Friendly or Flirty? What to watch for

betty_boop_flirtyForgiving others and asking for forgiveness is hard work. Necessary work. We all need to do both frequently.

But the best way to avoid forgiveness? 

Well, the obvious answer:
Avoid the sin in the first place, at least as far as it depends on you (Romans 12:18).

I heard some great advice for avoiding sin on a recent Focus on the Family broadcast, “Friendship or Flirtation: Danger Signs for Couples”.

The Rev. Dave Carder, author of Close Calls: What Adulterers Want You to Know About Protecting Your Marriage, shared a list of dangerous behaviors to avoid.

(Read the whole list of 19 Dangerous Behaviors. I’m excerpting 10 below.)

10 Dangerous Behaviors

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself about your own behavior:

1. Do you save topics of conversation for your "special friend"?

2. Do you share your marital/relationship troubles with your friend (e.g., "My husband (or wife) never … ")? Does your friend share his with you?

3. Do you anticipate seeing this person more than your spouse?

4. Do you compare the friend and your spouse ("If only my spouse was nicer to me like s/he is … ")?

5. Do you provide "treats" (coffee, snacks, etc.) for your friend?

6. Are you overly concerned for your friend's welfare ("How did you sleep?")?

7. Do you fantasize about marriage to your friend?

8. Are you hiding e-mails, texts, phone messages, etc., from your spouse?

9. Do you hide interactions with your friend from your spouse?

10. Do you allow sexual content to enter conversations with your friend?

Dangerous Partner Profile

Rev. Carder also gives a list of 6 cautions in a “Dangerous Partner Profile.”

It includes such things as:

  • You may be attracted to a personality style that you wish your spouse had
  • You may be attracted to someone in a particular age group
  • You may be attracted to a certain type of attachment pattern

While some of our sins are spur of the moment, others build up over time. I’d guess adultery is one of those.

So if you don’t want to be asking for forgiveness for it someday, make sure you stay alert to the temptations in front of you today.

  * * *

What kind of boundaries do you have in place to protect your marriage?


Barbara H. said...

Wise advice, Lisa. Sometimes things catch people unawares only because they dismissed danger signs early on. I'm grateful for forgiveness, but I'd so much rather access grace to avoid sin in the first place.

floyd said...

I've been married before. I've made lots of mistakes in my life, but since I can't change them, I try to honor God with what I've learned.
The key I've found is complete transparency, if you can't share it with your spouse, it's off limits. But even more than that, I think it's trying to do the things that bring our spouses joy, even if it isn't top of our list. Interesting how it moves up our list as we draw closer to God and our spouses.

Anonymous said...

I do have boundaries in place. One is not to admire another person's looks because God made them and instead I need to give thanks to God and bless that person.
Another is if I am attracted to a couple I make sure to befriend the wife more than the husband. This is a blessing to him and is safety for me. I know, it sounds like the technique many have used because "he ran off with my best friend" but I think it's the opposite. Purposely trying to bless the marriage of another.
And all those things you excerpted.

Stephani said...


tinuviel said...

Thanks for this! A friend shared Sunday that she and her husband promised each other starting out that they would never share a meal or coffee with a single person of the opposite sex without having a third person present. Not for work, not as friends. That started me thinking about this and now you continue the theme. Something to talk over with A.

May God protect us both from ever needing forgiveness for this!

Lisa notes... said...

I like how you put this, Barbara:

"I'd so much rather access grace to avoid sin in the first place."

We're accessing grace no matter how we look at it; either before the sin to keep us from sinning in the first place, or after the sin to gain forgiveness. I'd rather do it first too!

Lisa notes... said...

Transparency is so key. My older sister and b-i-l have always lived that out to an exceptional degree. Sometimes it seems like it makes matters worse, but in the end, I think it’s helped them understand each other better AND stay accountable. So I admire that.

I’ve made lots of mistakes too, but you’re right: we can’t change them so let’s at least make use of the lessons for God’s glory. He's good at not wasting anything.

Lisa notes... said...

Excellent advice to befriend the wife more than the husband. It’s my general rule too, although sometimes it doesn’t work out that way for various reasons.

I’m definitely more comfortable with my own husband being better friends with the male rather than with the female counterpart of a couple.

Your “purposely trying to bless the marriage of another couple” must make you a very good friend to have around!

Lisa notes... said...

Your friend is wise. […I’m wondering if my daughter and her new husband have put any kind of boundaries in place like that for their marriage… I hope so!]

Not sharing meals is an excellent one that gives me a lot of security not only for myself, but also knowing my husband is abiding by it too.

It’s interesting that when I’ve had male friends who don’t have the same boundaries as I do about not eating alone, they are very respectful of that (even though it would be easier if we BOTH had similar boundaries in our marriages). It really is a great protection to have hedges in place.

Yet I still have a few holes in my own hedges that probably need plugging. I’m sure I overestimate my own self-control over my behaviors and emotions—not a good idea. Lord, save me from myself…


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