Too Close for Comfort…

I’ve been saddened as of late by the alarming rate of infidelity and just failed marriages in general because of lack of commitment or what have you. I’ve seen people in these delicate situations but a LOT of which could have been prevented. SO in this article I seek to provide what I think can be precautions to take as well as safe-guards to prevent us from getting “Too Close for Comfort.”

If you can imagine a line beyond which a spouse would be committing adultery, I’m convinced that many couples live with their toes right up next to that line of marital infidelity. Yes, many. And yes, I’m talking about even Christian couples.

Comments and questions like these reveal a leaning toward the line rather than away from it:

“Well, it’s only my husband and I. If we want to watch it, we’re both adults and we can make that decision.”

“Oh come on- we work together. It’s only natural that we would have lunch together every now and then. It doesn’t mean anything!”

“We’ve been friends since high school. Why would I give up such a close friend just because he’s a guy and now I’m married?”

“It’s not realistic to say, ‘never be alone with a member of the opposite sex.’ Seems legalistic to me- I know myself and I can handle it.”

But the Bible puts different standards on children of God:

Not Even a Hint! (Eph. 5:3)
…”Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”

While the culture asks, “How much can I get away with?”, this standard asks, “Is there anything about what I’m doing that could cause offense or be misunderstood?” We are to be above and beyond reproach, so careful in our behavior as to preclude any possibility of criticism.

Being above reproach makes it clear that “wherever the line is, I’m nowhere near it.” If this is my standard, I’m not going to ask how close I can get to sin without actually crossing over into sin. If that’s what I’m asking, then it’s likely I’ve already crossed the line according to the standards Jesus presents (i.e., “he who has lust in his heart…”). This is not about legalism, and it’s not about pouring a bucket of cold water on fun. This is about protecting the one relationship in a married person’s life that is designed to represent the relationship between Christ & the Church. We shouldn’t even entertain a hint of sexual immorality.

Here’s a few ideas to consider about having a “not even a hint” kind of standard:

  • If you saw a married woman in your church in a car with another man, what would you think? Would there be a sliver of concern in your mind? You might try to think the best of them, but surely we’d all admit that there might be a hint of doubt about the purity of their situation!
  • If your movie choices were going to be broadcast publicly, for all the world to see, perhaps on the powerpoint slides at the beginning of services on Sunday, would you continue making the same choices? If not, then why? Is it because they might hint at sexual immorality?
  • This article addresses what can happen when members of the opposite sex begin a “friendship” when one or both of them are married.

True, Noble, Right, Pure, Lovely, Admirable, Excellent, Praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8)
Here is a lens or filter through which our thoughts ought to pass- is it true? is it noble? is it right? pure? lovely? is it worthy of admiration? could it be called excellent? is this thought worthy of praise? If it doesn’t pass the test, then “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Every affair, every sexual addiction, every action that has that “hint” of sexual immorality has started out as a thought. In research I found it put it this way:

Unfaithfulness in marriage is not just a physical act; it’s a way of life. It begins innocently enough–sidelong glances, the light brush of a shoulder, an offer to help put up the storm windows–all little things. But little things quickly grow until we discover we’re in a prison built by our own hands. Seemingly without warning, we find that our wife or husband is no longer at the center of our heart; someone has taken their place.

Without a doubt, if this kind of behavior was stopped in its tracks at the thought level, it would never proceed into actions. They continue their warning:

I’m afraid many of us don’t understand the danger of unfaithfulness today. We think we can engage in a deep and meaningful friendship with a woman other than our wife without considering the threat such relationships pose to our marriage. We think we can build an emotional dependency on a man other than our husband without introducing the danger of ending up in bed with that man. We blithely assume our marriages are indestructible. That’s why too often, after our emotions have produced their physical fruit, we wake up shocked to be caught in adultery.

What we fail to remember is that emotional intimacy is MOST times what leads to physical intimacy. In terms of emotional intimacy and dependency… there are thought-level issues that bleed over into actions. If we cut them off at the thought level, there would be no illicit action. But if we entertain a little thought here, and a questionable glance there, pretty soon, we’re not just to the line– we’ve stepped over it into impropriety and sin.

The point is not to come up with a list of rules and then enforce them on your spouse, although having a list you consider and pray about together and follow would be an excellent thing. The point is not to be rude to every person of the opposite sex so as to avoid infidelity, although being cautious and guarded around the opposite sex would be wise. The point is not even to avoid every movie that has a certain rating, although this too may be a prudent decision for some people.

