Protecting Your Marriage from Infidelity

 

Have you ever worried what would happen if you found out your spouse was unfaithful to you?  I think there is always some part of us that wonders how we would react and if our marriage would survive this sort of betrayal and trauma.   Maybe you are on the other end of the spectrum and have had thoughts about engaging in a relationship with someone outside of your marriage.  This should be a red flag and something needs to be done to protect your marriage and prevent these thoughts from turning into actions!

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Greg Smalley, Psy. D. writes about daily decisions you can make to build trust and security to affair-proof your marriage:

  1. Make a Commitment Towards Growth

The more unhappy you or your spouse are in a marriage the more likely you are to find satisfaction outside of the marriage.  Ask yourself “What is something I could do that would cause our relationship to grow?”  Make a list and choose one thing from the list to do weekly.

  1. Becoming Aware of Your Choices

Many times we rationalize behaviors that could lead to infidelity.  For example, maybe there is a co-worker we find ourselves talking to at work and begin feeling an emotional connection to them.  We need to stop asking what is wrong with the choices we make and ask what’s right with them.  As we become aware of our choices we can protect our marriages.

  1. Draw a Line and Then Stay a Safe Distance Behind It!

It is important that you have a line of safety and stay a safe distance behind it.  This line will be different for everyone.  For one person it could mean not working late with a co-worker of the opposite sex and for another it may mean not meeting a certain person for lunch alone.  Whatever you line is draw it and stay behind it!

  1. Become Accountable to Someone

Find someone you can ask these questions to:  “Did you compromise your standards last week?” or “Have you been getting your emotional needs met from someone other than your mate?”  Having someone to be accountable to for the commitments you have made in your marriage will help in affair-proofing your marriage.

Marriage should be a life-long commitment!  We live in culture where we are taught new is always better and if something or someone isn’t meeting our needs than commitment and disloyalty are okay.  This is an individualistic view and not what marriage should be.  Marriage is about “us.”  Take a look at where you are in your own marriage.  Have you had thoughts about straying?  Do you talk to someone at work or when you go to the gym that you have an emotional connection with that may be inappropriate?    Evaluate your marriage and start working on ways to affair-prove it today.  The grass isn’t always greener on the other side!

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7 Principles for Making Marriage Work: Conclusion

To conclude this series, we will discuss the 7th principle from “The 7 Principles of Making Marriage Work” book by Dr. John M. Gottman.

7. Create Shared Meaning:

Creating shared meaning in marriage is so important! You can create shared meaning with your spouse with the use of goals, dreams, rituals, traditions, and symbols! Establishing those different things will increase meaning in your marriage. Creating shared meaning is very rewarding.

On a Huffington Post, author Terry Gaspard shared 4 ways that couples can build a stronger relationship with shared meaning. Those include:

  1. Sharing a common dream or vision: Create common goals with your spouse that help you focus on the bigger picture! Shared dreams add more meaning to your marriage. As you do that, the upsets of life will be less bothersome.
  2. Talking about your shared vision: Communicate with your spouse, and turn toward one another. Doing this can increase happiness in your marriage.
  3. Creating daily or weekly rituals: Rituals will enable you to spend quality time with your spouse. These are the little things that bring you closer together as a couple.
  4. Implementing your shared goals: Work on your goals together! Shared goals make you a stronger couple. These goals can also strengthen your bond with your spouse.

Conclusion: Applying these 7 principles can help make your marriage long-lasting. These principles help couples grow closer, which is the goal! Applying these principles to my own marriage has been very rewarding. It has increased our happiness and love for each other.

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Making Time for Your Marriage: Part IV

Time Series Part IV: How to use that time wisely – Quality Time!

