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Avoid infidelity: Respect your relationship – Part IIl

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Continued from last week’s Midweek!
  • Discuss your concerns with your partner, or meet with a couple’s counsellor together to learn how to approach difficult subjects. Consider taking a marriage education class that will teach you good communication and conflict management skills. These can give you the skills you and your spouse need to have these conversations.
  • Discuss together how to “affair-proof” your marriage. Find out what your partner is comfortable with in regard to relationships with members of the opposite sex and set guidelines for how each of you will behave in these situations. For example, you may agree that neither of you goes to dinner alone with a colleague while travelling for work.
  • Discuss the boundaries and expectations of your marriage in terms of fidelity.

  • Discuss with your spouse whenever you are feeling attracted to another person. The myth that once we are married, we will never be attracted to anyone else, can be very damaging and can create a lot of personal feelings of guilt and shame if not expressed. People in happy marriages may occasionally be attracted to someone else. By mutually acknowledging this they can redirect themselves and be reminded of their boundaries and commitment to their marriage. By not discussing these issues, they become “secret” and it becomes easier to get involved in an affair.
  • Make your marriage a priority. Life is very busy and it is easy to get caught up in work and children and other things that consume your time and energy. Many people let their marriage fall lower on the priority list and take their spouse for granted. Set aside daily time to reconnect with your spouse, even if just for a short while. A cup of coffee together in the morning, a time alone to talk in the evening, a weekly lunch date or a walk together after dinner are some simple ways to stay connected. The amount of quiet time together does not have to be huge, but spending 15-20 minutes a day alone together will help to keep your marriage on track.

  • Create a marriage vision. One way to do this is to take some time alone and write a very specific vision of what a great marriage looks like to you. After each partner defines their own vision, they should share this vision with each other and discuss why each element is important. Using each of their “visions” the couple can then create a “shared vision.” Write this up, decorate it and hang it in a place where it will be seen every day. This will remind you daily of your shared goals, aspirations and future within the marriage.
  • Make time for doing fun things in the marriage. The simple idea of “a family that plays together, stays together” is true.Having fun and laughing together helps keep your relationship strong. Make a list of things you enjoy doing together and make sure to do at least two things from the list each month.And continually add to your list.

  • Having a good sex life and enjoying a sense of romance is an important part of a good marriage. Learn what each other’s idea of romance is and discuss what feels romantic to you. Be imaginative and creative. Let your partner know how attractive they are to you. Having a mutually satisfying, physical, relationship strengthens and deepens the bond between you and your spouse.
  • Make time for meaningful conversation. Know what is important to your partner and make time to talk about your shared goals (both short and long-term). Remind yourselves of the unique history you have together to share memories. Look through wedding and family photo albums together. Develop traditions and rituals that strengthen your marriage. Talking together about your future and your past can keep you bonded to one another.

  • Extra-marital affairs don’t “just happen.” Engaging in an affair can have devastating consequences that affect your life forever. There are clear steps and choices that lead into an affair. By following the above tips, you can “affair proof” your marriage and prevent infidelity before it begins.

For Marriage or Relationship Counselling & Enrichment Seminars, contact Dr Jozelle Miller @ THEVALEOEXPERIENCE@gmail.com

Dr Miller is Health Psychologist at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.

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