Having an affair is not even on your radar. Never gonna happen. You love your spouse and you'd never be unfaithful to her or him. However, you may be unaware of other ways you are being unfaithful. If these actions continue, you may find yourself on the slippery slope that leads to that never-intended affair and a sorrow you never wanted in your life.
Unfaithfulness usually creeps in through the back door, disguising itself as harmless fun or innocent behavior. If you want your marriage to endure and be filled with happiness you may need to check this list to see if you have fallen prey to any of these unfaithful behaviors.
Having a little playful fun at the office with a co-worker can't be too bad, you may rationalize. After all, flirting is fun. Avoid it like the plague. It's dangerous. If someone flirts with you, ignore it. What falls into the category of flirting? Here's one explanation of what flirting is. "[It] usually involves speaking and behaving in a way that suggests a mildly greater intimacy than the actual relationship between the parties would justify, though within the rules of social etiquette, which generally disapproves of a direct expression of sexual interest. This may be accomplished by communicating a sense of playfulness or irony. . . Body language can include flicking the hair, eye contact, brief touching, etc."
Married people should never engage in this type of behavior with anyone other than their spouse. It is a full-on form of unfaithfulness that leads to no good. The one you're flirting with may take it as an invitation and pursue a relationship you never intended.
2. Confiding in the opposite gender
When you pour out your troubles to someone of the opposite gender you are putting yourself in a vulnerable position. It may seem harmless. After all, you just needed a shoulder to cry on. If you've got a problem, talk about it with your spouse. That's your best-ever shoulder to cry on. If that's not working for you, try a trusted relative, clergyman, or therapist. Not someone who may consider this an invitation for intimacy. Even if it doesn't start that way, too often it ends that way. It's a form of unfaithfulness.
3. Spending time alone with someone else
What appears to be an innocent lunch out with someone of the opposite sex or stopping by for a chat at that someone's home without your spouse is definitely in the category of unfaithful behavior. You or the other person may say, "Hey, we're both adults. Nothing's going to happen." Well, things do happen. It's not appropriate. Go home and spend that time with your spouse.
4. Talking negatively about your mate
When you are a true friend to someone you never say bad things about them to others. Your mate is your best friend and is the last person you should ever talk about negatively. If you have a beef with your honey, talk it out with him or her. Let your conversations with others focus on the good things about your spouse. That's being faithful.
5. Chatting on the Internet with someone of the opposite sex
If you think this is harmless, think again. It may start out that way, but it definitely won't end that way. Some have engaged in what they considered innocent talk with a former boyfriend or girlfriend from high school or college days, or even a stranger. One thing can lead to another and before you know it, your marriage is in jeopardy. Don't do it. It will only end in sorrow and heartbreak for your family.
6. Dressing to attract the attention of someone other than your spouse
If you're dressing up to look good for someone else, you need to reexamine your motives. Trying to attract someone else by wearing a sexy looking outfit is one more way to jump into unfaithful waters.
7. Writing personal intimate notes or letters to someone else
If you're writing a letter of condolence or congratulations, or other good wishes, let it be from both you and your spouse. Then there will be no misunderstanding about your intentions.
8. Not being a willing sexual partner with your spouse
Being faithful to your spouse means giving yourself over to him or her to enjoy the intimate side of your marriage. To withhold sexual intimacy from your spouse if not doing your part in keeping your marriage strong and fulfilling. It creates sorrow and even suspicion. Being a faithful spouse means doing your part to make it a beautiful relationship in all aspects.
9. Putting your parents before your spouse
Your spouse must always be the number one person in your life. If something wonderful happens to you, like a promotion, a confirmation of a pregnancy, or any other good news, you may be tempted to immediately call a parent to share in the joy. Resist. Let your spouse be the first to know your good news. Then share it with others.
10. Putting your children before your spouse
Kids matter. They are very important people in your life, but not more important than your spouse. If you knock your spouse off the top of your priority list you are not showing total fidelity to him or her. Your mate must come first. Not only does it cement your marriage and make it stronger, it gives your children the best security blanket they will ever have.
Check yourself on these points and make sure you are being 100 percent faithful to your spouse. By doing this you will create a genuinely happy and fulfilling marriage.
Gary Lundberg is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Joy is a writer and lyricist. Together they author books on relationships, including "Wake-up Call: What Every Husband Needs to Know". Their website is garyjoylundberg.com