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(This is also an excerpt from the book “You’re Singing My Song,” by Glenn and Cindy Colley)
Recent statistics show that about 60% of women over the age of 16 are either employed or actively seeking employment. The female sector comprises about 46% of the U.S. labor force (U.S. Department of Labor). Also significant, from our vantage point, is the kinds of work women are doing today. In the fifties, women were typically working in fields with other women and children. Many were schoolteachers and nurses. A large segment of those workers were also secretaries, working in offices with men, but generally finding themselves in different social circles from their higher paid bosses. Today, lots more women are working in high paying, even high tech arenas. My friends work long hours, side by side with men, as computer programmers, aerospace engineers and medical professionals. They are actually in the presence of the men with whom they work for the majority of their waking hours.
This chapter is not to discuss the effects of feminism on the economy or even on society in general. This is about protecting our homes from adultery. However we slice it, this evolution in the gender picture at work has profoundly and negatively affected the strength of the American family. When a woman works closely with a person of the opposite sex for more hours each day than she sees her husband, it only takes a little chemistry for temptation to rear its ugly head at the workplace.
Let me begin by stating an unpopular, but obvious truth. Our homes are better off, particularly when the children are growing up, with Mom at home. I do not see how we can apply the eternal principles of Deuteronomy 6:4-8 (all day long teaching) when we have our children for only about a third of their waking hours and into these hours we are trying to cram all of the chores, shopping, cooking, dinner and any extra-curricular activities. I think Titus 2:3-5 clearly teaches that the most important career of a Christian woman is to be a home-keeper. I believe it’s a stretch to think we can work forty hours a week and have enough left of ourselves to joyfully keep and protect our homes physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I think we have to journey away from God’s Will and into the culture of our day to convince ourselves that it’s a good plan for mothers to place their children’s souls in the care of others day after day.
Having said all of this, let me hasten to add that I have seen desperate situations in which mothers had to be in the workplace. For those mothers who truly find no alternative, I offer my support and prayers. May God help them in this and every decision to provide for and protect those little souls that are dependent on them.
So what precautions should working women take to guard their marriages from adultery? First, it’s important to remember that adultery doesn’t begin in the bedroom. It begins in the boardroom, the office, on the ball field, or at the mall. It doesn’t begin with intimacy. It begins with a look, a comment, a conversation, or a hug. Satan can get us incrementally when he can’t get us all at once.
So here are some terribly antiquated rules to follow to safeguard an institution that is as old as the Garden of Eden. (Remember God’s Word is very old!)
- Avoid being alone with any man. If you make this a general rule of thumb that applies to all men of all ages, you won’t have to deal with any claims that you are prejudiced or just don’t like certain men. Work in areas where there are lots of people. If you have to go to a private room, keep the door open.
- Don’t go to lunch alone with a man. No exceptions.
- Be accessible by phone and/or email to your spouse at all times of the day.
- Don’t ever share relational problems you may be experiencing at home with a man at work.
- Don’t flirt or participate in electric conversations. People at work talk about ridiculously personal things (the way someone’s bottom is showing as she gestures at the plans spread out on the table, the frequency with which a woman has to go to the bathroom, the way a man’s pants are unzipped, etc…) avoid personal conversations. When you begin to feel that lines of discretion are being crossed, change the subject. If you feel that someone is flirting, say something about your wonderful spouse. (This works every time.)
- If you ever feel a physical attraction or “chemistry” with a person of the opposite sex, get yourself immediately out of the situation (change projects, change jobs, ask for a transfer, etc.) Do what Joseph did in Genesis 39:13. Never put your marriage at risk.
- Share details of your day openly and honestly each evening with your spouse. Never lie to your spouse about anything. Every totally honest day you spend with your spouse strengthens the barriers you are erecting against adultery.
- Speak often and glowingly about your spouse when you are at work.
- Whenever possible, avoid taking assignments that will take you out of town for lengthy periods of time without your husband.
- Avoid projects that demand lots of overtime, especially projects that would keep you apart at bedtime.