here are so many stories of infidelity these days. Whether it’s someone from Hollywood, a neighbor, or someone at work or church, you’ve probably seen at least one marriage end because of unfaithfulness. But nobody gets up one morning and sets out to destroy their marriage out of the blue. It’s almost always a long process that they themselves may not even be aware of. It can start so subtly, but it can get out of hand quickly.
But how does one avoid this subtle and dangerous thing that they might not be aware of? It’s simple–we must put safeguards in place to prevent the seed of an affair from ever taking root.
Here are some habits to guard your marriage against an affair:
- Share everything
- Don’t publicize conflict
- Always answer honestly
- Praise your spouse to others
- Be careful about what you watch
- Apologize and forgive
- Choose your friends
- Allow access to phones and share passwords
- Keep only joint bank accounts
- Be on guard at work
- Choose how you travel
- Be drastic if you need to
Be open about emails, conversations with the opposite sex, text messages, Facebook messages, and everything else.
I make it a habit to show Jess any non-work-related text messages or emails that I may receive from co-workers or friends. I’ve had a few times where female coworkers opened up emotionally in a way that I wasn’t comfortable with. I offer “my wife” as a listening ear if they’d like to talk.
Agree that any conflict in your marriage stays between the two of you. The only exceptions should be sharing with friends of the same sex or a counselor for the sole purpose of seeking help in resolving the conflict. Never talk badly about your spouse to anyone. So many affairs start when someone opens up about their marriage struggles to someone of the opposite sex.
Agree to never lie to each other. Sometimes that makes conversations a bit uncomfortable, but it’s worth it. The trust built in transparency is far more valuable than any temporary awkwardness. There should be nothing that you don’t share with each other.
When meeting new people of the opposite sex, find a way to work your spouse into the first conversation. Talk highly of them. This makes it clear that you’re happily married and only have eyes for your mate.
Pornography has no place in a Christian marriage, whether written or visual. Jesus tells us, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)
Turn a show or movie off in the middle or walk out of a theater if it becomes too sexual. Sometimes we might find ourselves watching something we didn’t expect. We can’t always know that something will have sex in it, but we’re always able to make the choice to turn it off or leave.
We don’t watch movies with any nudity (yes, not even those PG-13 ones that somehow manage to squeak by without an “R” rating). Common Sense Media is a great resource for knowing what’s in a movie before you watch it. They’ve made it easy to avoid sexual content in most movies.
Be quick to apologize and quick to forgive. Don’t let resentment build in your marriage, but rather seek to resolve things quickly. Don’t harbor negative feelings or hold a grudge. By being completely open and honest with your spouse, you’re creating an emotional connection that will protect both you and them from wanting that emotional connection with someone else.
Stay away from having close personal friends of the opposite sex. People that you are both friends with are okay, but it’s essential to keep the relationship as a triangle where you only engage with the person of the opposite sex as a team with your spouse. It’s just too risky to have an emotional connection with someone of the opposite sex other than our mate. Most physical affairs start as emotional affairs.
Give each other full access to your phones at all times. There should never be a password that you don’t both know or anything one of you locks the other out of. Everything is fair game. This shouldn’t bring a mindset of snooping, but rather set the expectation of openness.
Keep all financial accounts in both of your names. You should both be able to see all the transactions that come through your accounts.
We spend hours each day with the same people outside of our home. This can be a recipe for infidelity. While you’re at work, never be alone with someone of the opposite sex. If you have your own office, leave the door open. Choose to take steps that will keep you above board.
Never travel alone with someone of the opposite sex unless they’re family. Not even a car ride. Remember, affairs almost always start off as innocent friendships.
If you’re reading this and are reminded of an area in your life may be less black and white and more grey, take immediate steps to change that. The world will not protect your marriage for you. Affairs are, sadly, very commonplace. Only you can protect your marriage. If you’re in a questionable situation at work, ask to be transferred to another department or find another job. Your dream job isn’t worth your marriage.
Jesus goes on in (Matthew 5) to say, “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”
That’s drastic. How much is your marriage worth protecting? Are you willing to take drastic measures if necessary?
Openness in marriage is key. Choosing to be honest and completely open is not about calming anxious suspicions, but about encouraging and assuring your spouse that you’re a team and you only have eyes for them.
Ultimately, it all boils down to loving communication. If you share everything honestly with your spouse, avoid potentially compromising situations, and put safeguards in place, you’ll be far better off in your marriage than many. Openly sharing with your spouse the situations you’ve been in and how you’ve handled them will help them to feel secure as your “one and only” and build a deeper trust and intimacy in your marriage.
Awkward things happen. The delivery guy, a secretary, or even your boss may try to flirt with you. You can’t control that, but you CAN control what you do about it. You CAN control sharing everything with your mate and holding nothing back. Share openly and fully and face everything as a unified front.
Implementing safeguards to protect your marriage isn’t a one-time occurrence, but a permanent state of mind. Ephesians 4:27 tells us “Do not give the devil a foothold.” If you’ve ever seen rock climbing, you know that a foothold is often a VERY small step that allows the climber to advance just a bit higher. These small footholds of an innocent flirtatious moment or an emotional connection with the opposite sex can lead to disastrous long-term impacts. That’s the last thing we want. In marriage, safeguards help prevent these footholds.
The devil wants nothing more than to drive you and your spouse apart. He’ll use false promises and all kinds of temptation. Resist. Block every pathway and protect your marriage. Don’t let your guard down. Our marriages are worth protecting, so safeguards need to be put in place.
What steps have you put in place to protect your marriage? Share with us in the comments–we’d love to hear from you!