Once there was a couple divorcing just as my family was joining a church. The husband had been a church leader and spiritual mentor to several but had recently thrown away his religion and his pregnant wife for an adulterous relationship with a fun-loving floozy. The church was abuzz and aghast with this horrendous news. While a small group of church members was discussing the circumstances, one woman turned to her husband to issue the proper warning: “If you ever do that to me,” she said wagging her finger, “you will be a grease spot on the driveway.” Point taken.
Meanwhile, I have a rule to avoid such turmoil: Never spend time alone with any unrelated male.
Billy Graham had the same rule (insert “wife” instead of “husband”), and plenty of other Christians have gotten on board as well. On its face, the rule seems overly restrictive. “So really,” you say, “I can’t catch a ride with a male friend? Have lunch with a college buddy? Put in overtime with a co-worker on an urgent project?” Yep, yep, and yep.
I adopted the rule because I know myself. I know who I’ve been (1 Corinthians 6:9-11), how far I’ve come, and how much I want to remain on the good side of this sex thing. Prior to my marriage, I never sustained a relationship with a guy in the same town longer than four months. I had boyfriends for longer, but those were distance relationships, and I channeled Stephen Stills’ Love the One You’re With whenever the mood struck. Knowing my own sinful ways, I do not want to go there again. And the surest way to avoid a crash is not to get in the car.
Of course, plenty of people don’t have the same history. They couldn’t fathom ever desiring anyone but their spouse. But believe it or not, there isn’t a huge leap between eating appetizers with the guy from the next work cubicle to digging around in a king-sized bed to retrieve your black thong while he puts his trousers back on. There are certainly steps. But the world is littered with people who swore that they would never cheat on their spouse, but could monogram a scarlet A right on their front shirt pocket. How did they get there?
Here’s one thought of how: Getting to know people can be interesting, relaxing, and fun. Imagine sitting across the restaurant table with a male co-worker for a harmless lunch. I’m getting (1) his full attention; (2) a meal I didn’t have to cook; and (3) no window into his messy house, his irritating habits, or his less-than-sane extended family. Remember how you felt that way when dating your husband?
Meanwhile, the man I adore, to whom I pledged my undying love, is (1) watching football while I corral rambunctious kids to the dinner table; (2) adding salsa to my carefully seasoned dish; and (3) dropping his dirty socks on the living room floor, burping, and explaining that we are bringing coleslaw to the family reunion this summer . . . again.
Whether we wish to admit it, 98% of us are capable of adultery. If all the pieces fall into place, we are sitting ducks for the adultery bullet that Satan is all too willing to fire. If King David, whose psalms demonstrate an unbelievable intimacy with God, succumbed, are we absolutely sure that we aren’t possible victims of our own blind arrogance?
Anything worthwhile is worth protecting. Don’t go looking for trouble. Make some rules. Stick to them. Be true to your man, and to the Man Upstairs.
“Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage.”
(Hebrews 13:4 NLT)