Jul 232014 9 Responses

The Greatest Threat to Your Marriage

The boundary you are most tempted to ignore is the one you most need to observe.

Every marriage needs firm guardrails to protect the relationship. Without specific plans, clear boundaries, and general operating procedures, an individual leaves themselves open to a significant moral failure which will either greatly hinder the relationship or completely destroy it. (See: No Wonder You Don’t Love Each Other)

There are no exceptions. It’s not a guy issue or something a few people need to consider. It is a universal rule—every married person needs physical and emotional boundaries with people of the opposite sex.

A foolish person simply hopes they will have the will power to withstand every temptation which comes their way. A wise person knows their will power is limited and will put boundaries in place to lessen the number of temptations they face so that their strength is in full supply when they face temptation.

Happily married people have firm guardrails and they stick to them. (See: Spicing Up Married Sex By Learning from the Adulterer)

The greatest threat to your marriage is the moment you are tempted to ignore a normally respected boundary.

Your spouse has open access to your text messages, but there is one message you decide to delete.

You never have a meal with a person of the opposite sex, but this one time you want to make an exception.

You never lie to your spouse about where you are or who you are with, but on this occasion you are tempted to do so.

Wisdom creates boundaries but it also lives by them. The moment you are tempted to violate a normally held boundary with a person of the opposite sex, you should recognize the temptation, withstand it, and be on guard with that person.

Danger lies not in the place in which you think there is the most temptation, but in the place you are most likely to let down your guard. Physical and emotional affairs have far less to do with a specific person and far more to do with foolish decision-making and putting ourselves in places in which we are likely to succumb to temptation. (See: You Will Have an Affair If…)

Guardrails only work if they are lived by consistently and with great diligence. Our hearts are so deceptive that if we ever let down our guard, we will do so with the person or in the situation that we most need it.

With all the couples I have seen go through the chaos of an affair, I’ve never had a single person tell me, “I always knew I would do this.” Rare is the case in which a person plans on having an affair. Who in their right mind would cause such pain to their spouse, family, and community which an affair causes?

People do not have affairs in their right mind. They do so out of deception. They are lured into adultery and they make poor decisions without any consideration of the real consequences. What begins as a minor bending of normal rules or a simple exception to the usual operating procedures can lead to the destruction of one’s family, reputation, and life. (See: Three Myths About Adultery)

Show me the place (or the person with whom) you are not being diligent with your thoughts, actions, or attitudes and I’ll show you the place (or the person) which is the greatest threat to your marriage.

Talk with your spouse about which boundaries you both will live by as a couple, and then live by those boundaries.

What is a useful boundary you have with people of the opposite sex?


For more, see:

The Warning Sign of a Bad Marriage You Might Miss

What Your Husband Wants From You in Bed

I do

9 Responses to The Greatest Threat to Your Marriage
  1. Lisa M from Dallas Reply

    With the other sex-No personal texting, no non business meals, no “nights out”, careful with social media friendships from the past.

    With my lovely man – open FB, open text messages, avoid even the appearance of wrongdoing. My eyes are only for Him and him.

  2. mcgregorsrus Reply

    Awesome post!! We are in our 13th year of marriage and know of couples whose affairs started out as “innocent conversations.” We have put up strong boundaries to prevent this in our marriage.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Thanks Jana. And thank you for making wise choices in your relationship.

  3. sharon Reply

    If your partner doesnt want to share email, texts etc. A sure sign somethings up. Kevin gives the best advice

  4. Ashley Reply

    I was recently involved in an emotional affair with a coworker so speaking from personal experience, I can say that it happened very slowly, almost sneakily. And before I knew it, I was so emotionally attached to this person that it caused me to question everything, most importantly my relationship with God and with my husband of 15 years. Recovering from this affair has been incredibly painful. As I look back, I can see very clearly where I should have put the brakes on. Each personal text and the sharing of personal experiences brought us closer and closer together. To the point that it physically ached to not be with this man all the time. If it feels wrong, it is wrong! Don’t try to justify it! Don’t allow personal texting, physical touch (even just a hug), sharing of deep, personal experiences and emotions. Take it from me, it’s a slippery slope that only leads to heartache.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Thank you, Ashley, for putting real life experience to this article.

  5. Jo Reply

    A solid post but I don’t fully agree. The greatest threat to a marriage is the couple themselves.

    If couples are honest, an affair does not start simply with conversing or hanging out with the opposite sex. It starts with small doses of a lack of fulfillment and unresolved issues until the couple grows emotionally apart.
    That’s when the “beautiful” other woman or “handsome” other man becomes appealing.

    When that emotional distance exists boundaries become irrelevant. There is no desire to maintain to those boundaries. Unless the person has a mental health issue, I have never heard of man or woman going outside of a fulfilling marriage to find fulfillment. There is always need not being met or a festering problem.

    • SJ Reply

      I used to feel the same way. However, I’ve been married for 15 years and have experienced my spouse looking at “pictures” – not pornography, only pictures of beautiful women with limited clothing or swim suits on. After conversations, he admitted that he had pictured himself with some of these women on occasion. If you asked my husband, he would always say he is happy and fulfilled. He has never been told “no” and I am not a nagging wife. He knows he is treated really well, and I make sure he knows he’s wanted, loved and appreciated all the time- because I know that is very important to a man. All that to say, he can still be tempted. Maybe it starts with a thought and builds into a very innocent work friendship. I have no doubt that he loves me, but I also know Satan will look for any opportunity he can to destroy a happy/loving marriage. While I feel what you are saying is very improtant too, I believe having strict boundaries in place and “actively” protecting your marriage is the best course of action. Don’t be fooled and think it’s okay to have close relationships of the opposite sex just because you are both fulfilled in your relationship. Most of the time, at least one person in that type of relationship is looking for something more.

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