Being friends with men outside of our marriages is SUPER-DUPER-CRAZY-DANGEROUS!!!!! And for single women, being friends with men who are married, is equally dangerous. Of course, as a friend recently pointed out to me, even same-sex friendships can lead you away from God. There is no truely “safe” human friendship.
But let’s define “friends” as someone with whom you spend a good deal of time with alone, you email privately, you text privately, or talk with on the phone privately. Opening our hearts to men besides our husband makes it very handy to have someone to turn to in order to “confide in” when things aren’t going well in our marriages. That is very dangerous ground - and one of the biggest reasons Christian wives, or any wives (or husbands), end up in affairs. My encouragement would be to have ZERO guy friends other than our dads and brothers. (Of course you will have male acquaintances and may have to work with men. You can be polite and have very casual and neutral conversations, but keep all men at arm’s length, other than your husband. And act quickly if you realize things are becoming inappropriate!)
TIME TO CHECK OUR HEARTS AND DO AN INVENTORY
I urge each of us to pray about this. Are there men that we are talking to a lot, at work, online, on Facebook, in the neighborhood, at church – who might be temptations for us in a time of weakness? Don’t think the more spiritually mature men are safe friendships – there is no ”safe” friendship with the opposite sex once we are married, in my opinion. I would encourage all of us to walk completely away from any potentially tempting relationships. When at all possible, have NO contact with a man who you know might be at all tempting to you, or if you know that you might be at all tempting to him. Yes, I’m sure that does sound extreme. And it isn’t always possible. But if Jesus said that if your right hand causes you to sin, it is better to cut it off and enter heaven maimed than to allow your hand to continue to cause you to sin – then I think that tempting relationships may also need to be cut off at times. For some women, I think that Facebook may be too tempting, or chatrooms or certain groups of people or places. If you find yourself being drawn to other men and enjoying conversation too much somewhere, it is probably time to shut that area down and really pray and seek God’s direction, wisdom and His perfect will for you and your marriage.
I WOULD NEVER DO THAT!
You might think, “Oh, I’m married, I don’t have to worry about that.” But you do! No one is exempt from temptation or from being able to commit certain sins. We are all human and all plenty capable of committing sin against God and our spouse under the right set of circumstances. Don’t fall for the lie, “I’m too old to need to be concerned about guarding my heart.” There are many people who Satan brings down late in life, in their 60s or later with adultery. Satan can be very patient, waiting to trip us up in this very serious area! We’ve got to protect our hearts and keep our focus on pursuing God with all our hearts. John Piper (whose sermons I LOVE) talks about the only way to prevent sexual immorality of any kind is to be close to God. We are to be busy nurturing our relationship with God daily and nurturing our marriages. The Bible says to “flee from sexual immorality.”
ABOVE ALL, GUARD YOUR HEART, FOR IT IS THE WELLSPRING OF LIFE. PROVERBS 4:23
There is no command from God for married women to be friends with other men – making frequent phone calls, emailing regularly, talking to this person alone, doing things together alone.
I used to think, “I can witness to him!” What near tragedy almost happened from that line of thought when I was a young newlywed! I was extremely naive and thought that being a Christian meant I had to be an open book to everyone, men and women. I had no idea what it meant to guard my heart or that there could be any danger. To guard our hearts, we must not discuss our marriages with guys, not confide in them, not open our hearts to them, not be their marriage counselor, be extremely cautious with hugs, and not spend much time privately with men.
What precautions do we need to take to protect our husbands, ourselves, our children, and our precious Jesus from the fall-out of a possible affair in our life? The cost is GREAT – even if it is “just” emotional infidelity – that is still ugly sin in God’s view! Proverbs describes the slain of the adulteress as a “mighty throng,” and warns that many have been brought down to the grave by her - and that works both ways with adulterers, too! Dabbling with romantic emotions, ”what would it be like” fantasies and friendship with another man can lead us to destroy our marriage, our husbands, our children, our relationship with God, and our witness for Christ. Is there anything that could be more destructive to our families than this? There are no winners in an affair except for Satan.
