We’re continuing this week’s look at how the Ten Commandments apply in Corporate America. Today’s topic – adultery.
You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14)”
My wife and I lead a marriage preparation ministry at our church here in Grand Rapids and we always tell those kids (in GR, many people still get engaged right out of college) that we intend to help them affair-proof their marriage. Many at that stage of their lives can’t fathom the notion that they’ll someday cheat on their beloved, but then thinking it’s not possible is the first step towards crossing the line.
The corporate workplace in a nearly ideal place to incubate an affair. Where else can you… find a way to spend 6-8 hours each day away from your spouse… near someone attractive that will notice how your spouse doesn’t appreciate you… with an e-mail system other than your home account… and where someone else will pay for you both to take a trip to a big city where you can dine in style and have lots to drink?
The truth is, most people that cheat on their spouses don’t plan their affairs, they commit them in moments of weakness and the workplace is often where they find the opportunity to cheat. These decisions can not only ruin careers, they can ruin generations of spiritual and physical well-being (see the effects of King David’s affair in 2 Samuel 12).
The keys to preventing them are to invest in your marriage, maintain a close relationship with God, being accountable to Christian friends, and maintaining important boundaries. We should all assume that we are capable of affairs if the right (or wrong, depending how you look at it) set of circumstances were to exist. If you haven’t yet, consider some smart boundaries. Here are some that I’ve incorporated into my work life:
- I don’t discuss much personal information with women I find attractive at work.
- No off-site 1 on 1 lunches with members of the opposite sex.
- If I find myself attracted to a someone at work that I don’t directly work with, I don’t make any special attempt to get to know them better.
- No sharing marriage criticisms / issues with members of the opposite sex.
- I give my wife access to my Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.
- If I need to take a business trip with a member of the opposite sex, I pass on dinner unless there’s someone else (usually a local contact) with us, and have have no more than one drink.
Am I perfect at maintaining these? Not always, but I try very hard and never kid myself about the realities of workplace temptations. And when I am tempted, I often think of a verse from Proverbs. This might not resonate as well wiht you ladies, but it sure gets my attention:
Can a man scoop fire into his lap and not be burned? Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet? So it is with another man’s wife. He who embraces her will not go unpunished… But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys his own soul.” (Proverbs 6:27-29,32)
Folks, it’s never to soon to affair-proof your marriage and if you’re looking for additional resources in this area, I highly recommend the Every Man’s Battle and Every Woman’s Battle resource series from Steve Arterburn and Shannon Ethridge.