Q: I feel an attraction to a friend of my spouse. What should I do? Do I tell the person? Do I tell my spouse?
A: Guard your heart and run for the nearest exit. Literally.
We often hear about this happening in close friendships or small groups—and Christian small groups are no exception. You’ve got connection, you’ve got relationship, you’ve got some history. But when you find yourself looking forward to seeing that person or you’re getting dressed up special for that person, then put up your red flags and realize the danger. You had better stop in your tracks and deal with the situation before it gets beyond your control. Take a rational look down the road and realize that acting on your attraction will destroy several friendships and families. It’s just not worth it.
Don’t go to the person you’re attracted to, don’t go to the other person’s spouse. Go to God first, and then to your spouse if needed. Don’t talk to anyone else.
Consider carefully what’s going on. Ask God to show you why you feel this way. People are attracted for different reasons. Maybe your mate is not meeting a need in your life, say, for spiritual intimacy, and this person talks to you about spiritual things. Or perhaps this person has some of the characteristics you wish your spouse had.
The Bible says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23). How do you guard it? You guard it by protecting it, by staying in a tight relationship with the Lord Jesus. Take that attraction you feel and confess it to him; he already knows about it anyway.
Then, you have to decide what to do. You may need to talk to your spouse about what you sense you need from him or her (and what is attracting you to that other person). You may need to confess to your spouse if the only way to deal with the situation is to break fellowship with that person (your spouse will need to know why). You may be able to deal with it personally through praying, guarding your heart, and acting wisely when that person is around.
Four Guardrails Against Sexual Temptation
1. A strong relationship with God. A vital, growing relationship with God is your strongest guardrail. He knows how you are wired emotionally and sexually. The closer you stay to him, the greater will be your access to his wisdom and counsel for resisting sexual temptation.
2. A cautious relationship with people of the opposite sex. We’re not suggesting that you cut off all contact with the opposite sex. We’re talking about being cautious and alert to temptation and maintaining a margin of physical and emotional distance that will help you resist those temptations.
3. An open relationship with other Christians. You need a small group of trusted friends to encourage you to remain pure, to edify you when you are struggling, and to help restore you if you step over the line in some way.
4. A fulfilling relationship with your spouse. When you are emotionally or sexually thirsty, quench your thirst with your own spouse. When you are fully satisfied in your relationship with your spouse, neither of you will need to look elsewhere for gratification
*For more practical marriage advice, check out The Great Marriage Q&A Book. It's available in our online bookstore!