While the “good” news about affairs is that many couples can survive them and only about 20% of couples face them, no one wants to place that kind of test on their relationship.
Most betrayed partners are bewildered and ask themselves “What happened? How could this happen?” It seems inconceivable that their sweetie could stray…which is the first mistake if you want to avoid an affair in your marriage.
“Many couples become complacent with their partner,” notes Marci B. Stiles, licensed professional counselor and founder Positive Outlook Counseling. “They stop taking the necessary measures to affair-proof their relationship. Successful couples realize they must work on the relationship all the time – not just on special occasions or during a crisis.”
During her twelve years as a therapist, Dallas-based Stiles has helped many couples affair-proof their marriages. According to her, successful couples practice eight behaviors that keep the relationship centered on each other rather than outside partners:
- Communicate – Talk to each other, not at each other
- Listen actively
- Have fun adult time without kids
- Keep physical intimacy alive
- Balance work/home life
- Make them feel like the center of your universe
- Be sweet
- Work as a team
“These are the actions that made them fall in love in the first place,” adds Stiles. “The trick is to keep them up throughout the marriage. When they were courting, they actively listened to each other and reflected back what they heard. They talked to their loved one, not at them. They took plenty of time to be together and made the other person feel like the most special person on earth – that’s why they got married, because they wanted to be together forever.”
Having fun together with spontaneous activities, hobbies, or vacations, or working together as a team help strengthen the relationship when both partners remember to appreciate and admire their spouse along the way. Washing the car, leaving a kiss on the bathroom mirror, planning a date night, bringing home flowers; and other sweet gestures help the couple communicate their shared love and affection.
It is especially important not to let work trample over family time – that’s when the lonely spouse starts to look for company. “Work/life balance is one of the hardest things we do as people, let alone a couple,” say Stiles. “We get so much reward from work well done and the money is naturally important. To keep the relationship affair-proof, the couple needs to work together as a team to make sure the marriage is the focus and priority, not the after-thought.”
In her practice, Stiles sees couples in all stages of a relationship. “Marriage counseling is a good idea for couples who aren’t in a crisis,” says Stiles. “An outside third party can help couples remember why they fell in love and to come up with strategies to keep that love engine chugging along despite job promotions, kids, pets and new responsibilities that might distract them from each other.”
If you would like to schedule an appointment about healing your important relationships, contact Marci Stiles LPC at 972-733-3988 or book your appointment online at http://www.positiveoutlookcounseling.com/schedule-dallas-counseling-appointment/
Positive Outlook Counseling
Marci B. Stiles, MA, LPC-S, NBCC
Bent Tree Plaza
16610 North Dallas Parkway
Dallas TX 75248
Positive Outlook Counseling services range from individual counseling to family therapy to marriage counseling services. Marci Stiles specializes in individual, family, marriage and troubled teen therapy.