I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t want — and expect — loyalty from their partner. A solemn promise, whether before God, friends, family or a Las Vegas Elvis and showgirls, does not make the issue of loyalty a done deal.
In this day and age, keeping our eyes on each other is no easy task. But being loyal in a relationship — faithful, true, and devoted to our partner — is worth its weight in gold.
We’ve had a few couples in therapy that had explored open marriage, and… well, they were in therapy. Enough said on that!
Loyalty is imperative to a great relationship and a lifetime of love.
However, loyalty is not necessarily a byproduct of love, commitment, or a marriage license. Many couples begin relationships and marriages relying on their commitment to their vows as a safeguard from relationship betrayals. And so often, even those with the greatest of intentions are caught off guard by innocent temptations and lures.
Emotional affairs are devastating, and they lurk in the shadows of the unsuspecting.
At a foundational level, loyalty is about committing to emotional connection. We look to our partner to be the number one person to share our hearts with, no matter what external distractions surround us or what we are feeling.
Without a strong, emotional connection with our partner, we leave ourselves vulnerable in the workplace, at the gym or even at church, to potentially inappropriate and destructive relationships. Whether emotional, spiritual or physical, these outside relationships will wreak havoc on a marriage.
Remaining loyal in our primary love relationship takes more than a promise or commitment. It requires a whole-hearted love relationship
So how do we remain loyal to our partner? And what’s more, how can we show them our loyalty?
1. Make your partner number one in your life.
I’m not just talking about giving lip service here. Your partner must feel more important than the kids, work, family, friends, recreation.
Every decision you make must come with consideration of your partner. How will they feel about _____? You fill in the blank.
2. Create healthy boundaries, everywhere.
Be very, very careful with your girls or guys nights out! Alcohol, fun music, and great food can provide an ambiance that perhaps should be reserved for your special someone.
Think twice or thrice about how, where, and with whom you exercise. I have had far too many couples come for help who are the victims of gym affairs. Hot sweaty muscled bodies, often inappropriately clothed, loud, and fast music and lots of adrenaline prime the pump for trouble.
Consider working out with your partner, if possible. It takes creativity to make that happen, but don’t rule it out. Getting hot and sweaty with your partner may add a fun thrill to exercise. Encourage and admire each other as you grow in strength or skill and keep your eyes off those who belong to another.
Business dinners, conferences, and sales calls can be a petri dish for the growth of emotional affairs. Schmoozing to close the deal over a glass of wine or on the golf course can lead to a bigger deal than you intentioned.
Invite coworkers or a boss to be part of an evening business meeting with someone of the opposite sex. Or change the time and/or venue to keep it all business.
3. Spend quality time connecting.
This can be so difficult in our busy lives. Make it happen, come hell or high water. Go deeper. Get closer. Be open, honest, and transparent. Your partner should be your best friend and your confidant. And for those who cringe at the mention of “emotion”, think of it as science instead.
Attachment science is about emotion and connection. So let’s all, men and women, trust in a deeper and safer connection. It’s absolutely vital to reducing conflict and creating a safe, secure, fun, and fulfilling lifetime love.
Michael W. Regier is a clinical psychologist and certified Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist in Visalia, California. He and his wife Paula are authors of the book Emotional Connection: The Story and Science of Preventing Conflict and Creating Lifetime Love. They are currently BETA testing their Emotional Connection Online Course and will be releasing to the public in the coming week
Source: Your Tango