5 Ways to Build an Affair-Proof Marriage

5 Ways to Build an Affair-Proof Marriage September 10, 2014

I recently sat down in my office with a young couple and almost instantly, tears began to flow. They started an all-too-familiar story about how their marriage had started to drift onto autopilot, and their passion, their communication and even their friendship with each other had faltered. During this same time period of relational drift, the husband had started a “friendship” with a woman at work, and the relationship quickly progressed and crossed lines.

The brokenhearted wife had discovered the evidence when she read some text messages on her husband’s phone and now they were sitting in shock trying to figure out how this had happened and what they were supposed to do next. I did my best to encourage them and offer some next steps. You can see some of what I shared in my 3-minute video on “how to heal after an affair.”

While healing is possible after adultery, affairs cause unimaginable pain and relational wreckage and couples should do everything in their power to proactively prevent infidelity. Below are five guidelines that have the power to safeguard your marriage from the pain of infidelity by creating an “Affair-Proof” marriage. 

Each of the five principles below starts with showing continues respect, honesty and love towards your spouse. Don’t keep secrets from each other. Secrecy is the enemy of intimacy. Make a commitment to be faithful at all times and in all ways out of love and respect for your husband or wife!

(In no particular order):

1. Keep all your flirting focused on your spouse.

If you’re always trying to get attention of the opposite sex, you’re eventually going to get the kind of attention that can wreck your marriage. Flirt with your spouse often, but never flirt with anyone else!

2. Never have a conversation you wouldn’t want your spouse to hear or see.

The moment you’re talking with someone and you think, “I hope my husband/wife doesn’t find out about this,” you are WAY out of line already. Show respect to your spouse even when he/she is not physically present with you.

3. Make communication with our spouse a priority.

Communication does for a marriage what breathing does for lungs! Stay connected with daily, uninterrupted conversation. For more on this, watch our 3-minute video on why Your iPhone might be hurting your marriage.

4. Make sex a priority in your marriage.

There’s more than an affair than just sex, but having a healthy sex life within marriage is still one of the best ways to build a strong marriage while simultaneously safeguarding against the temptations of infidelity.

For more on this, get a free sneak peak of our brand new video series “Best Sex Life Now” by clicking here.

5. Talk openly and positively about your spouse in public.

Don’t be an “Undercover Married Person.” Your co-workers and associates should know that you’re married and that you love your spouse. Keep his or her picture on your desk. Always wear your wedding ring.

For more tools to help you build a rock-solid marriage, please check out bestselling book, “iVow: Secrets to a Stronger Marriage” which is available on Amazon.com as a Paperback, audiobook and Kindle ebook and is now also available on iTunes for instant ebook download on iPhones, iPads and all Apple devices.

For ongoing “Tools for your life and caffeine for your soul,” you can connect with me on twitter by clicking here.

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  • Tara

    Great tips. Wish every wife AND husband could read this.

  • Kayla Garcia

    I like this article but do you have any advice for rebuilding and moving forward after the inappropriate friendship has already happened? We are trying to save our marriage after finding out my husband was having inappropriate conversations with a woman at work. I want to save our marriage but I am unsure how to move forward.

  • Ann Njenga

    Thanks for your advice, i love this page it has educated me on marriage related issues, be blessed.

  • Layla

    All too familiar 🙁 We found ourselves in this same situation. After a few months of a hidden affair, he came home and asked for a divorce out of the blue. Two weeks later, I found out about the affair. He filed for divorce and that process began. All the while I am pleading with God not to allow this to happen, to please bring him to his knees in repentance and restore our marriage to where he wants it to be. God answered and brought our marriage out of despair and gave us a love we never knew existed. Three years post affair and our love continues to grow every day!! God is awesome and does not want to see divorce. Turn to him even if you think there is no hope.

  • Wendy Isenhart

    These steps are so true and very important. I feel that these steps should be discussed before marriage and also during.

  • gloria

    Well put!!

  • Crystal Hills


  • dave willis

    Kayla, I’m praying for you both. I talk quite a bit about rebuilding trust in my book, “iVow: Secrets to a Stronger Marriage.” I’d also encourage you to check out the resources and the retreat at http://www.SaveMyMarriage.com

  • Very good article. You could have been describing us in the first paragraph except we aren’t young, the affair lasted 6 years and I didn’t find out about it until 4 years AFTER it was over. Yep, my hubby cheated on me with a woman he met when he returned to college in 2004. It started just like a friendship then moved to flirting, then touching, making out in the car (with ALL that entails) and finally an unsuccessful sexual encounter. That was the first year but he loved her so much that each time she contacted him after that, he went running. Again, I had no clue. He was distant and often verbally abusive but I chalked it up to male menopause. For 6 years she had his heart and for whatever reason he didn’t leave me. When I found a love letter he had written to her, I was floored. The letter was written just a few days before the affair ended but it was a love letter asking for more time. I found the letter 4 and a half months ago.

