Today's role for a Christian woman takes many forms working together - mom, sister, wife, home maker, career women, and more. All of these relationships demand your time and attention. At iBelieve.com we want to help you grow in healthy relationships whether you’re single and dating, newlyweds, married or widowed. Find encouragement and feel uplifted with the sharing of personal experiences from women in every walk of the Christian women’s life.
When an extramarital affair strikes a marriage it is a horrific blow and can tear your world completely apart. Satan is on the prowl, stalking marriages and strategically planning ways to inflict harm because he hates family. If he can strike a marriage and cause it to fall, then more than likely the result can be traumatizing for not only the couple, but for the children, causing a domino effect. With that said, affairs don’t just happen out of the blue. They almost always happen in a predictable pattern, usually because we become unaware of or ignore our vulnerability. At the same time, we forget to practice proper boundaries in relationships.
We are living in a culture where we have to fight more than ever before for our marriages and for our family. Below is a list of ways to avoid having an affair and stay married for life.
1. Never say never. Never think that you’re immune to having an affair. For me, having an affair was the never of all nevers. I distinctly remember sitting at a table with friends at Chic file while our kids played nearby. We were talking about a mutual friend who had succumbed to an extramarital affair. This led to a discussion about things we’d never do. “Well, I would never cheat on my husband, I wouldn’t do that to my family.” Who knew that only 3 years later that I would do the thing I said I’d never do. No one is immune to the “nevers.” Put down your pride and be humble.
2. Avoid closeness with the opposite sex. There is absolutely no reason that you need to be close with someone of the opposite sex that isn’t your spouse. When you begin to tell someone of the opposite sex about your intimate struggles, doubts, or feelings, you are sharing your soul in a way that God intended exclusively for the marriage relationship. This is dangerous territory and can lead to an emotional affair which no doubt will lead to a physical affair. Do not share personal things with the opposite sex. Just don’t do it.
3. NEVER speak negatively about your spouse with friends or anyone, especially the opposite sex. EVER. Unless your spouse is abusive and you must confide in someone, never speak about them in a negative way. When you speak negatively about your spouse you’re feeding your feelings and this breeds bitterness. Not only is talking about your spouse behind his/her back unhealthy, it’s just wrong, even if you’re joking.
4. Date each other and be romantic. Text each other. There’s nothing like going about a normal day and seeing a text pop up from my husband. It lets me know that he’s thinking about me even though he’s at work. It makes me feel valued and loved. Also, schedule regular dates. Even if you have small children and cannot get out of the house, be creative. Go on “dates” at home when they go down for the night. Do the work it takes to get scheduled alone time with your spouse, even if you’re in your PJ’s.
5. Create emotional safety and protect your spouse’s heart. You should both feel completely safe with one another. Your spouse should be able to share the most vulnerable, intimate thoughts and feelings with you, no matter how big or petty they may seem. You hold your spouse’s heart in your hands. Be gentle and take care of it.
6. Show genuine interest in your spouse’s career. I always love to hear about what is going on with my husband’s job and about the people that he works with. I feel like I know them even if I’ve never met them. I like to hear about what he does and I always take an active interest in his frustrations and achievements. This shows respect and makes him feel valued as my husband. It also allows me a chance to peek inside his world when I’m not around and makes me feel involved in his day to day life.
7. Create shared rituals. This fosters friendship in marriage and creates closeness. There’s a restaurant close to our house that serves Indian Taco’s every Wednesday. We always try to go. It’s our “thing.” We also like to watch certain TV shows together. One time, I watched one of “our” shows without him. When he found out, he didn’t get upset, but I knew it kind of bothered him, in a cute sort of way. I quickly realized that it wasn’t that he was upset that I watched it, he was upset because I watched it without him, because it’s our “thing.”
8. Never share texts, emails, or Facebook messages, etc. with the opposite sex, unless your husband or wife is included. Even though texting is such a huge form of communication in society today, there’s just no reason ever that you should be texting a member of the opposite sex. Do not succumb to “it’s just the way our society works today.” No! Not when your marriage is at stake. Texting is intimate. Whether it’s work related or not, it’s intimate because it’s something that you’re sharing with just each other. Be careful and take caution. If it’s a must always text short, non-emotional answers, and ALWAYS show your spouse the conversation.
9. Be an open book. You should always be able to pick up your spouse’s phone or look at his/her computer. Anytime. If your spouse “guards” his/her phone, that’s a huge warning signal. Never hide anything. There should never be a time that you have to hide something from our spouse. Furthermore, if your spouse picks up your phone to look at it, don’t accuse him or her of not trusting you. Your phone is her phone, and his phone is yours.
10. Develop a team mentality. You are not competing with one another. You are a team. Instead of Me vs. You, make it Us vs. the Problem. Arguments are inevitable in any marriage, but when you have a team mentality, you argue as allies rather than enemies. When one is hurt, you’re both hurt. When one is happy, you’re both happy. You’re in this life together, and the more you operate that way, the more you achieve closeness.
11. Make sex a priority. I probably don’t need to explain to you how important sex is in marriage, but I’m going to anyway. Sex with your spouse brings about a connection like no other, and it’s just the way that God intended it to be. You become one flesh. Sex fosters not only physical intimacy, but emotional intimacy and stability. Make it a priority. Put your book down and turn off your reality TV or football game. Get off Facebook. Leave the laundry for tomorrow. Make intimate time with your spouse a priority.
12. Put God first, even before your spouse. I saved the best for last. When you put God first in your marriage, it causes you to love and cherish your spouse more, it’s that simple. Cultivate a home that puts God first in all you do. This doesn’t mean that hard times won’t come, it just means that you’re more equipped to deal with them and stay married for life.
Shannon Geurin is fun-loving and authentic. She loves big and she loves fierce. At the top of that love list is Jesus, her husband John and her two daughters, Alex and Averee. She’s a woman who has been rescued and restored. She believes every woman has a calling and Shannon has a passion to see women everywhere rise up into who God has designed them to be. Although a book is in her future, you can currently read her blog at www.shannongeurin.com, or find her on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest.