Buffering Your Marriage
By: Kirsten Fowler
Part 4 of the series “The Unfair Affair.” Part 3, I discussed whether to divorce or stay together. This final part will go over how to buffer your marriage from another potential affair.
Although it is a painful process, moving on from an affair can make you a stronger person and it can help you understand yourself better. This growth can help reduce the risk of another affair and make your relationship stronger. In this post I will discuss how you can reduce the risk of having another affair and what can be done to decrease the possibility of another affair in the marriage.
How Can I Reduce The Risk of Having Another Affair?
Developing a clear understand what each of you perceive marriage to be will create a strong foundation to build off of. This boils down to what one article deems “the values and intentions of the marriage.” Areas such as behaviors, expectations, and the meaning of fidelity should be explicitly discussed between partners.
Remember that it is normal to have attractions to other people, but it does not have to be something you dwell upon or act on. As Dr. Shirley Glass says, “the grass always looks greener on the other side, because you don’t have to mow it.” Just focus on your side of the fence. That way you can let your grass grow with great care and nourishment while letting others do the same on their side of the fence.
Although it can be a fine line, it is possible to have good friendships outside of marriage as long as boundaries are kept.
Be smart about the relationships you have with others and give yourself a personal check every once in a while. Better yet, make it a point to check one another as partners on a regular basis to make sure you are keeping within the set bounds. As you honor your commitments, over time you will see trust between each other increase.
What Can I Do To Decrease Risk of Another Affair in my Marriage?
Once an affair has taken place, it is important to create and set clear, strong boundaries. Here are some ways to set boundaries that will help decrease the risk of another affair.
One of the best things to help boost marital satisfaction is to make time for your spouse and make that time meaningful. Set work or family boundaries so you two have regular time together. Make sure to give your spouse attention throughout the day. Give her a pat or a squeeze as you walk by or give him a kiss when he come homes. During the day, give her a call at work to see how she is doing.
Set boundaries when using social media. This will help reduce the risk of forming an inappropriate emotionally close relationships with another person, whether friend, co- worker, or old flame. One thing that can help you stay focused on your partner is to have supportive family members and friends who believe in marital fidelity. The movie Fireproof gives great ideas for a Love Dare that keeps your mind on your spouse.
Another key ingredient in marital satisfaction is sexual intimacy. Speaking openly with your spouse about your sexual needs, desires, and concerns will help set healthy boundaries and increase intimacy. Spontaneity is nice, but it may be a luxury in busy families. What’s wrong with a plan or a schedule? And anticipation can add to the fun.
A lot of times we forget to do the little things we once did that led to marriage. Setting boundaries around your time will help you focus on the details. Leave love notes randomly in special places where only your spouse will find them or buy her a special gift for no reason and surprise her with it. You can even give him/her an extra-long kiss when he gets home from work and give a compliment that is especially meaningful.
We are out of the day and age where roles are so strictly defined as to prohibit the man from doing the dishes or the woman from fixing the leaky faucet. Help one another, work together, and help without being asked. A person that serves and sacrifices for their spouse grows greater love for him or her.
It takes a lot of hard work to make a marriage successful. Buffering your marriage against a possible affair is no exception. However, the rewards for such efforts will be great and you may see your marriage really start to develop into something amazing that you would never want to give up.
Research for this blog was primarily obtained from “Getting Past the Affair: A Program to help you cope, heal, and move on- together or apart,” by Douglas K. Snyder and associates and “Not Just Friends: Rebuilding trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity,” by Shirley Glass. All other research based on peer-reviewed journal articles as stated or linked.