    God instructed me to forgive without condition before I ever confronted him with it and our marriage was completely restored both emotionally and physically before the day was over. Through my obedience to God’s instruction, my husband finally understood the meaning of unconditional love and forgiveness. Has it been easy? No. I still have images in my head of them together and I am sure my imagination fills in much more than was actually happening at the time, but I give it to God. Do I get angry sometimes that he did this? Absolutely. Do I think he will ever do it again? No. The look in his eyes is that of unconditional love and adoration. It is something I have not seen in his eyes in the 22 years we have been married. While I don’t know how to love any other way than unconditionally, he did not even know what that was much less how amazing and rare it is. He now understands and he is an open book in any and all things.

    Thank you for this article. It hammered home things that have been on my mind and heart. God is already using our situation for good. We have opened our home to hurting couples and already, after 1 week, we have 5 couples joining us for bible study each week!

  • Jesika

    My husband thought about cheating and was looking to the internet for things we were slacking on in our marriage. Luckily, I found out before any actions were taken. It still devastated me and affected our relationship badly. After some deep conversation, time, and effort on his part, I trust him again. This happened two years ago and I now feel that it ended up helping our marriage and relationship. We are stronger than ever and more connected now. I spent many nights praying and have learned that I need to continue to pray for our relationship as much as I pray for health and safety. Our children see us happy and will know to look for love and not other attributes of a relationship. Marriage is sacred and I Thank God we have made it through the hurdles we have.

  • Maureen

    Good advice however, if a person wants to cheat it doesn’t matter what the spouse does. It is not about the spouse. It is about THEM. I had a good spouse and I cheated. Then I remarried a man who was horrible to me. (Long story–I felt guilty about the last husband and didn’t think I deserved better so I took the bad treatment.). And I did not cheat. I knew it would not change anything. The difference was ME. I know many people who are pretty good spouses, not perfect but pretty good who have been cheated on. There are no “fail safes”.

  • Cammiecate

    We are six years post-affair. The marriage can be saved, but it takes a tremendous amount of work, patience, and processing on both parts. An affair forever changes the landscape of your marriage, so recovering is learning how to accept and live with the new reality.

  • Jeff

    Please email me and tell me how you were able to get past that and fully hey that trust back in him. My wife had an affair and she tried to how it as well, but my suspicions caught up with her. But I’m having a huge problem trusting and forgiving. I’m also having a problem forgiving him and even letting go of my anger towards him even though he has passed. My email address is iluv2shocku@yahoo.com. thanks.

  • Josh Giessinger

    Well here is my story… I had found out that my wife at the time had an affair with my co worker who was also my neighbor. Well I forgave her for that but she continued to do this with another man. Eventually we seperated for about six months then got back together all was ok but not great. Well then last April we seperated and then eventually got divorced I didn’t want to but I signed the papers. We are trying to work things out again but I have recently discovered she is talking to other men again I’m not sure if she is having an affair again but I don’t know. She is now calling me insecure but I don’t feel I am I just want to give up. We also have four wonderful children. Please help thanks

  • Janice Manier

    Hello I was wondering if you had any advice…I often catch my husbands eyes wondering at other women’s butts…it hurts me deeply, I have brought it to his attention, and he apologises and says he doesn’t even realize…I’m finding it hard to believe, and I still catch him doing it. I’m to the point where I avoid going out with him anywhere…cause it hurts me deeply. He’s says I’m the love of his life, and that he’s always wanted to marry me, we’ve known each other and have dated a few times in the past, since we were around twenty years old. Do you have any advice on what I should say or do?

  • Priscilla Cristofalo

    I will add these 5 things to my notebook. I have been praying for my marriage for just alittle over a year now. My husband left last Aug. And in four months (Dec) I found out via social media that he had a girlfriend. I have not seen him or heard from him since Aug of last year. I pray and ask God to talk to him and remind him he has a wife that loves him and needs him very much. I pray for Gods will to be done in our marriage and for my husband to hear Gods voice and return home. Mean while I am praying and learning to forgive and asking God to save my marriage.

  • Babydoll

    What do you do when you continue to find text showing he’s talking to the wife of a friend and no where on the bill the male friend’s number appears, he’s gone months at a time due to work but never wanting intimacy upon return. Tired of avoiding my gut feelings

  • Curious Me

    How do you heal from multiple affairs, lack of trust, & lack of communication. It takes two to sustain any relationship so how do you with only one willing person?

  • Casey

    What do you do when your husband just doesn’t know what he wants after all this has happened. How do you even start? I pray everyday for help, guidance and his love back.

  • Brandy

    I was divorced from the love of my life because of this very thing. Today, I am in the strongest, most trusting marriage. We are both happier than we’ve ever been, and it’s an amazing feeling to not have that guilt of hiding anything from eachother or feeling like you might be crossing that line. Everything Dave says is spot on. As for those wondering if it’s possible to mend your relationship after an affair. The answer is yes. I know this because the man I’m married to now is the same one I divorced years ago. Time does heal, and mistakes make us better and stronger people if we choose to learn from them.

  • Lacey Howell

    I love this. Especially the video attached about how your I phone can hurt your marriage. My husband and I have a strong healthy marriage but I know our biggest issue is putting daily tasks before each other. I am mostly guilty of having a busy schedule with my step son, the house, my schooling, and just trying to manage everything all at once. It’s definitely an eye opener for me to just stop and spend more free time with him. Thank you for such a great site.

