Nurture Golf Buddies & Discourage Extramarital Sex?

Valentine's Day is fast approaching, but today's public distaste for conspicuous consumption, has limited the onslaught of articles on luxury lingerie and gold dusted gourmet chocolate.

In their place are more pensive pieces on dealing with Valentine's day depression or surviving Feb 14, as a single.

Along these decidedly... unflirty... lines Therese Borchard, a spirituality blogger writing in Huffington Post today, offers a list of "8 ways to Affair-Proof your marriage". ~ The piece seems to be directed at women, presumably because they're more likely to have the cheating spouse. ~ First on the list is:

1. Nurture Safe Friendships.

"This is the most important affair-preventer in my life. No marriage can give you everything. A husband is going to have interests that his wife will never care about like fishing, hunting, or golfing. So he's less likely to stray if he can find some good guy buddies with whom to fish, hunt, and golf."

Of course it's true that a husband and wife may have interests that don't overlap... and golf is often one of them... but the idea that a women should nurture her husband's friendships with "guy buddies" who share those interests is humorously lame. The suggestion is what? That otherwise he may find a frisky female on the first tee and be tempted to stray? That his "safe" male playing partners would discourage the otherwise inevitable liaison? ...Well actually, in the case of my husband, the second part is true; his motley foursome of Cohiba smoking curmudgeons gentlemen would discourage even the most libidinous fairway femme fatale.

But, that's not the point. My thinking is that if you have to go to such lengths to "affair-proof" your marriage, is it worth preserving? Isn't there something wrong with the marriage if you have to manipulate your spouse's leisure time and social contacts to ensure he doesn't end up at the Super 8 with someone else?

I'm writing about this on a golf blog because not long ago I ran into the issue of "extramarital golf" in a couple of other places. Not long ago I was helping a friend of mine find a key note speaker for an female empowerment program. We happend upon Beyond Affairs Network, a website run by Anne and Brian Bercht, a couple whose marriage was threatened by an affair and who responded by making "affair prevention" their life's mission. They've appeared on Ophrah and Ellen and E! Entertainment Network. They've been very successful with their subject, so it clearly resonates with some. I won't pass judgment except to say that I was somewhat taken aback when I read the following advice from Ms. Bercht:

"Going golfing one-on-one with a member of the opposite sex is asking for trouble. I would not be okay with Brian golfing with another woman, and he would not be okay with me golfing with another man. There would be no reason in the world, that you could not join your husband on this golf outing with another woman."

Well I can think of one. Like...maybe you had something else to do at the time?

Seriously, if you can't trust your spouse... your husband or your wife...to play golf with a member of the opposite sex, is your marriage worth hanging onto? ~I think not.

And I was about write off this overly cautious advice from a scorned wife as....just overly cautious advice from a scorned wife... until I read a real life account by Real Women Golf blogger, Heather Jones, of a golf course incident that left me thinking that maybe such spousal suspicion isn't so unusual. I just know I'd hate to have to live with it, and as Valentine's Day approaches and we scramble to find the right romantic gift, I'm wondering, like Heather did, how widespread this attitude actually is.

Would you be OK if your spouse (or significant other) was playing golf with with someone of the opposite sex?... and/or... Do you compelled to "affair proof" your marriage?

Antique Valentines from Vintage Valentine Museum