How many young Christian men have struggled with lust and foolishly thought that all their problems would magicly go away once they got married? (All that pent-up abstinence could finally be released!) …just to find out that a problem with lust is only partly physiological. Fidelity is just as much a matter of our hearts, minds, and habits as it is our bodies.
Recently, I was in a conversation with a friend about safe-guarding our marriages against cheating. Not only actual adultery, but also mental and emotional adultery. We were sharing practical ways we each help ourselves to be faithful to our wives and to continue to keep our minds and hearts monogamous. We don’t want any room in our lives for developing any romantic affections for women besides our wives!
We came up with 6 practical strategies for safe-guarding our marriages against extra-marital romance. (Since my friend and I are both guys, our list is written from the husband’s point-of-view. Wives – you can just reverse the genders in the list below to make the strategies work for you, too!)
1-Never be alone with a female in private other than your wife. If you must have a private conversation with a female at work or under some other compulsory circumstance, always make sure it happens in an open, public place, or inside a room with a window in the door in a public place. Sit where both of you are clearly-visible to passers-by through the window.
2-Install internet accountability and filtering software – such as CovenantEyes or X3watch – to all computers in the home and at work, and have the reports set-up to be emailed (1)to your wife, and (2)to a spiritual mentor of yours who is a male.
3-Be no better friends with any female than your wife is with the her. Also, keep a healthy distance (physically & emotionally) from female friends, and save any intimate conversations for your wife alone.
4-Never ride alone in a car with just one other female.
5-Don’t carry on back-&-forth text, email, facebook chat, or other mediums of communication with females for social purposes.
6-Avoid physical contact with other females as much as possible.
Some might call these 6 safe-guards old-fashioned. I’d call them… WISE. We want to protect our wives and fortify our marriages! We want to avoid even the appearance of evil – we want to stay above reproach.
These strategies not only safeguard us from temptation, but they also eliminate the possibility of even a false accusation – which as we all know can ruin a marriage and a reputation.
We invite you to join us in our old-fashioned, prudish ways! We believe they will serve you, your marriage, your ministry, your reputation, and your conscience very very well!
How do you safe-guard your marriage from mental, emotional, and physical infidelity? What strategies have helped you avoid being tempted by extra-marital affections?
I understand the heart of these principles, I really do, and find wisdom in them. Yet, I see an unintentional result of them when they are carried out legalistically and with a sense of false piety. By restricting contact with women severely it segregates them. In our desire to put up hedges to maintain purity we push women off into the outer court where they are in such a state that they essentially become shunned. Again I understand the heart, but I do not think it is what God intended nor expects of us. Run from temptation, most certainly, and be wary of a chemistry that presents itself, but do not run from women. They are comrades, not enemies.
Hi Kris – thanks for your feedback, but I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood my purpose. My goal is not to alienate and vilify the entire female gender. I’m not trying to get all men to limit all contact with all women.
My intent is to encourage men to protect their wives and marriages from extra-marital affections. For me, that means – as a married man – I must heavily restrict myself from engaging in intimate situations where romantic affections could develop. Does that make sense?
As for God’s expectations of me, I think He expects me to keep my promises to my wife. On our wedding day, one of the vows I made to Dianna before God included the phrase, “…forsaking all others, and keeping only unto you, as long as we both shall live”.
Also, this post is meant to be read from both genders’ points-of-view. I suppose I could have made the whole post more gender-generic by just using the word “spouse” in every instance, but I am a husband and so I wrote this from the man’s point-of-view.
My hope is that a wife could just as easily read this and apply all the same safe-guards to help protect herself from developing extra-marital affections for men other than her husband. These are equal-opportunity safe-guards for both husbands and wives alike!
Nick, our goal is the same and I believe I have understood the purpose of your post well. I am likewise married and my spouse and I both adhere to much of what you have said because it is prudent. I do not mean to suggest that being wary of such situations is wrong.
What I have come to notice though in the church is a huge separation of the sexes on account of our fear to fall into sin. I am not suggesting loosening these hedges but being mindful that people are more important than rules we construct to protect us. As with most of the things we construct, they at some point are followed so religiously that the heart of God is neglected and do harm.
It is better I think to have these as guidelines, not rules. Rules are never a substitute for following God’s lead, which I am positive you will agree with. Where they have been strictly followed as rules, the sexes are strangely estranged from one another, though both are to manifest the image, mission and purpose of God in concert. Marriage is highly important, but it is not our sole mission. Staying pure is also of God, but again, it is not our ultimate mission.
Ultimately, I believe we agree on everything. I just think I see a result manifesting from this common observance that is not in the heart of God. It is no different than in Islamic communities. I am not promoting the abandonment of these 6 principles but the supremacy of God’s will and leading over them.
Hey Kris – thanks for the dialogue! I appreciate your input. Just to clarify, I am definitely not calling for the separation or subjugation of women, a la the Islamic tradition. The two genders are indispensable to one another in the life and mission of the church! I do like how you called the items in my post “guidelines” as opposed to “rules”. They are not meant to be law, but wisdom. And again, they’re meant to work for both genders equally. Here – a quick example:
One of our family friends, a married gentleman, recently emailed Dianna (my wife) a question about something innocuous. She replied back with a couple of different solutions and recommendations for him. Totally innocently, he responded back to her asking if they could meet for coffee to talk through her suggestions. Her response was, “Well… uhm… I don’t really meet other men 1-on-1 for coffee…”, and she suggested that he and his wife join us for a double date some time. A week later, we all went out together, talked through his original question together (it was no beg deal), and had a great time!
I’m not advocating that all married people should quarantine themselves from members of the opposite gender(!), but just to tread very cautiously around any interaction that may result in a romantic connection forming with someone who is not your spouse.