Marriage Matters

Talking Up Talk

The pastor who married my wife and I gave us many pearls of wisdom. One of the best was simply this: "Make sure you make time to talk to each other every day." He encouraged us to ignore the phone and leave the TV & radio off for about 30 minutes

In our hectic world, this can be quite a challenge at times, but it is very worthwhile.

What you talk about really doesn't matter. The goal of talking every day is to establish a norm of communication. If you can simply chat about the mundane things of everyday life, then when you have to talk about more serious matters, it is less intimidating, because you have a healthy norm of communicating with each other.

Being a pastor means that I will often have evening meetings or commitments. So, when my wife gets home from work, I do my best to be there too. As we prepare dinner together, we go through the "stories" about each other's day. Sometimes the conversation is trivial, and at other times it has been critically important.

My wife & I have been married for almost 25 years now, and second to God's blessing, I would credit communication as being at the top of the list of things we've done to make it work.

How to Prevent an Affair

I once heard a wise pastor say, "Adultery does not begin in a bedroom." I totally agree! Rarely do affairs just happen. In most cases, a chain of events occur and the end result is an affair.

First, things start to break down in the marriage. Feelings are not shared and frustration builds. (see the above piece on communication) We can all use a "buddy" to be a trusted friend and someone to act as a sounding board for us and for support.

For the sake of your marriage and most likely someone else's marriage, this "buddy" needs to be a SAME GENDER friendship. Here's why, in this special relationship, you are probably going to be talking about some pretty intimate and sometimes messy stuff.

If your "buddy" is an opposite sex friend, here's what you might start thinking:

1. My buddy understands me so much better than my spouse.
2. My buddy admires and appreciates me more than my spouse does.
3. Hey, you know what. . . he/she is kind of attractive . . .

So, chats at coffee breaks can turn into lunches together. We can begin to lean on our buddy for support. Cute text messages and emails start going back and forth.

Finally, all of this can turn into "working late" . . . to commit adultery.

So, make sure that your "buddy" is of the same gender. This can be a great supportive relationship and also one that promotes accountability. It's a triple bonus if you & your "buddy" share a Christian worldview.

So, if there is trouble at home, it's ok to talk it out with a "buddy." But, the person you really need to talk to is your spouse. If that doesn't work out well, you need to get some counseling TOGETHER ! Start with your pastor, or at least get a referral to someone you can trust.

I'll end with a serious word of caution. MOST people wait too long to ask for help. Pride or embarrassment get in the way. You may think, "We're Christians. We aren't supposed to have problems like this." Well, toss that idea out the window. The divorce rate for Christians has been about the same as the general population in recent decades. At times, it's even been higher.

Don't become a statistic. Seek help, before the damage is beyond repair.