Cheating on your partner is a choice, not an accident

This one is the big one, it’s called “Being man (or woman) enough, to not screw around.” Basically that means; never looking for excuses to diminish the importance of your relationship so you can feel morally justified in seeking intimacy with someone else. If you loved each enough to get married in the first place then you ought to be able to revisit and revitalize that love and take it in new directions, with a lot of honest communication.

Remember that emotional intimacy is the magical thread which binds a couple together; it necessarily excludes all others from that bond and cannot be shared around.

Not with your pre-wedding best friend who wants their preferred status back, not with your mum who tells you you’re too young to know about life. And finally, not even with your own kids who like all kids, will try at times to drive a wedge between you; to play favourites, or demonise one parent against the other.

Your first loyalty, after yourself, is to your marriage and your mate and no one can ever be allowed to compromise that sacred bond. It's what guarantees that you will remain together and will see your children all the way through to a happy adulthood - where they too will now know how to love their partner with the same kind of uncompromising loyalty you taught them.

Children learn these lessons not from what their parents tell them, but by witnessing how they live their lives. If you have chosen a partner who is steadfast and loyal, and you are too, then chances are, your children will do the same when it’s their time to find a mate and start a family.

Their number one lesson in life… is you.

Don’t allow you friends or family to criticize your spouse behind their back, and never do so yourself, even if you’re as mad as hell about something.

Your relationship is sacred and your intimate life exists only for you and is not for sharing with others.

Once you are married you are now part of a completely new and integral unit. You owe none of that intimacy to anyone else. But you do owe it to your partner to stick up for them always. If friends or family criticize them unfairly, tell them it’s unwelcome, then if it doesn’t stop, put your partner first, and just walk away.

Remember too that any criticism of others is above all an admission of our own insecurities and inability to handle a situation. When we are complete within ourselves and have a healthy sense of self-worth, we don’t feel the need to criticize the behaviour of others.

All of us will have moments when we are so angry or disappointed in our partner that we could well imagine we have been handed a convenient permission note to punish them by misbehaving. Such moral distortion is always self-serving and all it takes is just one seemingly trivial and fleeting indiscretion, perhaps after one too many drinks, to irreversibly destroy a great relationship.

Infidelity is often the kiss of death for an otherwise good marriage, either at the time it occurs, or if things are somehow patched up, very insidiously over the ensuing years. It is not easily fixed and can continue to poison everything long after both parties think they have recovered from it, terminating a marriage many years after the event.

I can't speak for women, but men; if something isn’t working, then the commitment you made on your wedding day demands of you that you get to the bottom of the problem - and not that of another woman. (Most typically one who plays up to you because she wants to boost her ego at your wife’s expense.)

Infidelity during a time of marital stress is an especially low act. It enables the betrayer to climb up onto the high ground by protecting their ego at the expense of their partner, who is now doubly vulnerable.

Agree together that ‘the worst case scenario’ - if ever things started to fall apart between you, is that whichever one of you needs the space will ask the other for permission to spend some time away, then that you will both seek counseling together, and also agree not to become involved with anyone else in that time.

You and your spouse are in a shared and democratic relationship where the good of the whole must be put before the needs of the individual. If your actions, as self justifying as they may feel, will hurt your partner then that strikes at the very core of your marriage.

“Marriage” some sage wrote, is all about happily giving 60% and only ever expecting 40% back.

So in the end, each of you still gets a full 100%, but the 20% ‘selflessness overlap’ in the middle is what creates an indestructible love affair.

The degree of ‘contribution’ by each partner in a marriage is a constant process of ebb and flow. You cannot keep score. There will always be times when one partner gives more romantically, emotionally, financially or in some other way than their partner, and other times when the reverse is true. One day you could be the breadwinner, the next you could be laid low for a few years and rely entirely on your partner to do everything.

Also, we are all different, some people like to give in ways which may not be readily noticeable, others prefer their every contribution to be acknowledged and well documented. The 60/40 rule evens everything out to help shape a seamless and enduring relationship.

Fidelity is essentially the deliberate choice to forego sex and intimacy with others, in favour of living a life based on openness and trust. And this takes us back to where the real problem lies with infidelity:

It’s not the fact that one partner has shared some degree of intimacy with someone else - as unpalatable as that may be, but in order to do so they must invariably tell the person they have sworn complete honesty to, an ever expanding labyrinth of lies; both deliberately and by non-disclosure. And lies destroy not only trust, but also the love, which is built upon it.