10 Ways To “Affair Proof” Your Marriage

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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.

  • wish I was more

    Ok – I’ve never posted on something like this before but…I love my husband an after 18 years of marriage -he’s still my best friend and there is no unfaithful issues of any kind.  However, there is always the “not of enough sex” issue with us and typically my fault.  In all honesty, I know I just don’t “need” it as much as he does but becuase of my love for him I really do try to be more aware of his needs and be with him more, but if I don’t really try, it can go at least 2 weeks between being together and sometimes longer if it’s that time of the month.  Because of this and a very old (before we were married) infidelity, I always fear he would find someone else to fill his needs if I don’t fix this.  I love him, am attracted to him and our lovemaking is great!  But, as someone mentioned above, by the time I’m done my regular full time job, then the mother/wife job at home, it’s late and I’m tired. By the time I get to bed, I tend to feel like it’s just another job that I need to do for someone to make them feel better when I really just want to be able to curl up with him next to me and read a book or watch TV together because I’m exhausted and tired of “doing” in general.  I’ve even mentioned (I know guys you will not like this) that if we could be quicker occasionally instead of a really long session, that we could probably be together more – but sometimes I’m just tired and don’t want to do any more.  Then there are the times that I try to initiate before it gets to late and by the time he gets around to it, I’m a little irritated and even more tired.  Ok, a little embarassed, but that’s it.  Any advice?

  • KWolff

    Very helpful reminders Mark.  Thank you.  Regarding Facebook, or smartphones, e-mail, etc. - the best way IMO to thwart any potential temptation, and to impart trust in each other is to know each others passwords, and to not erase any history or messages, etc. – EVER!  When you make each other accountable, and there are no secrets, the marriage has less jeopardy of any type of shannigans or any type of affair.

  • Byubon

    I have the same exact prolem! However, mine is FAR worse! I have an 8.5 yr.old daughter and have only had intimacy in any way shape or form aprox. 5 times since she is born! As matter fact I know it’s been at least 5 or 6 years since we have had ANY SEX whats so ever!!!!!!!!!!!!! I lov ehim he is an incredible man in every other way. Sex in the beginning of our relationship was incredible! Actually tapered off before we married to which I was concerned. Even when we learnd we were pregnant it was a total miracle and a shock. I think it had to be the one time on a holiday vacation we had intimacy at which I had to initiate! For YEARS I was the initiator and then he would shrug me off, change the subject, ignore me etc.. I began often crying, in which most times he would ignore rather than talk about anything. Then I became distant, at which often began hatimg him inside. To the point I did not want to be around him. I put a wall up. Then I hated myself for that because I know it would just make for more distance in the relationship. I will probably never leave him because I really love him. He is otherwise an awesome husband in so many ways. However, I am so frustrated and truly need some affection. ot to mention some good sex. I have never been a cheater since I have strong morals and a daughter that I love dearly. I would never want to betray her daddy because of my own needs. A one time problem could mean a long term problem. I’m just so frustrated and dont know what else to do. i have talked hundreds of times to him, I have written many letters and to no avail zero changes!!!! Oh, and might I ad, I am n extremely attractive lady, well grounded with a steady job of 25 years, a great mother, a great housekeeper, wonderful Southern cook, I’m a lot of fun and a dam good sex partner!! So what’s his problem! If he had medical issues that is one thing, but, to not even look at me hen I am naked, or to NEVER even so much as touch my breats(by way are NICE) or any parto fo my body! I think he has some serious issues! All I want is a lil attention, affection, occasional sex and I’m good!

  • Byubon

    I too have the EXACT SAME issues with this man I am married to!!! The day after a conversation it’s like there was never any discussion! 
    NO CHANGES made and now I am going on at least 5 to 6 years with NO sex. And even the 3 years prior to this it was maybe sex only about 3-5 times within that 4 years! I’m really sick of the shit!! Dont know what to do since he is the PERFECT hubby in every other way!

  • http://www.FamilyMinute.com/ Mark Merrill

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  • 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.

  • you know who this is

    u keep telling your self that… I can see it is working our for you. I just wish women like you who have drity little secrets could just come out and say them. I would liberate you and your lack of sexual desire for your man.

  • you know this

    ?? turn your translator from giberish to english please…. Dont blame FB for all your problems.

  • http://www.FamilyMinute.com/ Mark Merrill

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

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  • 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?

  • L WHITE

    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!!!!

  • L WHITE

    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.

  • L WHITE

    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

    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.

  • http://www.MarkMerrill.com/ Mark Merrill