The point is this: Let’s not “toe” the line. Let’s not even be close to it. Let’s draw our own mental lines that keep us far away from the actual line of infidelity. Let’s re-focus our minds to not focus on “how much can I get away with”, but rather- “is there any hint of sexual immorality in my life?” “Am I providing room for sin to spring up in my life by any action I’m taking or thoughts I’m entertaining?” Let’s root out the sin of infidelity before it springs up in our lives.

If you have additional thoughts or stories to share on this issue, hit “comment”! (As with all sensitive subjects, feel free to leave your comment anonymously if you have something personal to share.)




© 2011 The GOoD Life. Courtesy of Right The Vision. All Rights Reserved.


9 thoughts on “Too Close for Comfort…

  1. I can clearly understand from reading this post the error of my ways in the past. However Now that I am committed and soon to be married I needed to know this from both aspects (naturally & spiritually).. now I know to be more consciously aware and keep in mind to always ask myself if I’m measuring up to the standards of phil.4:16 I Love and Respect My Husband as well as our family to ever want to hurt, jeopardize or ruin everything we worked so hard to build. I am a very attractive women and at times men find the slickest ways to try and make friendly conversation, which then leads them to try to be of some kind of service to me “oh let me help you with that” or something to that effect and next thing you know I’m putting myself in situation that doesn’t look right even though no harm was intended. But for the man that was “so-called” just trying to help a sister out, has the impression that we are now friends and every time he sees me even if its in a store parking lot his aim once again is going to try and be of service. Now that im commited and soon to be married.. “No Thank You my Husband will do that for me later” will be all they hear from my mouth followed by a “May God Bless You and have a good day” simple as that. EXCELLENT POST!!! Phil.4:16 much needed advice

  2. Beautifully written. We are required to shun the very appearance of evil. Realizing that it’s not even the spouse that we’re required to live Holy unto, but unto Christ!

    Peace & Blessings,

  3. this really on point it!!! informed me even as single that boundaries are so importmant and we cannot give the enemy an inch because he is so subtle and we do have to guard our hearts and mind and cut stuff off at the root and not place ourselves in compremising situations

  4. I NEVER eat lunch with a guy unless my husband is there. I don’t care if it’s one I’ve known 20 years who is friend’s with the family. We just don’t do it!

  5. This is a must read! Great words of advice and wisdom. Many think that they are able to toe the line, and its ok… some think they can even walk the line without crossing over… Well GOD is not pleased… Don’t play with GOD or take lightly His Perfectly Designed Union. Loved it! Keep teaching.

    • I would have to pose the question, what do u coedisnr 2 b intimacy? i believe that many people have opinions but know not of which they speak!!! think about it, what made u feel as though intimacy was lacking, was it u were not getting the amount of intimacy u wanted or was it that intimacy was completely missing? Intimacy can b a snuggle or sex or oral or possibly just foreplay. what u constitute 2 b intimacy n a sense could not b along the same lines that someone else may envision. either way, i believe the door swings both ways. so, if u feel as though u r not getting enuff then perhaps a discussion is @ hand 2 determine where things r falling short. it could b that someone has a personal issue w/their self image and sexuality, ex: gaining weight and not feeling as sexy, having job issues/stress and not feeling it or maybe there is a real underlying issue. i would say, however, that if there is a real underlying issue beyond self perception and job or familial issues, then there is a real sit down talking that needs 2 happen and some real solutions that need 2 b brought forth. either way, i don’t believe that it just happens overnight! b mindful, just cuz u c someone as sexy or u feel as though they shouldn’t b stressed about certain things doesn’t mean they feel the same way. talk it out and actually listen 2 each other and not just feel like u got sumthin off your chest and elect 2 chalk it up as well i told them! n hopes they understand and have no determining factor on their end which also may n turn b blocking an intimate side they r yearning 2 unleash!!!!

  6. Out of thee abundance of the heart, the mouth speak. We have to be extremely careful about what we think because thoughts becomes beliefs and then actions. As stated above walking the chalk line (as my mom would say) is extremely dangerous. It can ruin our walk with Christ and shatter our ability to hear the holy spirit. I’ve been married for nearly 4 years and if I new about the line b4 I could have saved myself some time of feeling convicted in my spirit for my thought and behaviors. I now remain faithful to my bible and I stand firm and tall in my faith!

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