save your marriage
Save your marriage by building a fence around your relationship.

Yesterday I was re-reading a portion of Dr. Frank Gunzburg’s book about how to save your marriage by keeping danger out and love within.  I got to thinking about what Linda and I have done to not only save our marriage, but effectively keeping our love alive and growing our relationship on a regular basis.

One of the suggestions that we can make is to save your marriage by building a fence around your relationship.   In our situation, you may ask if I had an emotional affair because Tanya was so great or because I let down my guard and allowed Tanya within certain boundaries that should have been in place?

Save Your Marriage by Building Fences

Building and maintaining the fence around your marriage can be a challenge, so here are some suggestions based on our own experiences:

Save your marriage by becoming your spouse’s number one fan – before someone else does!   Linda does a great job at this and it really feels nice when she shows this.  I for one, need to improve on this and am working at it all the time.

Save your marriage by praising your spouse often, and be as specific as possible.  Make them feel special and appreciated.  Compliment your spouse and tell him or her how handsome or beautiful  he or she is.  Tell them how lucky your are to have them in your life.

Save your marriage by reminding your spouse about the qualities you most admire. The need to be appreciated is important, so express thanks, congratulations and compliments frequently.  It can be as simple as thanking them for cleaning the bathroom or doing the laundry.  Obviously, something a little more romantic may be better!

See also  Why I Tolerated More After the Emotional Affair

Save your marriage by avoiding temptation.  Stay away from dangerous situations and people who put you at risk for violating your marriage vows.  By me working from home, for instance, I have completely removed myself from any possible temptations—except perhaps for a little “afternoon delight” occasionally with Linda!

I’m not a Facebook junkie or anything like that, but for those of you who are, steer clear of old flames or other emotionally needy members of the opposite sex online and at social gatherings or at the office.

Finally, save your marriage by strengthening the fence around your marriage. A spouse who feels loved, cherished and supported is a lot less likely to stray than someone who feels unappreciated and overwhelmed with responsibility.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Set aside time, on a regular and recurring basis to have fun together.
  • Have discussions together about what bothers you, what you like, what you feel passionate about, your past, your future together, and anything else.
  • Practice understanding your partner’s experience. Try to put yourself in their shoes so you can make sense of their feelings in different situations.
  • Be kind and complimentary to your spouse.
  • Don’t be stingy with apologies.
  • Do kind things for your partner without expecting anything in return.
  • Tell your spouse you love them and need them often.

**Feel free to add any additional suggestions you might have by leaving a comment.

It’s easy to let many of the suggestions mentioned above go for granted as your marital relationship matures.  In order to save your marriage and affair-proof it, it is imperative that you continually work and improve upon your execution of the above suggestions.

See also  A Reader's View of Her Husband's Marital Affair

For an additional resource try Dr. Gunzburg’s program, or Amy Waterman’s book, “Save My Marriage Today.”


    22 replies to "Save Your Marriage: Building Fences Around Your Relationship"

    • HarrieB

      Doug, these are all great suggestions. Dr Frank Gunzburg also talks about re-assessing behaviour with the opposite sex and this is something I think is really important (and I have been too passive about this aspect in the past). Some people are naturally quite flirtacious or over-familiar in their manner and this can give out confusing signals to members of the opposite sex, inviting reciprocal behaviour, which can then potentially be a temptation or get out of hand. This sort of behaviour can also make the other partner feel insecure, or feel they and their feelings are not respected. It can be hard sometimes to point out that this sort of behaviour is not acceptable without feeling like an over-jealous prude. I guess it is another aspect of speaking your mind calmly, making your own feelings and requirements known and respected, and is something I am working on!

      • Doug

        HarrieB, Good points. As I look back on things, Tanya was one of those types of persons like you mentioned that were quite flirtatious and acted in an overly familiar manner–inviting reciprocal behavior–in me.

        • Doug

          On Monday when Doug and I were having the “comparison conversation” Doug said Tanya was bubbly and friendly, I want to change that to loose and scuzzy. Boy I didn’t have a chance!

      • Doug

        HarrieB, New information about Tanya, thanks! Just the kind of woman I want hanging around my husband. I know it was exciting to be around someone like that, however do you want someone who is flirtatious to be your wife?

        It is funny I have been thinking about this same subject all week, not about Tanya, but about myself . When I was younger I was a huge flirt, then after Doug and I got together I completely stopped. Throughout our marriage I had many opportunities but I would run like hell. Being around baseball dads who wives let themselves go presented a lot of avenues for comments, looks, flirting but I would ignore them and walk away. I never wanted to get myself in that kind of situation.

