How To Protect Your Spouse By Not Falling
I came across an interesting statistic. Shirley Glass, in researching her book Not Just Friends found that 25 percent of wives and 44 percent of husbands have had extramarital intercourse. Many of their affairs began at work. She found that from 1982 to 1990, 38 percent of unfaithful wives in her clinical practice were involved with someone from work.
From 1991 to 2000, the number of women’s work affairs increased to 50 percent. Men also are having most of their affairs with people from their workplace. Among the 350 couples she has treated, approximately 62 percent of unfaithful men met their affair partners at work. Seeing the same people for legitimate reasons frequently helps friendship develop.
Well, I bet you might probably say “that’s her statistics – it doesn’t happen that way. As a matter of fact, it can’t happen to me.” Unfortunately, that’s probably one of the reason that this might happen to you. King David never set out to hang out with Bathsheba that day, as they say, it just happened.
The thing about affairs at work is that not all of them are physical. The amount of time that we often spend at work opens a lot of us to thrill seeking. Our PCs act as the ultimate thrill givers. It is therefore not surprising that men who can’t watch pornography at home indulge in the office.
At one of my former jobs, the head of Human Resources complained that a lot of the internet band-width was been wasted on pornographic websites. I found it hard to believe because we were a small company and everyone looked respectable enough. Well, looks deceive.
And don’t think it’s only the men. Yes, men are more susceptible to internet pornography while women are more likely to be hurt by e-mail romances.
Why do I think the office is a hotbed of unwanted action? First, the office comes with the constant pressure of trying to deliver an ever rising target. As they say, the reward for a good job is more work. Second, it’s probably one of the few places where the logic of power works – you will always be respected for your achievements.
That is something you will not always get at home. The office is now the new refuge. Unfortunately, it sometimes successfully saps out the time from anything else in your life.
Howard Hendricks did a study on 237 Christian men (mostly Christian leaders) who had experienced moral failure. He asked all of them when they were most likely to face temptation:
- When you have not spent time with God – 81%
- When you have not had enough rest – 57%
- When life is difficult – 45%
- During times of change – 42%
- After a significant victory – 37%
- When life is going smoothly – 30%
So which of these is your poison? I bet you will have at least one of these reasons come your way. The office offers you an escapism that you can run into during any of these situations. So what do you do?
- Protect your relationship with your spouse: Don’t make a colleague of opposite gender your confidant when you have issues with your spouse. Unwanted intimacy may sometimes develop from these discussions.
- Keep good mental images of your spouse: At the office you see your colleagues in their best clothes. Try to have pictures of your spouse at her/his best dressed around you at work. There was a time I was leaving the house before my wife got up and getting home when she was in her “home clothes”. Because I didn’t see her in her work outfit, I only had images in my head of her at her “most casual”. Occasionally at work, I would tell her to send me pictures of her at work so I could have those mental images.
- Be vulnerable to your spouse: Sometimes when I guess I am becoming emotionally vulnerable, I call my wife to let her know. It keeps me honest and enriches the inter-dependent nature of our relationship.
- Have an accountability relationship: Of the 237 men that Hendricks studied, none of them had accountability relationships with other men. Someone once told a story that there was a time he was really tempted and he was scared he was going to do it. He called a friend and simply told him, “Please ask me tomorrow what I did tonight”. He said immediately after the call, the urge left him. According to him, he was not going to face his friend the next morning and tell him he did it.
- Never stop dating your spouse: Dating comes with a sense of excitement which seems to wane as the years of marriage and the labours of family life set in. You have to find new and creative ways to keep the excitement fresh.
- Create order and balance in your life: Despite the sapping nature of work, you need to create the balance to take care of yourself. Create time for rest, relaxation and personal devotions. Stay in balance else you may fall to the dark side
- Have good marriage role models: We all know stories of people who marriage never worked out but we also know so many people whose marriages are working out. Let those people be the images you call up in your difficult times.
I really would love to see a fresh set of statistics showing spouses going against the new norm and being faithful to their partners. I am a sap for love stories with happy endings. Please, don’t blame Disney movies – I kind of think happy endings are written into the fabric of life itself.
I bet we can make our marriages the new happy endings that last our lifetimes. We can become the new statistics.
Let’s make the promise to ourselves to do that.
NB – A lot of information I gleaned for this post comes from the well-written book by Wayde Goodall, Why Great Men Fall: 15 Winning Strategies to Rise Above It All.