When Intimacy is a Bad Idea- Marriage, Unwrapped

Young couple  in bed, toned black and white effect, vignette.

…I have over 800 Facebook friends (seriously, who are these people?), but only a few of them have I run my hubby before I hit accept. We have a deal that if we get friended by anyone we have any sort of “past” with we run it by each other before we make that step.

…Ryan’s work occasionally requires him to go out to dinner with coworkers of the opposite sex. He goes to great lengths to make sure that he invites others along so he isn’t one-on-one eating and drinking with someone from the opposite sex.

…We have lots of couples friends but we would never consider spending time with the friend of the opposite sex alone, whether virtually or in person. And we have been careful not to have opposite sex friends who aren’t a part of both our lives.

…And, most importantly I would never discuss my marriage or problems related to Ryan with someone who was of the opposite sex. I would never even consider seeing a professional counselor who wasn’t a female.

Are any of you thinking, “Geesh, that’s kind of a lot of extreme rules?” Or “she must be really insecure in her marriage to make all these rules?” I can see how you might think that, but the fact is, my marriage is far too precious to me to take even a little risk with it. 1/3 of marriages today end because of an affair, so let’s face it, friendships with the opposite sex can put your marriage at risk.

From four years of marriage ministry, we’ve learned that most affairs don’t begin with some encounter in a hotel bar on a business trip. Most affairs start with a seemingly innocent friendship that develops into one of intimacy when your spouse isn’t meeting that need. But those relationships can only happen if there is a friendship there to begin with.

These emotional affairs used to be limited to when a spouse had close contact – those in offices or with neighbors, but now the stakes are raised with the rise of social media. Never has it been easier to track down an ex on Facebook with harmless intentions and suddenly find yourself growing closer and crossing boundaries you shouldn’t be crossing. And since it is all hidden on the internet, nobody is the wiser.

Our pastor once used an analogy of sledding when referring to sin and I think it is extremely applicable here. He said that when you sled down a hill, you don’t typically sit down on the sled and immediately go screaming down the hill. You usually have to do a bit of “scooching” first to get your sled going. Sin is the same way. Are any of your friendships the beginning of you scooching?

You can find all the Marriage, Unwrapped posts here.
Some other really good posts on this topic:
Warning! Facebook Can Be Destructive To Your Marriage!
Why Would Someone Want To Have An Affair


  1. I love these Jill, and we do ALL of them. In fact, we are so firm/strict on the never alone with a person of the opposite sex rule that when I’m with the bug guy or the washer repair man, I am SO UNCOMFORTABLE. I’ve recently had to really work on this with my BFF Katie’s widower. He was used to me coming over and helping, but that’s when she was still in the house. Now, we have do some schedule finessing so that we are never alone together and I can still help with the meals and the kids. That was a very hard, but very important conversation to have.

    Our pastor did a series called “Guardrails” not long ago, and that’s what guidelines like this are. They are guardrails to keep you from going off the road/path. When you bump into the guardrail, you’re not going to crash and get hurt necessarily, but you’re going to know that you are on the edge of being in very dangerous territory.

    I think guidelines like these – discussed and expectations set – are CRUCIAL to a stable marriage. If you don’t set up the expectation, it’s harder to have the conversation when you need to with your spouse. With these as expectations, you can bring up the expectation when you are feeling a bit insecure about your spouses behavior and confirm that you are still on the same page.
    Kathy @ House of Hills recently posted…Ultimate Blog Party 2011My Profile

    • I can’t imagine how difficult that must be with your friend’s husband but I applaud you for having the difficult conversation. And that sermon series sounds awesome.

  2. I could not agree more with your rules. Honestly I have enjoyed all your Marriage Unwrapped posts but this is the first one that I feel this strongly in agreement, and these are also good rules to follow if you have a rocky relationship that you are trying to work on. Here is a good example.

    My parents had a rough marriage, mostly because they just didn’t understand each others way of thinking and although they often talked about getting outside help they never actually took the step. Eventually they separated but after a year made a commitment to work on fixing their problems. At some point after this my mother (who was helping her parents run a Christian Conference Centre) met a gentleman who had came out for a conference. A friendship formed and after he went home (three provinces away) they kept in touch online and eventually over the phone. Having found someone that she felt more in tune with, my mom checked out of working on the marriage with my dad. Now I have no idea if my parents could have avoided divorce even without the other man in the picture but they could have ended on a better note then they did. My dad was hurt and embarrassed and my mom looked unfaithful.