        Looking back I wonder if that was a wise choice. Maybe if I kept Doug on his toes, he wouldn’t have taken me for granted and found someone else. That just wasn’t me. I hope that he appreciates that I believe so deeply in our commitment and that I am a wife that he can fully trust.– Linda

        • Duane

          Linda, I think about this often. My wife’s AP is similar to me in personality but he’s far more accomplished professionally. He’s got a Masters in Anthropology – not the sexiest sheepskin I grant you, but impressive nonetheless. I get caught up in the idea that if I was more accomplished, more ambitious, more confident, more, more, more … The truth is, this guy walked into my wife’s office and offered an opportunity. It wouldn’t matter if I was Bruce Springsteen, she made her decision based on issues within herself. That’s where we all get lost in our own ego, in our desire to control the situation. But it’s got nothing to do with us. We are out of the equation entirely.

          We are all good people. Even if a person genuinely falls out of love with their spouse, that doesn’t make the spouse unlovable or unworthy of love. It just means he/she isn’t loved by their spouse anymore. So g’bye, then.

          It bothers me when people denigrate themselves in response to an affair (myself included.) It’s a selfish betrayal and nothing more.

          • carol

            Yes Duane, a selfish betrayal that impacts on YOUR marriage and YOUR self-esteem. I find it so incredibly painful that I am out of the equation. I have examined myself inside out, and I really believe that you are right when you say our spouses decision is based on issues within themselves. When there are problems in a marriage, surely the caring way to handle it would be to air the problems and concerns, whether they be sexual, financial, or ego-based? Very often in the hustle bustle of life we miss the signs that may alert us to these problems. I have promised myself that if I have another chance at making this marriage work, I will be so honest about my feelings and concerns that it would be like the 800lb gorilla in the middle of the room that someone on this blog mentioned!!
            I am intelligent, attractive, accomplished and very loving and caring – if he doesn’t want to acknowledge and appreciate those qualities, it doesn;t make me less. It just HURTS!! and time will heal that too I believe (I hope!) Stay strong and believe in yourself

          • Linda

            Duane, I know what you say is true, and I have read hundreds of articles and books that tell you the same thing, it is not about the other person. I guess what Jay said in her comment is on target, I just want to understand. I want to know what was so special about Tanya that made Doug risk everything and continue having an affair with her.
            Honestly I have come to the conclusion it wasn’t what was so special about Tanya, it was what was so special about the situation and the illusion he had about her. I have realized that no one can be the person Doug described to me, and I am just degrading myself by trying to be that person. He was in the infatuation stage and the qualities he perceived as special or perfect would eventually turn out to be annoying and negative.
            I sure that he enjoyed her flirting because he was the one receiving all the attention, it is a lot different when you are watching the one you love flirt with someone else, it makes you feel insecure. Jealousy was also an issue, at the beginning the jealousy is cute, you feel wanted, after time your partner will become jealous of your children, or how you spend your free time.
            I guess the problem with an affair is you never get to experience the negative side of their behavior and will always remember the affair partner and the situation as positive and perfect.

      • carol

        HarrieB, oh boy! do I recognize this! I always thought I was alone in my feelings about that kind of behaviour. I always thought I was being paranoid and unreasonably jealous. I must say it is quite a relief to see that it is a pattern of behaviour displayed by some, and that some are susceptible to it.

    • Jenny

      My husband and I have been married for two and a half years. Before we were married, there was some trouble with his ex. After being sure that it was all over, we got engaged and then married and have been very happy. He’s military, so we have moved to another state and are both far from our families. We are expecting our first child in about 2 weeks and I just found out that my husband and his ex (I’ll call her J) have been emailing back and forth for about 7 months. About a month ago, they began talking in short spurts on the phone and texting ( a lot ). I found out about this because of the phone bill–I am the billpayer. When I confronted him about this, he admitted that they had been emailing almost daily for about 7 months, which was a total shock to me. I had gotten the impression from the phone bill that it had only been ONE month. He said that they were just friends and that he enjoyed her company…that they had been through a lot together as a couple and he would always feel a connection to her. They write to each other about her boyfriend, and about me. She has a lot of fights with her boyfriend, and uses my husband as a shoulder to cry (type) on. He has told her how much he loves me and that he is really excited about the baby, but in his cell phone, she is saved under “Post Legal”…as if she is a work contact and not a person. This is what truly has me baffled and devastaed. He says that they are just friends, but he has to hide her identity?? The fact that it has been going on for so long kills me. We discussed long ago that if she were to ever “pop” up again in our relationship, that I would leave him without question. He knows how I feel about this, but seems to think that he really has done nothing wrong (I only found out about all of this 3 days ago). How can I explain to him that the emotional affair he is having (he has had zero contact with her since being confronted) is more hurtful than if he’d had a physical one. I’m so confused. I don’t wish to share any of this with family, and I would like to work this out, but I need him to realize that regardless of how he sees it, he’s been cheating on me. Do you have any suggestions??

      • Doug

        Hi Jenny, In my opinion, you need to sit your husband down and talk to him about this whole situation. Let him know that though he may feel that it is just a friendship, you are not comfortable with it, especially because he chose to hide it from you and because they are sharing intimate details with each other. Don’t make it an argument, rather, be calm and understanding of his desire to talk to her, but firmly let him know that you are uncomfortable with it. Clearly express your desire for him to end his relationship with her permanently. You may also want to get some books or print of some articles on the subject for him to read so that he can educate himself on this subject and better understand and accept the fact that he was in fact cheating on you.

