Marriage is a sacred vow one takes to remain devoted to and cherish their partner for the rest of their lives. Sadly, not all marriages are so blissful – some can fall prey to infidelity, whether that be physical or emotional. The term “adultery of the heart” is a new phenomenon, in which partners come to feel emotionally distant and begin to become attached to someone else who isn’t their spouse. This type of infidelity may, in fact, hurt just as much as physical cheating and can have devastating effects on individuals and families alike.
In order to keep a spark alive in any marriage, it is important to be able to talk openly with your partner about your desires and expectations. Communication is key when it comes to maintaining a healthy and fulfilling relationship. Oftentimes couples misconstrue communication, however, and will find themselves focusing more on how their spouse has wronged them rather than effectively communicating their feelings and needs. This can unintentionally create an atmosphere of distrust and doubt in the marriage, leading the way for one partner to become interested in someone else.
Another thing to keep in mind is to not let the mundane tasks of marriage take precedence over the romance. To ensure a lasting spark, partners must make time for each other to reminisce on the fond memories shared; or look forward to planning new adventures to invigorate the bond between them. Both making memories, and having something to look forward to, are essential ingredients to confidence that both partners are satisfied in the relationship. Further, it is important to focus on investing in your own marriage while remaining aware of unhealthy boundaries that may arise if relating too closely with someone outside the relationship.
If a person suspects betrayal of the heart, it is important that they speak up in order to address the matter immediately. Ignoring any form of infidelity only leads to lessened trust within the marriage and further divides the two partners. Setting clear expectations and boundaries from the beginning of a partnership ensures vulnerableness, trust, security, and loyalty. As partners, having open dialogue allows them to coach each other on how to best avoid temptations of the heart and make sure they are giving each other the attention they need. Throughout the marriage, this practice should be kept in order to ensure that any issues are addressed quickly before they snowball into bigger marital problems.
Although at times, difficult to prevent or remedy, recognizing signs of adultery of the heart and understanding how to maintain balance in a marriage is critical for having a successful union. Being mindful of where your priorities stand throughout the marriage – including creating space to develop alone ideas, passions, and feelings - are the most paramount items to think about. Taking time for yourself, as well as with your partner, helps keep both people from developing feelings for anyone else. Remember, the best way to avoid "adultery of the heart" is to keep your marriage a priirity and focus on building a strong and trusting relationship through communication and activities that promote togetherness and satisfaction.