Ssshh….The Element of Discretion in Marriage

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Protecting Your Marriage & The Element of Discretion

    If you are working on goals to create a healthy marriage relationship, you will really be enviable, since most people unfortunately are going with the currents of life, even when that means “sinking” versus “swimming” in a marriage.  Many people give way too many details of their hurts in their relationship without giving a second thought to how that may be damaging to themselves, their marriage, and the listener.

If you want to heal, thrive and love for years and years, to avoid temptations, and to maximize your potential as a couple, you must carefully avoid common but disastrous pitfalls.  Here are a few tips for keeping a healthy circle of protection around your relationship.

  1. Don’t gossip about the relationship.  If you gossip about your relationship, some people, even family, can be very manipulative and word can get back to your mate that you were bad-mouthing them. This sharing may actually make you feel worse about your mate also and your feelings and acts of love may decrease from the sharing.  When you feel like gossiping, intentionally use the time you would have wasted on it to love yourself and your mate in a tangible way instead.
  2. Keep the details of your intimate and sexual relationship private.  Keep bedroom topics in the bedroom, or within the private bounds of a marriage therapist, coach, or trusted and agreed upon mentor, especially if things are out of control or not going well.
  3. Listen to your instinct about opposite sex friendships.  If you think a friend or colleague flirts with or admires you a little too much, make sure you listen to your gut feelings about this situation, and back off.  If you don’t generally feel this way about others, it’s probably because there is something off about the relationship. Avoid hanging out, making small talk at work, emailing, or chatting on the phone with them, and encourage your spouse to do the same with this person.  It’s far better to be with people who show the utmost respect for your relationship by not flirting with you.  This does not mean trying to find friends who are unattractive or never speaking to an attractive person of the opposite sex.  It does mean listening for cues to know when you have gone too far in your behaviors and/or fantasy life about this person, getting accountability from a friend who respects your relationship, and make the commitment to back off.  Your relationship does not have a fair chance at surviving, much less thriving, if in your heart, you are always comparing your partner with someone else.
  4. Use common sense.  Similarly, if you become close friends with someone you know your spouse or mate is attracted to, and this friend is also flirtatious, it’s really difficult to expect your spouse not to feel tempted. Use common sense and wisdom in letting go of unhealthy relationships with other tempting individuals.
  5. Leave your biggest worries and fears with God.  Trust God’s Word, the Bible, to guide you in situations where you need wisdom, and accept that if and when your spouse or mate annoys you, this is normal.  No two human beings agree about everything, or don’t have moments of frustration together.  If you fear abandonment, and live out of that fear versus trusting God for your care at the end of the day, you will not be able to allow your spouse to freely love you.  Instead you will be trying to control and manipulate them.  Let go and pray that God will show them how to love you, and love yourself well also.  In other words, don’t forget the three components of self-care each day, physical, spiritual, and emotional!

Excerpted from RELATE: A Guide to Marriage & Relationship Repair by Christa Hardin, MA 941-301-8420

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