    Bottom line, even if you really are only friends it can lead to something more given time and appearances can hurt a relationship as much as the truth of a situation.
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    • I am so sorry that your example is your parents because of the pain it must have caused you, but it is the perfect example to illustrate what I am talking about. Thank you for sharing.

  3. We are like that too. I agree (well, WE agree) 1000% – now. It took us a few years to understand that you really have to actively keep the foxes out of your garden (I heart Solomon!!) to keep your marriage safe. Affairs aren’t accidents. They might not be on purpose, but they aren’t accidents.
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  4. AMEN. SO important to not even ALLOW yourself to be in a situation that, even though it is a remote possibility, could turn you astray…or another person astray! Especially with social media, it is TOO easy to innocently chat with an ex or whatever.

    Awesome post, am going to link it on FB….you know, because of the irony :)
    Amanda – VintageDutchGirl recently posted…Vacuuming up a Sock and other equally STUNNING informationMy Profile

  5. Yes, yes, yes! Spot on! I don’t find these rules extreme, they are necessary. I have no guy friends and I like it that way. I’m not on Facebook which keeps me from temptation in case some high school guys were to try to friend me. I love my husband and I want to respect him.
    Miranda recently posted…I BelieveMy Profile

    • I actually figured most of my readers wouldn’t find them extreme because we are typically pretty like minded. I wonder what the general public would think….

  6. Great rules! Hubby and I haven’t sat down and spelled these things out but we are of the same mind when it comes to not having opposite sex friends. Also, we watch a ton of movies so there are often issues of adultery or temptation (Anna Karenina and Dr. Zhivago are faves of Hubby’s) and we can always point to the moment the married person stepped over the line–and it’s long before the bedroom door! Great post!
    Eos Mom recently posted…Ultimate Blog Party 2011-Welcome!!!My Profile

    • Oh that is such a good point. I hate how many times I find myself inwardly hoping a couple will get together in movies who shouldn’t simply because it all looks and seems so romantic and their spouses seem like such morons. Not sure what that has to do with anything, but I was just having that discussion with my husband the other day.

  7. We follow these as general rules, too. And in online communication I personally follow the rule that if I would not say it in front of my husband, I don’t say it at all.

    The only caveat I would add is one I’ve learned from the story of the good Samaritan: don’t let your rules about people of the opposite sex prevent you from helping someone in real difficulty. I don’t think God would be impressed if the Good Samaritan had left the naked, bleeding crime victim at the side of the road because she happened to be a woman and he didn’t want to be tempted by any inappropriate intimacy.
    Veronica Mitchell recently posted…He will swallow up death forever First Sunday in Advent- The Prophets’ CandleMy Profile

    • “I personally follow the rule that if I would not say it in front of my husband, I don’t say it at all. ” There is so much wisdom in that statement I could do a whole post just on that.

      And while I agree with you in general about helping others I also think people need to be wise about how far they will go to help. Often the most appropriate help is to refer them to someone else. I have had even known counselors who find themselves in inappropriate situations because they didn’t draw appropriate boundries.

  8. My parents’ marriage ended because of an affair, so I am super {super, super} protective over my own. With social media, we have a no-exes rule {can’t friend or follow an ex, no matter how “harmless”}. Also, if it is a person if the opposite sex that we don’t both know {old friend from hs/college} we ask the other person first.

    Something that I’ve found to be a huge comfort, is that my husband has given me access to all his passwords. Even though I don’t “check up” on his email, it’s been a big comfort knowing that I can. Another thing that we have done, is when online chatting with a person of the opposite sex, wwe alert the other and let them either join in the chat, or sit along side and read. That doesn’t happen very often, usually just with a girlfriend we have in California that will say hi while my hubby or I are online.

    And your sin analogy was awesome and so true! Sin is a gradual thing, that we slowly allow to take over our lives. Yesterday at church, our pastor called it sugar poison. It looks good, tastes good at first, but then it kills you.

    • Sarah I am so sorry to hear you had to go through that, but thank you for your first hand perspective.

      We also have each other’s passwords. I have honestly never used them, but I know I can. It is just another way we can prove ourselves trustworthy.

  9. I love posts of this type. Guarding our marriages should be top priority, it’s not paranoia it’s wisdom. I know there are women who prey on married men and vice versa. I hope more people start to follow this standard, I’m glad I’m no the only one.

