I’m sure you’ve heard this story many times before.
It all began innocently enough. An old friend contacted her on Facebook or other social media site. It was simply a reconnection after many years of going their separate ways.
Or perhaps he became friendly with someone at the office. They shared so much in common that it was easy to feel the spark. She was so attractive and lively, and he was so bored at home.
It begins with a spark and before you know it has turned into a flame.
It all begins innocently enough. A relationship begins with friendliness, but very quickly can turn into a dangerous connection that could have been avoided.
To avoid danger, however, we must be aware and wary. We must be ever alert for possible problems. Those who fail to heed the danger signs will surely lapse into failure.
When you interact with others at the office, or the gathering place after work, what message do you send? When you engage in social media, what signal do you send?
Do you send out a “green light”, indicating that you’re definitely available for friendly and perhaps even flirtatious interactions? You may consider yourself “just a friendly kind of person”, who likes to tease and be playful. You even tell yourself, and your mate, “there’s no harm in what I’m doing.”
Maybe you’re a bit more cautious, emitting a “yellow light,” suggesting you are cautious, but willing to proceed slowly. You’re willing to interact on a more personal basis, but not until you’ve gotten to know the other person fairly well. Even with the yellow light, you’re unclear about when you might be in danger.
Finally, perhaps you’re in the group of people who are very clear about their boundaries, and emit and very strong, bright “red light”. STOP, you indicate, when the conversation becomes too familiar. You know that allowing someone into your personal, emotional space is an invitation to potential failure.
Let’s review these three different positions, and again consider where you typically function:
- Green Light: Tend to disregard personal and emotional boundaries, have little sense of danger, and proceed ahead, sometimes recklessly. The “green light” people send out a signal that suggests flirtatious engagement is all right, and perhaps even more if the situation allows. They make compromise after compromise, indicate they are “open for business”, and then wonder how they got into moral trouble.
- Yellow Light: Tend to be a bit more cautious. They recognize danger, but still tend to disregard it. These “yellow light” folks are willing to become emotionally attached to members of the opposite sex, sharing emotional information that strengthens that relationship. They, too, “find themselves” in trouble.
- Red Light: Tend to steer clear of danger. They are friendly, but stop there and make it clear to others that they are closed for any other business. They may be perceived as a bit stuffy, but really they are simply protecting their heart, their emotions, and their marriage. They don’t end up in a dangerous predicament.
Because it is so very easy to slip into a dangerous relationship, we would all do well to be very cautious. Here are some additional steps you can take to protect your marriage from danger:
First, excessive friendliness often leads to familiarity that then is an opportunity for moral failure.
Friendliness that contains even a hint of excessive friendliness is a sign of danger. There must be safeguards to ensure you are not sending the wrong signal.
Second, consider what color light you emit to others.
Know that you do send out a certain signal, whether intentional or not. Know that others will see and read that signal and will respond accordingly. While you may believe what you are saying is innocent enough, others may not see you the same way. Be very clear about your “red light” signals.
Scripture shares the danger of false self-assuredness: “So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)
Third, make wise choices in regard to your interactions.
It is far better to err on the side of caution (“red light”) than run the risk of an emotional or sexual affair. The damage caused by an affair is enormous. Relationships are devastated by an affair and sometimes irreparably harmed. You don’t want to risk such a situation.
Finally, cultivate a dynamic and exciting marriage.
Nothing creates such safety from failure as an exciting marriage. Use your energy to create an exciting marriage and protect it from outside harm. The grass is never greener on the other side of the fence and we must use our time and energy to ensure our marriage is all it can be—and it can be wonderful. Do your part to be an exciting mate and ask your mate to do the same for you. This is the safest way to guard against danger.