  • laura sparks

    i went through the same thing we filed for divorce but i now wish i would have tried me i was so hurt and angry i walked away i am married again it is not the same but i choose now to give my spouse all of my attention praying for you

  • Shawn

    I am going through this now with my wife. Somehow we grew apart and she has had multiple affairs. Wish I could have gotten this info sooner. Might have helped us!

  • laura

    Thank you! I am sorry about your situation. But that needed to be said. I bet many spouses were thinking….I must be doing something wrong …or god doesn’t listen to me like all these other people…Sometimes it has nothing to do with the other spouse.

  • Willy Wonkers

    If your husband has only had inappropriate conversation then talk with him and find out if he will stop. Look at your relationship to see why he started talking to another woman. The primary reason a man is unfaithful is because he’s seeking something he’s not getting at home. If you are denying him sex and intimacy then you are directly contributing to his behavior. Work on the reason why he went this route and then if he’s sorry and promises never to do it again you will need to forgive him and become what ever it is he’s missing. Now this does not apply to all men. Some men are just jerks and incapable of fidelity. In that case you need to get out ASAP.

    Most women refuse to accept that they push their husbands away. If you ask him sincerely without being angry as his reasons then you will get the truth and will be able to heal the relationship.

    A Man needs to be reminded often that he’s loved, appreciated, and needed. Not just through words but also through actions like hugs, kisses, and sex when he least expects it and without him having to ask for it. Sex is a form of intimacy that helps a man feel like a man. When he feels like he’s giving you pleasure it builds his ego and self esteem. But if you reject him enough you do serious damage to his ego and feeling of self worth. You are telling him that he’s just not that important to you and guess what. He immediately starts seeking for a way to fill the gap you have opened and all to often it’s another woman who is more than happy to play the role you should have played.

  • Willy Wonkers

    You need to understand that she is going to continue doing what she wants. She knows that you will continue to forgive her so she has no incentive to change. You need to keep as far away from her as you can. There are too many wonderful, beautiful, and faithful women that would never behave like this. You are allowing her to torture you. Stand up to her and so no more. You tell her you will only forgive her if she changes and if not you want nothing to do with her. She will complain and try to make it seem like you are the bad guy but it was her that cheated multiple times. There is NEVER an excuse for infidelity and certainly none for multiple occurrences.

  • Willy Wonkers

    Janice grow up. How many times have you stared and a good looking muscular man? Plenty I’m sure. You should not feel hurt that he happens to look at another woman. He’s NOT comparing you to her. He’s just being a man and noticing another female. As long as he does nothing more than look or glance then leave it alone and realize he’s probably looking at her and thinking “wow my wife so so much better than that, I’m such a lucky guy”, But if you continue to play the hurt little girl I can guarantee it will change to “wow, I wonder if she’d be nicer to me than my wife”. It is normal for males and females to notice the opposite sex. For MOST married men it doesn’t mean he wants to have sex with her but rather he’s looking at her and noticing something that reminds him about you!!!

  • Jamie Bishop

    My husband and I went through a possible separation our first 7 months of marriage. I prayed and vowed to God to save it. The first step is relying and turning to him. Through the process of truly believing that he was my Lord and savior I was saved. My husband following after a few Christian counseling sessions. It took a while for us to patch things up but with God and our counselor we were able to see each others faults. We are now coming up on our 5 year marriage anniversary and have a sweet baby boy. Don’t give up if your going through this and know you are not alone. Marriage is hard. It was not meant to be easy all the time. Reference the story of Adam and Eve. Trust is built by a mutual communication with each other and it has to be honest. We still have our trials but our love isn’t always felt. Praying and patience are key! Forgiveness…. you have to forgive if you want it to work. God bless. My prayers are with you.

  • Dani

    This is more in response to Willy Wonkers than to you Kayla. While yes, there are times where one spouse can involve themselves in an inappropriate relationship with another person outside their marriage because of something they “are not getting at home”, I promise you that is not always the case. This happened to me. Believe me, there was absolutely NO lack of adoration, compliments, sex, building up of self esteem, etc on my part at home. My husband started working out of town. He became very depressed. When he had to work away from home during his last marriage, it was awful for him. His ex made him feel like he was abandoning his family with daily guilt trips. There were times where he wasn’t sure she and his son would even be there when he got home. So instead of appreciating the fact that he was working hard for his family so she didn’t have to work outside the home, she belittled him and made it very hard for him emotionally. I am very much the opposite. I have a career. I don’t do any of that. We are very much a team. When he started working away the first time, he was sure that would destroy our marriage. Or at least or wonderful relationship we had/have. He started getting online and involved in chat rooms. This led to sexting. This was behavior very unusual for him. I chose to stay and get to the bottom because I knew there was something wrong. That kind of attention was a no pressure, no worry, release for him. He didn’t see any of those people as real, even with the sexting for some reason. So much of it was tied to his self esteem (lack of) and his feelings of guilt. It all went much deeper. In the end, with a LOT of patience, total openess (passwords, access at anytime if I ever feel the need, etc), and committment, we were able to work through it all. So please, don’t EVER feel it is your fault. A person makes those choices all on their own. If someone doesn’t love or respect their selves or spouses enough to work through those feelings of not being appreciated or loved or wanted, etc, that is THEIR problem! Yes, it is also the other’s responsibility to take those issues to heart. It takes two. But don’t ever let someone make you feel any of those kind of choices were your fault because you were “not giving him what he needed at home.”

