Further Musings

Beauty smote his heart, he looked up from the forsaken land & hope returned to him

Not Just Friends

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At the recommendation of one of several friends whose spouses have recently had affairs Charity and I have picked up Not “Just Friends” by Dr. Shirley Glass (who is Ira Glass‘s mom!).

The book is the story of affairs from initial attraction to emotional affairs to physical affairs to healing or divorce.  It’s a remarkably sad book to read as she details the stories of how affairs affected the marriages of Konrad and Katie, Sam and Sarah, and many other alliterative couples.

To my mind, the first two chapters should be required reading for any engaged or married couple.  Chapter One, “The Slippery Slope,” talks about practical marriage saving boundaries, “walls and windows,” that keep others out of the private spaces of marriage and give marriage partners a view into the relationship a spouse has with members of the opposite sex.  It also describes common places that affairs develop: at work, with neighbors or friends, and online.

Chapter Two, “Crossing into a Double Life,” walks through what happens as one partner begins to engage in an affair.  Emotional intimacy with the “friend” increases, secrecy starts as the partner starts to rationalize that the unwitting spouse doesn’t need to know everything, and finally sexually explicit discussion happens, the last step before a physical affair.  At this point the cheating spouse enters a double life of lying and compartmentalization.  Sigh.

The rest of the book details how what happens when an affair comes to light and how each of the three parties involved deals with the aftermath.  I skimmed these for what I found interesting for my friends.

The first two chapters are worth reading for the practical advice about protecting your marriage.  They tell you the story of how an affair begins so you will realize the dangerous road you are walking down should you wander (or charge) down it.  The rest of the book has some very wise things to say as well about why affair partners are more attractive than your spouse (it’s not a real relationship with real demands and stresses) and about why singles entering into affairs almost always get the short end of the stick as well (the cheating spouse almost never leaves for you and almost always lies to you about the real state of his or her marriage).

Here’s a summary on preventing infidelity from the end of the book.

Seven Tips for Preventing Infidelity

  1. Maintain appropriate walls and windows. Keep the windows open at home. Put up privacy walls with others who could threaten your marriage.
  2. Recognize that work can be a danger zone. Don’t lunch alone or take coffee breaks with the same person all the time. When you travel with a co-worker, meet in public rooms, not in a room with a bed.
  3. Avoid emotional intimacy with attractive alternatives to your committed relationship. Resist the desire to rescue an unhappy soul who pours his or her heart out to you.
  4. Protect your marriage by discussing relationship issues at home. If you do need to talk to someone else about your marriage, be sure that person is a friend of the marriage. If the friend disparages marriage, respond with something positive about your own relationship.
  5. Keep old flames from re-igniting. If a former lover is coming to the class reunion, invite your partner to come along. If you value your marriage, think twice about having lunch with an old flame.
  6. Don’t go over the line when you’re online with Internet friends. Discuss your online friendships with your partner and show him/her your e-mail if he/she is interested. Invite your partner to join in your correspondence so your Internet friend won’t get any wrong ideas. Don’t exchange sexual fantasies online.
  7. Make sure your social network is supportive of your marriage. Surround yourself with friends who are happily married and who don’t believe in fooling around.
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Written by furthermusings

February 22, 2011 at 11:59 am

Posted in Reviews

One Response

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  1. Call me sheltered or naive but until recently, I did not realize what a risk “unintentional” infidelity was to couples. Although I (thankfully!) cannot say that any of my close personal friends have experienced it, I hear about it involving orthodox Christian couples far, far too often. I think that means none of us are immune or beyond it. Thanks for the review and the summary. Y’all pray for us and we’ll pray for you. See you in Chi-town!

    Stephanie

    March 2, 2011 at 11:10 pm


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