If you’re like me, you hate to go grocery shopping. And one of the worst parts is standing in line for what seems like hours. With nothing else to do while I’m killing time, I glance at the magazine covers, and I’ve noticed that affairs seem to be a popular subject. The celebrity magazines talk about which actor is having an affair with which actress, and the women’s magazines have headlines about what to do when you think your husband is having an affair.
As a counselor, I know that infidelity is the single biggest destroyer of marriages. And although infidelity doesn’t have to involve another person, affairs devastate marriages. Some couples manage to repair their relationships, but all too often, the result is a broken home.
Men have traditionally been raised to be protectors of their families. When there’s a noise in the middle of the night, we’re usually the ones to go through the house with a flashlight. When a bully pushes our kid down on the playground, we have to fight the impulse to take a swing at the bully’s dad. We should be just as protective of our marriages. If we look at our relationship with our wives as something we need to defend and protect, we stand a better chance of staying happily married for life and giving our kids an example to follow, instead of teaching them what they should avoid.
How can husbands affair-proof their marriages? For starters, you need to commit to that marriage with heart and soul. You need to be mindful of each other. When was the last time you started your day by asking how you could help her or pray for her? When was the last time you looked deeply into her eyes when she said something kind to her? When was the last time you asked her about her day and actually listened to her answer? You fell in love with her once, and paying that kind of attention will keep you from falling out of it.
Make real time for each other. Remember how much fun you had when you were dating? You ignored everything but each other and did new things together. You’d talk about your future together. Now you’re lucky to have a “date” once in a while and you spend it talking about the kids or looking at your phone. Schedule a real date at least once a month … and more often is better. Go somewhere you’ve never been. Do something you haven’t done. Talk about what your lives together will be like when the kids are grown up, because that’s going to happen sooner than you think. And spend a romantic weekend away from the kids every few months.
Don’t keep secrets from one another. Tell her she can look at your phone anytime she wants, and expect the same in return. It’s proof that you have nothing to hide. Use the same passwords online. Many couples even have joint social media accounts. That’s actually smart. If you have nothing to hide, why do you need to keep things separate and secret? Secrets cause trouble.
There are temptations everywhere. It feels good when someone flirts with you, but that’s dangerous. Don’t put yourself in those situations. You shouldn’t be alone with another woman behind closed doors. And be especially careful when alcohol is involved, because it really does break down your judgment.
Finally, start an accountability group. Connect with a couple other guys from church, and get together over coffee or lunch every week. Look to them for support, and provide the same in return. Talk honestly about what’s happening in your life. When you’re in a situation that’s making you uneasy, look to them for guidance. That way, when one of you thinks about doing something stupid, the others can call him on it. Plus, you’ll have guys you can truly lean on when you face life’s toughest moments. You had those kinds of friendships as a kid, but now is when you need them most. And let God join your group by praying together.
Are you worried about where your marriage is headed? Do you feel like it may already be too late to fix things? Let’s sit down and have a talk. We can help you assess where things are at and suggest ways to get back to where you were happy together.
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