Continuing again with our series on divorce proofing your marriage, today we will look at never spending time alone with members of the opposite sex. I remember in college taking classes on pastoral counseling. In those classes my professors continually stressed the importance of always staying on guard when alone with a member of the opposite sex. Now this premise holds true not only for counseling sessions for pastors, but also for everyday interactions between married men and women.
Is this to say that you cannot have friends of the opposite sex? No. This article is to provide you with helpful information on how to guard yourself and your marriage from even the chance of infidelity to happen.
When you are alone with a member of the opposite sex, if there is any sort of attraction, feelings and emotions can become intensified. If there is no attraction, it can arise as the friendship grows, or if problems arise within one or both of the marriages. If one or both of you are married, this can lead to infidelity if you are not careful. Your private time is reserved for your spouse.
Even if the relationship is completely platonic, when you are alone with someone, it provides the opportunity for rumors or accusations to start. Someone with a vendetta against you may start a rumor that infidelity is occurring, or even at worst, if your friend or colleague becomes upset with you, accusations can arise that you tried inappropriate behavior.
1 Peter 5:8 tells us,
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
To understand this properly, you must envision how a lion is slow and subtle with its attack on its prey. The prey does not even know he is coming until the last second and it is too late. The enemy will “stalk you in the grass” by providing seemingly innocent situations in which to ensnare you.
The best defense is a good offense. You must make proactive choices to protect yourself and your marriage. (TWEET THIS)
Tips to guard yourself when alone
- Never divulge private, personal, and/or family information to a member of the opposite sex when you are alone. (If you are in a counseling session of course the counseled may provide this type of information, but as a counselor, do not.) If this is not a counseling session, do not provide it at all.
- Along these same lines, never discuss marital problems with a member of the opposite sex.
- If you must be alone in an office, for a business meeting, casual gathering, or counseling session, try to ensure a window is available for those that pass by. Whether that window is on the door, or on the wall facing into a hallway or room, leave the blinds drawn so that people can see in and it provides no room for accusations.
- If there is no window on the door or wall, ask a secretary or colleague to stop by and check in on multiple random or scheduled intervals to ensure that everything is going ok.
- Minimize any physical contact with a member of the opposite sex. Limit hugs, sitting next to each other, or even a consoling hand rubbing on the shoulder or back if the person is upset.
- Provide distance between yourself and the member of the opposite sex. Do not sit on the same couch. Sit on opposite sides of a desk, in chairs that are spaced apart, or even across the room. This will help ensure the lack of ability for physical contact.
- If at all possible, do not ride alone with a member of the opposite sex in a vehicle.
- Do not go out to eat alone with a member of the opposite sex. Bring along another colleague or friend to break the idea or mindset of it being a date setting. Eating a meal together can be an intimate moment, and you do not want to provide any room for accusation.
Are these things the end all, be all to protecting yourself form infidelity and/or divorce? No. You have to always be on guard for yourself. You must personally make a choice to value your marriage, and never allow yourself to be put in a position where even an accusation can arise.