Healthy Boundaries That Protect Your Marriage
Hey guys! Thanks again for joining us for another episode of the Purpose in Purity podcast. This will be episode four of our “Embracing Purity in Marriage” series. Today, Gerald and Nia will be discussing ways to protect the sexual purity of your marriage. As usual, this is not an exhaustive list, but rather some helpful tips and practices that can help you cultivate healthy boundaries that can protect your marriage. So without further ado, let’s jump right into the discussion!
Boundary #1: Avoid being alone with members of the opposite sex.
You should strive to avoid being alone with members of the opposite sex. For those struggling with same-sex attraction, similarly avoid being alone with people you may be attracted to. If you find yourself in a situation where you are alone with someone you might be attracted to, keep that relationship as formal as possible.
Why Can’t I Have Friends of the Opposite Sex?
It’s not that you can’t have friends of the opposite sex. What’s important, though, is that you set boundaries to protect your marriage. You may think it’s fine to go on casual outings with a friend of the opposite sex. You may feel comfortable spending time alone with a friend of the opposite sex. You feel it’s okay because they’re “just a friend” or you’re “just talking.” With that in mind, consider the following question:
Seduction starts with speech. At any given time, a casual friendship can turn into casual flirting. Occasionally spending time with someone can become a deep emotional connection. Not to mention the possibility that being seen “hanging out” alone with someone of the opposite sex — someone who is not your spouse — can give off the appearance of evil to those who know you. Even if you are not having an affair, it can seem that you are. So you can have friends with someone of the opposite sex, but you must set up boundaries to protect yourself, your marriage, and even your Christian witness.
Boundary #2: Don’t vent your relationship issues to someone of the opposite sex.
In addition to that, don’t allow yourself to develop a deep emotional connection with someone of the opposite sex. If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve become emotionally dependent on someone who is not your spouse, you need to ask yourself, “Who is this person to me and do I need to be on guard in my interactions with him/her?” If there is someone outside of your spouse that you find yourself constantly seeking out or dressing up to impress, you should reevaluate your relationship with that person.
Note that this applies physically (with people you’re close in proximity to) and virtually (with people you’re not close in proximity to, e.g., online, phone conversation, et cetera).
Boundary #3: Steer clear of sexual entertainment.
Watching pornographic material, visiting establishments like strip clubs, participating in activities that cater to one’s sexual fantasies — whatever it is, avoid engaging in sexual entertainment. Sometimes we get caught up in trying to find a line. We draw the line and say that as long as we don’t cross it, it’s “okay.” If you’re toeing a line you should not cross, that’s a sign that you’re engaged in something you should be. That’s not the right heart behind the choice to abstain from sexual entertainment. If you find yourself making these distinctions and toeing the line, you should bring it to the Lord in prayer.Regardless of how you feel about certain forms of entertainment, there are certain places that it’s not okay to be in, certain things it’s not okay to see, and certain activities it’s not okay to do.
In the end, it comes back to cultivating a godly character from within. Biblical purity is about having an intimate relationship with God, seeking to please Him and having fellowship with Him. It’s about loving God. Sexual purity is a part of that. So keep that in mind as you set boundaries to protect the sanctity of your marriage.
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What did you think of this episode of Embracing Purity in Marriage? Are there any questions you want answered? Any topics you want to hear discussed? Leave a comment below or email me at [email protected] or [email protected] See you in the next episode!