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Friendship or Flirtation’s? Danger Signs for Couples (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
February 22, 2022 5:00 am

Friendship or Flirtation’s? Danger Signs for Couples (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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February 22, 2022 5:00 am

As a young Christian, Dave Carder saw two pastors commit adultery, losing both their families and their ministries. He was determined to find out why people commit adultery and to help couples recognize “close call friendships” that could blossom into affairs. Pastor Carder provides over a dozen “red flags” that warn of inappropriate intimacy in a friendship, and encourages spouses to stay within judicious boundaries. (Part 1 of 2)

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So many married couples today are struggling hurting even on the brink of divorce, and some can't afford to get home you can make a difference in their lives.

Your gift of $125 could help the couple attend a hope restored marriage intensive will get 3 to 5 days with a Christian counselor in a distraction free environment. Building the foundation they need to stay together give today and help give them hope: one 808 family or go to marriages today on Focus on the Family pastor Dave Carter shares one of the leading causes of infidelity in marriage actuation is the most powerful frog known to man.

People have died for infatuation.

People have given up kingdoms for graduation actuation will cause you to do crazy things and we always say this at the end. What was he thinking point is, he wasn't that person is under the influence of a mood altering substance. They are stone drunk will hear more about infatuation and the seemingly innocent steps that can lead up to it today on Focus on the Family, your host is focused. President Jim Daly for joining us on John Fuller, John.

I'm so looking forward to today's broadcast because I believe it will literally save marriages there were going to talking about avoiding infidelity that you know most of us don't wake up one morning and decide to go out and ruin my marriage today.

These things happen slowly in a series of small steps. As you said, John, and what we want to do today is throw up some of those yellow flags for couples who may not have a firm foundation of intimacy in their relationship, and it could jeopardize their marriage they could lose their marriage if they're not careful. Today's broadcast guest is Dave Carter. He studied infidelity for over 30 years and he has some amazing insights.

For example, in a study of 4000 pastors over 20% admitted to being sexually indiscreet. That's one in five pastors of those almost every single man said they did not intend to cross that line. So were going to hear how affairs start. What is that flame that occurs in its based on information Dave has gathered counseling church couples through their first time experience with infidelity and Dave's insights are really sobering. Jim, because he's talking about couples who share the same moral foundation values that we do is talking to us and many of us have seen this happen. Among her friends and family members here about a couple divorcing and then we find out there was an affair going on so Davis can help us, roll back the tape if you will, to see how marriages can first begin unraveling. And if you're not married. Keep listening.

These yellow flags and in some cases, those red flags can help you not yet caught up in an inappropriate friendship with a married man or woman. Yeah those are good boundaries to keep in mind the point you will our guest Dave Carter served as pastor of counseling ministries at first Evangelical free Church in Fullerton, California for over 30 years and as we said he's been laser focused on this topic. For most of that time you'll hear what prompted that interest in just a moment or two. Dave is the author of the book, anatomy of an affair how affairs attractions and addictions. Develop and how to guard your marriage against them. I'll encourage you to get a copy from us here at the ministry you'll find all the details in the show notes here.

Now it is Dave Carter speaking at a smart marriage conference on today's episode of Focus on the Family. I was driving a school bus as a recently graduate of seminary youth pastor at the time I was coming back from Jersey shore where I taken a bunch of kids.

40 him to be exact to do a missions trip 9 o'clock that night. I just walked in the door I get a phone call from the senior pastor's wife and she's crying hysterically on the phone, not to those teenagers in their home had been on my trip. I go over to the house try to comfort this family begin to hear the story of how the senior pastor who just preach that evening had suddenly left the house left a note and they were terrified that he was gone forever, but they're talking about what's been going on.

I begin to think to myself, you know, I think I know more about this story. Then they knew and about 11 o'clock.

As I'm putting all this together. I hopped back in my car and I drive to a neighboring town and I pull up in front of a little apartment building and its black lights out but I'm thinking you know get now the car sneaking up to an apartment building. The mill night is not exactly the best thing for a pastor today so anyway I get my car I sneak up to the hedges I plaster my face against the plate glass window. I look inside this particular apartment and there's not a stitch of furniture in and I think to myself, and I was just there two weeks ago, having a Bible study with a bunch of boys in this apartment and then we never said anything about moving.

I couldn't figure out what happened. I thought to myself. I'll come back tomorrow morning. Maybe I can catch a couple these boys at the school bus stop and maybe they can tell me what happened to this family showing up next morning, I come back.

My those boys are there.

