Women are always worried that if they are really nice to him, he will just take it in and not do anything. Well, men generally do want to give, and appreciation motivates them. If you appreciate your husband for the next week, and he asks what's going on, then it leads to a positive conversation where you can also share what you want. You're taking the lead and modeling the behavior that you desire in your spouse. This relationship between "appreciation" and a man's need to "win"—how does that play out in the home?
Just watch your husband view a ballgame. You would imagine from the way he's yelling that he has part ownership in the team he's cheering for. That's because men have been trained since they were little that winning and accomplishing is much of their definition.
So they will watch a game to the bitter end if they [or their team] can stay in it. But if those sorts of gestures are met with what he did wrong instead of what he tried to do right, then that becomes, "I can't win. What these things are saying is that a man is emotionally and sexually moving away from a spouse.
See all of the best photos of the week in these slideshows How should a wife address this? When you see these things happening bring it up in a positive way.
Ask him, "Do you remember when we were dating? I want to get back to that. I don't want to wait until the kids are in college. I want to have some fun. There are a lot of marriage books out there that give you a hundred things to do.
They're all pretty good if you have time to do all hundred. I'm suggesting that you look at the signs that are going to mean the most and then do something about them. Don't do what so many of us do, which is hold our breath and hope [the problem] goes away.
What can couples do to get a relationship back on track and sustain it? I talk about having four minute periods of uninterrupted time a week where both turn off their CrackBerrys and they just spend time alone talking or playing board games or reading. They should also have one night a week where they do date night. It should be the same night every week, so get a babysitter ahead of time, and do not talk about three things—money, business or the kids.
Everybody always says, "Well, then what are we going to talk about? If you did, you would not have gotten married. It's not what got you here, and it is not what is going to sustain you. I'm talking about after the kids are settled in, and it's not necessarily to have more sex. The idea is just to say there is a space for your marriage that does not include everybody else. According to your study, there's a 93 percent chance that if your husband's cheated he won't just admit it.
What does a woman do if she thinks he already has? When women approach their husband with this issue then there's already a problem even if he's not cheating. When he says, "no way" or "what are you, crazy?
That's remarkable to me because that's the last thing that should happen. The conversation should continue to where she says, "Listen, maybe you're cheating on me or maybe you're telling me the truth, but the fact that I'm asking you this means we are way out of sync.
What are we going to do now to get back into sync? The next thing going up the ladder is a GPS magnet that you can place on his car to see if he's being honest about where he's been.
Another option is hiring [a private] investigator or asking him to take a lie-detector test. There are also men—12 percent of those you surveyed—who will cheat no matter what.
How can a wife tell if he's worth trusting again? If you have a husband who does not show remorse, is not willing to be completely transparent moving forward and is not truly apologetic for what he has already done, then I don't see how a woman could entrust her vulnerability to that man again.
Have the marital problems you've mentioned in your book always been this bad? Or is sustaining a marriage just more difficult now? I think [marital problems] have gotten significantly worst because of technology. We had difficulty finding space to be with our spouses before and now in the age of text-messaging, BlackBerrys and e-mail it has become impossible for some to truly have their spouse's focus for any extended period of time.
Vacations are no longer about vacationing. At any moment you could have to respond to an e-mail and people make a mistake to say, "It's only five minutes. We are never going to be able to microwave a relationship. It's something that requires time and energy. I don't think we're poorer communicators. I think it's basic. It's kindness and appreciation and gestures that really do mean a lot and that's where we need to be putting our focus.