The work place is where many of us spend the majority of our time working hard to advance our careers and provide for our families. That’s a good thing, right? Of course! However, whether we realize it or not, there are certain habits that we carry out at work that can greatly harm our marriage. Here are four of the most common:
1. We consistently choose to stay at work well beyond working hours.
In certain jobs, overtime is a periodic requirement and also provides much financial gain. I am not talking about this. I am referring to a spouse on salary that constantly chooses to stay a couple of hours later for various reasons. Our time with our families is often so limited, so let’s do everything we can to spend as much time as possible with them and make them a priority, especially one-on-one time with our spouse. Whether it means shortening your lunch break or saving some work for the next day, leavng work on time and going home to our families just may save our marriages.
2. We often spend time alone with someone of the opposite sex.
I understand that there are times that you must have a work meeting with someone of the opposite sex, but when these must happen, we need to conduct the meeting in a certain way that is respectful to our marriage and our colleague’s marriage. I would suggest you meet in an open area, with others around. If the nature of your professional discussion must be confidential, try finding a meeting room that has multiple windows. I know some of you may think this is overkill, but I promise that I have seen too many marriages fail due to inappropriate work relationships that became full blown affairs. None of us want this for our marriages, so we need to guard our hearts and limit one-on-one interactions with our fellow workers of the opposite sex. I would also encourage you to turn down lunches with those of the opposite sex at work, unless you are in a larger group of colleagues. We need to avoid the flirtations and inappropriate conversations that can happen when we continue to spend time with a colleague of the opposite sex in private. If you are currently doing any of these things, please put an end to this immediately. Go home and spend time with your spouse. Flirt with him/her. Share your heart with him/her. Sleep with him/her. Please don’t seek to fulfill these needs outside of your marriage. When we play with fire, we will be burned. We must protect and fight for our marriages daily.
3. We let negative, anti-marriage colleagues influence how we view our own marriages.
When we spend as many hours as we do at work, we are bound to make some pretty good friends of the same gender. In fact, I hope all of us do. It makes the work day go by so much faster when you feel as though you are working among friends. Depending on the nature of our job, we may have long periods in our day when we can have conversations with our work friends. As with any of the relationships in our lives, we need to make sure that our work friends are people who encourage us in our marriages and family life. If we find that we often end up in a spouse-bashing session with our work friends, we need to find better “friends” and spend our work time around others who share our family values. We are so affected by the company we keep, so let’s have positive and encouraging company. It’s uncanny how we can become more like the people we are around the most. If your friends constantly see their husbands/wives in a negative light, you will start viewing your spouse in the same way. When we come home after a long day at work, we don’t need that negativity ringing in our ears. We need to see our spouse in the most positive light possible and greet them with a genuine smile.
Before I jump into this subject, I want to address a particular group of readers. If you are in a verbally, mentally, or physically abusive marriage, I know you are desperate to talk to someone you can trust. I encourage you to, first of all, seek safety, and then please find a professional Christian counselor, pastor, or social worker you can talk to. They will be able to help you navigate your situation without bringing it into your work place. I would hate to see you be put through the ringer or the rumor mill at your work place, so please take these steps to get the help you need. You are not alone, and there is hope for you and your family.
Sometimes, we are just worn out with the daily grind of our marriages or just angry with our spouses, and we so desperately want to talk with someone about it. Unfortunately, the work place is probably the worst place where we should do this. First of all, when you air out your dirty laundry, you are asking for all kinds of opinions to come your way, some of which offer terrible advice. Secondly, it undermines your credibility as a professional. Even though all of us go through difficulties at home from time to time, it is unprofessional for us to bring our marital troubles up at work. I encourage you to find a Christian counselor or pastor that both you and your spouse can meet with together. Early in our marriage, Dave and I saw a licensed Christian counselor, and we received the help and perspective we needed to strengthen our marriage. There is absolutely no shame in getting help, but we must be willing to do whatever it takes to save our marriages.
For additional tools to help you build a rock-solid marriage, please check out our newest book, Marriage Minute: Quick and Simple Ways to Build a Divorce-Proof Relationship which is now also available on iTunes for ebook download on iPhones, iPads and all Apple devices (by clicking here).