  • Noelle

    Good advice. However, to address some of the other comments. It is NOT the other persons fault if you cheat. There is NO excuse to cheat. Period. I don’t care if your spouse has been withholding sex for a year. If that is a problem, address it. If you’re going to cheat, do you both a favor and end the marriage first.

  • Angie

    Willie, I do not think you are understanding her plight. It’s one thing to check out, & even compare, other members of the opposite gender. It’s an entirely distant ballgame all together when there is Lust involved. Obviously you have not dealt with that. It’s a demeaning feeling to have a man day he loves you but constantly noticing other women & commenting on them. You can be the most beautiful woman in the room but when the man you love is focused lustfully at others it breaks your heart.

    I’m shocked that you advise women to think about their man’s sexual needs but discount this woman’s emotional ones. They are both Vital to a successful marriage.


    You must do what You feel is right. Communicate with your husband how this wounds you. If he cannot understand then request you see a counselor together so you both can learn to culminate your fears and needs. I’m praying.

  • Brittany

    Just found out that my husband of 6 years has been cheating. I never caught him, rather he confessed to our pastor and repented, then came to me with the news. I was so shocked, I had NO clue. It had been going on for a year, with different girls he would meet at work. Contrary to what Willy Wonkers said about the spouse also being at fault, it had nothing to do with what I was or wasn’t doing in our relationship. My husband’s problem started with pornography (I knew he had struggled with pornography before we were married, but he had assured me that it was a thing of the past). The porn would make him feel so guilty and ashamed, and he would pull away from me emotionally, thinking he didn’t deserve for me to love him because of what he was doing. Eventually he started to try and fill that emotional void by going after other girls. For my husband, he was acting like he was single again. It was a way for him to justify his betrayal of me, and a way to forget about all of the stress that comes with having and providing for a family. Anyways, long story short, everything is now out in the open and we have started down the road to recovery. We have begun counseling, and a couple things have really hit home for me and keep me trying to rebuild our marriage, because believe me, there are times I want to give up. The first thing is, ALL of us have sinned and been unfaithful to God. God has every right to ‘divorce’ us, but he willingly gave up that right, and sent his son to die for us instead. I have every right to divorce my husband, but if I allow God to work in me, I can waive that right, and choose to love and forgive instead. I alone, with Christ working in me, have the power to keep my family together. The second thing that hit home was a question my pastor’s wife asked me. She said, “Your husband has been made new by the blood of Christ, and God is doing a mighty work in him. Do YOU want to be the woman who reaps the benefits from this changed man, or do you want those benefits to go to another woman (if you were to choose divorce and your husband remarries)?” I know that this road to rebuilding trust in our marriage is going to be a difficult one, but I am choosing to love, I am choosing to forgive, and I am choosing to keep my family together. Follow our story at http://worshipwhilewaitingblog.wordpress.com/

  • rebecca

    Hi, i am currently separated for 4 months from my husband who won’t come home (bit sure if there is an affair but there are certainly plenty of secrets on his end that are not good) and i loved your story. I’ve had a serious God awakening during this time and realize my own sins and have been praying for God to give us a second chance. I desperately need to hear about others who made it. How long were you apart and how did the healing/breakthrough happen for you guys?

    Thanks. 🙂

  • rebecca

    Hi, same request as Jeff…. Would you be open to emailing me too? I am curious about the details of your reconciliation and If you had separated at all. Need to hear from people with happy endings…..



  • Anonymous

    I have been married for nearly 2 yrs. I have tried these steps with my spouse but get no feed back. Now I am having an affair and I’m getting the attention from this other person that I desire from my spouse. I love my spouse but feel great with this other person. I want to stop it but can’t do it. Don’t know what to do.

  • tim

    I first wanna say thanks to this blog/page and or site this is one of the first sites that doesnt presumably assume its always the male who is capable of cheating.

    My wife has had at least one affair that I am aware of. I have given her my forgiveness. But this affair has left me with serious trust issues. I find myself questioning every relationship between her and her male co workers or friends she gets so involved in there lives. Almost seems to be more interested in there life than ours together as a married couple. Ive addressed these feelings to her yet she continues to carry on. We dont hide our phones but she deletes messages. Hides messages as if they cant be retrieved again. These messages are to a guy or guys that ive told her I dont like her to talk to they’ve created problems before in our marriage. What is the next thing the best avenue to take we have four young children together. I know its not good to just be married for the childrens sake. Her actions make it hard to have a fruitfuly happy marriage.

  • Victor

    I have questions I’m separate right now because my wife doesn’t want to be with me but she hasn’t file for divorce we being together for 13 years since we where 14 years old and 5 years merry she left me because I was drinking a lot with my friend I hardly pay attention to her it was always about me I used to flirt with other women but I never meet them . I’m trying to fix it but I don’t know what to do she gave too many chances buy I never took it for granted so now I don’t know what to do can someone give me some advice what to do next

  • Mang

    Spot on, Willy.

