Years ago, a colleague shared this news with me:
“Former Colleague J is getting a divorce. His wife was having an affair. Apparently she was not happy and he had no idea there was any problem.”
And she added: “It’s sad that he did not even know. He did not have a chance to do anything.”
Unfortunately this kind of scenario is pretty common.
Fortunately there is a way to prevent your relationship to end that way.
And it’s by nurturing a close emotional connection with your partner.
When you and your partner are genuinely close emotionally, it’s harder to “grow apart”, it’s harder for life to drain the relationship out of its energy, and it’s pretty much impossible for people to even wish to have an affair. It’s just too good at home for wanting or being available for anything else.
A sort of “State of the Union” for the two of you.
It could be as serious and organized as it sounds, or as casual and organic as you’d prefer it to be. The last one my hubby and I had took place on the couch after work, an organic follow-up after a conversation about work and happiness.
As we finished on the topic of work, I asked him: “And how is the marriage thing going for you these days?” and I listened to what he had to say. Then I asked: “What can I do to make it easier and happier for you?” and I listened some more, and shared my own thoughts and feelings. Now cuddled side by side on the couch, we brainstormed a few ideas, before reminding each other how happy we have been together and we moved on with our evening activities.
Marriage is not just a status. It’s a practice of perfecting the art of togetherness, as we constantly grow, change and are impacted by life. Like any living organism, it takes attention and care to keep it alive.
It’s incredibly easy to fall into the trap of our daily routines, especially for those of you with children – these little creatures have a knack for capturing all the attention (and they should get a lot of it for sure). If we want to keep our marriage alive - not just our children - we must actively nurture our relationship with our partner. We must give it priority, not necessarily in the number of hours spent, but by having an ongoing understanding of how our partner is experiencing our one-to-one relationship and most importantly, how they are feeling about it.
Yes, we can certainly deduct a lot from the way they behave and talk to us, but nothing beats asking direct questions from time to time. When we ask open-ended questions with complete openness towards whatever answers we might get, we have a chance to learn how things are really going from their perspective. This gives us a chance to correct course when needed, as people and circumstances change.
Disengage the autopilot. Pilot your relationship manually!