One of the greatest fears in a marriage is infidelity, and for good reason. The numbers show that anywhere from 45 to 70 percent of married people cheat. And what makes it worse is two-thirds of these cheaters' spouses are unaware.
Often, before anyone has any reason to be worried, the fear of being cheated on drills itself in, leading to accusations or wall-building between otherwise loving couples.
To avoid cheating and end the fear, here are four actions that help couples stay faithful.
1. Stop the wandering eye
A deliberate double look or tracking of another person only creates questions in the mind of your spouse. Instead, if you are in public together, make direct eye contact with your spouse, listen to the conversation, ask genuine questions and remain involved in the company sitting right in front of you.
Yes, there are other attractive people in the world. However, there is a difference between noticing someone's looks and full-on staring at a person.
While watching movies, for example, some spouses temporarily look away during questionable scenes or lean in to say something sweet to each other.
Wandering eyes and thoughts are a form of infidelity. Avoid this type of cheating at all costs.
2. Don't compare your spouse to anyone
When you compare your spouse to others, your partner naturally develops self-doubt. This causes them to close up and can create reluctance when it comes to intimacy.
If you find yourself tempted to compare, turn things around by genuinely complimenting your spouse on something you find attractive about them. Looking for the good in your spouse literally changes your brain. If your partner dismisses the compliment, stand by it by saying something like, "These are my feelings, and they are true."
3. Include your spouse in intimate moments
Do intimate things together.
Invite your spouse to join you in moments like prayer, Bible study, meditation and lazy days sitting out on the balcony. Spending this kind of time together causes a powerful energy to pass between you.
Also, recognize what is intimate to you may be very different from what is intimate to your husband or wife. Your spouse's intimate activities may be tinkering with or washing the car, running errands, taking a long drive or getting a greasy burger at a local drive-thru. Doing the types of activities that are intimate to your partner will strengthen your relationship and absolutely create depth between you.
Prayer is a proactive measure and a soul-searching device. Prayer certainly brings you protection, even when you are unaware of it.
Praying for your spouse during trials and hard times is a worthy practice. But, sometimes you can gain a great deal more by praying for yourself. Pray to see the good in life and in people, to ban judgment and assumptions from your mind or even to understand your own weaknesses. Pray for strength, power and the ability to overcome temptation, negativity or any other evil force. These spiritual actions will then spill over into your marriage and create protection there.
Karleen Andresen is a mediator and conflict professional. She has a specialty in crisis and suicide issues. Focusing her work on the mainstream, Andresen hosts half day workshops to share how hostage negotiators help others deal with stress - and you can too! If they can talk someone from the ledge, it works.