Recently, my mind has been turned to consider the art of encouraging others to do as they are compelled, not as they desire. In this particular instance it is a delicate matter, concerning the proper relationship between a married man and a woman (single or married). The more mature talk about it and choose to do what is right. I will never forget the married woman who told me that she had had a conversation with a married male co-worker about their attraction toward each other. They acknowledged it and resolved to direct it in a way that would enhance their work together and also their commitments to their own spouses. I since then have striven for that kind of bold honesty. There’s something about it that takes the temptation to relate falsely to others right out of the equation.
In my work environment (and I have several of them), I have encountered a very married man who I’ve sensed doesn’t really want to act like he is married at times. Although I have seen nothing inappropriate, I’ve gone with my gut on this one and have decidedly been encouraging toward a comfortable, engaging and open relationship with him. I have been aware of the fact that he finds me intriguing. Many people do—men and women. However, I wish to use that intrigue that they have for me and the intrigue I have for them toward God’s intention. And it’s not that I don’t find him attractive. But more importantly I believe friendship to be a very honest and high ideal in my book, a higher goal than romance I think, given the bent of society.
A few times I’ve had to meet with this married man one-on-one. Given my sense about him, I ran a mental list of how I would contribute to the interaction. I allowed myself only one touch on the shoulder—if I needed to make a strong point. I had to watch for and avoid (like the plague) the true accidental knee bumping. I would not lean forward too much or appear too comfortable in my posture. If things were getting too cozy I was going to clip my words, straighten my back and be more brusque. I was not going to dawdle at length over chit chat conversation.
An insignificant amount of time ago my suspicions were confirmed. I happened to see him (the married man) out with a young single woman, who I also knew. They were chatting, leaning towards each other, gazing into each others eyes, her feet resting inside the circle of his legs, touching at the calves.
Thanks, Lord, for the sight.
I write this because it is a real daily occurrence for many people. Yet we need to be real about it.
P.S. Do not assume this story happened outside of my Christian environment.