    • Alteredreality

      Jenny I have almost exact situation going on. In my case I found out it was going on during our entire relationship from the very beginning. Basically his reality of our relationship and my reality are two completely different realities!!! That’s a hard pill to swallow. We’ve been married a year and a half and I feel from day one when started dating until now has all been a lie. How do you rebuild something when you never really had it to begin with?

      • De

        Hi Doug and Linda,

        I am experiencing the exact situation mentioned above by Alteredreality. Literally the EXACT situation. We have been together for a year and I found out 4 days ago that he has been having an emotional and physical (one time) affair from the beginning. He has told me everything and I feel that he is genuinely remorseful, but I do not know if/how to rebuild trust again. I do believe that people make mistakes, but I am fearful that if I do not address this in the right manner, it will happen again down the road, if we reconcile.

        Do you have feedback on ways to rebuild trust?

        Thank you.

        • Doug

          Hey De, I’m sorry for what you’re going through. Rebuilding trust is always a major hurdle for most couples after infidelity. In our surveys that we’ve conducted, it’s usually the top struggle. We’ve addressed trust a lot on this site. To start with I’d go here and start reading the articles and the comments:
 But I should add that after just 4 days, you’re a long ways from even getting close to rebuilding trust. You have a lot of other things that you need to be concerned with, like taking care of yourself, getting details of the affair, etc.

    • kellyneo

      Hi Doug, Tanya,

      I am new to your blog. And am particularly interested in what you think are proper boundaries to implement between male and female co-workers. Like very specific actions like is texting after office hours about non-work related subjects acceptable etc.

      • Doug

        Ha! No worries, Kellyneo! Some good boundaries for co-workers…The one you mentioned is good. In fact you probably shouldn’t text about non-work related stuff at any time. Also, no one-on-one lunches, no flirting, no touching and no discussing personal/relationship type situations. Basically, try to keep your interactions work related.

    • kellyneo

      YIKES i had a typo in my first comment! i meant to say Hi Doug, Linda! I AM SO SO SO SO SORRY.
      i think the reason why i wrote tanya could be because i got close to a guy at work when his rship with his wife was shaky and eventaully they separated and are now divorced. We got together when they filed for separation and were together for 2 years. Right now, when i reflect on the relationship, i feel i am guilty for being too available and crossing boundaries while we were just co-workers. I now wonder if the fun,friendly female colleague did not eixst (aka me) , would they have stayed together longer?
      Hence my interest in maintaining proper boundaries.

    • Kellyneo

      Thanks a lot Doug! What is your take on alcohol and after work drinks? If my partner enjoys after work drinks with his female colleagues (once/twice a month) , are there any boundaries that should be followed?
      Also, if I’m only an occasional drinker while he enjoys drinking , do you think that can create problems in a couple? One of the things I noticed is that my partner is drawn to another female colleague who can drink as much as him. Thanks!

      • Doug

        I think that drinking can allow some people to get into situations where it causes trouble and is often a common element with one-night stands and other types of affairs. I’d think that would be especially true when a person is drawn to another while doing so. I suppose you could always ask that your husband not go out with his female colleagues alone, or that he not drink while doing so. I’m sure you will be some push back if you do ask that though. You can also ask to be included in these outings. Checking in with you regularly via phone or text might be a good idea as well. I’m sure there are some other ideas as well, but that’s what I can think of off the top of my head.

    • Kellyneo

      Thanks a lot Doug !

    • Emma

      This blog is disturbing in that there seems to be an underlying implication that the attention given to a spouse will keep their attention at home. This perspective does everyone a huge disservice. Every individual is responsible for what, where, and upon whom they give their attention. The betrayed partner can not control the wandering focus of their partner. Their partner is making a choice. That choice has ZERO to do with their spouse and if they subscribe to the idea that it’s up to their spouse to hold their attention in any way, they are blaming their partner for their choice to not keep their energy at home. Respect and appreciation and offering support, care and kindness is a reciprocal aspect of a committed relationship. If any of these elements are missing or feel one sided, the solution isn’t outside the marriage. The spouse who is feeling an imbalance needs to address that with their partner. What you are suggesting in this post is that it’s somehow understandable that when their needs aren’t being met inside the fence they’d start looking over it or seeking greener grasses. What you seem to be conveniently overlooking here or have missed because it’s in your self protection blindspot is that the grass is greenest where it’s watered. And where the fences exist to keep pests, vermits, and interlopers out. Because the moment you entertain the idea that your spouse isn’t appreciating you enough, especially without looking in the mirror and putting the energy into restoring any loss in connection, you leave the gate wide open for yourself to wander out and others to wander in. And maybe even more damaging you allow your partner to believe the lie they weren’t enough when the truth is you weren’t.

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