Marriage

Feelings. Nothing More Than Feelings.

How does one have an emotional relationship with the opposite sex when he/she is married? I’ve been asked that in some form or fashion by plenty of people. And I’ve got to tell you. It’s tricky. There will be people in your life besides your spouse for whom you care. I have many people like that. The thing you have to pay attention to is where your feelings are heading. There are some men whom I dearly love. I treasure them as if they were brothers. I encourage them and do my best to lift them up. However, there are limits to these emotional relationships. For example, if I am emailing another man to tell him something nice or to encourage him, I will almost always mention my husband. I might say, “Chris and I are so proud of you” or “You have blessed Chris and me and we appreciate you so much.” I also make sure that I don’t tell another man something that Chris doesn’t already know. Chris is the first person I share my heart with and vice versa. I am very guarded with my heart. If I share something with another man, say in my life group, it’s fairly vague. I would never cry on another man’s shoulder. It’s not appropriate, in my opinion. That is a recipe for disaster. I tend to be a little on the naive side. (Don’t I, Mother?) As I was writing this I found myself saying, “None of my readers would ever have inappropriate relationships with someone of the opposite sex who is not their spouse.” Very quickly, I was reminded of the fallen and depraved world in which we live. And honestly? I guess it doesn’t have to be someone of the opposite sex, now does it. Fallen and depraved indeed. If you have an inappropriate relationship with someone other than your spouse, you need to end it. For the sake of your marriage. If you have a good, healthy way to have relationships outside of your marriage, please share your ideas and advice with the rest of us. (Originally posted on April 30, 2008)

12 thoughts on “Feelings. Nothing More Than Feelings.”

  1. my husband’s best friend is my best friend too! he is someone i can go to and i know he will give me well-thought-out advice. i don’t cry on his shoulder (unless my husband is out of the country) and i don’t talk to him about anything my husband doesn’t already know about (unless, of course, he is out of the country and i have to wait for him to call me). my husband doesn’t mind sharing his best friend because he loves us both and trusts us both and it’s actually kinda nice when all three of us can lay around on the furniture and discuss anything. i tend to guard my heart a little too zealously so having a shared best friend is great.

  2. Many of my friends consider my husband their friend as well. And vise versa with me and his friends. I will share this post with him and see if there’s anything he might want to add.

  3. Before my husband and I were married, there were three of us that hung out. (2 guys and 1 girl) Since getting married, I have slowly backed away from the relationship with the other man because I feel that some feelings might be misconstrewed to others. My husband and him are still the best of friends, however I no longer hang out with him one on one.

  4. There was a couple in our church that I was fairly close friends with. The husband and I taught Sunday School classes in nearby rooms. When he and I discussed the children and the lessons we were teaching, we would often get into long conversations because we thought alike. After a few discussion like this, I realized there was danger of connecting too well and backed way off. I valued their marraige and mine over the friendship. I like the statement “I am fairly guarded with my heart”. I think that is the right attitude and I think God is please with that.

  5. It may be easy to say: “That will never happen to me!”
    But in that case, why would we need to “Watch and pray, so that you will not fall into temptation.”? (Matthew 26:41)
    Because “Therefore let him who thinks he stands be careful that he doesn’t fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)
    And as my wise mom always says: “You can’t avoid to let birds flying over your head, but you can avoid letting make a nest on it.”

  6. Three years ago, I discovered that my wife had been emotional entangled with one of my best friends. Our families were friends and we served in ministry together. While my wife and I were great friends, parents, and “roommates” we’d let the urgent override the investment in our relationship to maintain and grow our intimacy. The relationship between her and him never got sexual but it was devastating to me and us because he became like an addiction to her. The positive feelings that she felt were overwhelmingly real to her and caused her to act in ways totally out of character. We left the church, severed all ties and have slowly begun to repair the damage we both did.
    We NEVER thought this could happen to us. I NEVER saw him as a potential threat until til late. There was always chemistry between them but we all thought because they were “Christians” it would never get out of control. We must understand that we are all vulnerable and have the potential and we must be willing to do whatever it takes to maintain our marriage relationship. Please do not underestimate the power of attraction. Make sure you talk to your mate about concerns over friendships (they have a discernment we sometimes can’t see) and above all guard your heart!

  7. I think one of the biggest mistakes that couples make is believing that our willingness to trust our spouses with others of the opposite sex is a sign of the strength of the relationship. And anything to the contrary (wanting to set boundaries, have accountability) is an indication of insecurity and a lack of trust. So we buy into the fallacy of our society that “trust” means being OK with the very things that create risks and opportunities for temptation. I was so sure my wife would never cheat on me, so when it happened and she divorced me for her married coworker I was blindsided. My .02: swallow some pride, risk appearing insecure, and mutually create boundaries or risk that which you never thought would happen.

  8. One more related thought on this – I think too often we worry that by putting up boundaries with someone of the opposite sex with whom we are friends, that we might offend them or hurt their feelings. We think the message that we’ll be giving is, “No, I can’t go to lunch with you because I think you’re going to try to seduce me” or “I can’t go to lunch with you because I won’t be able to control myself.” Of course the dance on that slippery slope is never so blatant – it happens a hundred tiny steps at a time. And thus follows the never-ending chorus, “We never meant for this to happen….”

  9. Thank you for writing this, Cindy. I’m taking it to heart, as I get used to working at church with a bunch of men. Granted, Drew is right there most of the time, but I still have lots of interactions with these brothers of mine. I’m not used to that. Trying to figure out how it all works.

  10. thank you very much, im not married but what you said is really true, i read it with a colleague of mine and the first thing she said was thats very true. thank you for the eye opening words

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