Faithfulness is an important value in a marriage. After all, you pledged your vows of faithfulness and commitment ‘until death do us part’ on your wedding day, hoping to guarantee the faithfulness and commitment that allows you to confidently rely on the steadfastedness of the relationship. But we know all too well, that almost 50% of all marriages fall apart and end in divorce. There is also a high percentage of infidelity that occurs in relationships as well, some ending in divorce, others building from ground up to restore broken trust and revive the marriage with renewed vows of faithfulness.
Before we go any further, let’s take a few moments to think of some of the following words that have to do with the concept of faithfulness:
Now I invite you to think about whether these are the words that come to mind when you think about faithfulness. Is this what faithfulness means to you?
I believe that true commitment and faithfulness means to be trusted in all areas, not just the sexual department concerning matters of fidelity. Being faithful means that you are trusted with the matters of each other’s hearts. Being faithful means that you can be depended upon to follow through with your promises. It means that your partner should have a confident expectation (or faith in you) that you will follow through and deliver on not only your promises but your wedding vows as well. This kind of confidence helps to eliminate fear or worry in a relationship.
If there is too little trust, little sense of safety, and little certainty about your relationship, this is a huge cause for concern and something to invest immediate attention to, for the sake of your relationships health. Intimacy comes from knowing the other person at a deep level. When this is not happening, there is always room for doubt and suspicion of where you stand with the other person, as well as questions being raised about how honest and open the other person is being. Openly and honestly sharing our thoughts, dreams, values, plans, decisions, and most importantly matters of the heart is an essential foundation for building that sense of security within a relationship.
Sometimes we put up masks or guards in a relationship about our areas of weakness for fear of being judged or rejected. But the more you share inside the relationship, taking risks of vulnerability, the safer your relationship becomes. If one member of the relationship cannot share his/her fears of abandonment, fear of closeness, or rejection, or fears of being controlled, or being seen as ‘all bad’ causing feelings of failure, and believing they are not loveable as they are, or have fears of sharing their own desires, needs or feelings in a relationship, this can become a major problem. Those sorts of things will seep out elsewhere if they are unable to be revealed within your committed relationship. This opens the door for infidelity, whether emotional or physical, where secrets now drive a wedge between you and the love of your life that you pledged your vow of faithfulness to. If you now share these secrets with a person outside the relationship, you may be at risk for some type of affair, and a ‘cooling’ of the committed relationship you are in. I encourage you, if you are afraid to share your deepest fears and needs with your spouse and you want to have a committed long term marriage with this person, face your fears. Bring your needs, desires, weaknesses and fears to your spouse and not to someone else, even if it feels risky. This is a great way to guard your marriage from outside intruders that may come in between the two of you and breakdown your marriage.
I also encourage anyone considering marriage, to take a look at the words above that outline what faithfulness is really about. If you do not believe you can do that, or do not have the same value of faithfulness, DO NOT COMMIT to marriage until you hold faithfulness in such a high regard. It is the only sure guarantee that you will have a successful marriage, if you REALLY do value commitment and faithfulness.
When the going gets tough, not when a relationship is in it’s infancy with all the feelings of infatuation… this is the time when your real values begin to show up. The test of time and hardship will help you determine the ‘stuff’ not only that you are made of, or that of your spouse, but it will also reveal how strong your relationship is. It will show you both what your ‘staying’ power is and willingness to stick with the process of being truly known and fully knowing, accepting and appreciating your spouse. This stage unfortunately is usually where the relationship begins to fall apart. But it is also an important crossroads for the relationship as you both begin to see your own moral failures, as well as your true values, and can be the beginning of the most confident, secure and wonderful committed relationship as you realize as a couple that you have made it through the most trying times and have come out stronger because of it.
Loyalty and Commitment
Here are some ways to increase a sense of loyalty and commitment, thereby ensuring faithfulness to each other:
- Speak highly of your spouse in front of others. He will feel respected, she will feel loved.
- Be involved in the things that are important to your spouse.
- Help make decisions together, as a team, especially ones concerning finances (for him) and regarding the kids (for her) as well as other decisions that need to be made together for each person to feel considered, valued, and part of a team working together toward your family goals, values and dreams.
- Don’t correct of be overly critical of each other in public, in front of the kids. Resolve these issues privately, and try to do so with as much love and respect as possible.
- Don’t say anything that will tarnish your spouse’s reputation.
- Don’t look lustfully at others outside of your marriage.
- Make each other and your marriage a priority.
- Defend each other.
- Keep your commitments.
- Speak positively of each other.
- Work through your own issues of fear that affect your commitment and faithfulness.
- Strive to be more faithful, loyal and committed.
Remember also that love ALWAYS protects, always hopes and always perseveres.
Stay tuned for value #5 on how to ensure that you are protecting your marriage from intruders. I will give some more key information on how to have the appropriate boundaries in your marriage to help keep your relationship safe from infidelity or other things that come into a relationship and eventually can break down the marriage bond.
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Katie Meilleur – Certified Relationship Life Coach