I start talking I say what happened to such as such and they said you know they will. I said, and what you mean when they move they brought a big U-Haul truck in here on Saturday and loaded up the furniture and took off. What were they going. They wouldn't tell us I said I know our U-Haul truck story. As I hopped back in my car I drive to the neighboring U-Haul truck start I get out I want can and I asked the guy behind the desk if I could verify that my senior pastor had rented a U-Haul truck. Now that work is in the days before it became an issue to look at other people's contracts, etc. so he just threw the whole set of invoices happy.

I started thumbing through him, and I found my senior pastor's name on one of those invoices.

I scribbled the location where the truck was to be delivered. I call my wife.

I said, packed my suitcase uncommon home. I'm going to go and track this guy down so I go home, get my suitcase drive 90 miles to the closest airport by a ticket take my binoculars slider that neighboring city okay okay I'm telling you the truth I slider that big city 2000 miles away.

I get a room on the 14th floor. The Hilton hotel overlooking the U-Haul truck store where my pastor was to bring the truck back now I want to tell you some don't run from me. Okay so I so anyway I sent there for six straight days and this guy doesn't come back in on Saturday I get a phone call from the church's annual you gotta come home. Rumors are rampant. We just can't have any more the pastoral staff gone okay so I pop in my rental car I drive back to the airport by a ticket fly home and it was chaos back home before I left that big city.

I walked down to that U-Haul truck store. I looked at this guy and I so on) the truth so I walked up to the counter.

He's at a desk behind working on some paperwork and I said I think my senior pastor has run off with another woman in my church, and he is going to bring the truck back to this truck store and he stands up he puts his hands on the desk. He leans forward and he says I'm Southern Baptist. That's getting so I left the picture of my senior pastor I fly home on Monday morning at 10 o'clock I get a phone call from this guy. Now he's whispering. He's in my office on the right guy and I asked, whispering to him.

2000 miles away. Okay, I start with myself and I said now you know it's him he's not seeing showed onto my office and he's gone on in the picture. I know it's him so I said I whisper back.

I said, you gotta send them some money okay and get an address just don't care what you have to say. They called me back about 15 minutes later and he has an address. I go home and get my suitcase drive 90 miles to the closest airport I get on a plane.

I fly down there. I take a friend with me this time and I actually get a rental car, drive to his home that he is running knock on the door and this single mom about passes out.

He comes to the door behind her. We take him to the park and spent three hours trying to talk him into coming home. He refuses we take them back home we get the car we drive to the airport and I break down like a baby and just cry and cry and cry and could not stop.

I finally got control of myself as we pulled into the Hertz rental car lot and I leaned over to my friend he was driving I was sitting in the passenger seat. I said when I get home I'm going back to graduate school and I'm going to figure out why pastors do this.

I was in 1977 in August and September I was enrolled taking prerequisite courses now.

That's when I started on this mission trying to understand and fidelity. Finally, in the 90s. I joined the research team and we surveyed 4000 pastors 1988 to 1998, and one of the things that came up on that survey that was. I just could not believe even though this had happened to me twice both of the senior pastors I had worked with had ran off with other women in the church.

These pastors when they were given the opportunity to describe how their affair happened.

They chose words out of a list like blindsided had no idea this was happening shot that I did this. I couldn't believe I was trained that they had busted through all the hedges broken down all the boundaries ran all the red lights whatever metaphor you want to use, but I had to begin to ask myself maybe could this be true.

Maybe they didn't really realize how prepared they were to fall.

Maybe they didn't get swept off their feet. Maybe they didn't realize how close to the flames they really were. That's when I begin to think about close calls. That's when I begin to work on. Where do these supplies infidelities come from. I'm not talking about people who are out fish and who have character flaws. I'm not talking about poaching people who are going after married spouses. I'm talking about people who have a first-time experience with infidelity who had no idea until it was too late.

That's what I'm talking not in our culture.

We have a lot of interesting experiences working men and women together. So before I dive into this. I want to say very clearly I am not against having in my case female friends or maybe in your case male friends. I'm not against.

I don't want to go back to the 40s or the 50s or even beyond in some religious circles I'm not interested in that but I think you're going to find this very interesting as we can. I take a look at how does this happen what is a close call friendship. What kind of a set up happens or occurs in these people's lives that gets them into trouble later on will I begin to realize very quickly. My professional training when is going back to school at second time in my first clinical supervisor ran a 30 bed alcohol rehab inpatient program I begin to learn a lot about addiction and I begin to realize these people sound like people. These people who have these affairs. A sound like people who maybe have become addicted who got swept off their feet. So were the concepts will going to use today is a close call friendship is any friendship any relationship that has the potential for infatuation. Infatuation is the most powerful drug known to man. You think about that statement. People have died for infatuation. People have given up kingdoms for infatuation. Infatuation will cause you to do crazy things. Okay. Crazy thing and we always say this at the end.

