Infidelity doesn’t happen overnight and even a happy marriage can be at risk. What personal warning signs can each spouse be aware of, to know if they are too close to the line when it comes to friendships with other men or women?
Donald and Veronica are friends of ours who have been married for 24 years. Both hold professions in various coaching roles, Donald as a Leadership Coach and Veronica as an NLP Practitioner. They have helped many individuals develop in their personal and career journey and are passionate about seeing people discover their true potential and live meaningful and fulfilled lives.
We decided to get their insight on a topic that is more personal in nature, yet very important to address for a fulfilling marriage: Sexual Intimacy. This conversation is the second excerpt of three, from the FB Live Session we had with them in May 2021, hosted by Alex and Grace.
We really want to address this because it’s very real. So there are two things. One is internal. One external. Internal means that the relationship and the marriage should be as strong as it can be. And it’s about always working at it and not stopping. That’s an internal part. The external part is that, let’s be very honest…
We are all adults here, and we actually know that when we develop certain feelings and thoughts, we exhibit certain behaviour that is out of line. We don’t need anyone to tell us. And the moment that happens, we must quickly pull back.
If we can try to not even get to that space, it’s even better. So you lock in some mechanism. Like for me, I’m a coach. I coach men and I coach women. I coach very powerful and attractive women. But I meet them in very public cafes to have coffee and tea to have coaching conversations. The hours that I take calls are between nine and seven. Nothing before, nothing after. My calendar is made known to my wife, she sees wherever I go, whoever I’m coaching and so forth. So it’s about being accountable to my wife and also my peers that I work with as well. These are deliberately put in place. Let’s see what my wife has to say!
I’ve not been in that position actually, but I think one thing we talked about was, never allowing ourselves to be that confident of our marriage. To say that this will never happen, because there are women nowadays who are very forthright. They dare to make the first approach. It’s no longer just men approaching to have affairs or whatever. Women can approach men as well.
And so we have talked about that and said, we must always guard our marriage and not even allow that kind of circumstances to occur. So we’re very mindful of those kinds of things as well and just being accountable and being open about where we go and who we are in contact with.
So really, it is talking about being preventive. Not just avoiding it.
Yeah, I think it’s about setting the boundaries. You have actually put aside a very good set of boundaries already and essentially you’ve made known your boundaries to one another. And so that’s why each of you are keeping each person accountable. I personally don’t really believe in having very good friends with another person of the opposite sex. And to me in the context of our relationships with our friendships with other people… Alex knows who I’m friends with. I know his friends. We know where we’re going at any point in time. I think that’s where that kind of accountability helps. It’s not about being controlling or anything like that, but really to just be accountable to one another. To say, “Hey I’m going to be back late” or something like that, or “I’ve got something going on”. And I think that we develop that as a culture in our relationship so that there’s that deep sense of trust.
[Turns to Alex]
I know that no matter what, I trust you, I trust whatever actions that you take, the decisions that you make on a daily basis, how you deal with things yourself, and how you conduct yourself with everybody else. I trust that. And I think you have that kind of mutual trust for me. And so that has really helped us a lot
Yeap. I read before that
one of the indicators to these things happening is when there are unaccounted blocks of time.
So I also like to be accountable to Grace, wherever I’m going, I’ll text her and tell her, “I’m going here, going there” even if it’s fairly mundane. So she also knows what I’m doing. And I’m not just having blocks of time away and not justifying where I’m going. And things like that. It’s better to be safer than sorry later.
I’d like to also add one thing, and it’s that… The preventive measure is two ways. In the sense that with either spouse, we need to know our boundaries even with anyone of the opposite sex simply because we never know where that person is in their relationship or in their own marriage.
So sometimes conversations that we think are very normal, the sharing of “How are you? How are things with your husband or wife?” To them,
if they are not in a good place in their marriage and they sense that, “Oh! Someone cares for me!” then anything that we say, even if it is out of a friendly gesture, they may think that “There’s someone who cares for me” and then an emotional attachment happens.
So we are very careful not to allow that to happen, to the best of our ability, with friends. Simply because we don’t want to be caught in such a situation.