I first told my brother I was getting an Audi, he said, "Make sure you have some cash saved up for a rainy day. Those German cars aren't cheap to fix!"
Of course I ignored him because what could possibly go wrong with something so beautiful, so fast and so perfect?
Well everything, of course, because I wasn't prepared for it. And, unfortunately, the same exact thoughts run through our minds when it comes to protecting our relationships. With an estimated 57 percent of men and 54 percent of women cheating on their partners at some point in their relationships, it's safe to say we can do a better job protecting our partnerships from infidelity.
Like the thoughts I had about my car when my brother warned me to prepare for potential issues, most of us don't see the need to protect our relationships while things are still going well. We can't see the potential issues as threats, so we often choose to ignore it. But, this is all the more reason to be proactive about it.
First and foremost, it’s important that we’re honest with ourselves about the power and influence of sexual temptation. Unfortunately, everyone seems to think they’re invincible when it comes to being able to avoid it, but let’s be real with ourselves — we’re all weak when it comes to sex. It's natural. To pretend otherwise is why the excuse “one thing led to another…” is so popular.
We see it all the time. Even some of our most important spiritual leaders have fallen victim to sexual temptations, so what makes us think we’re any stronger? We must stop lying to ourselves. We all need explicit boundaries in place to keep us from becoming that next statistic — especially since so much infidelity begins with positive and innocent intentions.
Here are five steps you should take to protect your relationship from infidelity:
1. Be honest with yourself about your weaknesses.
When are you vulnerable when it comes to sexual temptations? Maybe it’s physical touch or pornography or an inappropriate emotional connection with a friend of the opposite sex. Regardless, you need to be completely and explicitly honest about your weaknesses with yourself. We fail not when we're strong but when we're at our weakest.
2. Discuss your boundaries.
What good is acknowledging your weaknesses without creating boundaries to help you avoid them? While you're being thorough about where these temptations typically occur, ask yourself what boundaries you can put in place to steer clear. Share these with your partner so you’re on the same page with what you can expect from each other.
3. Avoid tempting situations, not the temptations themselves.
Stop playing with fire! I always say, if we can avoid that “one thing,” we don’t give ourselves the opportunity for it to “lead to another.” Be proactive.
4. Talk to friends who can hold you accountable.
Accountability is so underrated when it comes to relationships. Fellas, which of your boys can you trust to keep you on your game when you're struggling? Ladies, which of your friends is ideal to have on speed dial when you need the support? Make sure they have your best interest and your relationship in mind, and reach out when you feel weak.
5. Make better choices.
At the end of the day, you simply must be mindful of the choices you’re making and the repercussions they have on you and your relationship. Make better choices and you'll get better results.
If you value your relationship, take these steps today. Like, right now. Don’t wait until problems arise to address this issue.
It’s normal to feel like you don’t need to create and enforce boundaries — and a lot of people don’t — at least, not until it’s too late. Don’t wait until you hit the iceberg to take preventive measures to protect your partnership. Ask any couple that’s ever experienced infidelity and they’ll tell you the same thing. Making these steps a habit will continue to reap trust, loyalty and faithfulness long into your relationship. Remember, love always protects.
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