Michael Hyatt has a great post on Protecting Your Marriage and lists 4 specific boundaries.
1) to not flirt with someone of the opposite sex
2) to speak often and lovingly of my wife
(Michael says this is the best adultery repellant known to man!)
3) to not go out to eat alone with someone of the opposite sex, and,
4) to not travel alone with someone of the opposite sex.
I’m in full agreement with the first two, but I’m struggling with #3 and #4.
Careers such as sales positions require women to travel and take customers out to lunch or dinner to discuss business. Sure, you can always ask a third person to join you, but what if your expense budget is limited or in the case of a small business, only two employees are budgeted to travel and you are members of the opposite sex? It seems silly to take separate planes or not eat dinner together when you arrive at the hotel.
So, I am conflicted. Is it the act of eating out or traveling with someone of the opposite sex that is taboo, or is it the MOTIVATION behind the act? I agree totally that a purely SOCIAL lunch or SOCIAL travel without your spouse along is wrong and should be avoided at all costs. I also acknowledge that a phenomenal number of affairs start in the workplace. One marriage therapist says that in her experience, affairs start at work for 46% of women and 62% of men. Indeed, a “business lunch” or an “out-of-town trip” may be the start of a “water cooler flirtation.”
A married friend of mine has to travel often with men from her company and frequently entertains male clients for lunch and dinner. She and her husband have identified key elements that make this work. First, they trust each other and their individual relationships with God. Second, she tells him about her travels and business meals; who she is with and the topic of the conversation. Third, she reassures him that the travel and meals are always just business.
To Michael’s 2nd point, she speaks often and lovingly about her husband to others, often tweeting her admiration for him!
What is your opinion? When you are married, are all lunches and travel forbidden with members of the opposite sex? If not, what makes them okay?
Blessings, my friend,