What was he thinking the point is, he wasn't. He was under the influence or that person is under the influence of a mood altering substance.

They are stone drunk and you need to think of people who are infatuated as drunk.

They will do things that no thinking person would ever do what kind of relationship am I talking about. I'm talking first of all, about a platonic friendship a male-female teammate that you share an interest or passion a work or a workout or a volunteer opportunity with somebody that you like doing things with that is not your spouse. There is nothing wrong with this, not one thing but it's out of those kind of friendships that inappropriate relationships often are built. Secondly, I have come to believe. After listening to multiple people tell me this, that there is that particular dangerous partner profile out there in the world that you are especially susceptible to that when I share that with people they often as snicker at the idea, but just remember, not every woman is particularly appealing to me, and not every man is particularly appealing to you. There are certain kinds of people you like and were going to talk about the dangerous partner profile. Now the source of these close call relationships has only been available really readily available to you in the last eight or 10 years and I'm talking about old girlfriends and old boyfriends now want to tell you what I've come to believe about this.

If you are in a difficult spot in your personal life. If you are in a difficult spot in your marriage and you are up at midnight trying to keep the baby happy. Or maybe just getting a baby to sleep or maybe trying to work through the bills and the finances and things are just wearing you out and you suddenly have the thought contact Susie or Bill. I wonder how they're doing. I have news for you to contact an old girlfriend or an old boyfriend at that stage of your life is like playing with dynamite and the reason is, and here's the reason you don't have to create infatuation with an old girlfriend or no boyfriend it's already in your brain. You have the memories stored and I've developed a little saying out of working with these couples for the last eight or 10 years, 30 days of regular contact with an old boyfriend or no girlfriend and you will be swept off your feet with infatuation in a come back and just drown you 60 days from start to finish and you will be sleeping with him. You cannot stand against infatuation, you just can't. And you know you are in great danger when two things happen in your head. First, you are embarrassed by all these feelings you have for this person who is not your spouse. And secondly, you are spending most of your waking hours trying to manage them.

If you are doing that you are that close. Don't ever forget the power of a temptation always lies in its timing always you can resist lots of temptations, but if this is a particular experience in your life it's going to be very doubly difficult. Knowing talk about these friendships and these relationship that's gonna spell a little bit. I would tell you how I did this for almost 30 years until my last move. I kept the little black notebook in my desk and after a session with couples I make the next couple wait after a session with couples were infidelity taken place.

I would jot down any kind of insights I developed in that session and that's kinda how I built some of these concepts so I'm there to share with you my list of 19 reasons or circumstances or experiences. People go through. Now you don't have to make a list of these, but I think you'll find that very interesting because probably most of you in this audience have done some of these things I have and it's kind of amazing. As you begin to think about. First of all, a close call friendship when you begin to save topics of conversation for somebody other than your spouse because they understand you. Best, or they understand you better and you feel like you've got this connection between the two of you. When you look for and save topics plan on topics of communication between you and your friend that's one of those stages or steps. Secondly, if you begin to share spousal difficulties under the guise of you. You're a woman now me understand how my wife works at that very interesting, a topic is really a form of criticism you're actually blaming your wife you're actually sharing confidential information with somebody who has no right to know what is between you and your spouse, but will do this and I can tell you many times I've heard this from people arguing she was sharing the story I shared some things and the next one is the friend shares, relationship difficulties, and now you're off the the business relationship or off the hobby or the interest or whatever else and now you're on the really personal stuff for when you begin to anticipate seeing this person more than going home and seeing your spouse you are sliding sideways we see our spouses at the two worst times of the day in the morning were trying to get out the door, get the kids fed get the books together making sure everybody's happy got their lunch. It's terrible.

We had four kids. I know okay and then in the evening you come back and you start the same thing in reverse and you go to bed exhausted. It's very easy to begin to anticipate seeing somebody who's fully dressed Claude in the right mine and who's been thinking maybe even about you okay it's just easy to do when you begin to compare the spouse to this friend sent all I wish she was more like that, all with he would just do that he would talk to me like this other guy does it easy. I just want to keep saying it's easy. You begin to provide special treats for this friend. There is nothing wrong with this. I want to say over and over. It's how it all kinda collects and bills that you provide special treats you're buying some men sit just when you think you know Bill really likes those I get him a box of you become more concerned about your friend than your spouse and you say all I don't do that. Tell me it is the easiest thing in the world to ask this friend how you doing just leave okay last night. Now, how, when was the last time you ever ask your spouse that came you might even fantasize about marriage with his friend just to see just thinking about it, not planet or anything like that but just sizing about. I really do think in my experience that women do this more than men, but I could be wrong.

