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Real Answers™
Copyright: © ©2006 Shaunna Howat
655 words


By: Shaunna Howat

You spend about ten hours a day there; your livelihood revolves around what you do there. It makes sense to have a spouse at your office as well. So say experts quoted by

The new phenomenon is called an "office spouse"-you develop a deep friendship with someone of the opposite sex with whom you work. You eat lunch together, share your goals and dreams, and offer one another advice. There are no sexual ties, or so the studies say.

Seems innocent enough, and some experts say this kind of relationship improves your chances of doing well on your job. It's a "wonderful support system among workers, and makes a more productive worker," according to Mark Oldman, co-founder of Vault, Inc., a career research and consulting company.

But a closer look reveals what's deeply wrong with this. Though apparently not sexual, this type of relationship is full of risk. A man (or woman) develops a relationship with someone who is not his spouse. They share their thoughts and dreams. Encourage one another. Then he goes home. Who loses? The spouse, to whom he had pledged his loyalty, his future, his hopes and dreams, didn't get to hear his deepest thoughts that day. He gave them to someone else; he gave a part of his heart to someone who is not his spouse.

"[T]here are no strings attached, and if doesn't work out, you go pick out another office 'spouse,' and no divorce is necessary," according to Oldman. "The 'office spouses' can be more open with each other than they can with their own spouses, and there's no guilt involved," Oldman says. That dismisses the emotional commitment of the office "marriage," though. Oldman seems to forget for women, dropping a close relationship to forge another can be emotionally devastating. It's not like changing a pair of shoes.

What about the spouse? This "no-strings-attached" thinking is unrealistic. It's dangerous for traditional marriage. A spouse who has given away part of her heart and mind during the day will not be wholly a wife. She has separated a part of her personality, compartmentalized herself and said to her husband, "This part of me does not belong to you; it belongs to HIM."

Trying to separate this from morality is dangerous. Marriage is to be held in honor among all, the Bible says. Despite what these "experts" would like to portray, this dishonors marriage. An "office marriage" is a relational commitment outside the vow of a husband and wife, and it leads to dangerous ground. Tragically, workers lie to themselves if they say there's nothing more to it than talking over lunch. Why then is it given the title "spouse"?

Survey data shows that about 15 percent of women and 25 percent of men have had affairs. For many marriages an affair leads to divorce, although if the wife has an affair her marriage is more likely to end. Is this "office spouse" arrangement a reasonable option for married workers? Not if they are interested in staying married.

More importantly, to see just what effect this would have in real life, go ask your own spouse what he or she would think if you got yourself an office spouse. Afraid the question might hurt her feelings? I wonder why, if this is such an innocent and positive thing.

"Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091;


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