Why should you be interested in affair-proofing your marriage? To me, that’s like asking, “Why should I child-proof my medicine or cleaner cabinet?”
Preventing a problem before it even IS a problem just seems wise to me.
One of the visible cultural shifts in our world today lies in the views of and expectations of marriage. Many younger people are waiting until later in life to marry, and even later to have children. Some couples have decided to not officially “marry” each other at all.
It’s not that people have less desire for families and lasting relationships. It’s that they haven’t seen previous generation being successful at building the kind of healthy, long-lived relationships that they want.
Some will say things like, “Since they failed, we need to do things differently.” Which is true enough.
But what needs to be done differently is inside the relationship and within the individual minds of the participants. And, one of the things that needs to be done differently is the work that is required to affair-proof a marriage.
Here are eight ways to affair-proof your marriage:
- Beware of bitterness.
Nothing kills the fire of romance faster than bitterness. Expecting the worst, grumbling, speaking sharply and disrespectfully to each other – these types of things drive other away fro you instead of binding them more closely to you.
Don’t keep track of your mate’s mistakes or failures. Ask for forgiveness quickly when you let them down. Quickly forgive, even before they ask.
Be especially careful of resenting:
- Your spouse’s higher sex drive
- Your spouse’s lower sex drive
- Have fun together.
An old man used to routinely say, “Life’s too short to take it TOO seriously!” This is especially true about romantic relationships. Being silly and playful helps keep your marriage young. Being silly and playful in the bedroom helps keep YOU “young.”
An old woman once said, “You can be serious without being grim.” If your relationship, and especially your sex life have become boring and too predictable, shame on you. It’s NOT the “subject’s” fault!
- Stir the embers of romance.
Longing looks across the room, candles around the bathtub, a scarf over a lampshade, a touch of a favorite perfume, playing music softly in the background – these are just some of the ways to create a more romantic setting.
Ask yourself, what things catch my lover’s attention? How did I attract and catch them in the early days of our relationship? Stir up those glowing embers into white-hot flames!
- Make your sex life a priority.
As my adopted grandmother used to constantly say, “Sex is like glue and oil.” It binds you to the other person, and reduces the problems and frictions along the way.
I have always been amazed at how much better life, a problem, etc. looks after enjoying a round of sex with my wife. To this day, it also amazes me at how a round of sex also softens my emotions and opens my heart to my mate.
One problem is how busy and demanding our lives can become. The last thing most of us need is one more “chore” to finish before finally being able to drop off to sleep.
Another problem can be the independent nature of many people. “I’m strong enough to live my life successfully alone and on my own terms.” If you will let it, your and your mate’s sex drive can be a siren song that calls and draws you back to each other again and again.
Maybe you need to actually schedule “sex appointments” on your calendar. More importantly, maybe you just need to decide to say “no” to other things and go to bed early together.
- Talk together about what pleases each other.
You might be surprised at how some easy, simple things delight your partner without your knowledge. I was shocked one night when Tammy told me how meaningful it was to her for me to stroke her hair just above her ears. She was equally surprised when I said her being dressed in one of my old, worn, thin t-shirts meant just as much to me as expensive lingerie.
What if you were to do something different tonight that you KNEW would delight your mate?
- Add surprise and changes to your sex life.
Creativity can be a very good thing in bed. It’s still true that “variety is the spice of life.” “Variety” means just that – something different once in a while, as opposed to how things are usually done.
There is a comfort and a confidence that comes from doing something the same way each time. But that comfort and confidence CAN degrade into diffidence and boredom.
Wear something different. Leave ALL the lights on (or none). Move to the floor. Have a mid-day tryst. Wear a ball cap and sunglasses. Bottom line – occasionally be creative!
A word of warning – If your marriage’s sex life has been a struggle, maybe you should ask permission before cooking up something you think is wonderful, but might be offensive to your spouse.
- Be patient with each other.
Remember that as we live our lives, we are constantly growing, changing, and learning. When 2 people whose lives are in such a constant state of flux live together, there will times when the changes amplify the joy. But there will be times when the irritations are multiplied.
If you are truly in this for the long haul, what happens (or doesn’t happen) tonight becomes less important. One of the values of a life-long commitment is that we are free to relax and let today be whatever it is. If we get things “right.” The night can be magical and memorable. If we get things “wrong,” (and if God is willing) we will have hundreds of more nights to try again.
- Avoid mental or emotional adultery.
Opposite sex relationships that go too far can be deadly to your marriage. It could be with a fantasy image in pornography or a character in a romance novel. It could be with a work-friend who you share too deeply with over lunch.
Even of you never physically touch them, giving too much mental or emotional attention to someone outside of your marriage is a no-no.
Ask your mate to help you set personal guidelines for how you will interact with people of the opposite sex outside of your marriage. Make sure that you reserve certain conversational subjects for your mate. Only share your deepest feelings, needs, and difficulties with each other.
Why should you be interested in affair-proofing your marriage?” Because preventing a problem before it even IS a problem is the easiest and best way to have a better future.
Why experience pain and suffering that could be avoided?
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