8/28/2016

Marriage Minus an Affair


Affair-proof marriages are possible. Affairs are also possible in marriages in any situation, whether you have been married only a few years, have a crazy life, many children or appear on  social media to have what epitomizes perfect marital bliss. It has more to do with the daily rituals of your life than the passion and love you share with your spouse.

Too often people make the assumption that pre-arranged marriages have a zero chance of being happy. How in the world can two people who never met, forced into marriage ever fall in love?   What allows that to happen?

In comparison, ask yourself how in the world marriages by choice can withstand the changes that occur when a child dies, a troubled teen in a blended family, one is diagnosed with a debilitating disease, both partners are forced to work and one hates their job as it becomes demanding, money becomes scarce, their neighborhood develops issues, school problems develop with their children? It is as much of a surprise a marriage can last even with a self-made choice!

Granted many pre-arranged marriages are in not ideal circumstances in underdeveloped backward countries.  Infact, 11% are under the age of 15 according to Statistic Brain’s website. But also listed is the overall whooping worldwide divorce rate, 6.3! Oh and arranged marriages are also done in America too. This compares with US non-arranged divorce rate of somewhere between 40-50%. Some say that rate is too high and could be as low as 3.7 out of 1,000 but keep in mind the number of marriages in the US is 2,118,000.

I am in no way advocating pre-arranged marriages but have to consider what is it that makes marriages work and not work. In reading about the reasons why affairs occur, observation and talking to people that have cheated a few things stand out. Top on the list is the regular needs for affection and attention were not being met.

When we date, we take time to communicate loving messages, give undivided attention, date, and foster a friendship.  We try to win each other over.  These are human needs. Most people want to marry the person that fulfills these needs the most, someone who will meet these needs for the rest of their life. Others will be drawn to eye candy, someone they see a fulfilling their fantasy mate and thinking this will satisfy all the other needs, and even if not, they can live without the other with this awesome looking spouse because no one has it all.

Somewhere between the I do’s and day to day living, life gets in the way.  Gone are some of the things you craved and loved the most about the person you married. We sense red flags, often subconsciously.

Do you know many are surprised to find their spouse is cheating with someone they consider beneath them, someone younger, less accomplished or someone less attractive?  See it usually isn’t about the person’s stature at all, it is about the need they fulfill, the need their spouse once filled. Gone is the spouse’s accountability or feel for responsibility to fill that need. There may be signs all over that the marriage is on the rocks and pushed aside for the kids, the job, the finances, but it is ignored as less important as the challenges in day to day life. And yet is it the glue that holds everything else together. 

Too often, divorce is not even considered at this point. No one really even usually thinks about cheating. They sort of fall into it, by chance.  Slowly someone starts sensing something missing in their life. And someone else starts slowly but surely fulfilling it, maybe without knowing and maybe by capitalizing on it.  Incidentally, of both sexes 66% believe you can cheat online. 

The need most attribute to cheating is quite similar. For men they characterize it by describing it, as I said about, being dissatisfied with their relationship in general and most likely sex.  Women feel emotionally deprived. Many statistics can be found on many websites but all concur that half of cheaters feel guilty but more than half don’t regret it.

Knowing the reasons is the first step towards having an affair proof marriage. The solution is within your marriage, your relationship. No one outside can tell you exactly how to fix it because each of us is unique thus our relationship is. However, fostering our initial relationship as a deep abiding friendship and dating scenario is always important.

In prearranged marriages, they must court a process of getting to know each other and continually work, if they are to create a bond and fall in love. Their goal is create a family that loves and cares for each other. It is very much possible by learning to respect each other and sharing things together, being attentive and meeting each other’s needs. Perhaps that is why, in developed countries their divorce rates are lower. I am not talking about countries where marriage are forced on children under-age!  

Happy older couples will tell you they can easily walk away from their kids and house chores and spend time with their spouse. It matters not what they do. They don’t need an anniversary, or an excuse to get out and away.  This is their marriage and they want to keep it alive and exciting.  We need to take a page from their book, from their history and let our history repeat theirs.  No matter what is going on in life, we need to be that co-worker that stops working to listen, that friend that will take our spouses hand and invite them in for a cup of coffee. If you aren’t willing to find the time, someone else will. You deserve it and so do they.  If a car needs a tune-up and you take time to care for it, certainly take time to do it with your relationship with your lifelong mate!

I believe in the institution of marriage but I also believe divorces are needed. Some make hasty decisions and aren’t ready for the commitment. Some marry, quite simply, the wrong person. But there are many that let the relationship fall by the wayside when it could have easily been fostered. It is like neglect, something not fostered doesn’t feel beautiful or appreciated.


If you can say I do, you must say I will, find the time to love the one I want to be with, and then do it!
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