  • Anna

    i have had thoughts about having an affair. I haven’t but I think of it. You see my husband rejects me sexually very often. It seems we only have sex once a month. It’s destroying my self esteem. I won’t have an affair but I think about it. I have googled things I can take to kill me sex drive. Yeah. I’ve done that. I love him and I know he loves me. I tell him to go to the doctor but he is so stubborn. I know he is in pain. I know if he eats the wrong thing he is up all night with heartburn. I understand it. I just get so frustrated sometimes. Thanks for letting me vent.

  • Jim Cooper

    I tried to read each comment and each reply. It was difficult reading. The post itself was wonderful, but I have 2 pieces of advice. First, DO NOT marry unless both are STRONG Christians (watch for posers). And second, if your marriage is in trouble, go first to God, and then to an EFFECTIVE Christian counselor. God HATES divorce. I provide the people I counsel with 3 choices; divorce, staying in a hellish marriage, and building a Godly marriage with His help (and mine). We have been married for over 46 years (good times and bad), and yes the “D” word came up in our marriage at about 7 years into it. When the bad times come, my advice is to partner with God, He has what it takes to heal all.

  • dave willis

    Anna, I’m praying for you both. I’ll be releasing a video series called “best sex life now” for married couples within the next month or so. It might be a helpful resource to you. I’d also encourage talking to his doctor if your husband is open to medical options.

  • dave willis

    Victor, I’d encourage you to do everything in your power to regain your wife’s trust and respect. I’m praying for you both. There are resources here on my site which can help.

  • dave willis

    Thanks for sharing. I strongly encourage you to break off this affair immediately. I’m sure the “feelings” are enticing and intoxicating right now, but everyone involved always ends up hurt. Please find the strength to walk away from the affair and start rebuilding your marriage. I’d encourage you to check out http://www.SaveMyMarriage.com

  • dave willis

    Rebecca, you and your husband can rebuild. I’d encourage you to check out the resources at http://www.FamilyDynamics.net and http://www.SaveMyMarriage.com. Praying for you both.

  • Chantel

    I had an affair and my husband found out in messages that was exchanged. He is struggling to move forward in our marriage on what I have done and keeps on throwing this in my face everytime something happens. How can we solve this problem and how can I deal with how he feels about what happened. Trying to save our marriage and to gain his love and trust back again

  • Victor

    I have questions I’m separate right now because my wife doesn’t want to be with me but she hasn’t file for divorce we being together for 13 years since we where 14 years old and 5 years merry she left me because I was drinking a lot with my friend I hardly pay attention to her it was always about me I used to flirt with other women but I never meet them . I’m trying to fix it but I don’t know what to do she gave too many chances buy I never took it for granted so now I don’t know what to do can someone give me some advice what to do next

  • mytwocents

    Anne Bercht is a great resource for anyone experiencing the effects of an affair. A great article she wrote can be found here: http://beyondaffairs.com/why-affairs-happen-and-how-to-prevent-them/

    She states, “What is important for people to understand is the reason for affairs is unique and complex. There is no one size fits all answer to this question. It adds to the already intense hurt an injured spouse experiences when people assume their marriage was boring or lacked passion. While these are factors for some people, they are not for others. You cannot paint every affair with the same brush.”

  • Shell

    Where do I even start…my husband for over 5yrs now, been together almost 19yrs. We have 3 gorgeous,smart wonderful children. (1 I have in high school & 2 younger together, 2 girls 1 boy ) well our relationship for the first 10 or so years was awful, put

    it this way it was a love/hate

    relationship. We loved to hate each other. After that it was different, I believe we both grew up. Then within the last couple years he’s been getting more abusive physically /mentally. I lost my job & more or less forced to assume a convenience store his sister/ niece owned. (Long story there) While trying to keep afloat & working with the bank so

    we can get a loan was

    nightmare. For 6 months I worked from open to close

    (6a-8p), I ended up just

    sleeping there at night. Since

    I couldn’t afford to hire

    anyone. The kids helped

    when they could, but school

    for me comes first. I’m willing

    to struggle for them. My husband helped when he

    could, I didn’t want him to

    quit his current job just in

    case. Then after 6 months jumping through hoops, waiting for approval & getting more in debt the bank decided to deny our loan. I’ve

    been depressed before but

    this hit me hard. I never felt

    like such a failure. I live in a small town where word travels fast. Normally this wouldn’t have bothered me, but it did this time.

    Well for the past 2 1/2 yrs I haven’t been able to find a job. I know that hasn’t helped our relationship. I have been hospitalized twice for attempted suicide & just diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. I am starting therapy & I’m on meds for depression & panic attacks. During this my husband beat me, then called the police to have me removed from our home. Instead he was arrested & the state choose to press 5th degree domestic assault charges. Now there is a no contact order from myself & our home. I can have to charges dismissed, but my husband says he’s filing for divorce, trying to have me forced from our home. In the meantime, our 2 younger kids are staying with his mother, I dont want keep them in the middle of this, the oldest is away at college.

    Trying to heal myself and help my husband. I know some people are thinking I’m stupid fir taking back a man who abuses you. I do love him very much … well he continues to blame me for the legal mess he is in. Then decides to find another woman. Which is killing me inside. He has even introduced her to our kids. I don’t know what do or think…he has told me he still loves me but needs time. I’m just in a state of limbo.

