National Association of Marriage Enhancement

Start Talkin’

When you get married, you throw off the single life behind. Most everyone knows that, but not everyone understands that this affects your friendships with the opposite sex. The excuse of “they’re just my friend” is very common in many modern relationships. We know that sometimes it is hard to draw a stronger more protective boundary line once you get married, but this should be your desire. It should be more important to you to keep jealousy, flirting and adulterous behavior far away from your relationship than it is important to you to keep your one on one time with the opposite sex. The best way to solve this problem is by not keeping your friendships separate from your spouse. You can stay friends but instead it can be OUR (you and your spouses’) friend rather than MY (your personal) friend. You will not lay suspect to suspicious behavior when your only contact with that friend is with your spouse around.

Sometimes issues do not arise from long time friendships but from co-workers. Now this can become a really tricky situation. It is not always as cut and dry as to have your spouse around. Your spouse is probably not at your beckoning call in your work environment. Work is where you have to practice serious self control. Watch out for flirtatious behavior. There is no such thing as “harmless flirting.” It is a lie of the devil. It is an affair of the mind. Build up a boundary by being friendly but not OVERLY friendly. If you keep a platonic relationship as opposed to a deeper relationship, it is easier to not “go there” mentally. Another tip is to be careful at your complements. Don’t allow the person to feel so flattered that they think something might be there that isn’t. Finally, if you have started feeling attracted to the other person, avoid them as much as possible. You cannot be too careful when it comes to guarding your marriage.

Number one non-negotiable rule when it comes to boundaries: talk to God and talk to your spouse. It is not about what makes you comfortable as much as it is what makes your spouse comfortable and what makes God proud. Many do not have a desire to cheat, but they do because they were not guarding these areas of their life. It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you have had an affair in the past, you have to be much stronger with your boundaries in order to build trust. Show your spouse that you are willing to become more disciplined so as not to stumble again.