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!

I dreamt with you again.

I like hanging out with you over there, where we can talk, I can tell you my inmost secrets, you can tell me how your life is going and compare what has changed and what hasn’t. I like it how you always listen to my stories and thoughts without interrupting me and make me feel good. I like your patience with me and your sincere hugs. It’s incredible how just seeing you makes me happy, how your smile hasn’t changed after all these years and how much love I have for who you are. You’ve always helped me so much. You’ve always been there when nobody else was. Thank you.

Last night, in my dream, I told you I was going to marry next year. You got surprised, then hugged me and said, “Wow!” Looking into the horizon you smiled and I smiled with you. You said it was amazing how things had changed and I had grown into such a lovely woman, making me blush. “He’s lovely. You’d like him”, I said. “I’m sure,” you said, “you’ve always been very cautious with your choices.” We laughed together and I felt at peace.

Although we’ve talked on the phone 2 years ago and you’ve sent me chocolate, I haven’t seen you in 10 years. You must be in your forties already and my respect for you only grows. I hope I’ll get to see you again someday. You, your wife and your kids. They must be so lovely! They have a wonderful Father.

I’m sorry for sometimes calling you, “Daddy” in class. I understand that, as a teacher, it must have been embarrassing for you. But it wasn’t on purpose that I did that. I guess it was because my inner self was very, very fond of your character. You were the “man of my life” and my hero – emotionally substituting my biological Dad that I seldom got to see and be with. To me, you’ve been and are more important than you know.

I miss playing and singing with you. I miss you’re encouraging words and your voice. I miss going out with you, watching films and playing instruments. I even miss doing school work with you and you giving me exams and telling me how awesome I went. But, most of all, I miss you. I truly hope you are well.

Sunday night. Back from church.

“You can go ahead, honey. I don’t feel like sleeping yet”, he said, while taking off his coat. “But I’ll miss you”, she said, pulling him by his hand. Feeling his mind was wondering about something that had nothing to do with the her words and not getting the eye contact she wanted, she sighed, let go of him and added, “Try not staying up too late.” Hayley put on the grey vintage pyjamas she won as a wedding present from her cousin, brushed her teeth and smiled remembering the wonderful honeymoon she had with her husband 8 months ago, wishing she could go back in time and relive those golden days. Everything seemed so different now, but maybe that was normal. After all, she thought to herself, relationships shouldn’t be based in sexual romance, and she should be grateful her companion realised that too. Kyle was in the living-room, sitting on his favourite chair. His thick brown hair covered one eye while the other was fixed on the laptop screen. “Hot babes” was typed on a search page and his usual Sunday night porn tour had begun. Click. It’s just one after all. Click. Just a few. Click. Faster breaths. Click. Legs more apart. Click. Muscle tension. Click. Swallow. Click. Self control. Click. Hands sweating. Click. 2 o’clock. Click. Click. Click. Click click click click click… “Kyle?” Puffing. “Kyle!” He turns around. “I can’t sleep,” Hayley said, dragging a pillow on the floor. She gets closer and sees Kyle’s tears. “Sweetie, what’s wrong?” Kyle stops her from hugging him and maximizes his web page. A picture of a naked woman in a sensual pose appears. “This. THIS is wrong!” Kyle cries. “This woman. These women! This is so stupid! I’M so stupid! I don’t understand!” Hayley just stood there, paralysed, looking at the screen. “Hayley, I love you. Will you ever forgive me?” “How long?” “How long what?” “For how long have you been doing this?” “I’m sorry.” “HOW LONG?” “Every Sunday night… about 4 months ago I think. I’m not sure… I…” “Goodbye, Kyle.” “Hayley, no! Wait!” She rushed off out of the house’s front door and ran desperately in hope of a solution, only stopping at an old rusted window to look at her reflection. “Hayley! Please!” Kyle’s voice echoed in the road. He was at the other side of it and ran towards her. He knelt down and hugged her legs while she stayed in silent. The cold wind cut their faces and sent Hayley to the ground. “Leave me alone!”, she cried, “I hate you!” But Kyle just held on tighter.

(…)

So, I was going to make a short story out of this, but have just realised it’d take several of pages to write what’s happened to both of them, that would explain when Kyle’s addiction to porn started and how Hayley lived and regained hope in true love after the incident. I’ll leave it up to you to imagine the rest of the drama and think about this issue. Have fun! 🙂

Oh, and by the way, it’s a fact that Sunday night is the time that most people look at porn. Right after going to a church meeting, yes. For those who’d like to know more about the subject, are struggling with it or knows someone that is and would like to help them, take a look at this site: xxxchurch

“If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” – Matthew 5:29

“And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.” – Matthew 18:9

“And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,” – Mark 9:47