  • Jillie

    You have to be kidding me “willy wonka.” A woman denying sex causes a man to cheat. Even in marriage one person does not own the other! Thinking this way is why people are enabling abuse. There could be medical reasons for why a person denies sex. Hormonal or physical. If their spouse of all people can’t have a compassionate heart and help them instead of helping themselves then they are not worthy of being married. Seek help not companionship. And just because your married does NOT mean that your spouse owes you sex.

  • Julie

    First of all I read your book ivow and asked my husband to read it. He actually did and after he said it was the first book he read about marriage that he got something out of. So if your are thinking about getting the book, please do. It’s a easy read and very good.

    My main thing I think should go on the list is you should not consume alcohol when out of the presence of your spouse.

    My husband had a one night stand, outta town on busniess. Drank to much at the bar and messed up. Might I add he admitted what happened right away, no secret was kept. And honestly I never would have known if he hadn’t told me.

    It is now 2 years later. I will say this is the hardest road I have ever walked down in my life. But I have never regretted fighting every step of the way to save my marriage.

    My husband is a great man that deserves a second shot. We still have challenges on and off from it. But I will never stop fighting to keep my marriage alive.

    We just celebrated 14yrs of marriage, and in the book Dave writes how you need to celebrate them, which is very true, now more then ever. Making it these two years after has been a gift that in a lot of cases would have been thrown away. All it would have taken is one of us to give up, and it would have all been over.

  • CJ

    After my husband’s one night stand and other inappropriate behaviors with multiple women online (things that he confessed to me) my image if him totally changed, now I don’t know who he is. He was a devoted Christian, his faith and service to God was huge, how he could do something like that??? I had blind trust of him just not because I was sure of his love but because of his faith. I thought his love to me couldn’t be strong enough to resist satan’s temptations because I’m not perfect but his love to God who is perfect will keep him strong. Now, I don’t know who I’m marry to, I forgive him, I’m not angry at him, actually I never was, I felt the love God has for him and I was able to feel his repentance. Now it has been a year that we have been trying to keep our marriage but I don’t know how I can trust him again. I always believe that if there us no trust there is nothing.

  • anna

    Hello I stepped outside my marriage 3 yrs ago. All though I didn’t sleep w person,lines were crossed that shldnt have been. I told my husband. He said he forgave me.we even went threw counseling. I dnt think he ever truly forgave me. He throws it n my face often. Especially when he is angry w me. We have had pretty physical fights on both ends. About a yr ago I filed an order of protection against him when things got bad. But I didn’t stick to it. I felt bad he apologized like he does every time and I take him back. I have seriously considered divorce,but then thought its my own fault I caused this. I feel horrible for what I did. I try everyday to show my husband I’m sorry and I love him. I want to b w him. I dnt think he sees it or cares. Its been three yrs. I still hurt. He still calls me horrible names. He still makes me feel bad. Just recently he has been mentioning a 3some. Like some kind of way for revenge. I am broken. I dnt know what to do. I love him but feel he dnt love me anymore because of what I did. And i will live w this demon for the rest of my life. Having it thrown in my face. I just cnt take it anymore. We fight about it and its always he is sorry. I have heard that for 3 yrs. U dnt possibly b srry. Its starting to become normal and I dnt like it.

  • Joleen

    It isn’t just men who

    Cheat. I have been married for 4 1/2 years to an amazing man. But I have cheated on him 3 times. All three times, he caught me through text messages. The first 2 times, he forgave me and we did our best to work through it. However, this last time, which was recent, he is having a hard time. He is struggling with doing what he knows God would want him to do and doing what he feels would be the easiest…walk away. I can not say enough how sorry I am. How remorseful I feel. We have started going back to church, because both of us know if there is any hope for us, it is Him. But I am so afraid that my husband will never be able to look at me the same, love me the same, or forget what I have done enough to be able to touch me. He says he can’t believe me when I say it, but I do love him. With all my heart. And I am willing to do whatever it takes to repair and renew the love we once had. I know I have been forgiven by my Father, but I need to be forgiven by my husband, which can only be done if God can reach him through his pain. Multiple betrayals…I can not even begin to put myself in his shoes. How do you get passed that?

  • Norma

    To Dave Willis: Really? In your website you use God as a “source” that can help your marriage which makes me think that you are a believer in Christ. What I don’t understand is how you can tell Janice to “Grow up” in regards to her concerns. If I am not mistaken God through his Word (Bible) expresses that if a man as much as looks at a woman and lust he has already sinned and committed adultery in God’s eyes. So how can you so candidly just say that he’s being a man. I’m sorry but I do not agree with that weather it is a man or woman looking at someone else’s behind or whatever.

  • Bridgette

    I’ve tried all of these with my husband for ten years. Hes still had affairs. And now has two children with two different women outside of our marrige. So someone please explain to me how to fix that.

