More often than not, affairs don't just happen. Oh, sure, sometimes they do, but there are usually things that are said or not said, done or not done, over the years that are contributing factors.
Also, while I'm not suggesting that the husband or wife who has the affair is in any way justified in doing so, a lot of the time the other spouse has helped to push them in that direction. My wife, Susan, and I often say, "In marriage, there are two people and two sides to every story."
The same holds true when we hear the story of a husband or wife having an affair. Both can point to things that led to the infidelity. When it occurs, the "guilty" party is usually slammed publicly by friends and others while the other spouse is talked about as the helpless victim who was wronged by their lowly, good-for-nothing spouse. But people forget that the other spouse's hands may not be completely clean.
So if you want to help your spouse have an affair, do the following:
1. Don't really listen. Act like you're listening, but continue to glance at your emails or the television while they are talking. And be sure not to feel what they feel. After they pour they're heart out to you, just say to them "You shouldn't feel that way" or "Why are you getting so emotional about it? ... It's no big deal."
2. Stop having intimate conversations. When your spouse wants to talk to you about their hopes and dreams for the future, make a really good excuse as to why you can't talk right now, like "I can't talk right now; I need to help the kids with their homework" or "You know my favorite TV show is coming on now. Can we talk about it later?"
3. Constantly criticize, compare, and degrade. Think of ways you can hurt and tear down your spouse with your critical or comparing words ... "I asked you to do one thing for me and you didn't do it. Can't you do anything right?" Or, "I wish you were more like_________. He's always doing nice things for his wife."
4. Do sports and activities only with your friends. Be sure to schedule golf outings or tennis matches with your friends. Check with your neighbor to see if they want to go for a walk. But by no means, do those things with your spouse.
5. Withhold affection and sex. Want to catapult your mate into an affair? Then be sure only to show them affection when they've done what you asked them to do. And, make sure you are really well rested and "in the mood" before you make love. Oh, and if your spouse has not been behaving like you want them to behave, then cut them off at least for a while.
6. Spend more time on Facebook, Twitter, and the Internet. This is an easy way to push your spouse away. When you have a few minutes after the kids go to bed, pull out your laptop and spend an hour or so posting, tweeting, and surfing. Maybe even take your smartphone or iPad to bed with you.
7. Invest all of your time and energy in your kids. Say to your spouse, "Look, the kids come first." Then, be sure that your universe revolves around your children. If your kids need you to clean their uniform or make their dinner, your spouse will just have to wait. There is just no time for dates with your mate during this season of life. Maybe one day...
8. Of course, no one wants to help their husband or wife have an affair. So do your best not to do the things I've mentioned and avoid these 12 Things That Can Cause Marriage Failure. Reading these 10 Ways to "Affair Proof" Your Marriage may help you too.
Are you doing any of the things mentioned above? What are you going to do about it?
Mark Merrill is the president of Family First. For the original article, visit markmerrill.com.
Draw closer to God. Experience the presence of the Holy Spirit every month as you read Charisma magazine. Sign up now to get Charisma for as low as $1 per issue.
Dare to go deeper in your faith. Our "Life in the Spirit" devotional takes you on a journey to explore who the Holy Spirit is, how to interact with Him, and how He works in your life. Are you ready to go deeper?