By Breaunna Stone
A strong society relies on strong marriages. Ryan Andersons, Senior Research Fellow at William E. Simon, in a report on marriage and family stated: “Marriage is the fundamental building block of all human civilization…Society as a whole, not merely any given set of spouses, benefits from marriage. This is because marriage helps to channel procreative love into a stable institution that provides for the orderly bearing and rearing of the next generation.” Marriage is vital to the growth and prosperity of our society, thus we must make an effort to keep our marriages strong and out of harm’s way, protecting it from modern invasions and emotional instability.
For better or worse, modern technology enables us to connect with others quickly and easily. Sometimes it can do more damage than good. Social media, texting, and email, create simple pathways that consumers use to make personal connections outside of marriage resulting in technology-assisted infidelity.
The beginning stages of infidelity can be defined as an emotional separation, including secrecy and deception, that puts a wedge between a husband and wife’s emotional and personal connection, resulting in a change in the marital dynamic. Emotional affairs are ensnaring, easy to hide, and what can seem to be a small or harmless flirtatious conversation can lead to more serious feelings and connections.
The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy found that “People who never intended to be unfaithful are unwittingly crossing the line from platonic friendships into romantic relationships, particularly in the workplace and on the Internet.”
Often times when marriage gets tough, we look for understanding and connection elsewhere. During these times, individuals become vulnerable, and emotional separation begins with flirty comments, confiding in a person of the opposite sex, demeaning remarks or complaints about one’s spouse, and pornography. These various forms of emotional infidelities can easily lead to physical affairs.
However, in cases of danger or abuse in the marital relationship, it is crucial to communicate hardships, fears, and worries to another individual. This should be done with a trusted confidante, like a family member or licensed therapist.
Protect your marriage through every day connection.
Protecting you marriage from emotional affairs can be as simple as connecting with your spouse on an emotional level every day. One way my husband and I connect emotionally every day is by telling each other the best part of our day, and the worst part of our day. This helps us stay connected by sharing the happy and hard parts about our personal lives, and empowers us to be a better, more loving, supportive spouse.
Protect your marriage by turning towards your spouse instead of away.
Another method to protect your marriage from emotional affairs is to turn towards your spouse instead of turning away. Turing towards your spouse can be difficult when there are feelings of contempt, or anger. This is the time to choose to turn towards your spouse, forgive, and resolve problems before more emotional damage is done.
Protect your marriage by establishing technological safeguards and accountability.
We live in a time where we are inundated with connection and tempting images through social media and technology. Social media can act as a way to escape the reality and scroll through highlights of others lives. In the times that we feel we need an escape, let us escape to our spouse. For example, my husband and I spend most of our day working on our computers and phones. In the evening, we do our best to take a walk and connect with each other completely disconnected. This is our way of turning towards each other instead of away.
Emotional affairs are preventable and avoidable. Consistently checking yourself and the emotional health of your marriage will help strengthen your marriage, and in turn keep your family, community, and society, strong.