Be Faithful in a Marriage

Saturday, July 12, 2008

You've taken the plunge and made the biggest commitment of your life. But statistics show that in the US, almost half of all marriages end in divorce, and one of the leading causes is marital infidelity. Whether you're married or a partner in a committed marital relationship, being faithful isn't always easy - but if you commit to being a faithful spouse or partner, you can do it.

Agree upon trusting one another. Once you have taken your vows, believe that overt possessiveness is no longer a "cute" trait that your spouse appreciates - you have both taken vows to be faithful. Now it's time to believe in one another and trust your partner. Suspicion, jealousy and doubt don't cause a spouse to cheat, but if one spouse exhibits high degrees of any of these, it spells trouble for the relationship, because the spouse being constantly accused or suspected becomes weary of fighting. Set reasonable boundaries and stay within them - this fosters trust, and the longer you each stay within the boundaries you have agreed on, the more "bank" you will build as time goes on.

Accept the fact that you are no longer single. No, you may not come and go as you please, no matter how much that may rankle. You have a responsibility to your spouse or partner now, and the sooner you accept it, the fewer fights and arguments you'll have. Acting as if you are free and accountable to no one will pretty much insure that you will be again - soon. Instead, in keeping with the previous step, set some boundaries and abide by them. Examples:

* When you go your separate ways for the day, agree when you will meet back at home, or wherever. If you agree upon 6pm, then be there at that time. If you realize you will be late, call as soon as you know - definitely do not leave your spouse wondering for more than 30 minutes - it worries him or her needlessly.

* If it rubs you the wrong way to specify a time at which you will come home, or if you simply don't know in advance (perhaps you are in a business, such as a musician, which has recording sessions and you aren't sure how long it will last, etc.), then try arranging to call your spouse when you're getting on your way home. This way, the waiting spouse assumes you are at your appointment until s/he hears from you, and knows about how long it should be from that point until you arrive home.

Understand that your spouse is not attempting to put you on a leash. It's simply a matter of wanting to know when to begin worrying, and where to put the cops on the trail should you not arrive home when expected. If you didn't want to be cared about or be responsible to someone else, you should not have gotten married.

Don't stir up trouble where there isn't any. Doing things to see how your spouse will react is a bad idea. A lot of insecure people actually go out of their way to make their spouse jealous in order to feel better about themselves. The problem is that it creates a climate of anxiety and turbulence, and it's controlling and manipulative. Don't pick fights just to see what s/he'll say or do, and certainly don't go telling your spouse all about the new hottie at work just to make your spouse jealous.

Avoid even the appearance of wrongdoing. If you meet someone who comes on to you, or that you're attracted to (and you will), don't panic - but don't get yourself into any situation where even a whiff of adultery is near. Don't be alone with this person, and don't go out of your way to see him or her.

Take your spouse with you. If you know you'll be in a situation where you can't avoid this person, take your spouse along. Knowing your partner is watching will keep you in line, and hopefully will deter any questionable acts on the part of the other person.

Tell the other person you are not interested, period. Don't give a half-hearted, "Gee, I'm really attracted to you, but I'm married." This sends a wrong message - it says, "If only my stupid wife/husband weren't in the way, then you and I could hook up." Any sleaze who knows you're married and persists in coming on to you will not hesitate to run over your spouse if s/he thinks you're at all interested. Watch "Gone With the Wind" to see a perfect example of how a wishy-washy attempt to let a girl down easy ends up wasting years of her life. Whether you are attracted to this person or not is not material. What matters is that you are married, and your commitment is to your partner or spouse. Put your foot down hard and walk away, leaving no room for doubt or hope.

Leave the situation. It doesn't matter whether it's a job or a circle of friends. If you've tried your best to put the kibosh on this person's interest in you, and worse yet, if you return those feelings, you have to leave the situation immediately. Either request a transfer, request that the other person be transferred, or if neither is possible, tell your boss: "I love my job, but Kendra comes on to me every day. I think she's great, but I'm married and committed to my wife. I can no longer work with Kendra, because it's endangering my marriage, so unless she goes, I have to give my notice." This is just in case your boss likes you better than Kendra, and would rather lose her than you. The risk, though, is, your boss may accept your notice and if so, you should start looking for a new job. Don't go moan and complain - remember, your goal is that 40th wedding anniversary, and beyond. No job, no chick or dude, no amount of ego boosting is worth destroying your chance at that.

* Wear your wedding ring at all times. This sends a clear signal to others (and reminds you) that you're "taken" and most people will know better than to trespass. But if they fail to heed the sign, show it to them and be sure they know it means you really are married and are not interested in flirting. At all.

* Don't berate yourself for being alive! You and your beloved may want to believe in the romantic notion that there will only ever be you for him and him for you, etc. It's just not true. You're married - you're not dead. You will both see people who arouse your interest, in sexual ways. You will meet people who are so attractive to you that you are tempted to just try one little kiss. Don't fool yourself. One kiss leads to another, and before you know it, you're headed for divorce court. It's only human to feel interest and attraction for other people. But you have an obligation to remove yourself from those situations when you can no longer control your - or their - responses to it.

* Share your celebri-crushes with your spouse. If there's someone on TV you think is sexy, tell her. Ask who she likes, and just make a little game of it. Don't hide your responses. **NOTE: see warnings below.

* Don't get angry if you realize that someone else finds your spouse attractive. You find him attractive, don't you? Of course you do! He's a sexy, hot guy! Take pleasure in the fact that he's coming home with you - not her. Or him. Whatever.

* Remember that your behavior early on will set the tone for the rest of your relationship. If you set a tone of faith, trust and belief in one another, and give each other a real sense that your relationship is solid and unshakable, it will be a great comfort to you and help you through difficult times. If you prove yourself worthy of her trust today, in ten years when someone accuses you of something, she'll dismiss it, knowing that you would never betray her because of your history together

Avoid this things:

* Jealousy and suspicion will undermine and destroy faith and trust. Avoid them. The best way to avoid them is to avoid getting into situations that create them.

* That cute girl/boy at work who flirts with you may not ring your chimes at all. But don't set off your wife's/husband's alarm bells needlessly - s/he doesn't need to know that you think this girl/boy is cute. Especially if you know there will be no hanky panky. Don't talk about the other attractive people at work to your spouse - it will breed worry and anxiety at home. It's one thing to share your "celebrity-crush" with your wife/husband. It's quite another to tell her there's a cute chick/hot hunk at work who's constantly hitting on you. Even if you tell her/him immediately that there's nothing to worry about, s/he will worry. S/he will foster feelings of hate toward that cute chick/hot hunk. And if there is ever any compromising situation that arises, you will be sleeping at your brother's house. Or worse.

* The bottom line: Drama does not serve marriage well. Every time you stir up trouble with your spouse, you're creating a Trouble Account. When what's in the Trouble Account adds up to more than what's in the Trust and Respect Account, your marriage is in the sh*t.


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