Okay, I could be wrong and wrong about a lot of things. Okay number nine you began to spend more alone time with the friend than with the spouse and you say no way.

All yes this happens easy if you're on a softball team, a coed volleyball team. If you're on a warship team at some church in your singing at rehearsals. And if you're in a mission feeding the poor are pure on a hiking club, you can very easily spend more alone time with his friend than you do with your spouse. It's unbelievably easy to do well working your way through list of 19 dangerous behaviors.

The every husband-wife should avoid with pastor Dave Carter on Focus on the Family really hear the rest of that list next time that you know just a few minutes ago Dave mentioned the need to have some boundaries with respect to prior relationships and he said that the brain wiring is such that those feelings of infatuation are actually being stored, ready to rekindle the thrill of that romance from high school or college. It's like a dormant virus lurking in your body waiting to strike and I thought that was really interesting wasn't that Jean and I understand the importance of keeping a hedge around her marriage so that those old flames. Those old acquaintances even our dormant memories not rekindled memories together, probably times in most every marriage really dry season and you wonder what about and you can go back to people you knew before and wonder she was so good back then. I wonder what they're doing now and certainly that is a dangerous path to go down as Davis said we've got to recognize that in resist those thoughts you have. The Bible tells us to guard our hearts and to take every thought captive and that's important for all of us. Whether were married or single. There's so much here, but we need to wrap up the Dave mentioned the dangerous partner profile and will flush that out next time. But let's post a summary online can John along with Dave's list of 19 dangerous behavior will do that.

Certainly, the director of the website that you know our research shows that over 300 marriages today are being saved by our efforts here together at Focus on the Family and you can be part of the success stories when you donate to the ministry help us as we provide counseling, consultations, resources, our hope restored four day intensive work couples get the chance to work on their marriage alongside professional Christian counselors without the distractions of daily life. Here's a success story from a couple who attended. They said we tried it all and nothing seemed to work the divorce papers were filled out in the parenting plan had been agreed upon. It seem like we were working on a two dimensional plane.

The experience of hope restored brought it to 4D like a Disney ride was site smells and sounds. It made all the difference and it saved our marriage. That is such a vivid description of the impact that hope restored is having on couples Honeywell that is like a revival for that marriage. This right, John, and even better these changes that endure. You know when they first arrive 75% of the couples attending hope restored say it is their last resort, and yet two years later after the experience. Over 80% are still married with significant improvement in their marital satisfaction and Jim, I've mentioned this before, but Dean and I attended hope restored a couple of years ago when we were divorced minded we felt like we had drifted apart just so much business and so many demands for our parenting journey in our marriage got lost in all the tools we acquired in the things we learned are being used almost every day. We are so much better and I'm so glad to go through. I'm grateful for that vulnerability or sharing. I'm so glad you're able to go in to do that and you know these success stories are encouraging, but sadly, some couples can afford to get the help they desperately need and want and that's were you and I and our listeners come in.

You have an opportunity to participate with us in ministry that you can help us provide scholarships to couples in need. In fact, a gift of $30 can help save a marriage, would you like to be part of that. And hey, when you make a generous donation of any amount Focus on the Family will send you a thank you gift Dave Carter's book, anatomy of an affair, so call us today and her number is 800 the letter a in the word family 800-232-6459 and you can donate and request your book online. We got the link in the episode notes while you're there the website. Be sure to look for days, dangerous partner profile and his list of 19 dangerous behaviors.

Next time you hear more danger signs from Dave Carter. You might never touched each other and kissed each other anything, but when you share mutual feelings of attraction with that person. From then on, everything is supercharged.

You are under the influence of a mood altering substance on behalf of Jim Daly in the entire team. Thanks for listening to this Focus on the Family podcast. Please take a moment and leave a rating in your podcast app and then be sure to share this episode with others. I'm John Fuller inviting you back next time. Again, help you and your family thrive in Christ. You know, nearly 60% of American adults don't have a will in place a big number and having a will can leave a heavy burden for family left behind if you need a well but don't know where to begin. Let Focus on the Family help download our resource. 15 questions to ask when preparing a well it's our gift to my well that's my well

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