If you are married, is okay to have boundaries with the opposite sex?
Or are boundaries archaic, straight out of the 20s?
Well, there are two ways to look at boundaries in marriage; you can look at them as protective or restrictive.
Marriage is a treasure and no one stores valuable treasures in unsafe places. We tend to store our treasures in secure environments – away from thieves and perilous conditions.
Treasuring our marriage
When we decide to go easy on exclusivity, we leave our highest treasure – our marriage – out in the open. Exposed, vulnerable, unguarded, unsafe.
Exposure happens when we decide we want to have our cake and eat it – have a strong secure marriage but keep our “freedoms” and options when it comes to relating to the opposite sex.
Nonetheless, a border-less marriage is an oxymoron.
When I walked down the aisle and took my vows, Tommy became my #1 man, after God. All my opposite sex relationships would henceforth bow to the relationship I have with Tommy.
It’s true many find the idea of boundaries with the opposite sex backward and constricting.
But consider this: you can have all sorts of security devices installed in your home but unless you lock your front door, these devices are useless.
In other words, all the trust and love in the world won’t help you if you don’t take care of the basics.
Thinking that “love is enough“, that “we trust each other and can never be unfaithful“, that “a little flirting is harmless” is an open door.
Marriage does not have an easy lane
A great marriage has a foundation of great discipline; of doing the uncomfortable, the counter-cultural and counter-flesh.
You’ve probably heard share one of my favorite quotes by Jim Rohn: You can’t drift to the top of a mountain.
If you want marital success, you’ve got to lose easy living and put on some mountain climbing gear. You must protect what matters to you.
Here a few things to consider when it comes to keeping boundaries with the opposite sex
- You are not as strong as you think you are.
- Temptation and sin often feel harmless at the beginning.
- All of us have common sense but it can be dulled by lack of use.
- Even the best car will careen off the road if the driver takes his/her hands off the wheel.
Personally, I have found the following helpful when it comes to keeping boundaries with the opposite sex.
7 rules of opposite gender friendships
1. Don’t go out alone with a person of the opposite sex. Just don’t. Don’t make a habit of giving them rides alone in your car. (I know some situations are unavoidable e.g work, but it’s possible to keep our hearts in check even in those situations.)
2. Talk about your spouse often when talking with others. Michael Hyatt calls it the best adultery repellent.
3. Involve your spouse – Keep each other in the loop e.g. cc him/her email messages where you want to remain “above board” with the recipient, talk about your day mentioning who you talked with, share passwords e.t.c (Read this 8 Ways to Nurture Your Marriage When One Spouse Travels For Work)
4. NEVER flirt with anyone other than your spouse.
5. Cultivate same couple friendships.
6. Don’t counsel someone of the opposite sex alone. Bring your spouse along or refer the person to a person of their gender or do couple-to-couple counseling. If you must counsel or hold meetings with them, keep the office door open or talk in large open spaces, within sight of others.
7. If you see/feel temptation, F.L.E.E. Don’t rationalize or play nice. Run.
Always remember that wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be. If you are constantly working on your relationship, you will want to keep it safe. Invest in your relationship. Holly Smith has a great article on that here.
Read the follow-up post: Protect Your Marriage: More Insights on Keeping Boundaries with the Opposite Sex
- Married? Why you should not have a Pinterest board called “eye-candy”
- Drawing Boundaries for your Marriage
- Emotional Affairs: How to Guard Your Heart as a Wife
Is boundaries an area of struggle? Is fussing, distance, passive aggressiveness part of your marriage? Or perhaps you just want to understand your guy and marriage, so you can enjoy the relationship of your dreams. I wrote Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After in the Early of Marriage Years for the newlywed and early-wed wife who longs for a great marriage but struggles to cultivate the necessary mindset and habits. If you are an imperfect girl married to an imperfect guy, this book is for you! Your marriage can change! Get on the road to change –> Amazon Paperback I Amazon Kindle I Barnes & Noble I PDF