Is your marriage headed for an affair or divorce? Are you happy and fulfilled in your relationship with your spouse or is everything just so-so? Building on our last post here is another key to help not only prevent affairs but to bring happiness back into your marriage.
Affairs and divorces typically don’t just happen on the spur of the moment. They typically creep up on us a little at a time.
We start out happy together thinking that our best days are ahead of us. We look forward to the future and expect more and deeper happiness with our spouse. If we are young, we may look towards being out of our parent’s house as we start our own family and perhaps have our own children.
Everything is new and fresh and we are sooooo in love!
Then reality starts to kick in.
It typically starts with something small.
Perhaps socks aren’t put away or the toilet seat isn’t put down.
Maybe a bill isn’t handled in the right way or in a timely manner.
Maybe you realize for the first time that your spouse’s feet stink after work.
Or maybe all the time and attention that was spent with each other starts being dished out to others or other activities.
But since we are in love, we can deal with a small thing such as smelly feet or our spouse playing a video game instead of talking to us or a little snoring. Right?
Unfortunately, though, the path to destruction, divorce, or an affair doesn’t stop there. It’s just getting started!
The smelly feet or whatever our start was can be handled. But over time, bad attitude and behaviors accumulate.
For example, smelly feet + too much video playing + a few bouts of less than fulfilling sex + weight gain + snoring + always being late + being too tired to talk about feelings + friends are more important than spouse eventually may = affairs or divorce.
Everyone’s list is different. But, hopefully, you can see that all these small things add up over time and create an environment that we may want to escape from in one way or the other.
Key #2: Actively and consistently follow the Evolving Marriages “formula” to build love, prevent affairs and divorce.
The “formula” looks like this:
Becoming (and staying) Mr. or Mrs. Right + Falling in Love Again + Stop Hurting Each Other + Resolving Common Problems = a Happy, Long Lasting Marriage
Let’s take a brief look at each piece of the formula.
Become Mr. or Mrs. Right
Most of us married what we thought was the “perfect” person for us. But in too many cases, the same person that was Mr. or Mrs. Right turns into Mr. or Mrs. Nobody in Their Right Mind Would Marry Me.
To keep the love alive and the eyes on you, make sure that you become Mr. or Mrs. Right again if you’ve slipped. And, stay that way this time!
- What can I change or improve physically to make my spouse more attracted to me?
- How can I improve my mindset or attitude to be more appealing to my spouse?
- What can I do to make sure my spouse still feels like he or she got lucky when they hooked up with me?
Then, go do whatever your answers are. Make the necessary changes both for yourself as well as your spouse.
Fall in Love Again
Marriage without a deep feeling of romantic love can be one of the loneliest situations we could ever face. It can feel like we have lost the one true friend we thought we had when we married. It can feel like we are living with a roommate or even a stranger.
Love must be protected and built-up or it will die.
Some couples mistakenly think there’s no need for romance, soft touches, date nights, etc. because they are beyond the need for that. They feel like their marriage is solid so they stop doing the things that helped them to fall in love.
Unfortunately, some of them only become aware of how wrong they were about the need humans have for romantic love when they find out their spouse went and found their romance, soft touches, and more in the arms of another. By then, it may be too late to save their so-called “solid relationship.”
You can try:
- Being proactive in building and showing love in words and actions. If the spark seems gone, resolve to get it lit back up. Take it easy and slow, especially if it’s been a while, but take an active approach trying to fall in love again.
- Treat your spouse better than you treat anyone else. This includes your parents, your children, your boss, your best friend (outside your spouse), people at church, and strangers. Anyone else.
Stop Hurting Each Other
It’s ironic that we hurt most the ones we say we love the most. Most of us do and say hurtful things to our spouse that we would never dream of doing or saying to our boss, a co-worker, our church leader, a friend, or even a stranger.
If there is enough pain in a relationship, it can and will overcome and destroy any love we have for our spouse.
It’s simple: if we want to have a happy marriage and prevent divorce or affairs we must be diligent at avoiding words, attitudes, or actions that may hurt our spouse.
A couple of examples:
- Before saying anything, especially in a discussion that could get heated, ask yourself if what you are about to say will cause the situation to get better or worse. If there are things we can do and say to build love, it’s clear that there are also things we can do or say to destroy love. Try to avoid saying things that are going to make things worse.
- If what needs to be said is going to be hurtful no matter how it’s said, choose to say it in a way that stresses things our spouse does or says versus who they are. In other words, don’t talk about how they are wrong but how their words or actions are wrong.
Resolve Common Problems
Problems and conflict are going to happen and we have to learn to resolve them properly in order to have a happy, lasting marriage. However, some problems or conflict may seem unsolvable. In these cases, there are no easy answers on how to respond. Sometimes we have to learn to deal with “stuff” if we want to stay married. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes and have our own beliefs and opinions. Hopefully, you can learn responsible ways to handle these types of difficult to solve problems.
However, most common problems can be handled with patience, negotiation, communication, and love.
A couple pointers to help with this part of the formula:
- When discussing issues, give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. If trust is already broken this may be difficult. But if you start every discussion with an accusing, blaming, negative attitude, a fight is more likely than resolving any problems.
- Even if your spouse is wrong on an issue, don’t have a judgmental, “I’m better than you” attitude. Be willing to listen to their side of the story. Try to be understanding. Remember you aren’t perfect either!
No one will deny that there is a lot of hard work required to keep, protect, and build a happy marriage. But, most couples who are in lasting happy marriages will tell you the effort is worth the reward.
While we’ve just touched the surface of this topic here, there are hundreds more actionable tips and strategies to help you use our happy marriage formula available in our Revive Your Marriage 30-Day Challenge. Why not try it today? If you can prevent divorce or an affair, and have happiness return to your marriage, wouldn’t it be worthwhile to learn some new ways to accomplish this goal?