MsDora, Certified Christian Counselor, has spent four decades empowering young and adult women to pursue positive, productive womanhood.
Respecting the Golden Rule
Perhaps most women observe these call boundaries, but occasionally there is the surprising response from the one who does not, and defends her inappropriate actions by saying, “It’s harmless.”
While overstepping these bounds is not a criminal offense, it can be cruel if it creates suspicion or other forms of emotional distress in an insecure wife. Even if there is no display of insecurity, it is commendable to live by the Golden Rule, which requires us to respect another woman’s marital space in the same way we should want her to respect ours.
Also consider the warning from David Wygant, Relationship Coach in How a Married Man’s Friendships With Single Women Become Affairs:
"If you find yourself becoming excited by the overly-friendly man in the wedding ring — consider that you may have some internal issues to work out. And then run . . . preferably in the direction of available men not hampered down by preexisting relationships."
Men share the responsibility to ensure that these boundaries are respected in their interactions with women. They can refuse to accept calls in situations that are not obviously above board. They can apply these boundaries to themselves when they are on the calling end so that they do not become offenders to other people's marriages.
Here are a few reminders for women and men who may drift into mindlessness.
6 Boundary Suggestions for Women Who Are Calling Married Men
- Don't just call because . . .
- Don't ignore his wife.
- Don't call at bedtime.
- Don't use terms of endearment.
- Don't call only when his wife is away.
- Don't abuse his wife's patience.
1. Don’t Call Just Because . . .
No matter how friendly a woman’s husband appears to be, he is not a “best friend” candidate for any other woman. Don’t make it a habit to call just because you need to talk with someone, just because you like his voice, just because he always has something nice to say. He is not available to fulfill your need for attention, listening pleasure or companionship. Another woman or a single man will be more appropriate to fill that need. Have a sensible reason to call a married male.
2. Don’t Ignore His Wife
You expect that he is the person who will answer your call to his cell phone, but if for some reason his wife answers (it happens), don’t hang up or say “wrong number.” Remember that your number registers. Greet her cordially and give her an idea, not necessarily the details, of the reason you called. “I’d like to ask your husband’s advice on a problem I’m having with my computer, or on a service his company offers, or to get his opinion on an issue I’m facing with my son.”
If he is not available, thank her for relaying your message. Never give the impression that you’re annoyed because she took the call, or that the reason you called is none of her business.
3. Don’t Call at Bedtime
If it will not make any difference whether he hears it that night or the next day, why bother him at bedtime to give him that information? If he is not expected to take any action that night, do not disturb him.
Read More From Pairedlife
Even if you know that he usually stays up late, while she goes to bed early, you do not know what surprising welcome advance one of them may choose to make that night. Bedtime is reserved for intimacy between most husbands and wives. They may be deeply engaged in intimate conversation and to disturb them may be to frustrate them. They may be in a close embrace for which he needs two hands, leaving no extra hand to hold the phone.
Be considerate. Be respectful. Be understanding.
4. Don’t Use Terms of Endearment
These days, many people ignore the meaning and significance of words, including terms of endearment. We expect people in relationships, more special than casual friendship, to refer to each other using names like “Sweetheart,” “Honey,” and “Darling,” among others.
Some people take offense at strangers or mere acquaintances using these terms to address them, because they think that it deflates the significance of the term. They reserve these names for special people in the categories of family and friendship. A married male friend is not likely to fit these categories, if there is no intention to place him in a close-to-the-heart relationship.
For women who do not attach any significance to these terms, consider that if the married man does, he could be flattered into thinking that you are pursuing a sweetheart relationship. Better to use salutations which do not create misunderstanding.
5. Don’t Call Only When His Wife Is Away
If you really have a reason to call, you will call whether or not his wife is in his presence. When you do, acknowledge her. For example, “Please give my regards to your wife.”
Such behavior helps to establish that you have nothing to hide about your conversation with him. That may lessen the cause for suspicion when she hears that you called in her absence.
It may be considerate to inquire about his well-being, but do not aim to become a substitute who offers concern and companionship when the primary provider is absent. Don’t create bogus reasons to call, and if you must call, respect her space with the same integrity you would display if she were present.
6. Don’t Abuse His Wife's Patience
There is the ever smiling, peace-loving woman who never seems upset, no matter how many times the same woman calls her husband. Don’t be deceived by her Utopian mood. She has feelings and concerns like every other woman, and sometimes she may bite her lip rather than complain.
The attitude and conduct of the caller are not to be decided by the wife’s reaction, but by the caller’s love and respect for herself and for others. Show discretion. Show good judgment. Model wise womanhood!
- Calling the Single Woman to Respect Marriage
Single women empower themselves and their married friends by respecting the marriage boundaries. Why not think first of our sister before we think of making her husband happy?
© 2019 Dora Weithers