This article was originally published on NurturingMarriage.org. It has been republished here with permission.
Fidelity in marriage demands 100 percent commitment and prioritizing your spouse above all else. Will that take effort? Work? Sacrifice? Yes, yes, and yes! But, the reward is far sweeter than any price you may feel you have to pay. Loyalty and fidelity are vital to a happy, healthy, safe and lasting marriage. Loyalty is the foundation of true love. When you show your loyalty through these 10 ways, your spouse will feel safe and secure with you and with your marriage.
1. Loyal spouses are respectful of each other — in private and in person
Loyal spouses listen carefully and attentively to each other. They don't let their loyalty lie with the TV, their phone, or with their computer. Loyal spouses always speak highly of each other, especially when their spouses aren't around. You know the all-too-easy temptation to poke fun at something silly your wife did during your golf trip — don't do it. And ladies, don't husband-bash in the break room at work. You know better.
2. Loyal spouses use the Internet and social media in positive and uplifting ways
They keep their interactions with members of the opposite sex appropriate and distanced. They keep their eyes, hands and hearts to themselves. They avoid tempting situations. They focus instead on using the Internet and social media in positive ways. They avoid pornography and other inappropriate images, chatrooms and websites that would cause them to be unfaithful to their spouse in their heart or mind.
3. Loyal spouses stand up for each other
Loyal spouses stand up for each other in all situations. Is someone poking fun at your wife or making a cutting remark over dinner? Don't laugh. Instead, politely ask them to knock it off and then share something you love about your wife. For example, "You don't know what you are talking about. You must not know Sarah. She is the most light-hearted, genuine and remarkable woman around."
4. Loyal spouses keep private things private
Loyal spouses keep certain things just between the two of them. Ladies, this means you need to keep your distance with your mom. Don't push her away, just keep a healthy distance. Mom doesn't need to know every detail about your intimate life, your financial situation, or your little disagreement last night. Mom is no longer your go-to person. Your husband is. Loyal spouses are also careful not to turn to co-workers, friends or online connections to discuss private issues between you and your spouse. Sure, at times it may be necessary to confide in a professional counselor, but that probably wouldn't include your cube-mate.
5. Loyal spouses keep their interactions with members of the opposite sex professional and appropriate.
They act as if their spouse was right there with them. Loyal spouses keep a healthy distance between themselves and members of the opposite sex. They don't flirt, touch or tease members of the opposite sex. Ladies, this means you don't tell your male co-worker every last detail about everything in your life. You don't have nicknames for each other and share inside jokes. Men, that means you don't gently touch your female co-worker's shoulder when you come up from behind to ask her a question. You remain professional, friendly, loyal and kind.
6. Loyal spouses make decisions together as husband and wife (regardless of what their parents, neighbors, friends and co-workers think.)
They don't do things because his mom told them that's the way to do it. They talk through issues and important decisions together and decide what is best for their individual family. They also don't make important decisions on their own, without consulting each other. Which leads us to #7...
7. Loyal spouses are an open book with each other
They don't keep secrets from each other. They are open and honest with each other in both little and big things. They work to know each other in a deeply intimate way. They share the details of their day and aren't afraid to answer hard questions. They can rely on each other and have built strong bands of trust because they keep the promises they make.
8. Loyal spouses turn to each other first
When a significant event takes place, or when a specific challenge arises, loyal spouses reach out to each other first. Before telling their friends, parents or social media. They stay in contact throughout the day, and happily reunite at the end of the day. They share the happy, sad, good, bad, ugly, beautiful and wonderful with each other — FIRST. And then with others.
9. Loyal spouses prioritize their spouse above all else
Loyal spouses give their time, energy and talents to serving their spouse. They put each other first — above work, above hobbies, above crafting, above golfing, above cleaning the house, above friends, above extended family, above babies. Loyal spouses don't let children take priority over their spouse. That certainly doesn't mean they don't give needed and undivided attention to their children. It simply means they remember, at all times, that one of the greatest sources of comfort and security a child can have is knowing their parents love each other.
10. Loyal spouses give high priority to the nurturing of their marriage
Loyal spouses are each other's best friend. They cultivate romance, love and intimacy on a regular basis. They remember each other's birthday and anniversary. They encourage and stand by each other during stressful and challenging times. Loyal spouses give their best selves to their spouse rather than leaving them with the leftovers. They strive to be better for each other each and every day and love sincerely and deeply.
Aaron & April are the founders of Nurturing Marriage, a website dedicated to strengthening marriages. They enjoy playing football with their two little boys, watching sports, eating cereal late at night, and going out for frozen yogurt.