    Better safe than sorry. In this day and age, with cell phones, ambulances, tow trucks and the like, I will not put myself out as a woman to help a man if I am alone.
    Terri G. recently posted…Marriage Monday- Letters- Spirits- and a ChallengeMy Profile

  10. My parents’ marriage ended in an affair, too, and it’s something I’m still recovering from at 30, and it caused baggage I carried into my marriage and my husband will have to deal with for the rest of his life. Trust will always be an ongoing process with me, understandably, and that’s something we’ve both come to terms with through several rounds of marriage counseling. It’s better every year. Anyway, all that to say, I have ZERO tolerance for infidelity. It makes me feel physically ill.

    So on some level I totally applaud your rules and practices for your marraige. I think whatever you two need to do to set boundaries you’re comfortable with is awesome. And when in doubt, err on the side of stricter boundaries for sure. I get it — if you limit the opportunity for infidelity, yuo limit the chance of its occurence. I’m glad this is something you two have talked about and set limits on, instead of awkwardly tiptoeing around and potentially causing mistrust and hurt feelings.



    Part of me worries you’re missing out on some great friendships, just because they’re guys. And that seems like a silly thing to be a dealbreaker when it comes to a friendship that could be soul-level connecting. I think God puts people in our lives who need to be there, that God is bigger than gender roles, and it makes me sort of sad that our sex-obsessed culture has taught even the most loyal and trusting (and trustworthy) couples, like you and Ryan, that truly platonic healthy wonderful friendships can’t exist outside of our own genders. :(

    Like I said, I totally get and respect that you guys have set clear and communicated boundaries for your marriage and I think that’s so awesome. But for some reason this one gives me pause. I think it says more about society than you though. :)
    Erin G recently posted…Renovation- Days 23-27My Profile

    • I am so sorry that you had to go through that. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it might have been.

      As to your but ;)

      Since being married I honestly can’t think of an instance (outside of a few FB friends from my past) where this has even been an issue. I simply don’t have men in my life that exist as friends outside of people I know as couples.

      I think it comes down to what each couple feels comfortable with. But I always err on the side of caution because my marriage is just too precious. And I know how easy it is for something innocent to turn inappropriate. I have seen it happen too many times sadly.

      Thanks so much for your perspective.

  11. Sally says:

    I have to agree with Erin. I think we need to be careful. No matter what. But I think we can get so crazy obsessed with this thing. What about us being “brothers and sisters” in Christ? I know a man I work with in the office (a Christian) who won’t even say “hi” and often goes out of his way to avoid woman co-workers. This is just rude and a little weird in my opinion. If we viewed eachother as brothers and sisters in Christ we might be able to have healthier relationships.

  12. You can not allow yourself to even be remotely in the line of fire of temptation. True, emotional affairs start off very innocently and gain momentum from the simplest things. It is great when you are aware that anyone and I mean anyone can fall into temptation. Better to ward it off and be aware and put plans in place to stop it before it starts.

  13. I think I’m in the minority here, but my husband and I don’t have any set rules. The nature of his job puts him in situations where he might have to eat lunch with/go to a meeting with a female co worker. And you know what? It doesn’t bother me at all.

    Also, back when our daughter was a baby, my husband had a female movie buddy. She was his co worker and happened to like the same sci fi movies he loves and I abhor. We’d invite her to dinner, she’d eat with us and then they’d go watch some dumb movies about aliens or hobbits and I’d stay home with the baby. Not once did I question any of their intentions. I trust my husband implicitly and was happy that I did not have to be subjected to sci-fi movies.

    I told you I was in the minority here. ;)
    alison recently posted…Cherry Blossom 5CrampMy Profile

    • well I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable with that but it really has to be something you work out between your spouse and yourself and keep the lines of communication open which it sounds like you have done.

  14. I think you make an excellent case for the guidelines you and your husband have agreed upon and there’s a lot of good, solid sense here. While my husband and I might not have an identical list, that’s not what’s significant here… what matters is that we each (as married couples) talk about these issues and determine rules/boundaries that make sense and help protect our marriages. I WILL say, however, that once, several years back, when we were hanging out with another couple who were dear, dear friends of ours, I laughingly suggested that, when we Christmas shopped, she should go with my hubby and I’d go with hers so we could help them pick out good stuff. She seemed horrified and responded, “Oh, I would never feel comfortable letting Scott go with you!” Honestly? It made me feel awful! She made me feel like some little harlot who was interfering in her marriage. The whole thing struck me (and my husband) as odd. I’ve rambled a lot here… but I guess my whole point is that I think there are many good and appropriate ways to safeguard a marriage- how that looks may vary from couple to couple. :)
    JessieLeigh recently posted…Half-Day vs Full-Day KindergartenMy Profile

    • I totally agree that each couple needs to make boundaries they are comfortable with. As long as you are communicating and are on the same page that is really what is most important.

