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

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
February 23, 2022 5:00 am

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

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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February 23, 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 2 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 gift today and help give them hope: one 808 family or go to marriages last time on Focus on the Family Pastor Dave Carter shared the dangers of contacting an old flame if you are in a difficult spot in your marriage and you are up at midnight trying to keep the baby happy and you suddenly have the thought contact Susie RBL and how they're doing to contact an old girlfriend or an old boyfriend at that stage of your life is like playing with dynamite. You don't have to create infatuation with an old girlfriend or no boyfriend it's already in your brain. You hear about ways to protect your marriage on today's episode of Focus on the Family. Thanks for joining us your hostess focus Pres. Jim Daly and Anjan Fuller and John were talking about guarding your marriage by avoiding friendships that get a bit too close and last time our guest Dave Carter shared his experience of having two senior pastors of band and their families and their churches for an adulterous relationship. That's what launched Dave on his 30 year quest to quantify the lure of infidelity and discover how to stop it before it gets started. Dave's advice is coming from his experience counseling.

Church people who were working through a first-time experience with infidelity and that could be any one of us just like those pastors that they worked for. They did not intend to lose their marriages and their ministries. But that's what ultimately happened and if you missed part one of Dave's presentation yesterday. Please get in touch with us that we can send you the entire message on CD or audio download or you can get the Focus on the Family app for your smart phone. Just give us a call. Her number is 800 the letter a in the word family 800-232-6459 or you find those messages and more.

We got all the details in the show notes. And while this message is really for married couples and single folks will benefit from it as well. They need to be aware of these warning signs so that they don't get pulled into an inappropriate friendship with a married person I degree.

So let's just add the Dave Carter served as pastor of counseling ministries at first Evangelical free Church in Fullerton, California for over 30 years.

Dave is the author of several books including anatomy of an affair how affairs attractions and addictions develop and how to guard your marriage against them, and we've got copies of that book here at the ministry will rollback just a bit as we begin seeking here the start of Dave's list of dangerous behaviors that could lead to an affair and will then post the link to that entire list in the show notes here now is Dave Carter on Focus on the Family. 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 when they understand you better and you feel like you've got disconnection 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 your woman.

Help me understand how my wife works at that very interesting topic is really a form of criticism you 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 will do this. I can't tell you how many times I've heard this from people I knew 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. People used to talk by phone. People say in session. General. It's just the anticipation of going to work and seeing them in and having conversation with them or having a cup of coffee with them, etc. you can do this. It's just very easy. 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 the shoes they need for the baseball practices of the karate closer we had for 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 mind 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.

All I wish she was more like that, all with he would just do that he would talk to me like this other guy's. It's 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 manse at the store you think you know Bill really likes those I get him a box of you become more concerned about your friend than your spouse.

He's all I don't do that.

Tell me it is the easiest thing in the world to ask this friend how you doing, just a bouquet last night. Now, how, when was the last time you ever ask your spouse that came or you check in with him.

Sometimes you just grateful that we made it through another day or is another month you don't really do this easily or often enough 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 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.

If you're on a hiking club, you can very easily spend more alone time with this friend than you do with your spouse. It's unbelievably easy to do if your spouse does not have access to all your conversations and in this culture, they don't email and texting and all kinds of ways you can relate to each other.

The spouse doesn't know at what things that's going on that you're communicating with that she is read no spousal access. Okay 11 you spend money on this friend without the spouses awareness you by the treats you maybe do the lunch you whatever. You're just being nice. You're just being friendly, but the spouse doesn't know your spending money on this person and it might not be a lot, and I might not be regular but it's one of those things that I've heard through the years.

That is been part of this drift into emotional infidelity. You might even argue with your spouse over this relationship. Now we get really personal. Here she notices the other hitting on you are. They seem to ensure smile big when they see our whatever the case is or her name sure comes up and allow your conversations.

What's going on here and you begin to argue about. You begin to be upset with each other over this event is a little later on. You might even accuse your spouse of jealousy. That's a low blow. You might even lied to spend time with your friend that this is so easy to do. Okay, you're going to work for a special project work starts at 8 o'clock.

