Yes, yes, we all know about the affairs, infidelity, that destroys most marriages.
But have you ever heard of the affairs of the heart....and mind? They
are called officially "emotional affairs". There is no physical or
sexual infraction involved, only a relationship of the mind and heart.
When two people begin to see a mutual admiration and build on it slowly
over time until it is a relationship that needs to be in secret from the
spouse(s). It starts out very innocently at work, church, at the gym, a
neighbor; just talking, sharing a mutual activity. But as time goes
on, one or the other or both begin to look forward to seeing that person
and sharing their time with them. Before either of them realize what
is happening, they are involved emotionally with this other person!
Emotional Affairs can AND ARE devastating to a marriage! When a couple
decides to get married and share a life together, they promise to love,
honor, and be only unto each other. SO, when one of the spouses begins
to give their emotions, time, and energy over to another, it's
infidelity all the same. They are sharing a part of themselves that
should only be shared with their spouse.
But it all starts out SO innocent and common place. A book called,
Hedges, by Jenkins discusses this situation in detail and talks about
how couples NEED to build hedges around their hearts and minds in this
Hedges are little rules to go by when dealing with the opposite sex that
is not a relative. Co-workers, friends, neighbors, etc. For instance:
1. Never have lunch or share a meal alone with a person of the
opposite sex. This is because is a very intimate thing...as you are
eating, small talk begins and as the conversation continues the
familiarity grows and voila.....you are talking about things you had no
intentions of sharing with this person! Just don't do it....get a
third and/or fourth person to join you@
2. Never...EVER share a ride with someone of the opposite sex not
related to you. First of all, what does it look like to someone else?
Again, you are putting yourself into a position for small talk and a
level of familiarity. This is a no-no.
3. Never be in a room alone or a place alone with no third person to
keep all honest. This is for obvious reasons.....it is just good
judgement on the appearance side, just saying.
4. Flirting....NO!!! Even a comment as simple as "you look pretty
today." is sending out a signal that can be VERY misinterpreted.
Instead, if you must, make a comment on how professional they look, or
nice outfit, etc. Nothing to do with physical stuff...."you've lost
weight, etc. No!!
Another thing about emotional affairs is that when one is involved in
one, they must keep it from their spouse and when confronted about it,
they defend it as "JUST" friends. If you EVER hear your spouse describe
one of their friendships as JUST friends; BEWARE!! there is something
Love your marriage enough to protect it. Love your spouse enough to
protect them from the devastating effects of an emotional affair.
Love your spouse and your children and yourSELF enough to build HEDGES around your heart and home!