We have already established how you can make more time for your relationship in the previous post, so now we will discuss how you can use that time wisely, because the best kind of time is quality time. So how can you make sure the time you manage to spend together is quality time? You can:

  • Milk the Moment
  • Create a Moment with Your Spouse in Everyday Acts
  • Make the Moments Last

Milking the Moment

Milking the moment means focusing on being in the moment. It means taking advantage of every second and really enjoying the moment by being fully present. In their book, “Your Time-Starved Marriage”, Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott said, “the greatest guarantee for milking a moment for all it’s worth is to wrap your mind around it completely. A sense of ‘mindfulness’ is the key to maximizing your moments” (Parrott & Parrott, 2006). Mindfulness is complete and total awareness or yourself and what’s around you. Milking the moment by being mindful may involve putting your phones down, or setting aside any worries you are thinking about or anything to allow you to be fully present in the moment. As you use mindfulness to milk the moment, you will be able to fully enjoy each moment with your spouse, however short a time the moment may last.

Create a Moment with Your Spouse in Everyday Acts

There are potential sweet moments everyday that are easily missed. Something you can do to increase the quality of time, as short as the time is, is make a moment of it. When you say goodbye, kiss your sweetheart before you leave. When you come home from a long day, greet each other and give another kiss and hug. Have a little cuddle in bed before you go to sleep. Make a moment in the small moments.

My husband and I on a detour on our walk home from church. #creatingamomentineverydayacts

Make the Moments Last

In order to make the moments last, turn these moments into memories!  I’m going to give an example of how to turn a moment into a memory found in Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott’s book, “Your Time Starved Marriage”. There was a couple out running errands together and on a whim, they decided to take a little detour to one of the tallest buildings in the city and rode the elevator to the top to see the view. They chose to make that time they had together a great memory and you can too!

Milking the moment, creating a moment with your spouse in everyday acts, and making the moments last you will find that the time you spend together will be special, memorable and extremely strengthening to your relationship. I know that being present in my relationship with each moment we have together has strengthened my relationship with my husband. We have made many memories in the small moments that have stayed with us.

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Making Time for Your Marriage: Part III

Time Series Part III: The Three Time Mines

In our last post, we learned about how we can make more time for our marriage. We discussed making marriage your priority, doing the right thing, making an “if I do nothing else today” list, making a margin for the unexpected, and purging your schedule of distractions. Today, we will focus on three specific “time mines”. These “time mines” are everyday things where a lot of time can be made and spent in a way that could really strengthen your marriage. The three time mines are:

  1.     Dinner 
  2.     Finances
  3.     Rest

Dinner: Make Dinner an Event

My sister got married a week before me, and at one of her bridal showers, someone gave her some really nice napkins. In explaining the gift, the woman who gave her the napkins gave the advice that she make dinner an event. This woman saw having cloth napkins to use for dinner a way of making dinner a special event each evening with the family. When dinner is an event, it is a priority and when something is a priority, it becomes extremely important to be there and be present. If you can make dinner an event, even just by simply trying to have dinner at a regular time every day, then it can become a really special time for you, your partner and your family to spend together each day. Some of my favorite memories growing up were made sitting around the dinner table together with my whole family. Dinner can be a sweet time spent with your spouse each day if you make it so.

Finances

What is more important to you, time or money? Some couples find themselves working hard and long hours. In some cases, they are more hours than need to be worked. You and your partner may want to consider budgeting for your needs and re-prioritizing what your money is used for and how much money is used for things. By doing this, you may find that you need less money than you are working for, which means you could work fewer hours in order to spend more time with your sweetheart. There is one quote given by Stephan Rechtchaffen that makes this point better than I ever could: “We think much more about the use of our money, which is renewable, than we do about the use of our time, which is irreplaceable.”

Rest

It is important for you and your relationship that you take time for rest, recreation and restoration. If you do make time for relationship, but you’re too exhausted to really enjoy that time together, then that time is going to be wasted and won’t strengthen your relationship as much. If you give yourself time to rest and just have fun, the time you do have with your spouse will be of a much higher quality and standard than if you are tired and beat from your busy schedule.

If you take advantage of these three time mines, you will find that you will be able to make more time for your relationship and use that time in a way that truly strengthens your relationship.

 

 

 

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Making Time for Your Marriage: Part II

Time Series Part II: How to make time for your spouse in your busy schedule.

As has already been established in the first post of this series, everyone’s lives are extremely busy nowadays. Despite the busyness of life, it’s important to take the time to strengthen your relationship with your significant other. However, instead of trying to just find time for each other, I propose you MAKE time for each other. We will be discussing how you can make time for each other in this post.

