I recently stumbled across a “guide” for women on ehow that provides suggestions for how to “cheat-proof” your marriage. I decided to ask a small group of married women to comment on the suggestions. Here’s the eHow list of tips and the group commentary.
1. Nag less. A husband’s happiness is inversely proportional to the amount of nagging he receives at home. If you have trouble with this step, you can start by making a list of his most annoying behaviors–the ones you nag about–and cutting the list in half.
The discussion group here agrees. This is one of the painful sacrifices of marriage. Sure, you may be right, but you never “win” an argument with your spouse. If he is messy or annoying, you’ve got to be wise enough to come up with a manner of working through or around the problem that doesn’t make you the constant complainer. If he associates you with constant nagging, you’re in trouble.
2. Have sex, frequently. Assuming that your husband has a libido (surprisingly, there DO exist frigid husbands), make an effort to accept his advances. Even initiate sex once in a while. The more intimacy your husband gets from home, the less likely he will look for it outside the home.
The married women nodded in agreement with this one. It isn’t that a robust sex life is any guarantee against infidelity, but a wife that has little interest in sex can leave a man looking for a substitute.
3. Let your husband eat what he wants. Dietary nagging is still nagging, even if it’s for his own good. Husbands will follow from your example; just eat healthfully yourself, and he will change on his own.
4. Cook his favorite meals every week so that he looks forward to coming home.
It can be hard for women to understand a man’s attachment to food. It’s primal. The degree to which your man loves eating the food you cook is the degree to which he rushes home after work to eat it. These two points are big factors when it comes to creating a happy man.
5. Associate with happily married couples. They can be a good influence and remind your husband that being married is better than being single.
It has been said that when a married man dumps his wife, the most concerned parties are the wives of his male buddies. Of course, it can cut both ways. This newly single guy could either be complaining about the dating scene or telling fabulous stories to his married pals. There’s certainly no reason to shun single friends out of fear that they will be a bad influence, but having happy couples around is good reinforcement.
6. Don’t let problems with your children spoil your marriage. Remember, children grow up and leave home eventually, but your spouse is for life. Compromise on issues that are not serious. Typically, couples fight about the details of reward and punishment. So long as you agree that a child should be punished for an incident, the punishment itself is not that important.
Big nods all around. “Children are just passing through,” one woman said. A marriage that has the children as its center and main focus is risking the relationship that got it all started. Children should know that the love the parents share for each other is precious and honored. Some parents will say, “We don’t have the time to go on dates or get away,” but truthfully there’s nothing more important than the maintenance of their relationship.
7. Most importantly, make time for your husband. Listen to him when he talks, even if it bores you out of your mind. Many men seek comfort in emotional affairs because they get no attention at home. Treat your husband the way you would like to be treated.
100% true. Men often appear impassive and without emotional needs. Don’t believe it. He needs to talk to you, about something other than the bills and problems of life. He wants you to admire him and support him. Do it at every turn.
There’s also one more that came to the surface during our discussion. This one comes from eHarmony founder Neil Clark Warren and works for men and women:
8. If there is something that your spouse has mentioned he/she finds sexy on you, go buy a gross of it.
Did he tell you he loves that new perfume? Wear it. Did he mention that you looked great as you went out the door to a meeting? Make a mental note. One of your jobs as a spouse (and again, this goes both ways) is to, within the limits of your authenticity, be sexy for your spouse. Take it seriously and respect the hints you receive.
Finally, I assume we don’t need to mention this but, when a man cheats it’s HIS fault. He steps outside the vows of the relationship and the blame for the infidelity is his. Make no mistake. However, based on what I heard from the women in our discussion group it’s always possible for one person or the other to push his/her partner away. If a woman woke up one day and said to her husband, “I have no interest in sex” and maintained that policy, she would be pushing him away.
Clearly, there are many women (and men) who’ve been loving and supporting only to suffer as a victim of infidelity. For them, there’s no list of behaviors that could’ve kept their spouse faithful. This list provides an interesting perspective for people who are looking to work on a healthy marriage and keep it strong.