I recently sat down in my office with a young couple and almost instantly, tears began to flow. They started an all-too-familiar story about how their marriage had started to drift onto autopilot, and their passion, their communication and even their friendship with each other had faltered. During this same time period of relational drift, the husband had started a "friendship" with a woman at work, and the relationship quickly progressed and crossed lines.
The brokenhearted wife had discovered the evidence when she read some text messages on her husband's phone and now they were sitting in shock trying to figure out how this had happened and what they were supposed to do next. I did my best to encourage them and offer some next steps.
While healing is possible after adultery, affairs cause unimaginable pain and relational wreckage and couples should do everything in their power to proactively prevent infidelity. Below are five guidelines that have the power to safeguard your marriage from the pain of infidelity by creating an "Affair-Proof" marriage.
Each of the five principles below starts with showing continues respect, honesty and love towards your spouse. Don't keep secrets from each other. Secrecy is the enemy of intimacy. Make a commitment to be faithful at all times and in all ways out of love and respect for your husband or wife!
(In no particular order):
1. Keep all your flirting focused on your spouse
If you're always trying to get attention of the opposite sex, you're eventually going to get the kind of attention that can wreck your marriage. Flirt with your spouse often, but never flirt with anyone else!
2. Never have a conversation you wouldn't want your spouse to hear or see
The moment you're talking with someone and you think, "I hope my husband/wife doesn't find out about this," you are WAY out of line already. Show respect to your spouse even when he/she is not physically present with you.
3. Make communication with our spouse a priority
Communication does for a marriage what breathing does for lungs! Stay connected with daily, uninterrupted conversation.
4. Make sex a priority in your marriage
There's more than an affair than just sex, but having a healthy sex life within marriage is still one of the best ways to build a strong marriage while simultaneously safeguarding against the temptations of infidelity.
5. Talk openly and positively about your spouse in public
Don't be an "Undercover Married Person." Your co-workers and associates should know that you're married and that you love your spouse. Keep his or her picture on your desk. Always wear your wedding ring.
This article was originally published on Patheos. It has been republished here with permission.