How should christian married people handle friendships with the opposite sex?

“We’re just friends. Can’t I have any friends?”
“We’ve never even touched each other.”
“We aren’t doing anything wrong.”
“You have jealousy issues.”
“You’re too controlling.”
“Don’t you trust me?”
“You’re the only one who sees a problem here.”
“I have no feelings for him/her other than friendship.”
“They’re like that with everyone.”
“You’re over-thinking and imagining things.”
“It’s not like we’re kissing or anything like that!”
“So I’m not allowed to have friends any more?”
“I’m sure they don’t have any romantic feelings for me.”
“I don’t have to tell you every single detail of what I do. What if I
forget something?”
“They’re in a relationship too, don’t worry.”
“You’re really insecure. You should have more confidence in yourself.”
“I don’t want to hurt her/him by not being friendly any more.”
“That didn’t come across right, but I know his/her intentions aren’t bad.”
“I trust him/her to not go over the line.”
“She/He’s just different and acts differently.”
“She/He doesn’t have same-gender friends to talk to.”
“She/He’s christian too.”
“I can’t believe you’d think I’d cheat on you!”
“You’re too conservative and old-fashioned.”
“You don’t know what she/he’s like, but I do!”
“I wouldn’t question anything if the same situation happened to you
because I trust you.”

If you’ve heard this from your spouse or you yourself have said these things when your spouse wants to talk about your friend of the opposite gender, be careful! It doesn’t have to be physical to be wrong. And just because you may not like them “in that way” doesn’t mean it’s ok either.

This is a very important topic that is many times ignored because it is difficult, can seem too restrictive and conservative. But it has to be discussed with your spouse. As soon as possible, raise the topic in an adequate moment when both of you are alone, wide awake, in good humour, with no distractions and have time to spare. (I know – when that adequate moment comes, you’d rather have intercourse with them, but bear in mind that this conversation will spare you from future rocky roads when both of you won’t even want to have intercourse because of a situation that happened.)

Initial, obvious and important considerations:
– Physical and emotional adultery are wrong and painful for both sides (and many times even for the third person involved, family and friends), have a snowball effect, are difficult to forgive and forget, cause (even more) lack of trust and honour and love that are hard to build up again. On that note, emotional affairs can be just as or even more (!) painful as physical affairs;
– The most common way of committing adultery is, by far, through developing friendships with the opposite sex that naturally grow “by mistake” (not by actively seeking it or being coerced by a random person – ex: prostitute);
– Alongside prayer (and fasting), setting boundaries is the most effective way of getting out of trouble.
– It is possible to change your mindset and lifestyle on this matter no matter how long you’ve been in the old one, what culture you live in or what general society has to say about it. Besides, honouring God and having a happy, healthy, long-lasting marriage relationship is totally worth the effort!
– You are not as strong as you think you are! As humans, we have a sinful, prideful, selfish and self-righteous nature that can very well bring us away from God and our spouses if we are not careful.

Insightful verses:
– Proverbs 27:12 “Those who are prudent see danger and take refuge, but the naive continue on and suffer the consequences.” (ESV) “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.” (KJV)
Matthew 5:27-28 “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (KJV)
Proverbs 4:23 “Above everything else guard your heart, because from it flow the springs of life.” (ISV) “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (KJV)
Malachi 2:16 “Indeed, the LORD God of Israel says that he hates divorce, along with the one who conceals his violence by outward appearances,” says the LORD of the Heavenly Armies. “So guard yourselves carefully, and don’t be unfaithful.” (ISV) “For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.”(KJV)

The Bible talks about the danger of sexual immorality (fornication) many times and gives guidelines for people to have a good marriage. Do not take this issue lightly or naively! Do not think you’re automatically protected from sin or third-parties if you are married! The devil will use any little door to get in your life and destroy your marriage because he hates marriage! So do not open those dangerous doors and think you are in control of the situation. Study and pray about it and do your best to obey the Lord.

We live in a fallen world that is so corrupt that it has been influencing many christians without them realising it. What’s “normal” to the world doesn’t mean it’s ok. Our minds have become so sexualised that we have been loosing our senses, stretching our boundaries like elastic bands until they snap in our faces and we don’t even know where we went wrong. Please understand that I am not trying to make you scared or apprehensive. Instead, I want to show you the vaccination in order to not get the sickness to not have to show you which remedy may heal the problem you’ve got because you did not have precaution.

I’ve researched intensely about how christians should deal with having opposite-sex friends and have found some webpages that have been very helpful to me. So, if you are having doubts about this topic, I greatly encourage you to read these external links that talk about this issue practically:

Detailed explanation of how important boundaries are and where place them. (Disclaimer: This is not a Christian website, but it is spot-on on the issue of opposite-sex friendships.)
– List of questions to ask yourself or to give to your spouse to answer them honestly in order to know if a certain opposite-sex friendship should end.
Rules to apply and example of a true story of a woman who had to change her views and ways regarding opposite-sex friendships when she married.
Case study for married people and insight for single people as a means of precaution.
How to avoid emotional adultery and chemical reactions “I’m not just talking about sexual attraction. I’m referring to a reaction of two hearts, the chemistry of two souls.”
How to deal with jealousy issues. Is jealousy the problem or is it a consequence of a problem?
Rules, real case for married and single (women especially).
Explanation specifically to men in a humorous tone, explaining why the psycho crazy jealous wife is actually right.
I am thinking of having an affair (for women).

When talking to your spouse about this issue, don’t just say things have to and will change. Set actual rules and boundaries, talk about real and imaginary situations and what to do in each example. Highlight what needs immediate change and be completely honest and transparent with each other about the past and the present. Be practical and be quick! Give each other your passwords to everything online, get rid of all friendships with former lovers, always let them know about who you are engaging with, talk about former and present friends that have bothered you or them at some point, be bold about your marriage to other people and put your priorities straight – God, spouse, then others!

Because of certain “passages” that were open – be it by sinning knowingly or by naivety – there may be demons that entered into your marriage life. To get rid of those demons, I recommend reading this website page that has helped me get rid of a specific demon that was tormenting my marriage.

Onward married christian soldiers!

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Things I will not do/say to/about my spouse.

  • Argue in front of the children or anybody else.
  • Swear.
  • Curse anything, any date, anyone, or God.
  • Tell my spouse to kill me if I ever did the errors they did.
  • Say something sarcastically with the intention of making the other person a fool.
  • Hit or push them angrily.
  • Say something bad about my spouse to anyone (including my children).
  • Complain about money issues selfishly.
  • Take pride in making more money than they do.
  • Dare them to leave.
  • Tell them you’ve just not committed suicide because of the life you live with them because for the children’s sake.
  • Blame them for my depression or the children’s depression.
  • Say they don’t help out with anything.
  • Give back evil with evil.
  • Complain in the car, with the kids having nowhere to go.
  • Make them cry.
  • Tell them their clothes are horrible in a mean way.
  • Tell them they look terrible because of anything (like acne).
  • Tell them they have no reason to be sad.
  • Tell them to eat everything because people in a certain place have nothing to eat.
  • Compare them in an offensive way.
  • Say someone else is better than them.
  • Say that when I die there would be a huge queue of people wanting to marry them.
  • Complain about personal things with the visitors just so my spouse feels bad.