For leaders that are married, what happens at home is more important than what happens at work.
Nothing derails a leader’s reputation faster than an affair. In fact, most of us can name people we know whose lives have been derailed by the devastation of unfaithfulness.
No one enters a marriage with the intention of having an affair, yet many relationships end up in this demise.
According to one study published by Journal of Marital and Family Therapy in 2014, 41% of marriages polled had a spouse that admitted to a physical or emotional affair.
Although other studies indicate a lower percentage, infidelity can happen.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to.
Here are 7 Ways To Guard Your Marriage:
1) Make Your Spouse a Priority.
This may sound counter intuitive, but I believe your spouse should be a bigger priority than your children. I recently read an article that stated the new divorce demographic was empty nesters. They had invested everything they had into their children and very little into their marriage. The result? No connection. Your marriage will most likely outlast the time your children are under your roof. They need to see the example and you need the connection. Make your spouse a priority and they are less likely to seek fulfillment somewhere else.
2) Establish Healthy Boundaries
Most studies indicate that infidelity happens between people that know each other. In other words, it starts with a friendship. According to Focus on the Family, 60% of affairs happen at work.
Establishing healthy boundaries between the opposite sex is key. This may seem old fashioned to some, but personally, I’ve established boundaries where I won’t meet with a woman alone without the door open. I also don’t ride alone in a car alone with a woman. I have a guideline that I do not have meals alone with the opposite sex either. Of course, these are my personal convictions, but I believe they portray a love and a respect for my wife.
3) Surround Yourself With the Right People
I recently heard about a connection between those that engaged in an affair and friends that did also. In other words, having a friend that had an affair made it easier to engage in one themselves.
Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you associate with.” Choose your friends wisely.
My wife, Jacque and I benefitted greatly from several couples throughout our 21 years of marriage and counting that have been great mentors and examples to us. Surround yourself with great marriages and your marriage is likely to benefit as well.
4) Keep It Professional
As mentioned above, most affairs happen between friends and co-workers. As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to keep personal and intimate details of your life only to be shared with your spouse and trusted friends of the same sex. Establishing emotional connections, especially for women to men can lead you down a path you didn’t intend to go on. There is a great proverb in the Bible that says, “Above all, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of your soul.”
Keeping conversations professional between friends and co-workers of the opposite sex is a great guideline to have. Flirting, course joking and excessive non-related work time spent with the opposite sex are inappropriate and can be a slippery slope.
One side note to the women. Dress modestly and be modest with the attention you show a man that is not your husband. Most men thrive on attention and words of affirmation. Especially from a woman. Keep it professional and everyone will win in the long run.
5) Have a Regular Date Night
My wife, Jacque and I have practiced this for years. This habit has had a tremendous benefit on our marriage. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Carve out intentional time to invest in your marriage and your relationship will thrive because of it.
6) Use Your Spouses Love Language Often
Hands down, the most helpful marriage book I’ve ever come across is, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. We all have a primary love language we like to receive. The five Gary Chapman identifies are: Words of affirmation, gifts, quality time, acts of service and physical touch. Find out your spouse’s love language and use it often. I promise, it will do wonders in your marriage to connect you emotionally and physically, bringing greater fulfillment and joy.
7) Pray For Your Marriage
Jacque and I are people of faith. We believe God created marriage and desires our marriage to thrive. There is nobody else that knows you better and is in your corner than Him. Pray for your spouse and your marriage daily. I believe if we honor God, He will honor and bless our marriage.
Here’s to many successful years of a thriving marriage. Go be awesome this week.