By Sandra K. Gillmore
Saying our "I do's" has not been enough to keep most of our marriages strong enough to repel the never-ending forces that threaten to crumble them. There are some practical steps we can take to reverse this trend.
Some of us don't contemplate how our bodies are 'read' by men. Modest clothing is essential, but the way we walk and move is very telling. We can speak volumes by our body language.
In even the most innocent of settings, we are wise to be on guard against potentially adulterous door openers. Here are a few situations my husband and I have encountered in our nearly twenty years of marriage:
I was once a three-season team mom for a very friendly soccer coach. He approached me almost daily at a picnic table where I often graded our children's home school papers. Despite the fact that I was usually obviously pregnant or discreetly nursing a hungry baby (or both!) with my other young children playing nearby, this kind, Christian coach would never fail to approach me. He would regularly plop himself right next to me or even right in front of me to start innocent conversations about soccer and children. His wife was sometimes out on the field, sometimes not. It didn't set right with me. I realized I had to change my routine. I stopped grading papers on the field, and, instead, became more sociable with the other Moms.
We held a Christian concert series (coffeehouse) in our home for four years with the help of a very friendly, but lonely, church acquaintance who served as our 'soundman.' It took me a while to catch on, but he eagerly waited for the evening to wind down when my husband would doze off on the couch and everyone had left for the night. He often 'gazed' at me and said very complimentary things about my appearance. I alerted my husband to please escort the gentlemen to the door as soon as the last people were leaving. It proved to be a difficult task! But my husband obliged. To make his job easier, I magically 'disappeared' into the other section of our home at the same time. Our husbands may need us to key them in if they seem unaware of such potential problems.
Each year for several years my husband's workplace hosted a huge picnic. Since we home schooled, I would often attend, bringing the children. At one such picnic, my husband was intently listening to a speech with the older children while I snuck away to a nearby corner to nurse the baby with a large blanket over most of us. Two happily married Christian men approached me for friendly conversation, neither of who was with their wives or children. I made a few friendly remarks and discontinued eye contact and sort of turned away. A longer conversation could have invited the attention of onlookers trying to make something out of nothing. However, in a double date or group setting with these same men, I enjoy conversing with them.
Today, many women are professionals and travel right along with our professional men on business trips. This sets the stage for potential temptation for some. Traveling employees are often encouraged to share rented vehicles to save money. This posed a difficult situation for my husband once.
When he, and two other coworkers, one male and one female, were entering the lobby of a restaurant, the other gentleman announced he would not be joining them for dinner. My husband suddenly found himself dining alone with another woman! The two of them were both Christian and happily married, yet, the stage was set for rumors or temptation to take hold. The woman offered to 'save some hassles' and drive my husband home from the airport the next day, which was a nearly two-hour drive. My husband had mentioned all this to me on the phone, feeling obviously awkward about it. We had agreed it was inappropriate and that he would turn down the offer. However, he thought he should be 'polite' and accept the woman's offer and rode all the way home with her the next day. This caused a lot of hurt. He set the woman straight at work the next day, informing her that although her intentions were good, he would no longer be accepting rides from her or sharing dinner with her in the future.
I was not sure exactly what their time together might had meant to the woman. Then there was the nagging question of: who may have peered into their car during that nearly two hour trip? Anyone could have jumped to the worst of conclusions. Let's ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with wisdom in these delicate situations that can 'make or break' our marriage vows.
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