Glancing at the gas gauge, he tells his wife that they need to stop at the next exit for gas.
After fueling up the vehicle, he does what he usually does on road trips…heads for the restroom. After all, he’s had several cups of coffee already.
In the privacy of the restroom, he reads the text message and calls his lover. He assures her that he will be back in town in a few days and they arrange their next encounter.
He hangs up, and deletes both the text and the call history.
Meanwhile, his wife is posting a status update on Facebook about the wonderful get-away they are embarking on. She anticipates a weekend of romance and roses.
Through the widely available technology that has become a part of our daily lives, countless men and women are living a double-life and their spouse is left completely in the dark.
Social media has permeated the very fabric of our lives and we are increasingly dependent upon smart phones, Wi-Fi, and tablets.
Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and hundreds of apps we are able to instantly communicate with one another in ways past generations never imagined.
It used to be that the risks of meeting someone and facing sexual temptations were only within an immediate realm of influence such as the workplace, the gym, the grocery store, or even your church, parish, or synagogue.
Now the risks are all around us, and come from seemingly innocent contacts, such as a long-lost high school friend that “friends you” on Facebook.
While all of these technology advances are helpful, they also have the potential to lure the unsuspecting user down the path of destruction.
The scenario described above is one that happens all too frequently.
So how do you protect yourself and your marriage from infidelity and avoid becoming a casualty of divorce in a technological world?
Guarding against intruders is vital to building, achieving, and maintaining an amazing marriage.
Here are a few tips for preserving your relationship and avoiding temptation.
1. Be Transparent
When it comes to the Internet and e-mail, my wife and I give each other full access to any and all cell phones, computers, and social media accounts we may be using. We know each other’s passwords and have an understanding that if the passwords change, we must inform each other of the change and why.
This is not a privacy issue; it is a matter of respect. We respect each other enough to let the other have access to every corner of our lives. It is not a lack of trust either, rather a measure of confidence in one another and a willingness to be completely open and transparent.
By being transparent and allowing one another access to our e-mail, Facebook, and other accounts, we have a constant reminder to be careful of what is said or posted. Knowing that my wife can read my e-mail or view my Facebook posts any time she wants to holds me accountable.
I cannot stress enough he importance of preserving and protecting your marriage against intruders. You owe it to yourself and to your spouse to be honest and transparent.
2. Have an Accountability Partner
We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and given the right set of circumstances, you may find yourself facing a situation that you aren’t prepared for.
Having an accountability partner may very well increase your awareness of the risks and may empower you to maintain your credibility.
An accountability partner is someone of the same gender as you who you can count on to ask you tough questions about your marriage, your habits, and what you do when you are alone.
3. Avoid Your High School Sweetheart on Social Media
If you are married, nothing good can come from rekindling a friendship with a high school sweetheart. Although Facebook, LinkedIn, Classmates.com and other social media sites are continually suggesting you reconnect with friends from your past, it’s never a good idea to reestablish a relationship with a previous boyfriend or girlfriend.
High school reunions are great…as long as you attend them with your spouse!
So far most of the advice has been things to avoid. Let’s jump into some things you should DO to protect your marriage against infidelity.
4. Invest in Your Relationship
Date Your Mate!
All too often married couples tend to stop dating after marriage.
Why does this happen?
To some degree it may be blamed on the growing family – it is difficult to have regular dates with your spouse when you have young children or babies at home. It could be that your job or hobbies consume so much of your time and you figure you’re already spending time at home with your spouse…why go out?
It could be that you’ve spent so much on the wedding that your credit card debt ties up too much of your income. There are plenty of reasons or excuses you could give as to why you stopped dating after you got married.
But there are equal reasons for why you should begin anew to date your mate! When you were dating you went out of your way to attract the attention of your future spouse.
It showed in the way you looked, the way you smelled, the gifts you gave, and the time you spent together. These things shouldn’t change drastically after the wedding. Date nights should become a regular part of your relationship.
Netflix and YouTube are just two positive ways technology can be used to invest in your relationship. A movie night cuddled up in bed with one another is a great way to end a date night!
5. Satisfy Your Spouse’s Needs on a Regular Basis
One of the easiest things you can do to ‘affair proof’ your marriage is to keep the sexual spark burning as brightly as possible. I highly encourage you and your spouse to enjoy sex with one another on a frequent and regular basis.
I obviously can’t say what that frequency would look like for your unique situation, as each couple will be different, but if your health allows it you should have sex often and spontaneously.
Plan a special night away, even if you don’t have any kids, and make sure that intense love-making is on the agenda!
Dr. Phil says, “Bored people are boring.” I would add that bored people look for excitement. If your marriage is in a “rut” and your relationship is boring and predictable, it’s time to add spice and variety.
This could mean something as simple as trying a new restaurant, trying out a new hobby, or getting creative in the bedroom. Men and women alike are prone to wander if life dishes out the “same ‘ol same ‘ol” day after day and nothing new and exciting happens in your relationship.
7.Be Your Best
If you want your relationship to last and thrive, you need to be the best spouse you can be. If you expect your spouse to give 100% to the marriage, you must be willing to give 100% of yourself too, and you may need to be the one to initiate changes first.
8.Use Technology to Brag on Your Spouse
Since we began this article talking about technology and all the potential dangers, I want to wrap it up with some benefits that technology can bring to your relationship. Post photos of your spouse or post status updates on your Facebook page about your spouse and relationship.
You can use Instagram or Pinterest to ‘photo journal’ your activities and show your followers the places you’ve been and the fun you’ve had with your spouse. Tweet messages to your followers and # (hashtag) your spouse. (My wife has started doing that, and tags photos of me with #hothusband.)
Send text messages or tweets to your spouse while you are apart, and remind him/her of your love and affection.
In summary, there are so many dangers you need to avoid when it comes to technology, but sometimes the best defense is a good offense and you can use technology to build up your spouse and invest in your relationship.
Protecting your marriage from infidelity is not a one-time investment but a way of life. It will require consistent investment of your time and emotions, but the pay-off is a satisfying and long-lasting relationship which is well worth the cost.
Invest in your relationship, and neither you nor your spouse will stray!
About the author
Jason and Debby Coleman are marriage mentors and the authors of “Discovering Your Amazing Marriage” (Seraphina Press).
They have survived infidelity during the first year of their marriage and have been married now for over 22 years. They have four children and reside in Federal Way, WA.