    • Maybe it was her husband she didn’t trust. You just never know what they may have already gone through.
      All My Monkeys recently posted…Pucker up. Watch for slime.My Profile

  15. Nikki says:

    LOVE the sled analogy! I’m going to remember that one :) like you did!
    and I’m lovin’ this series!!!!

    I cannot believe my husband and I have never talked about this in the 12 years we’ve been married. We guard our relationship deeply and follow every example you gave, however. My hubby has my facebook password and I have his and we both make sure we wouldn’t mind either of us seeing anything on there (although I’ve never checked up on him…). I don’t even allow a repairman in my house unless someone else is home with me. It just makes sense on multiple levels.

    Before kids, I worked in the interior design field and worked with a lot of men. They weren’t the type of man that would have ever been interested in my female self, necessarily, but I made sure to never work on a project exclusively with men. Just wasn’t necessary to even put the idea out there.

    I want everyone I meet to know how seriously in love I am and how dedicated I am to this wedding band. My husband is my best friend and I have plenty of female friends. I don’t have any friend voids another man would need to fill.

    My husband deserves exclusivity. That’s what I signed up for. and rumors can be just as deadly as an affair. It’s just not worth it.

    • i agree that rumors can be deadly. I never want to be in a position where I have to defend questionable actions to my husband. I want him to be completely secure and I know he wants that for me. Some excellent points in your comment!!

  16. Rebecca Rakowicz says:

    Great post Jill. I think this is soooo important and our duty as good stewards to our marriage. I think too many Christians don’t think it will happen to them when the truth is temptation and sin can “scooch” into the Christian marriage as well if we are reactive instead of being proactive. Each couple should have their own unique rules and perhaps that man that can’t say “hi” may really just have a good understanding of his own limits. Maybe instead of seeing it as being rude and rigid, it really could be viewed as honoring his wife.

    • I do think that everyone is unique and you just never know what baggage people are bringing into their marriage. Everyone needs to do what makes both people in the marriage feel secure.

  17. SKEdman says:


    By all means, do what you need to do to feel like your marriage is protected.

    But it seems like we are using some awfully passive language with respect to sin. Sin is a verb! An affair isn’t something that happens to you, it’s something you choose. To sin is by definition to make a choice. Just because you are in a tempting situation doesn’t mean you have to yield to it.

    Of course you don’t cultivate it on purpose, either. I think about this using alcoholism as an analogy. My recovering alcoholic friends do not have alcohol in their homes, they do not attend parties where it is served freely, and so forth. They know their weaknesses and take whatever steps they need to avoid temptation. But just because the friend you are working on a project with happens to be the opposite gender doesn’t mean it’s automatically tempting, unless we are all the sexual equivalent of alcoholics. Which we are not.

    So this weekend when my husband went over to the home of one of our single female friends to help her design a website, I didn’t even think twice about it. I know them both intimately, I know their character and integrity, and the idea that they would choose to do anything inappropriate is…laughable.

    Not to say you are wrong for setting the boundaries you choose– not at all. This is just where we’ve come to, and it’s a place we’re pretty comfortable.

    • I absolutely don’t think sin is passive, but i also think sin often doesn’t feel like sin when we are in it and often doesn’t feel like sin until it is too late. I would prefer to avoid temptation.

      That being said, I don’t think the rules are black and white and I think they will differ for each couple. I think the important thing is setting boundries you both feel comfortable with.

  18. Emily E says:

    I’ll be another voice for the minority here. I can’t imagine having such a rule. Both my husband and I have always had many close friends of the opposite sex, and that didn’t change just because we became a couple or got married. My husband works almost entirely with women and my job also requires that I be alone with men. We both have “work spouses.” But none of that has any chance of leading to infidelity. I know myself and my husband well enough to know that. (Lest I sound naive, my bff just lost her husband to adultery, so I’m not insensitive to the matter. )

    On the other hand, I’m not going to tell anyone else how to run their marriage, so if that’s what works for you, then so be it. I know that it’s a rule I have absolutely no interest in. ;)

  19. Can I make a confession? I friended my ex-boyfriend from HS maybe a year ago. Just nosy, suppose I wanted to know what he was up to. We never exchanged a message, but after a while it just gave me prickly feelings. It was WRONG. Being slightly obsessed with knowing I turned out better than him did not make it OK.