There won’t be an affair if we are not in a car alone with a man, and if we aren’t feeding an emotional connection on Facebook or through emails or text messages or phone calls. Satan would LOVE for us to give him access to our hearts through a guy who could destroy our marriage and our impact on the world and our families for Christ in this way. Guard your hearts! Immediately confess impure thoughts to God – and preferably also to a female prayer partner and even your husband so that you will be accountable and get this out in the light before it has time to grow into a deadly cancer.
SET WISE BOUNDARIES AND GUARD YOUR HEART
It is better to hurt another guy’s feelings (if he is acting inappropriately toward you) in order to show honor and respect to our husbands, and to the covenant we made with them and with God. It is better to cut guys off of Facebook or shut down our private email account than to indulge in fun, flirty conversations with other men that could lead to dangerous attraction and dangerous emotions. It can take years, but we can end up in a place we never intended to be if we are careless about opening our hearts to another man. A male friend can become an extremely convenient outlet when we are feeling lonely and misunderstood by our husbands. It is better to have mature, godly women to confide in and pray with. Even if you are seeking counsel from a pastor, don’t be alone with him! This is for your own sake and for his. If accountability is needed, be sure your husband knows that he can look at all of your text message history anytime and that he can read any emails he wishes to at any time. It is better to drive by ourselves for 2 hours so that we aren’t alone in a car with a male coworker, then to leave room for temptation or for even the appearance of evil.
BILLY GRAHAM’S STANDARDS
I love to read about how Billy Graham would protect his heart, the rules he had and standards he kept so that he could never be caught in a compromising position by the media or anyone else. He would never enter a hotel room first, in case a woman was “planted” there and there were photographers waiting to catch him in a surprise picture with a scantily clad woman. He was extremely careful never to be alone with a woman – even though it was inconvenient. I think there is a lot of wisdom in not allowing ourselves to be alone with any man - not at our house, not at his house, not in a car, not on a business trip, not in a restaurant, not in an isolated location or behind locked/closed doors at work…
DRESS MODESTLY TO HELP KEEP YOUR MESSAGE CONSISTENT AND TO PREVENT TEMPTATION
And I believe that we need to dress modestly and behave modestly around other men so that we are extremely careful not to present a temptation to them or to ourselves. Our clothing needs to say that we respect Jesus first of all and also that we respect our husbands and ourselves. We need to be sure that even when we bend over that everything is covered and we don’t have to worry about any wardrobe malfunctions. Our clothing needs to speak of our humility and our desire to point attention NOT to ourselves and our bodies but to Christ alone!
I believe we can smile and be friendly to a point with coworkers, church members, neighbors and customers, but we need to have a very firm, pre-determined line that we just don’t cross that is FAR AWAY from the edge of the cliff. None of us are immune from sexual temptation and the destruction it can bring. But we can guard our hearts, put a strong hedge around our marriage, act and dress in godly, feminine ways that don’t attract undue sexual attention outside of our marriage and we can cling to Jesus daily and ask Him to empower us to be pure for His glory.
PRAY FOR LEADERS AND PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH TO UPHOLD HONOR FOR CHRIST!
Our pastors, teachers, deacons, husbands and wives in our church and the church around the world need our prayers for their purity and for them not to fall and damage the reputation of Christ! Christians in the public eye need our prayers to help them maintain holiness and purity, too! They are HUGE targets of Satan and he would like nothing better than to destroy them with some sordid scandal and try to throw filth on the Name of Christ and His church.
I pray that we would carefully nurture our own husbands physically/emotionally/spiritually and make sure that we are ministering to their needs and being the best wives we can be (through the power of the Holy Spirit) and that we would depend on Jesus, the ultimate Husband, to meet our needs. I pray that we would leave no room for Satan to attack us and cause us to fall and that we would be ever mindful of his schemes. Empower us by Your Spirit to be pure, holy and set apart for Your use, Lord!
Please help us to very carefully guard our hearts and our marriages. Help us to be completely invested, involved and plugged in to our own marriages and our own families, and help us to quickly and carefully extract ourselves from any tempting relationship before things turn into a huge mess! Help us to honor You , our marriages and our husbands. Let us each be godly wives and minister well to the needs of our men. Search our hearts and lives and show us any area that You are not pleased about and show us how You desire us to change! Give us soft, pliable hearts that mold easily in Your loving hands!