These are all borders to protect us. We place these things around our home to keep out unwanted guests whether they’re cute, small critters or scary, big predators.
We need to take this same premise into our marriage in order to protect our marital relationship from seemingly innocent outsiders or outright intruders that pose a threat to our marital oneness.
Affairs don’t just happen. They don’t fall out of thin air. They usually start because we’re unguarded or we’re naive or deceived. Or worse case scenario, we’re enticed by the flattery, the emotional support, the batting of the eyelashes, the understanding nods and pats on the shoulder, the spark, the smile, or just the newness of it all.
One wife wrote in asking how she can protect her marriage in a difficult situation…
My husband is traveling a lot for business. We have a great marriage, open communication, great sex life, etc. His company has recently hired a woman with whom my husband will be working with. She is a Christian and my husband and her sit on a board of a Christian organization as well. They will be traveling together as well; flying, driving, same hotel, etc. We have discussed this concern as my insecurities are rising up. He has committed to no evening meals together alone, no alcohol while on business, etc. At times they will be taking long drives together to get to a client – up to 3 hours….. how can we set up (more) boundaries so I feel safe, and how do I just let go. I am afraid that if I push the issue too much, I may cause a problem that really might not be there…..any advice?
On the Road
This is one tough spot for this wife to be in! It’s not like this situation is just an occasional time that a husband is interacting with another woman in the area of business. Nope. This is much different. But before I get into my response to her situation I wanted to give a basic outline of hedges that my Beloved and I put in place for our marriage.
4 Hedges to Put Up Around Your Marriage
1. We don’t have a friendship with the opposite sex. Period.
Now does this mean we’re not cordial to others? Of course not. As a married couple we have relationships with other couples, but we don’t ‘hangout’ with the opposite sex. I hang out with the wife and Eric hangs out with the other husband, or we stay in a group setting.
2. We don’t travel alone with the opposite sex.
We take precautionary measures to make sure we’re not left alone in a compromising situation. We either travel together, alone, or in groups.
3. We don’t confide in the opposite sex.
I confide in my husband or my close girlfriends. And Eric confides in me or his buddies. When we were dating I didn’t confide in any other man and he didn’t confide in some other woman. So why would we confide in someone else after we got married?
4. If the opposite sex wants help or counsel, we direct them to our spouse.
Many times we’ve been faced with this situation. There have been times women will want to talk to Eric about their marriage/problems just because he’s a business consultant (or when he was their employer). And women love it when someone listens to them! And even though I’ve never met some of these women, Eric’s response is always the same, “You need to talk with my wife.”
And because I run an on-line ministry, there have been many times that I have men contacting me seeking counsel, whether it’s through a comment, an email or through a Facebook message. I always let my husband know there’s a guy who needs to be ministered to and then I forward the comment on to him. I’m not looking to build a relationship with some other man all for the sake of ministry.
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Eph. 5:15,16
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Matt. 10:16
So those are a few things we do in our marriage to keep us from temptation.
Now back to our wife’s dilemma.
Here are my thoughts…
I personally don’t believe you can implement many more safeguards seeing how he has an on-going relationship with close personal contact and no accountability with this co-worker. That’s my biggest concern.
The opportunity for temptation is high! And the likelihood of getting emotionally connected with this woman is even higher. For both him and her.
Long hours in the car.
They have work in common, as well as this other organization.
He’s away from his family.
It would only be natural for a man to connect with a woman in this scenario.
But this is his job so you might be asking what he can do?
Well, if I were in your situation, I’d do a few things.
I’d ask him how he would feel if the shoe was on the other foot?
Would he like it if you were the one out with another man, traveling with him, spending several hours by his side, connecting with him, etc.? Whether he admits it or not, I’m sure in his heart of hearts he wouldn’t be too fond of that arrangement!
But he can easily justify his position because it’s his job and he’s the provider…
Ask your man if he’s willing to lose everything for the sake of his job?
Because your man professes to be a Christian, I’m quite surprised that he’s not bothered with this business arrangement. After all, his character could so easily be compromised and tarnished in a matter of minutes. The woman he’s going to be working alone with could so easily make false accusations about him. Then what? Is he prepared for that battle? A Biblical example of this is Joseph and Potipher’s wife. Joseph was working for her husband and she made several sexual advances towards him and he fled the scene because he was a man of honor and integrity, but Potipher’s wife still ended up tarnishing his reputation. The next thing you know Joseph is falsely accused and he’s thrown in prison by his boss. It’s a true story. This kinda stuff happens, people!
As a reminder, the Enemy wants to destroy marriages and he’ll use whatever means it takes!
Or, is your husband willing to risk being temped because he’s putting himself in a compromising position? It’s pretty natural for a flesh-filled human to give into temptation. Is this what he wants to happen in his life? A Biblical example of this is David and Bathsheba. David didn’t go to battle like he was supposed to. Instead, he stayed home and then became bored. Boredom can so easily lead to sin just like it did with David and just like it can with any person.
We give way to temptation when there’s nothing else to do. Spending countless hours with the opposite sex is never a wise choice, whether it’s one’s job or not.
I realize your husband may feel like you’re attacking his character by bringing up this issue, but I personally believe it’s wise to bring it up. A man can so easily feel like you don’t trust him by doing this, but a person’s actions and decisions is what we gauge one’s trust by. And quite frankly, no one is trustworthy because we’re all sinners and we’re all tempted at some point in our lives.
We fall and sin, just like King David did. And the Lord considered David to be a man after God’s own heart! He was dedicated to serving the Lord but he made a poor decision and thus succumbed to sin. If a man after God’s own heart can sin, certainly anyone else can too!
And being that the woman professes to be a Christian I’m surprised she’s not bothered by this business arrangement either. Perhaps she’s newly saved and she’s not sure of what’s appropriate with the opposite sex? Or maybe she’s married and because your man is married she thinks it’s no big deal to be traveling with another man so much or alone?? As believers, we need to use discernment and protect ourselves from temptation. It seems these two areas are being dismissed all for the sake of the job.
Perhaps they don’t even realize the dangers lurking right around the corner.
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. James 1:14-16
I would encourage your husband to talk with his boss for the sake of your man’s character and for the sake of your marriage. And maybe this woman is feeling uneasy about this arrangement as well and she’s hoping someone will step forward and speak up for her?? This is a possibility.
Personally, if I were in this woman’s shoes or even your husband’s shoes, I’d let my boss know that I wasn’t willing to put myself in a compromising situation because my character was too important to me and so is my marriage.
Would I have fear of losing my job? Of course. But my reasons for talking with my boss is so I could bring glory to the Lord and not fall in my Christian walk. I personally believe this pursuit is much more important than having a job.
Would the Lord honor your husband for taking this position? Absolutely!
So, ask your husband some of the questions I discussed. All you’re trying to do is safeguard your marriage as well as protect your man’s reputation and his relationship with the Lord. After all, you are his sister in the Lord! By asking him questions, he shouldn’t feel like you’re making accusations. And the questions will help him to come up with the answers. It gives him the chance to lead and it prepares his heart to hear the Holy Spirit move in him.
Once you’ve said all these things and whatever decision he makes, then you just need to trust that the Lord will move in his heart and protect your marriage.
Now your man might not make the decision to go to his boss but you’ve brought some things to his attention. If and when he’s traveling with this woman he might be more apt to be on guard. He may even decide after he’s traveled this road that it’s not the best thing for him and his marriage.
Any other hedges you can add to help protect a marriage? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Live a poured out life for Christ,