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5 Ways to Build an Affair-Proof Marriage

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. 

For ongoing marriage-building tips and tools, please connect with me on twitter and subscribe to our emails at the top of this page. You will receive a free marriage ebook download and NO spam. :)

shutterstock happy couple

Photo courtesy of 

(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, read our popular post on What every married couple needs to know about SEX.

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 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.


4 keys to forgiveness, healing and rebuilding trust.

“Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and then hoping the other person dies.” -Saint Augustine

Forgiveness is one of the most difficult and most misunderstood concepts in all of life. Refusal to do it can create a toxic root of bitterness in our hearts. A lack of forgiveness can wreck marriages, families, careers and most every other aspect of life, but embracing grace in its true form can bring freedom and healing.

I was reminded of this a decade ago when my friend, Derek Elam, was shot and killed while working behind the counter of a music store. He was cut down in the prime of life in a senseless act of violence. There was less than fifty dollars in the cash register.

When his murderer was apprehended, we discovered that this young man was recently released on parole for a murder he’d committed as a juvenile. Our natural response was to feel anger and hatred towards this two-time killer, but Derek’s Mom, Diane, chose a different path. She chose grace. With a broken heart, she made a deliberate decision to move forward with forgiveness.

She obviously wanted justice for this terrible crime, but she also wanted healing for all involved. She extended forgiveness to this young man, and although he will likely spend his life in prison, she will not spend her life in a prison cell of bitterness. Forgiveness brings freedom. Diane discovered the amazing truth that Forgiveness doesn’t mean the offense didn’t hurt; it simply means choosing to pursue healing instead of bitterness.

I’ll share more about this powerful story in my upcoming book on “The 7 Laws of Love.”

I hope you never have to forgive an offense of that magnitude, but ALL of us will need to seek forgiveness and extend forgiveness at various points in our lives. The four principles below could revolutionize your relationships if you’re embrace them and practice them.

hold hands

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To live a life of grace, do the following (in no particular order):

1. When you’ve blown it, own it!

We live in a world that loves to deflect accountability and assign blame somewhere else. We’d like to believe we’re always either the hero or the victim in every situation, but sometimes, we’re the bad guys! Never admitting fault doesn’t make you look strong; it makes you look foolish. Be willing to swallow your pride, confess your offense, and humbly seek forgiveness.

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.Proverbs 28:13

2. Recognize the difference between forgiveness and trust.

Some people reject forgiveness, because they wrongly believe it’s the same thing as trust and since they don’t trust the person, they assume they can’t forgive the person. Forgiveness can’t be earned, only given (that’s called grace). Trust, however, can’t be given, only earned (that’s called “Common Sense!”).

For more on this, check out our popular post on How to Rebuild Trust.

3. Follow the example of the world’s only perfect Forgiver.

The more you learn from Jesus, the more naturally forgiveness will flow. He is the embodiment of love and grace. We still live with the natural consequences of our decisions, but ultimately, the penalty of our sins was paid for by Him on the cross. Don’t beat yourself or others up for offenses that Jesus has literally taken a beating to forgive.

For more on this, watch our free video on The Life-Changing Teachings of Jesus.

4. Give as much forgiveness as you’d like to receive.

We all want grace when we’ve messed up, but we’ve got to realize that grace flows both ways with equal measure. If you want to receive forgiveness, you must also offer forgiveness.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15

For more tools to help you build trust and health in your marriage and family, check out our bestselling book*, “iVow: Secrets to a Stronger Marriage” which is available on as a paperback, Kindle ebook and audiobook and is now also available on iTunes for ebook download on iPhones, iPads and all Apple devices.



*The first 3 chapters of iVow are available as a FREE download when you signup for our email list at the top of this page.