You tell your wife you, I gotta be there at 730. Prior to the meeting or were staying afterwards to review how that the dinner went that night that we put on together the group of you. You begin the lot you use a little white lies.

You have to be there at 8 o'clock but you're going at 730, or stay in late you're going early. You're doing things just to kinda spend more time with this friend you high interactions with the friend from the spouse know where I see this most often our people go to church maybe there in a ministry together. Maybe they teach somewhere together.

Maybe they have clothing store for the poor shelters or some like that and you say to this friend. Don't smile at me next time you see me, my wife is watching or don't say anything to me just ignore me and overlook the fact that I might be somewhere close to and you begin the high interactions with his friend from your spouse. And here comes the jealousy thing, spouses just since this not one of us guys are pretty nave and pretty dumb. My wife said to me.

Yes, she is really paying attention to you and all know you're just making note. You need to pay attention to your spouse. They have radar out like this, you need to listen to that radar. Okay, don't accuse them their sentencing symptom 16 you develop special rituals with this friend, a ritual is any regular experience highly anticipated by the two parties. If it didn't happen.

There's lots of disappointment. That's a ritual that nothing of the calendar so maybe you have coffee together 10 o'clock at the company restaurant. Or maybe you meet at the water fountain.

Or maybe you email each other. Certain time every day.

Maybe you check in by text or something or some other way you begin to build little rituals.

Nothing wrong, evil, wicked there just rituals the friend shares feelings or touches, to which you inwardly respond.

This is a trigger.

If this friend lays a hand on your shoulder and you shiver inside your at the top of the purposes and the only way is downhill, you are automatically read emotionally responding to what is an innocuous, maybe touch or comment sexual content and conversations you know friends and Seinfeld change forever the way young adults talk. I have four adult children 28 to 38 and the good kids and all of my sons not Ray but the three girls are but they will talk about things I would never think of talking about with a member of the opposite sacks anything goes. If you have young adults, 17 to 25 or 30 you understand exactly what I'm talking about and it seems like a normal part of the conversation and last of all, this last one I call corporate dating you participate in business travel delicious meals you could never afford to buy with your wife and she would never think of fixing for you. You go to entertainment venues that you would never afford. If you are at home and have never done with your family and then you return to the same hotel at night you might have separate rooms but I can't tell you how many stories I've heard that it didn't stay that way. That's what I call a close call friendship. Now there are people who build these kind of friendships. Intentionally they like this kind of closeness.

This kind of flirtation or even this kind of T0. They like the tension between them and this other person.

So the question comes about. Well, how does this happen. What makes this or takes this over the edge will not talk about that just a second before children take a visit of the dangerous partner profile and would have to hurry are just a bit as we kinda skim through this.

This is a work in progress, but when you seen some of the people call girlfriends and boyfriends. You will understand why I would think there has to be more than just what meets the eye. I came first of all, everybody has an internal age that's different from the chronological development. The chronology just keeps right on moving, but internally you might yearn to go back when you were 15 or 17 or 25 are in college. We've all seen 50-year-olds tried to dress like teenyboppers and have shirts unbuttoning to their bellybutton.

We've all seen a five-year-old run in families to every body has an internal HOK. Sometimes there's a developmental lag, especially if there's been alcohol or drug abuse, other kinds of trauma in the family history like divorce. It can delay normal development processes a personality style may be that we admire or look up to our wish we had married are always kind of thought we would love to have close to us, but we didn't choose a spouse like that. We didn't have a partner like that we have hobbies and interest that maybe our spouse doesn't really have an interest in. If I had time I get to a lot of stories about those kind of things and we all have a different kind of attachment pattern. Maybe you like to be the one to give the chase or initiate or is one guy says I've taken care so many people I finally found somebody who would take care of me.

So the attachment pattern that makes you particularly vulnerable. Maybe there's a deficit in the family of origin. Maybe you never had a dad in your home to mentor you are encouraged to maybe your mom was a single mom and so busy she didn't have time to nurture.

