Pfizer, Modern, Astra-Zeneca, Johnson & Johnson, mRNA vs. viral vector vaccines…unless you’ve been living on the moon during the Covid pandemic, and unless you’re a medical professional, you’ve probably learned more about immunizations than you ever cared to know. That’s okay. Our brains don’t fill up.
So in keeping with this timely concept, I’d like to offer six ways that you can protect your marriage against the ill of infidelity.
- Have a “We” not “Me” attitude. Getting married doesn’t mean you have to hand-in your “Me” card, but it does mean that you have to think of your marriage, and your partner, as much as—maybe more than—yourself. It’s a shift of thinking that may be hard to do in an individualistic culture, but it isn’t impossible, and to be honest, it’s probably the best way to achieve the individual happiness you’re looking for. After all, a good quality marriage is a key indicator of a happy life.
- Transparency. Do you want to avoid the slings and arrows of suspicion that can gradually kill trust in a marriage? If so, share your passwords with each other. Keep your devices unlocked. And while you’re at it, make sure those gadgets know their place—specifically, in the drawer, especially at meal-time and bed-time. Unless it’s (truly) work-related, log-out and look into your lovely partner’s eyes instead.
- Privacy – While I encourage couples to be open books with each other when it comes to the use of their personal devices, I encourage the opposite—privacy—when it comes to other people. Keep your marriage troubles to yourself. Yes, you may want to seek the support of truly supportive friends or family if you’re going through a rough patch, but always use discretion and be respectful of your partner’s perspective. If your partner doesn’t trust this other person, find someone else to confide in or work it out together. Yet it’s equally important to be private with the good things, too. Are you having a wonderful romantic meal together? Are you enjoying a lovely romantic vacation? Great! Keep it off social media. Make it a private memory. It will have way more meaning that way.
- Don’t Be Too Friendly with Your Friends! There’s no way around it. Most affairs begin as friendships that become too intimate, too time-consuming, too suspicious, too everything that is the opposite of what a strong, happy marriage looks like. Don’t let your marriage take on a third wheel. Things will go much more smoothly if it’s just the two of you.
- Keep the Sex Alive—but not just the sex. Keep the flirtatiousness and the playfulness between the two of you alive. Keep stoking the fires of your intimacy, both emotional and physical. Do NOT let yourselves fall into the roommate rut!
- Dream a Little. Or a lot. People stray from their marriage for all kinds of reasons and under all kinds of circumstances, so don’t think I’m oversimplifying things here. That being said, it’s very common to see infidelity in marriages where partners have stopped dreaming of an exciting future together. They feel stuck, bored, or dissatisfied with where they are not just in their relationship, but in their shared life in a larger sense. So to inject a little life into things, they may gravitate toward a new source of excitement…another person. Soon, they’re thinking more of this person than their partner. Soon, they’re thinking short-term—How can I feel happy or excited right now?—instead of thinking long-term and envisioning doing new things, experiencing new things, with their spouse. That isn’t fair to your spouse or to you. So dream a little, or a lot! Plan for that amazing trip to Europe, or that wonderful retirement, or that house on the beach, or whatever keeps the dream—and the sense of a shared life—alive.
Like vaccines, these quick tips may not offer perfect protection, but anything you can do to protect the health of your relationship is a good thing.