The other day, I was flying out of Memphis when an attractive-looking man and woman behind me struck up a conversation that I couldn’t help but hear. At first, they talked about where they were from, their work, and politics. But then things got more personal.
They both started talking about their marriages, her desire for children, and the way she and her husband were struggling with conception. That’s a tender topic as it is, but something about the man’s willingness to ask probing questions made me feel uneasy.
I was relieved when the flight was nearing the end and the man changed the subject and asked, “So can you recommend any good restaurants in Memphis? I have to come here for work occasionally, and I’m always looking for good places to eat.”
The woman started naming off restaurants, and after she had given her recommendations, he said, “Those sound like great options. You should join me for lunch sometime.”
That seemed awfully forward to me. They had only talked for a couple of hours, so I felt for sure she would come up with an excuse to beg off. Instead, she immediately agreed to meet and gave him her contact information.
“I’ll be in touch,” he said as they bid goodbye.
I couldn’t help but wonder if I had just witnessed the beginning of an affair. Maybe so, maybe not; but I do believe I witnessed two married people put themselves in a position to have one. There were three key elements that increased the chances:
1. They were isolated. These two were 30,000 feet in the air, far away from their spouses and friends who might ask, “Why in the world are you exchanging contact information with someone of the opposite sex and planning a lunch date?” One of the easiest ways to set ourselves up for falling into any kind of sexual sin is to isolate ourselves from the people who will be affected by our choices.
2. They lowered their guards. This woman was probably in a world of hurt over the anguish that comes with infertility. Suddenly, she’s sitting next to an attractive guy who’s curious, who appears to care, and it understandably felt appealing to engage in self-disclosure. The problem is that in doing so, she overlooked the fact that you don’t need physical contact to have an intimate moment with someone else.
3. They made plans to spend time together. The pair made a plan to spend time alone, and they had no purpose for doing so other than getting to know each other better. Spending time with someone of the opposite sex puts us in a position to get our emotional or physical needs met by someone other than our spouses.
Again, I’m not saying this couple had an affair. All I know is, over the course of just two hours, they made themselves more vulnerable to it. And as married couples, we’ve got to be more vigilant than that. We’ve got to “[c]atch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love” Song of Solomon 2:15 (NLT).