Friday, April 6, 2012

Would you Choose to Take a “Break” in a Room with Dynamite and then Light a Match?

On another website that I post writing to one of the writers posed a question on the Q+A page.

Her question was “Should married men and women have individual friends of the opposite sex?”


I would like to have a definition of what "friends" includes - does it mean at work in the break room or does it mean seeing this person, one on one for coffee, lunch, movies, seminars, walks etc.


Great question! I will answer with a scenario.

 A married guy had friends from work (female) that he saw outside of work for coffee, donuts, roller skating on streets and sidewalks for hours, he fixed cars and fixed stereos etc. One day his wife came home and mentioned that perhaps she'd play tennis on her lunch hour with a recently divorced doctor who was a co-worker. "No, you can't do that, it wouldn't be right" was the reply. "Why wouldn't it be right?" she asked. "Because we are married and that would be a DATE."

Several months later the husband managed to get one of his female co-workers pregnant, leave his wife of 12 years even though he'd said if she ever got PG that he'd leave HER. Remember, she was not the one expecting, his "friend" was and rumor has it that he almost left her too because of the coming baby - by the time he got divorced she was over 5 months along, they then got married.

No, he wasn’t a “bad guy”. I am thinking he was an average guy who made some pretty “bad” choices”.

My point in all of this?

#1 Our country has over a 50% divorce rate. If we are ever going to get serious about our marriage commitments AND working out any problems we may have we need not to have "alternatives" waiting in the wings and/or adding to the problems. We need mutual friends in a marriage relationship who will be part of the solution. Not individual friends who will be part of the problem.

#2 When a person divorces a mate they are still taking the same person, themselves, “unfixed”, into any new relationship. They are potentially setting themselves up for more heartache, the same unresolved issues with a different partner. 

#3 What about the children involved? This breaks their hearts and teaches them terrible things about “commitment, working through problems, communication” and a great variety of other variables, doesn’t it?

It could become pretty easy if you were having issues with a spouse to have an opposite sex friend lend an all too soft shoulder for you to cry on. You could get encouragement right out of your marriage relationship. I have seen it happen way too many times.

You aren't going to get blown up if you aren't lighting matches around dynamite or at least not as easily.

If you were trying to lose weight and eat sensibly would you go and hang around a buffet every meal? Probably not.

I think these are some things to think about seriously. 

Again, GREAT question!
I will also add that since Mick and I had both been divorced we did some serious thinking about our relationship when we married 25 years ago. We made a commitment to each other to not do anything alone with a member of the opposite sex. That means unless there are several workers going we don’t share rides with a co-worker of the opposite sex. We don’t go to lunch alone with a member of the opposite sex. We don’t go shopping for supplies, even in a work context unless it is several co-workers or friends going.

Yes, we have couples who are friends and we enjoy relating to them. We have house guests who come from out of state and there is much the four of us do together or the guys will do some mountain goat maneuvers in the woods and we gals will have time to gab. I have some very good lady friends and see them regularly. Mick goes hunting with his brother, nephew and a guy he works with for “guy time”. We are not suffering in our relationships with others or each other.
Look at the spam you get about married wives wanting an affair in your neighborhood and some of the other explicit YUCK that is out there, not to mention things on TV etc. Why not play it safe instead of giving someone the wrong idea?

There is a Bible verse which seems to hit the nail on the head here and it is “avoid even the appearance of evil”.

Some things remain timeless in their coverage and I think this is one of them.

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

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