    My husband has always had an easier time being friends with girls. He’s just a sweet, sensitive guy. I wouldn’t say he has any real-life good friends who are girls, but it does seem that his groups of friends always include girls he is closer to than guys. (Like, at work.) It does make me slightly nervous sometimes, even knowing his commitment to me. You just never know what could happen. Maybe we need to have a boundaries chat … even after 7 years of marriage.
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    • I will also say though, that my husband and I have each other’s passwords to everything and I could easily access his email, Facebook, and anything else. And he for me. I was just thinking the other day how I always leave my email open on the computer and that is the way it should be – I should have nothing I need to hide from him. (Also a good reason for joint checking, in my opinion.)
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      • i think what you say about “stalking” exes on Facebook is true. It can be totally innocent but if you are often checking in to see what is happening with them even if it is just curiosity, that could be a red flag.

  20. Melissa says:

    I thought I fought hard to protect my first marriage, but it ended because of an affair. My ex was friends with someone that I did not feel threatened our relationship. The twist in my story though is my husband’s “close friend” was a man. It just never occurred to me that this was going on.

    Maybe any “friend” that your partner is spending increased amounts of time with is a threat? Can you help me sort this one out?

    • I am so sorry for what you have been through. That must have been devastating. I am not a counselor so I really don’t feel qualified to give you concrete advice. Have you ever read anything by Nancy Heche? She had a husband who had relationships with other men. She might be a good resource for you.

      But I think your point has some validity. When one spouse invests more time, emotion and intimacy . with ANYONE ELSE, it can be a bad thing? The marriage relationship should be the most emotionally intimate relationship we have. Anytime you let someone else fill that space there is something wrong.

  21. Jessica says:

    I think I fall in the in between the two. My husband and I don’t have “rules” about this…but I do think it is common courtesy to talk to him when I add and old male friend to FB.Just like he talks to me when he add old female friends. I have all his passwords and he has mine. We both don’t have anything to hide. Also he is a nursing instructor…he is surrounded by females every single day. He has his charm, (it worked on me), he is naturally a friendly person and people are drawn to him but it that doesn’t bother me. Marriage is about trust and communication :-).

  22. OK regarding the “preying”thing. It is especially hard when you HAVE A HOT HUSBAND!!! Yeah, I’m biased but c’mon, he’s H.O.T :)

    The whole “women preying intentionally on married men” can be especially hard for us as my HOTT dentist hubby is in a profession where he is in super close proximity to females.Think about it, your dentist gets REALLY close to you! Anywho, he has told me when he has patients who are, yaknow, interested in him. I am so glad he has taken appropriate precautions to never be alone in a room with a patient. EVER.

    Because seriously. He’s Hot :)
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  23. One boundary my hubby and I have is that we never ride in a car alone with a person of the opposite sex. This also goes along with dining or ever really being alone with anyone of the opposite sex.

    I don’t think there is such a thing as too many boundaries in a marriage. It’s a sacred thing that we need to protect, if we don’t…Satan will do all he can to destroy it.

  24. I SO agree with all your points, Jill! Of course, I kinda have a different viewpoint since I’m a single gal. But I will definitely have this discussion with the Mister whenever he comes along. I mean, marriage is something I will have waited a looooooooooong time for so I’m gonna do everything I can to protect it.

    I mean, think of when you buy a big ticket item like a flat screen, ipad, laptop. You don’t think twice about buying all the warranties and extended warranties…JUST IN CASE. Sometimes you don’t even use it, but it’s the extra precautions you take because it’s a valuable item.

    Marriages are that much more valuable, so taking precautions in our marriage only makes sense.

    Love it, Jill!!!
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  25. GREAT tips, Jill, right on! Nothin wrong with any of those guidelines if ya want a great marriage! Yes, they are meant to protect not to suffocate. My hubby (of almost 20 years!) and I have never had formally-set guidelines, but there’s always been an unspoken agreement about this! And, my pastor encourages what someone mentioned above – never even riding in a car with a person of the opposite sex (unless a family member), which is just as much of a ‘perception’ thing for others who may see you as it is a self-protection thing. In fact, this is a commitment asked of all the church staff, even if just going out to lunch together down the street! ;-)
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  26. angie h says:

    This was so refreshing to read. My husband and I have such rules and my friends think it is jealousness and him being controlling. I don’t, I think part of committment and faithfulness is to keep yourself out of situations that it could happen.

