Falling in love is easy. It’s the staying in love that takes hard work and commitment. Using some simple strategies, you can affair-proof your marriage.
Dr. Liz Hale shares six ways to ensure your marriage doesn’t include affair and betrayal.
“Affair-Proof” Your Marriage
There’s a reason why romantic comedies end before “real life” begins. The truth is, falling in love is easy; staying in love takes effort! There are ways to protect your marriage against betrayal.
Here are six tips that can help you “affair-proof” your marriage.
1. Accentuate the positive; minimize the negative
Loyalty is about nurturing gratitude for what you have. The key is to cherish your spouse. This requires both partners to make a conscious decision to maximize their partner’s positive qualities and minimize their negative.
2. Build trust to protect and empower
Developing trust comes through sliding-door moments, coined by Dr. John Gottman. Think of a sliding-door. One partner expresses a need for connection. The other partner’s response to that need is either to slide the door open and walk through the door (towards intimacy or contact with their spouse) or keep it shut and walk away.
3. Embrace sliding-door bids
Expressions and bids for contact happen as partners ask for understanding and support. This could be through words or actions. A small bid would be something like, “isn’t that a lovely flower?” or as intimate as “I need you” after a tough day. Each bid offers an opportunity to step through the door.
Of course, partners will not always be able to step through each and every sliding-door moment. They could be busy, preoccupied or just not paying attention to the bid. A relationship is in jeopardy when most of these opportunities or bids are missed.
4. Utilize honesty to heal hurts
In 1922 research entitled the “Ziergarnek Effect” determined we have better recall for events that have not been dealt with or completed. Our unfinished business leaves unhealed wounds. Negativity grabs our attention and puts our brain on watch, keeping us highly alert to further unsafe situation.
5. Comfort, care, and connect
Happy couples comfort, care, and connect quickly. They acknowledge that they need each other. The need for connection and love is not weak or co-dependent; it is a biologically wired-in need. Instead of saying, “you are never there for me,” they say, “I miss you; let’s spend more time together.”
6. Own faults and apologize
A quality of happy couples is the ability to recognize faults and apologize quickly. Healthy relationships show actual eagerness to say sorry when they’ve been hurtful. These couples have learned the power of vulnerability; admitting they’re wrong enhances rather than detracts from their self-esteem. Being accountable and respectful is empowering!
Dr. Liz Hale is the Studio 5 Marriage & Family Coordinator. She is passionate about helping relationships survive and thrive! She works hard on keeping her own relationships healthy and strong. But don’t stand in her way of a daily, sanity-maintaining brisk walk (just ask her husband, Ben!)
For the past 25-years Dr. Liz has been passionate about her professional training and emphasis in marriage and family therapy, primarily working with couples and families within her private practices both in Seattle and downtown Salt Lake City. As a Certified Gottman Therapist she thrives on helping clients learn new, effective ways of being in their relationships. According to Dr. Liz, communication is never the problem; misperceptions are. There is nothing more rewarding than when a client turns to her and says, “I’ve never seen it/him/her that way before.”
According to Dr. Liz there is no greater honor than when a client trusts and risks enough to share their heart and soul in therapy within the walls of her office she considers a “sacred space.”