Just over a year ago, I was reading through the latest Men's Health Magazine. In the process, I came across a page full of statistics—stats that were annoying and disturbing.
They were all about men and their inability to stay away from lust and hold off their eyes from looking at other women. Some of these stats dealt with single men, some were for married men.
As a married man, I was hit in two ways. One, I was frustrated with the bad results of the questions and two I was even more frustrated with the fact that no resolution was offered to the men reading that article.
A couple of weeks later, I published the article "5 Things Every Married Man Should Do Around Single Women."
With more than a half million views on manturity.com and 247,000 shares on charismamag.com alone, it's obvious that this subject is a big deal in this culture.
Regardless of the many negative comments and the many articles that have been written against it, I still believe the simple truths mentioned in the first article hold truer than ever. They are little, yet very effective tools that every married man can use once he decides to give his heart over to one woman in front of God and in front of many other important people. He made his choice at that moment, and now he needs to live it out every day in his marriage.
The other things people can't deny are the search results. The title of these posts draw in both men and women trying to figure out what to do in tested situations. I truly believe that God has used these simple truths to positively impact the lives of thousands of men and women.
Want more proof? I'll send you the search results.
I believe we also live in a culture where it's easy to get stats on how much men watch pornography, how often they look at women in a lustful way or how often men think about being with a woman other than their wife. But I think we need to be checking the stats on other questions.
For example, what efforts beyond your vows are you putting in to build up your marriage? When was the last time you prayed with or for your wife? Do you even remember what you said when you recited your vows? I say we challenge men with these kinds of questions and make them reconsider their actions towards their wife and other women.
What would your answers look like to those questions?
As you consider those answers, I want to challenge you with five more things every married man should do to protect their marriage.
And keep in mind with these five more things, that these are not meant to show disrespect to women that are not your wife, they are methods for you to use when you feel the situation is necessary for them. As a mature man actively growing in his walk with Christ, you will know when these moments arrive.
1. Imagine your wife is in the room with you. Take a moment to think about recent conversations or encounters with other women. When you were alone, were you more likely to give her that second look? Were you more likely to engage in conversation that one would say was more than professional or friendly? When you think back on those times, would your wife had approved of your actions? Would Jesus?
Early in my own marriage I struggled with this concept. I mean it wasn't too long ago that I was single and free to do and say as I pleased, but now I was married. As my wife and I were together much more often, I started to realize my wife's responses when I engaged in conversation with other women. She started to let me know when I was coming across "flirty" rather than "friendly." At first I didn't understand and was even offended, but I came to realize that if the way I acted towards other women made her feel uncomfortable, then I needed to change.
I have come to learn after almost 10 years of marriage that the way I act around other women when I am with my wife is the way I need to act around them all the time.
2. Strive not to meet alone. I am fully aware that this step may not always be possible in a professional type setting, but even in this type of setting certain precautions can be taken to protect the integrity of both you and your co-worker. For example, you could leave your door open. You could attempt to meet in a place that is quiet but is still open to the public. You could invite a trusted colleague to join the conversation. There are always options, so don't make excuses that there are none.
Have you ever had an experience where you and your friends were supposed to all meet up and hang out, and you find out quickly that only you and a female friend showed up? What did you do or would you do? I honestly can't think of any good reason to stay there and " hang out" with her. Even if she is a trusted friend who knows your wife, both she and you should respect each other enough to say your good byes and reschedule with the group. I don't call this type of situation dishonoring to the friend, I call this honoring her and my marriage.
And if this does happen, I would still let my wife know about the situation.
3. Call your wife to ask/confirm details. Guys, I personally feel that this is one of the most important things to remember when encountering other women. I look at this point in two ways. One, you may be put in a situation where you don't have a choice in the matter. In terms of work, you may need to be in a particular meeting with another woman or you may be told to take a long ride or trip with another woman. In these cases, you need to be honest about the details and the activities and you need to man up in terms of staying professional and friendly only. And second, there may be those moments when you have a choice in the matter. A woman asks you for a ride, what do you do? Well, it's pretty simple, you either explain that you're uncomfortable with the situation and explain why and she is mature enough to understand or you call your wife and review her feelings on the situation. What would you do?
Here's a good question to keep in mind. "Is what I am about to do or where I am about to go something I feel comfortable sharing with my wife?"
4. Guard your online/texting activity. In all of the other points, we have really discussed actual, physical occurrences like what to do when you're with your wife, how to handle actual situations at work or with friends. But what we can't miss is the online or texting activity. As smart devices and social media get bigger, this will only become a larger area of concern in our marriages.
Here are a few ways I've chosen to handle online activity. One, I have chosen to not accept certain friend requests by women that I have known very well or use to be attracted to in the past. Even if they are married or single, I honestly don't need to know what they are up to these days or hear about any issues they might be experiencing. Another option is to accept the requests, but to be very cautious in the way you approach the relationship. Earlier in my marriage, I had an old female friend hit me up online.
At first it was just about the past, but as things went on in the conversation, she started to tell me more personal and up to date issues in her life. STOP! Yes, this is where my wife stopped me. From then on, if I am approached via message or text, my wife gets alerted first. And if it does need a response, I include my wife's opinions and thoughts in my response.
Online activity and texting may make it easier to cheat, but it also makes it easier to get caught.
5. View the relationship similar to your mother, sister or daughter. Wow, every time I think about this point, God really makes me consider my actions towards other women. As I was the youngest child with two older sisters, I can really relate to this idea. And I don't think this point applies to the points mentioned above, but deals more with the heart of the situation. As I say we, as married men, should be careful and take certain precautions around recently separated or single women; I also know there is a heart aspect to it all.
My relationships with my mother and two sisters are not really of close friendship anymore (as I've moved away years ago), but instead is one of love and grace. No matter what happens or no matter how long it's been since I've seen them, I still strive to show them love and grace in the moments we are together. The only person I can relate to with that is Jesus Christ. It didn't matter whom he came into contact with, the blind, the crazy, the prostitutes, etc. He always chose to show love and give grace. We can do the same in these relationships.
All the women you encounter are daughters of God and should be treated as such. If thinking about them in terms of sister, mother or daughter helps; then pursue that option. As you pursue to honor God and your marriage first, and engage in the nine points listed, always do it under the umbrella of love and grace.
Want more ways to build and protect your marriage? Click here
As I said before, I challenge every man to consider each point and take the necessary steps to strengthen his marriage!
Share one of your own tips or story of personal experience in the comments below.
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