    • I have stopped worrying if people think the way I run my marriage is weird, because frankly I have one of the best marriages I know. It is one more area I have no problem going against the wisdom of the “world”

  27. <3 this

  28. What a fantastic post! I am engaged to be married (this July!) and our pastor recently gave a sermon on the same subject. It’s just such an important, oft overlooked topic!

    He broke it down to never dining, traveling or intimately talking with someone of the opposite sex. Good guidelines!
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  29. Teresa says:

    Just stumbled on your site…Wonderful article! We’re newly married (10 months!) and this is something I work hard at. It’s harder for him because of his job – he’s a paramedic whose partner is a female. He really has no say. But, I have expressed my concerns and he respects my requests that certain subjects and situations be avoided between him and his partner. I also know that he talks about me nonstop to her. We also have passwords and complete access to each others’ emails, facebooks, etc.

    One thing that I remember from our pre-marital counseling is that there are different circles (like a target) in your life when you are married. The innermost circle is you and your spouse. The next circle out is parents, siblings, etc. The outermost circle is friends, acquaintances, coworkers and the like. One thing that we were taught is that you have to work very hard and be very conscientious about keeping your inner circle sacred and exclusive to ONLY you and your spouse. You must remain proactive about ensuring no one else is wiggling their way into that inner circle.

  30. Kelly says:

    It’s interesting the comments from people who don’t agree and think that these rules are over board, or sex-obsessed, that people can just control themselves. They think they can depend on character and integrity. Yes, that would be so awesome. The thing is, no one goes into a marriage (or shouldn’t) expecting unfaithfulness. You want to think so much more of your spouse. BUT… we are all human. And one teeny tiny bad decision can lead into another, until they all add up to a situation you never thought you’d find yourself in. Unfortunately, less than 7 months into my marriage, I found that out – no one is exempt, it can happen to anyone.

    I think that if those commenters were having a rough patch of marriage, their comments might have been different. It is absolutely necessary that we safeguard our marriage. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the term another poster used of “guardrails.” It may look different for everyone, but, as has already been stated, communication is important. So is putting up those rules or limits or boundaries, however you want to call them, before you get into rough spots, so it doesn’t feel controlling when you get there, and you know where you should not go. We have done that since. We also have discussions about who is where and what happened. My husband makes sure to tell me that stuff, and I have had to speak up even though it was uncomfortable, to say that I was uncomfortable about situations he has been in. Turns out, he didn’t know that “X” scenario was not ok with me. He also has had to state to his friend that if there are other women there, he’ll leave. It also makes me feel better (and also more watchful and less trusting of others) when he tells me this stuff. I *KNOW* he’s trying hard to walk within our boundaries, because our marriage IS the most important thing to him.

  31. Suzanne says:

    I just want to say AMEN to this post. I’ve felt for a long while now that I am in the minority (at least amont the people I know) because we have the same rules in our marriage! I won’t let another man in my house if my husband isn’t home. I don’t ride in cars with other men unless their wife is in the car (or my husband), etc. It is definitely not paranoia. It is smart. It is a safeguard. I have seen several marriages fail because of an affair (by husbands and wives). They always start so innocently. It’s really not even a matter of whether or not you trust your spouse. It’s a matter of safeguarding something that is most precious to me: my marriage and relationship with my husband!

    Thank you so much for sharing this so I don’t have to feel like such a weirdo! Ha ha.

  32. “Most affairs start with a seemingly innocent friendship that develops into one of intimacy when your spouse isn’t meeting that need. But those relationships can only happen if there is a friendship there to begin with.”

    This is the crux of the matter.

    Friendships aren’t harmful.

    Not meeting your partners needs is harmful.
    Not communicating your needs to your partner is harmful.
    Shutting your partner’s attempts at communication down when you’re stressed or upset or tired – is harmful and develops a pattern of taking one another for granted that leads to seeking out someone, anyone, who will just *listen*.

    If having these rules reminds you to keep those lines of communication open, great.
    But these rules don’t help one bit if those lines become clogged.

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