The New Year is a good time for making goals and reflecting on areas you can strengthen in your marriage. Have you thought working on affair proofing your marriage? Considering that your marriage is vulnerable to an affair isn’t something most people want to think about. Although, Dr. Ofer Zur from the Zur Institute states, “Infidelity is an equal opportunity issue that cuts across gender lines, educational levels, sexual orientation, social and economic class and culture.” Believing it could never happen to you, makes you more vulnerable. Instead, recognize that it could happen, but put in the time and effort to strengthen your marriage so it doesn’t happen. Also, don’t worry if infidelity has already affected your relationship. The research shows that most marriages survive an affair and often couples end up coming out of the affair more committed and stronger. Just make sure you get the help of an experienced professional to guide you through it!
Here are four things you can start doing right away to “affair proof” your marriage:
- Work on improving your communication. Being honest, open and transparent are essential to healthy communication.
- Learn how to approach and resolve conflict. Many of the couples I have worked with who have experienced an affair have difficulty approaching each other with problems. Those problems build and often turn into resentment, which can create emotional detachment and lead to infidelity.
- Develop a mature love. Dr. Zur says that “Mature love occurs when an individual becomes aware not only of his/her own strengths and weaknesses, but also of their partner’s strengths, weaknesses and limitations.” There’s a reason we call new love “blind.” It’s important, though, to open our eyes to our own weaknesses and also accept that our partner is not perfect. That means that we need to work hard to make our relationship interesting and fulfilling.
- Increase trust and commitment. Even if your relationship has not experienced any breaches of trust, you could talk to your spouse about what trust and commitment mean in your marriage. Define appropriate boundaries for relationships with members of the opposite sex. Don’t assume that you’re both in agreement, if you have discussed it! Show commitment to your marriage by putting your spouse as a number one priority and take time for your marriage even when it’s difficult.