IN our television episode titled Affair proofing your marriage, a question was asked: “Practically for men, we are driven by what we see. What happens when you see something else other than that which you have?”
Below is our answer as it appears in our marriage workbook and on the television show.
First of all, we advise you flee temptation. No one is too strong to resist if you keep putting yourself in tempting situations! Don’t play with fire!
To do this, the best thing is to talk very openly about what boundaries you both are comfortable with. Some people don’t mind if their spouse goes out to a meal with a person of the opposite sex.
Others would be livid! Another person won’t mind if you chat with a friend of the opposite sex on the phone.
Another might feel uncomfortable.
The boundaries are for the two of you to come up with.
They need to be clear and defined so that if you are doing that thing that your spouse is not comfortable with, a warning bell goes off in your mind that you are entering a danger zone, and you need to flee.
Another tactic we use is unique and we realise it won’t work for everyone but it works well for us. I (Percy-my husband) sometimes look at a girl and before I know it my mind is wandering to places it shouldn’t! I actually do not want it to start thinking impure thoughts, but it just happens. I have found that if I tell Ashley what I am thinking, it frees me.
It is no longer my dirty little secret and exposing it makes it lose its appeal. Something about shining light into darkness always dispels it. It also holds me accountable if we are together and the lady comes, because now I will really watch my actions because I have already told my wife I am physically attracted to that lady.That provides extra accountability for me to watch my actions.
I am able to do this with Ashley because she is an extremely secure woman who understands I am not telling her this to make her jealous or angry, but rather because I want her help in fighting these temptations. Additionally, Ashley and I both understand that temptation will come and we don’t fault the other for being human. The thoughts are normal. Whether we choose to perpetually dwell on them and eventually act on them is when the problems start. As long as you are honest with yourself and with your spouse, that temptation is not going to get a foothold to destroy your marriage.
Let’s make this more practical. I am a computer engineer/project manager by profession. That means I have to put bids/tenders in a lot of projects to get work. There was a season where I kept being paired with this one lady at work. Due to the fact that we frequently had to read over documents on the computer to work together to turn in proposals, that left us sitting closely and looking at the same computer screen together. Honestly, the lady was not as beautiful as Ashley. I didn’t have any friendship with her outside of work, but just the close proximity made me start thinking thoughts that I knew were not healthy. Add that to the fact that many times, everyone else would leave the office and we would remain chasing tight deadlines until late at night. Let’s just say I could see it was a recipe for disaster.
I confided in Ashley what I was struggling with. Together, we had to come up with a game plan. It wasn’t practical to quit my job. At the time, we had small kids and had moved back to Botswana, and I was the sole bread winner for our home, so she could stay home full time raising our children. We devised a strategy. We knew I wasn’t going to do anything during the day while there were people at work and in and out of the office. The temptation to act on these feelings would come at night when we were alone in the office. Therefore we made an agreement that I would never close the office door.
I also would call Ashley every time I knew we would be working late together. I wanted her to surprise me with visits so that I never knew when she would show up. Since my wife is a super friendly person, she would often come up to the office with the kids and bring the lady and me some dinner and really got to know the lady. The more the lady understood that I was a happily married man with children, and my wife was a kind person who showed interest in truly getting to know her, the less attractive the lady was. The more attractive my wife was to me, how many ladies would actually genuinely befriend a “lust interest” of their husband? That is how awesome my wife is.
I never cheated on my wife then nor since, because we are honest with each other. If there are any temptations, we come up with practical strategies to fight the temptations together.
The best defence is a good offence. Be honest with yourself and others and come up with a plan to affair proof your marriage.
For more practical tips which are guaranteed to enhance your relationship with your partner, our marriage book is available in electronic copy on our website, www.ashleythaba.com. We have written it because we believe strong relationships make for strong people. When you are in love and feel secure and happy in your relationship, we believe you will be a happier and more productive member of society in general. We hope you can download the book and begin to grow today.