In their book, “Your Time-Starved Marriage: how to stay connected at the speed of life”, Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott outline several ways in which you can make time for your relationship. They are:

  •      Make Your Marriage a Priority
  •      Do the Right Thing
  •      Make an “If I Do Nothing Else Today” List
  •      Make a Margin for the Unexpected
  •      Purge Your Schedule of Distractions

Make Your Marriage a Priority

When you make something a priority in your life, it doesn’t matter how busy you are, you make time to do it. For example, if you are a really big fan of football and there is a big game every Monday night, then you make sure you set aside time to sit and enjoy watching the game. You have made watching the game a priority for the day, and you make time for it to happen. The same thing should happen with your marriage. If you make your marriage a priority, you will set aside time for you and your spouse to spend together. As Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott said in their book, “time is made whenever we decide what matters most. A top priority gets more time” (Parrott & Parrott, 2003).

Do the Right Thing

The right thing is to take care of and strengthen your relationship. When it is a choice between doing the dishes and spending time with your sweetheart, the dishes can wait. Know what to leave undone! Consider your relationship and decide what things will be the best at bringing you together, then do those things regularly. It’s the right thing to do.

Make an “If I Do Nothing Else Today” List

An “If I Do Nothing Else Today” list is a list you make outlining at least one thing, as small as it might be, to do with your spouse that will bring you together. All you have to do is write this phrase and then complete it: “If I do nothing else for my marriage today, I will…” For example, “if I do nothing else for my marriage today, I will kiss my husband before he leaves for work, or, “if I do nothing else for my marriage today, I will write a note and put it in his/her lunch reminding him/her that they are loved”.

Make a Margin for the Unexpected

The unexpected often does happen, so if you make time for the unexpected in your busy schedule, then it won’t be so unexpected. And if you make time for the unexpected in your schedule, and the unexpected doesn’t happen, then you have time for your partner! For example, I tend to try and give myself more time then is probably needed for homework or running errands, just in case. That way, when I am able to do things more quickly, I have time to either relax (which also helps my relationship), to something for my husband, or spend more time with my husband when he is available.

Purge Your Schedule of Distractions

Everyone has items in their schedule that are really just distractions from what is really the most important. When we make our spouse our priority, we will “purge the distractions” that take our focus and time away from that priority. Distractions could be anything from laundry, to undone dishes, to your phone, to social media, really anything that takes your focus away from your partner. For example, sometimes, there are a few dishes to be washed but my husband and I decide to leave them for the morning so we can just relax and be together.

I know that if you begin to make time by doing at least one of the things I have suggested above, that your marriage will thank you for it! You do have time for your spouse, you just need to make it!

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Making Time for Your Marriage: Part I

Time Series Part I: Finding Time vs. Making Time

Everyone’s lives seem to be so busy nowadays. People are going here, there, and everywhere. Phones are out and heads are down. Such is life in today’s world, and marriages are suffering because of it. Dr. Les and Leslie Parrott have written a book on this exact topic and have outlined how couples can find, or rather, make time for each other and what to do with that time in order to make the most of it. The book they have written is called “Your Time-Starved Marriage: how to stay connected at the speed of life”, you can buy it here.

One very important point they make in their book is that “one of the most common fallacies of time is that you can ‘find it’…Truth is, we’ll never find more time. But we can ‘make’ more time.” (Parrott & Parrott, 2006) Time really can’t be found, but it can be made. You may find that when you look for time in your busy schedule that it is nowhere to be found, and you conclude that you just do not have time to go on dates with your spouse or spend quality time together. This is not true! There IS time, but you must decide to make the time.

This post is the first of a series of posts outlining how you can make time for your marriage, the three time mines that you may not be aware of where you can make a lot of time for your marriage, and how you can use the time you wisely. Once your time is made, it’s important to use it well, if you do it will be sure to strengthen your marriage.

It may sound like a silly notion, to “make” time, but it is possible and it is important to do so for your marriage in this busy world. Stay tuned to find out how you can make time for your marriage.

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