready to call it quits and neither is he. He wants to beat this addiction and I want to help him. Will appreciate any advice on what to do about the temptation being at his moms. FYI, she won’t get rid of her computers or disconnect the internet.

  • jonathan

    There’s a great book called “Every Man’s Battle”, which I would recommend. There are many issues here, but I’ll focus on two that I feel will be helpful:

    1. Helping him recognize the sin. He’s giving back a very worldly answer…the common approach to justification in circumstances like this. You outlined 4 reasons that he gave that he wouldn’t cheat on you. The assumption here, is that he recognizes the sin in what he’s doing. But probably not fully. As you noted, in lust he his sinning. Matthew 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Jesus’ teaching here is clear. Focusing in on how Jesus views the desire to sin (looks at a woman with lustful INTENT), may make the sin more evident.

    2. Help him recognize the hurt you feel. Your openness and honestly here online is helpful in communicating the hurt you’re feeling. It may be helpful to share this with him – in a loving, non judgemental way. (Recognize that he too is hurting; caught in the snare of sin. He likely regrets his actions.) Share with him how it makes you feel to know that he finds satisfaction apart from you. Or that you feel objectified. Or whatever your feelings are. He’s probably defensive in his responses, so be mindful not to place him in that stance. This is where the book may be helpful too.

    I’ll be praying for you.

  • BestFriend?

    My boyfriend goes to his ex-wife’s house and hangs out there frequently, sometimes when her husband is not home, so he can visit with his kids. He also goes on vacation with them and he and his ex ride together to their kids sporting events. He says he does all this so he can spend time with his kids. He told me recently that she was one of his best friends. They have a special needs child and he says I don’t understand because I don’t have a special needs child.
    I totally believe parents should co-parent. They should get along for the children. I’ve even had birthday and graduation parties at my home inviting my ex and his girlfriend. We get along fine. We sit together with the kids at sporting events. But I do think going to the home of someone of the opposite sex and hanging out, riding in a car with them, and being their best friend is not necessary and isn’t respectful to the person you are in a relationship with. I believe it is putting yourself in a vulnerable situation. I’m having a hard time understanding and am not sure I could live with knowing my partner has a best friend that is the opposite sex, not even thinking about it being an ex-wife. I want to be the best friend of my mate, and possibly future husband and am not sure I can share that with another woman. Mark, am I wrong in my understanding, my belief, and my expectation of how a relationship should be? I’ve prayed for answers on how to handle this situation because I’m very hurt and confused.