Setting Boundaries in Your Marriage


Is it time to "boundary up" in your marriage? Don't let a little smoke turn into a four-alarm fire!

Q. Recently I have been finding myself attracted to a man and connecting to him though I know it is wrong. I have shared some struggles in my marriage with him, have had a cup of coffee (okay, a couple of times actually), and am finding myself daydreaming "wWhat if...?" Have I gone too far?

A. This is an honest question, and my honest answer is...yes. Many people will read this question and think "been there" or "my spouse has been there,” or “my friend has...but it really didn't amount to anything." I don't think that is the best response to this situation. Let me explain.

When a man and a woman step into the covenant of marriage, they become each other's only provision for the sexual, spiritual and emotional intimacy needs of their lives and marriage. Likely you would agree that to have "sexual relationships" outside of marriage violates God's design for purity (Hebrews 13:4, Marriage must be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled). So "sex" hasn't occurred…but the boundaries of a covenant marriage have definitely been violated.

Here are a couple of "heart checks" to discern if the boundaries of your marriage are at risk.

  1. Can your interaction with this other man occur in front of your husband, kids, sister and best friend? If the answer is no, there may be smoke.
  2. Are you moving from "thoughts" to expressing "feeling" with this other man, perhaps rationalizing that "he gets me and my husband doesn't"? If yes, more smoke.
  3. Are you holding back sharing with your husband so that you can share with this other man? If yes, call the Fire Department...your house is ready to go up in flames.

In Proverbs 4:23, Solomon writes "Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life." Everything goes through the source. Your thoughts. Your feelings. Your motives. Your urges. When your heart is tainted, your behaviors follow. 

If any of these indicators are occurring, run, don't walk, into confession with a trusted godly friend who will help you establish boundaries, discern how to share with your spouse in a safe setting and get on your knees thanking God that He protected you from the destruction of your marriage. He is a God of second chances, but He also desires our broken and contrite hearts.

If the smoke has moved to fire, see a professional biblical counselor who will help you get insight into why you are stepping outside of your marriage, how to get back "home" and where to reestablish the safety and security of boundaries in your marriage. It's never too late but don't rationalize another's time to boundary up!

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Sexual Temptation
Bryant Wright
How Far Is Too Far?
Dr. R.C. Sproul
Purity and Self Control
Jonathan Falwell
Thief of Peace
Craig Hill
Lies Men Believe About Marriage: She’ll Fix My Lust Problem
Brandon A. Cox
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