I used to work in a large corporate setting. In that environment, I found myself periodically working for and with people that were having extra-marital affairs. It never ceased to amaze me the level of energy and effort these people would exert toward these endeavors. While supposedly secret, everyone in the department would eventually learn what was going on. On “hook-up days” these people dressed better, smelled better and had a real spring in their step. Even the busiest of people could seem to find time in their schedule to take a “long lunch” a couple days a week. I always wondered how their marriage would be if they were just to apply the same energy to their spouse as they were to their lover?
Much of the thrill of the dating process is in the discovery of the other person. While you start out as strangers, over time you continue to learn information about your partner that brings you closer and closer together. As you move down this path of discovery, you determine the long-term likelihood of compatibility. When you finally find “the one”, it often leads to marriage.
The problem with many marriages is that the learning stops in the years following the wedding. We become way too predictable, both as individuals and as couples. It’s like doing the same crossword puzzle over and over again. In time you stop reading the clues and just start writing down the answers as if you’re in auto-pilot. In the years that follow, the answers cease to have any meaning at all, they’re just rote responses. We become mindless spouses going through the motions… And then one day when we least expect it, someone dangles a new puzzle in front of us… All new clues, new discovery, new formations… Is it any wonder so many people fall to this temptation?
So, why not have an affair? WITH YOUR SPOUSE? Plan a secret rendezvous with them over your lunch hour. Wear something new that they haven’t seen. Look forward to it all morning, then sneak out of the office unnoticed. I love it when Tara gives me a call at work and tells me “her husband is out of town…” can I come see her? (What makes that practical is that we share calendars, so she’s not frustrating me with that call when I have clients in the office). We’ve done the same thing with just meals. She’ll call me up and ask if I can sneak away for lunch. While this is not technically different than other meals we share together, on these days it’s all about flirting and playfulness. The goal is to avoid excessive routine and to encounter the unexpected, much as you had when dating.
Don’t let the discovery phase stop in your shocking marriage. It takes effort and creativity, but the return on that investment is huge, and it pays many dividends!