  • Lee

    This is more for Willy Wonkers. You have some very valid points but sometimes there are extreme circumstances. What if the wife just had surgeries and cancer treatments and couldn’t “pay attention”as much as she would have normally? And lets just say that conversations started with the husband and a woman at work. The husband ( and wife for that matter also) trusted this friendship with this co worker/friend. Husband was stressed and distraught and maybe just innocently leaned on this woman for support. She acted like a friend to both him and the wife. Then she…the friend crossed lines because she had her own motives and agenda. Husband got caught off guard and made a mistake. Is the sick wife to blame here? Gor that matter…is the husband even entirely to blame either? Sure it was wrong on his part….but the other woman took a bad situation and took advantage.

  • dave willis

    I’m not sure what comment you’re referring to. Could you clarify (or copy and paste) my comment so I can address it properly?

  • dave willis

    Bridgette, your husband is acting life a selfish fool. I’m so sorry for the pain he has caused you. I’m praying for you.

  • Shelby

    After almost 18 years of marriage my husband had a short relationship with another woman that did turn physical. He confessed to me what he had done just 4 days after it began. I was and still am very hurt. I understand the problems that were in our marriage that lead up to his actions. I love my husband very much and I know he loves me. We are working on our marriage and with lots of prayer and Gods help we are getting through this. My question is when am I going to get over this? I will be fine for several days and then out of the blue my mind begins to torture me with so many thoughts and insecurities that literally consume me. I honestly feel like I am a crazy person on the verge of a mental brake down some days.

  • sheila

    Our 27 year old daughter died April 2014 after an illness, 5 weeks later a dear cousin my husband was very close to died of cancer. August 3 my husband gives his # to a friend to give to his sister, the phone affair started 427 texts in 4 weeks. I started a griefshare program to work through my issues with my daughter’s passing September 8, September 12, I stumbled upon this phone f-ing and confronted the people involved. Was told he loves her and she loves him, wants a divorce, wants to sell our home etc. He got caught and denied even knowing her, asked her to let us take care of our business and stay out of something she has no involvement in, we need our space. Blocked her #, found 2 tracphones that got destroyed and he has another one. Married 31 years November 5. These people have maybe connected once since this started which was 2 weeks ago, 6 month anniversary of Sydney s passing. He is seeking a divorce and I’m so confused and lost, I love him. He refuses counciling , doesn’t want to reconcile and doesn’t see her, this is all phone. He’s always home, he doesn’t sleep with me anymore and is cold, distant and negative. He’s never talked about her death with anyone, this affair is not a secret either. What the neck happened?

  • dave willis

    Sheila, I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. That’s a heartbreaking situation. Your husband dealt with his grief in a tragic and reckless way. I’m praying for you.

  • Tiffany

    My husband didn’t even realize that the level of the friendship was what is easily labeled as an ’emotional affair’ – every item on the definition checklist. When both spouses protested, we were labeled as paranoid and crazy. He would not believe anything I said, in spite of some of the mean things she said to me. But we stopped socializing, because it was easier on him than my ‘crazy paranoid’ behavior. They still communicated although she cut off all communications to me (her spouse and I didn’t feel it was prudent to talk to each other, and my spouse wasn’t telling me anything, so I stumbled around in the dark). It wasn’t until one of those communications was entirely inappropriate (I don’t know what it said, just that it happened) and my spouse suddenly realized that she really was seeking his attention in a romantic way, was not just “one of the guys”, and really did want to get me out of the way of their relationship that he emotionally disconnected and realized that my feelings were valid. Our relationship started healing as soon as he realized this, although it took many months for him to apologize for the hardship I went through, and still won’t acknowledge his own role (out loud), but we are healing and our relationship is stronger than it was.

  • Zsuzsanna

    I just wanted to say “thank you” for all your wonderful readings and videos, as they have really helped me get through some really hard times in my past and will continue to learn from them.

  • Brittany

    Not much I would add to this list, maybe a rule about alcohol consumption, something someone else already suggested. My husband and I have been married for 6 years, and I found out about my his infidelity about 3 months ago. He was a player before we met and even while we were dating. Whenever he would get drunk he would make out with or have sex with random people he didn’t know or barely knew. I married him knowing this (he also had a porn problem that I was completely unaware of even before we were married). I was a naive fool to think that marriage and children would ‘fix’ something that only God could fix. Five years into our marriage he fell back into his old habits, and I had no clue. I found out because my husband confessed to our pastor, and then a few days after confessed to me. He wants a fresh start for himself, for me, and for our family. He has done everything he possibly can to convince me that he is a new man, giving me full access to his phone, email, facebook, etc. and he prints out his time slips everyday and brings them to me after he gets home from work. He is constantly showering me and the kids with a love and affection that was never quite there before. I know that he is truly repentant, and I believe that he has been redeemed. I’m the one in need of help and prayer. I’m having a hard time letting go of my hurt, and letting go of the fear that it will happen again.

  • Anonymous

    Dave didn’t write the post…someone name “Willy Wonka” wrote the post about “growing up”.

  • anonymous

    You know… cheating like this is how people get stds. Why don’t people think about this before they start jumping into bed with people? If someone will cheat on their spouse with you.. what makes you think they have a clean bill of health?? That they aren’t LYING about everything they tell you?