Just get the food on the table was all she could manage, and you commented this marriage always hoping that maybe your spouse would make up some of those deficits and you soon find out they can't be your dad or mom and still be your spouse. It doesn't work that way. Maybe there's a marital void.

A long-standing emptiness in the marriage that just makes you vulnerable. Somebody wants to provide it, and last of all, this whole pursuit pattern of being chased, being cared for being sought out etc. enters into this picture as well that you put together. These are bits and pieces you put this together.

Take adolescent pieces are undone and you can put together a dangerous partner profile. You are especially susceptible to an individual with this kind of a template. I've come to believe that I had a lady in our church. We have a large church several thousand people and I had a lady one time tell me I can look out over the audience and I can tell exactly who was unhappy in their marriage. I said you kidding she said no she said Mitch unhappily married people send out signals and I'm looking for them because I hate rejection, and I never want to engage with somebody who's going to reject me.

Hope that is scary. Too bad the old flame. Okay the Internet searches reunions high school reunions so many stories about college reunions, high school reunions gone back to those happy days member.

The infatuation is already stored in your brain. This is the old flame. Now the question comes up. What makes this really dangerous. Here's the trigger. I think up to this point most the people who engage in what were talking about.

To this point pretty innocent and they're not intentionally trying to create a problem in their marriage. But there is a trigger its sustained stress two years of sustained stress, but you have to have a starting point to figure this out. What is the starting point is the starting point when you and your friend or you and your classmate or you meet somebody that just really trigger some interesting feelings in you and you share with each other. I have feelings for you. You might never have 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.

You see her at the water fountain you hear her voice on the phone you get a text message your mood changes and infatuation is the chemical that change in your mood. What kind of sustained stress we talking about unusual stress such as legal issues, career threatening things. Maybe your business has been bought out. Maybe there's some downsizing going on. Maybe there severe financial crises you on the verge of losing your home. Maybe you've had some health issues. A diagnosis is suddenly cropped up on the rise, and that you had no knowledge about and relationship breakups. Children that aren't are acting out, maybe even other things with your grandchildren. These are the unusual stresses. So we take that time when you begin to share feelings with somebody else to go back two years and this is what I look for. This is the trigger and it looks like this sustained stress makes you especially vulnerable to what has been a normal platonic friendship or makes you especially susceptible to a person who meets your dangerous partner profile or makes you recall happier days when things were so innocent when you knew Bill and Susie those times in your life when things just kinda worked well. You never forget adolescent music adolescent loves adolescents board experiences adolescent dances. You never forget those you're very impressed one adolescents and that is exactly what causes close calls that you begin to have to manage in a very special way the language of attraction between you and this friend often becomes the language of seduction.

I want to reach you an email that I received. I am really struggling with how this could happen to me when I sincerely didn't want it to happen when my partner first expressed her feelings to me. I tried to get her to join me in a discussion with our boss. She steadfastly refused. I only wish I had insisted at the time I thought I could control the situation on my own for months. I counseled her about the emotional problems she was dealing with and kept telling her that an affair between us was not going to happen even when my resolve, begin to wane.

I prayed with her. I prayed for God to take this temptation away from us. I prayed to God to bless and protect our spouses and her children. I prayed to God for guidance and direction to help us. Of course I knew what to do, get up and run away as fast as I could. Oh how I wish I would have. Still, it troubles me greatly that this is happened and that I somehow allowed this to happen that God let it happen. When I prayed to him earnestly for help. Why why did this have to happen to me.

I'm a good person was never done anything like this in my life was an attack of the devil was it my own weakness I want to tell you, you never ever want to feel the feelings that this man was going through. They are the world's worst feelings. What a sobering conclusion to the message today on Focus on the Family Pastor Dave Carter, author of the book, anatomy of an affair that final story just chills me to the bone and it underscores the fact that we need to be vigilant in protecting our marriages. We need to put up a hedge so that we don't end up like man Dave was just talking about and as we said at the start of the program. Last time no one deliberately sets out to destroy their marriage.

