In every marriage, there are two dynamics at work: actions and behaviors that are Love Kindlers and make the passion between the spouses grow, and actions and behaviors that are Love Extinguishers and usually hurt your spouse. This End of the Year Fidelity Checkup Series examines the Love Extinguishers to be sure that you are not doing the things in your marriage that leave your spouse wide open to an affair. The first Love Extinguisher in the series was “Leaving & Cleaving.” The second in the series was “Angry Explosions.” Yesterday’s Love Extinguisher was “Disrespectful Judgments.” And today is the conclusion of our series and the end of the old year and the old decade! Before a spouse can start doing the things that kindle love, they need to stop doing the things that extinguish love, and one of the love extinguishers that can tear a marriage apart is not being Personally Transparent.
Lack of Personal Transparency could be called “Dishonesty” and most married people have some insight into what dishonesty is. The infamous “Do I look fat in these jeans?” is an honesty enigma that marriage experts have debated for decades. Another well-known honesty debate between marriage experts is whether to tell your spouse of a very brief infidelity at the beginning of the relationship. About half the experts advise if the hurt would be greater than the harm, keep it to yourself; the other half suggest telling every indiscretion because anything hidden can cause pain. But personal transparency transcends being honest and not lying. Personal Transparency is being open with a spouse and sharing with them your inner self—the thoughts and feelings that are normally hidden or at least edited. Personal Transparency is letting the true, inner You be visible to another human being. When parts of You are hidden, it is like dropping water on a fire that has died down and is starting to smolder. The part that is hidden strangles any possibility of a blazing flame of love developing. Furthermore, it shows tremendous disrespect and distrust because in effect the hiding spouse is saying they do not trust their spouse to know this hidden part and still love them. True Personal Transparency requires openness and sharing of thoughts, feelings, habits, likes, dislikes, personal history, daily activities and plans for the future. If a partner is not transparent in these areas, they leave their spouse in the position of loving an imagined person who doesn’t really exist—the person they THINK their spouse is because their spouse has lead them to believe it. The marriage is left vulnerable to infidelity when the partner hides a “friendship” they are currently having with someone else, when the partner hides small feelings of resentment, when lies about past history are discovered, or when daily activities such as going to lunch with another person are covered up.
To see if you are leaving your marriage open to unfaithfulness due to lack of Personal Transparency, open your heart and ask yourself, do you find yourself:
Being hurt by your spouse’s comments but not letting them know that it’s not okay with you?
Enjoying another person’s company and not telling your spouse there might be an issue?
Being resentful of the division of household chores but saying nothing about it…just fuming?
Upset with the way your spouse spends money but keeping it to yourself?
Feeling lonely, missing the time you used to spend together, but not saying anything to them about it?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, please consider speaking to a professional or contacting me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or coming to my website at www.affaircare.com. Don’t let your marriage be vulnerable to an affair. There is hope!