  • benjay

    To jill

    If U read the bible in proverbs it says that once u r married a mans body belongs 2 his wife and a wife’s 2 her man.when married U become 1 (not as 1)

  • Ariel Washington

    I know I’m not married to my spouse yet…but what if just flat out says “I don’t think its wrong to have female friends and have their number and text call and hangout out”? That’s my current situation…6yrs he’s been doing this n going on dating websites n inappropriately talking to girls n setting up dates n flirting n saying their beautiful n etc. But the complete opposite with me. All I’m here for is to take care of our kids n house basically. I’m over it.

  • Ava

    Married 17 years. My first, his third. He is 10 years older than I. He had an affair last year. I had always felt that marriage was a 100% devotion to one another. I loved him unconditionally…I love him still although not the same. At the very beginning I looked up to him, trusted him in every way and even though I was a very independent young woman I relied on him for everything. Love, comfort, advise, friendship…everything. We had a few bumps on the way due to my inexperience in sex but learned to enjoy everything except anal sex. He stated that I would never know the pleasure of it if I didn’t try and if I did not find it pleasant we would not have to try it again. Because I trusted him…I tried and did not enjoy it. Well he asked for it many times, sometimes almost became forceful and threatened to take me the way he wanted regardless if I like it or not because I was his. And if he couldn’t have all of me he would never be happy. He even accused me of not knowing what true love was because I didn’t give him all of me when he wanted. I tried to please him by reading many articles of how to prepare and enjoy anal sex but ultimately it was just not for me. We had two children and I have had two major surgeries which hendered our sex somewhat but for him it was not somewhat. Between work, children, home…He still expected sex every night or I received accusations of cheating, not loving him, not pleasing him the way he needed to be pleased due to his appetite for sex. He watched porn, I found inappropriate text msgs., he flirted with other young woman (younger than I) treated them to lunch or happy hour and of course the conversations were always inappropriate. Never caught him in an affair. I never was a jealous person for I believe it is a waste of emotion. I feel that a slight jealousy is nice but never the extreme. Then for several years his desire grew for a threesome. He claimed he wanted to watch me be pleased by another woman. I disagreed. we would tell stories to keep things spicy in our serial desires and I would tell stories that I knew would please him. Until he started looking into website for an actual threesome encounter. Long story short…I obliged for him one time and as before, he stated that if I didn’t not find it pleasurable we would not do it again. I was miserable, I was hurt, I hated the encounter. At first it was an exhilarating feeling because it was unfamiliar and of course the feelings of excitement were there but then seeing my husband enjoy more than I…I asked to stop and told them both I could not handle it and walked out. They both complied. He continued the relationship without me knowing everyday and some nights for months. I was devastated. He contemplated leaving me for her. I could not get over my anger and confided in a male coworker whom I worked with for twelve years. His wife had had an affair with her cousin and they were working through their marriage. I needed to know how to handle the hurt and anger I had not to mention his continued flirty ways with other women. Without a doubt I was surely going to leave. My coworker talked me into looking at all the positives and working things out. In the process. ..I developed feelings for my coworker and he confided that he had always had feelings for me but kept them in control as did I. However it developed into setting. I was so engrossed with my husband’s betrayal and my anger that all I wanted to do was hurt him in the same. I wanted him to feel my pain. I let loose as did my coworker. As brief as our encounter was and even though we did not have enter course we crossed lines we should not have. All the while, I did not feel guilty for my husband nor for myself but rather for my coworker’s wife and their marriage. I could not understand why that feeling of guilt for others and not myself. However, we did not speak again as his wife became suspcious and he did not want to cause more conflict to his marriage and rightfully so. This it killed me, I fell in love with my coworker by wanting so badly to hurt my husband, I ended up causing myself more pain than I was in. My guilt was so strong I did not know how to cope. It’s been four months since my encounter and my heart still aches for my coworker while I’m still trying to fall in love with my husband again. He makes it hard for me to love him as he still wants another threesome with a different woman. As he says, “he wants to play”. He did cut his ties with the woman he continued his affair with. I have made it very clear another threesome would not ever happen again and if that is the lifestyle he prefers then he needed to leave. He assures me that he would never do anything without me again. But does not stop asking. As he says, it is for me…not for him. I feel that I have done everything possible to please him and yet I am the one with regrets, anger, betrayed, and so deeply hurt. I have had not one person to talk about this and feel so conflicted and unappreciated. So many emotions and yet I stay strong for my self, my children, what marriage I’m trying to save. I feel i need to separate from my husband. I need to feel that independence i once felt. And yet by doing so i would need to leave my husband as he will not leave me even though he says i do not please him. Someone please tell me what am i doing wrong or what is your best advice?

  • Fabi

    I wish my husband would read this too because we are on pilot mode

  • David

    I love how me and my girl already understand and have agreed upon all the principals and ideas that he mentions (not just in this article), yet we arn’t even engaged yet and neither of us are old enough to drink.

  • Jon die

    Leave him. Find yourself.

  • Jon die

    This is the most depressing comment thread I have ever read. If you are unhappy in your marriage then leave. It’s that simple. Don’t stay in it for god, god forgives. A cheated on spouse doesn’t. Why live in misery?

  • Rona McLean

    Thanks Dave for this. The timing is perfect for me to read this and to recommit to protect my Marriage, before anything serious had happened.http://powerhouseblog.net/40-day-love-dare-challenge/