That's insanity. But if we allow these intimate friendships to develop were playing with fire. And in today's world it's not uncommon to spend more hours in the work environment and at home. And of course attractions can develop between coworkers, especially for not actively nurturing her own marriage and maybe having established those boundaries that you're talking about Jim.

That's one way fears concerning thinkers. Dave said there's the dangers of reconnecting with old flame's and fears can even begin in book clubs and church groups and and so on.

That's right, John. And speaking of boundaries. I'm reminded of an interview we did with Jerry Jenkins about his book hedges loving your marriage enough to protect it.

He gave very concrete ideas on how to avoid a friendship that might go too far. Here's a few try not to be alone with a member of the opposite sex, and by the third person if you have to go to a business lunch. For example, it was impossible at least tell your spouse about it so that that there where there's that accountability right I think there's a policy of everything in the light in all that can be inconvenient at times. If you're never alone with someone else. Your never to have that conversation that gets to personal or maybe even downright flirtatious.

Well, here's another one and I think a lot of people step over this boundary don't make personal compliments. There's a big difference between saying that's a nice dress versus you look amazing and uptight.

John I've just made it a habit not to comment on someone's attire, you know, it's a discipline you can develop.

I just don't need to go there and finally Jerry Jenkins says remember your wedding vows a look at them often and be deliberate about cherishing your spouse think the bottom line is her our marriages are worth protecting, even though that takes a lot of effort, just like the things that we do to protect her health. We watch her diet. We exercise a little bit of energy in those areas can go a long long way.

So true. Even just adopting this protective mindset about your marriage is so helpful and you know that interview with Jerry Jenkins really had a lot of great ideas so let's make it available as a free download as well. The great idea and will have the link for that in the show notes.

What hope it's obvious that Focus on the Family believes in the importance of marriage and we want to help you nurture and protect your relationship that our research shows that over 300 marriages a day are being saved by our collective efforts are focus and I want should be a part of these success stories when you donate to the ministry help us as we provide counseling, consultations, resources, and her hope restored four day intensive's where couples can visit a retreat center in build up their relationship with the help of Christian counselors.

One couple recently sent us this note they said our time and hope restored was the best investment we've ever made, and no dollar figure could match the value we received the practical steps developed in the curriculum are brilliant and the way you implemented them was genius. My wife and I witnessed a miracle last week.

We are living a miracle happily married today. That is a terrific comment and it is so encouraging to hear that kind of feedback coming in from of those couples who said their intensive experience and hope restored was equivalent to a years worth of counseling.

That's right, it's a very effectual program in here Focus on the Family were really stepping up our efforts to help save marriages but we need you to partner with us financially. We are nonprofit ministry and we rely on your donations to get this work done. A gift of $30 allows you to play a role in healing a marriage and when you make a generous donation of any amount will send you a copy of Dave Carter's book, and anatomy of an affair, so call us today and her number is 800 K and the word family 800-232-6459.

We can donate online and will of the link in the episode notes were gonna post to PDFs for you on our website. Dave's dangerous partner profile as well as his list of 19 dangerous behaviors. Next time, Emerson and Rich suggest the power of mom's offering respect to their sons when we know marriage and also hold joke is limited to be empathy oriented but mentor solution oriented men think in terms of solution. I try to help by solving what you can reverse that with your son and ask him how is he going to solve this problem.

Appeal to him to solve the problem or an honorable young man. This is unacceptable. I'm sure you and me.

How can you solve this rather than telling him solve it asking. Watch what happened on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team.

Thanks for listening to this Focus on the Family podcast take a moment please leave a comment and a rating and help others by sharing these episodes with someone else. I'm John Fuller inviting you back. As we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ and I knew my marriage was falling apart. I just did not affix. I felt like I would always be alone even if I stayed married at Focus on the Family's hope restored marriage intensive. We offer hope to couples in crisis so they can have the marriage they always dreamed of. For the first time I felt like my husband truly heard me. I received some great tools from the counselor said of change my life and my marriage to begin the journey of finding health go to hope today

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