“Is it okay for me to travel alone with a coworker of the opposite sex who isn’t my spouse?”
This very serious question was asked of me recently by someone needing wisdom. This person didn’t mean ‘stay in the same hotel room’ or anything like that. They meant smaller, more ‘subtle’ things like – ride in the same car – just them; or share a meal out – just them; or have a meeting alone – just the two of them. In other words, they meant “is it okay that I do this . . . my job just kind of expects me to?”
I am so glad the question was asked. It is such a good and important question that demands serious thinking and biblical wisdom for a safe answer.
Maybe you too have wondered if it’s okay.
Maybe you are ‘required’ to travel alone for your job – drive, fly, eat, etc.
Maybe you work in an office with just you and another member of the opposite sex who isn’t your spouse.
Maybe you often have appointments scheduled where you are expected to meet alone, behind closed doors, with a member of the opposite sex who isn’t your spouse.
What do you do? Is it okay? If nothing ‘happens’ or if there’s ‘nothing there’ for the other person, isn’t it just fine?
NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.
In case you still no comprende, let me say it in Spanish: “NO.”
I do not believe it is EVER wise to be all alone with someone of the opposite sex who is not your spouse.
Why? Let me give you 5 reasons:
1. Guard your heart.
“It’s because a man and a woman are laboring together toward a common cause. See, when this happens, a man and a woman are simulating a relationship that God designed for a husband and a wife to share together. Now, to be clear, it’s not wrong for women and men to work together. It’s unavoidable, and when it’s done well, it’s a beautiful picture of the body of Christ working together. But make no mistake; when a woman and a man are working together for a common cause, it produces connectedness and even a sense of intimacy. God designed it to. That’s why work-related relationships are prone to spiral into emotional of physical affairs. If you’re working with a a woman who’s not your wife, the real win comes when you set strong and clear boundaries on your relationship together.”
2. Your spouse’s trust/respect/love.
How would you feel if your spouse spent a whole bunch of alone time with a member of the opposite sex? Would it make you fell all warm and fuzzy inside to know he/she were riding in a car for hours together? Eating a meal together? Meeting together for coffee where no one knew who they were?
Do unto your spouse as you would have them do unto you.
3. Avoid ALL appearances of evil.
Being alone with a member of the opposite sex simply doesn’t look good. It leaves the door wide open for anyone to interpret/guess what might be happening ‘when no one is watching.’ Sure, it is none of their business. But your reputation is at stake.
Ephesians 5:3. Read it. Do it. It’s for our GOOD.
The goal of not being ‘alone’ with another is to protect you from doing what you don’t want to do. Being alone with a member of the opposite sex isn’t – in and of itself – a bad or sinful thing. Setting up the boundary, however, protects you from going there.
5. “Nothing will happen” are famous last words.
Matt Carter: “. . . we need to to get extreme in this area. Think of how many amazing men and women of God have derailed their lives and ministries by not setting boundaries. If you think it could never happen to you, be forewarned. Plenty of godly people thought the same thing. . . right before falling into big-time sin.”
Don’t just SAY it will never happen to you. Set up boundaries to ENSURE it never does.
[Want some practical wisdom as to HOW to set up boundaries in your life/marriage to guard against this? I HIGHLY & STRONGLY recommend Andy Stanley’s recent series called “Guardrails.” Click here for a GREAT website with tons of resources. Click here for the “Guardrails” series. Click here to listen and/or subscribe to the podcast. Click here to watch a message where this particular issue is addressed (part 4 of ‘Guardrails’ entitled “Me and the Mrs.”).]
What do you think? Too extreme? Too ‘old fashioned’?
What are some suggestions you have to help those who are wrestling with this? What are some things they can do to avoid their employer’s expectation of them ‘being alone’ with a member of the opposite sex?