As business owner, I do a lot of lunch meetings. Sometimes these business lunch meetings are with women. It would be about business.
But over the last couple of years I’ve changed my mind on having lunch alone with female counterparts.
I’m married. It’s been a blessing to be married and be an entrepreneur.
I’m also a man…and I know my sinful ways. As much as I read my Bible and go to church, I’m aware of an enemy that wants nothing more than the destruction of my marriage.
A destroyed marriage will destroy a business. It will destroy an entrepreneur.
I’m not taking any risks. Not anymore.
A hundred years ago men and women rarely mingled in the workplace. Nowadays I do business side by side on a daily basis. If I want my marriage to survive and thrive in contemporary society I’m going to have to find ways to deal with these inescapable realities.
So, what should the entrepreneur do?
The bible says
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 NIV
In Romans 1 Paul exhorts Christians to resist becoming “conformed” to the patterns of this world. Sadly, many believers nowadays seem content to accept the status quo and go along with what’s “common and expected” without question or pause. If we’re going to live God’s way, there are times when we have to be willing to push back against the culture.
Godpreneurs who take this challenge seriously won’t necessarily shrug their shoulders and say, “That’s just the way things go in modern business.” We may not be able to re-engineer the culture or change the structures of the business world, but if we really care about preserving the integrity of our marriage relationship we can and should take the time to talk seriously about this and to figure out ways of establishing meaningful boundaries and maintaining appropriate “hedges” around the relationship.
Here are strategies I use:
Wherever possible I make an effort to include someone else in offsite business lunches.
Matters that must be kept strictly private could be discussed at the office, behind closed doors if necessary, but in close proximity to other co-workers.
I don’t even offer to have private lunches, breakfasts, happy hours or dinners. It’s not even an option.
The bottom line here is that we’re building a wall around the most important relationship under God that I have. The process of building healthy boundaries and protective hedges in marriage begin with setting rules for yourself like this in business, and the key to success is the Godpreneur’s willingness obey God in this area. That’s when the blessings with 10X in our business and marriage.