Boundaries With the Opposite Sex – Part One

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Our heart in today’s podcast is to inspire you and your spouse to be more like Christ and to chase him boldly. This week on the Marriage After God podcast, we are talking about boundaries with the opposite sex. If you have any resistance to this topic, we encourage you to ask God to soften your heart to his Word before listening.

“Something I recently over the last year or so began to ask myself, and I think it’s a healthy practice for all Christians, is asking ourselves if there is any area in our lives that God is not allowed access to.” – Aaron Smith

Relationship boundaries with the opposite sex is an area we have gone over in our relationship, and we wanted to talk about it with you guys today because it is a crucial topic for every marriage. Bringing this topic to light, along with God’s truth, is essential to protecting our most sacred relationship. We pray that today’s podcast would start a healthy conversation between you and your spouse and that your hearts would be submitted to God and protecting your marriage from the enemy.

READ TRANSCRIPT

Aaron Smith:
Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God.

Jennifer Smith:
Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

Aaron Smith:
Today, we’re going to talk about boundaries and relationships with the opposite sex.

Welcome to the Marriage After God podcast, where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just happily ever after.

Jennifer Smith:
I’m Jennifer, also known as Unveiled Wife.

Aaron Smith:
I’m Aaron, also known as Husband Revolution.

Jennifer Smith:
We have been married for over a decade.

Aaron Smith:
So far, we have four young children.

Jennifer Smith:
We have been doing marriage ministry online for over seven years through blogging and social media.

Aaron Smith:
With the desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith every day.

Jennifer Smith:
We believe that Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one, full of life.

Aaron Smith:
Love.

Jennifer Smith:
And power.

Aaron Smith:
That can only be found by chasing after God.

Jennifer Smith:
Together.

Aaron Smith:
Thank you for joining us in this journey as we chase boldly after God’s will for our life together.

Jennifer Smith:
This is Marriage After God.

Thank you guys so much for joining us for this week’s episode of Marriage After God. We’re so excited to have you, and we just wanted to invite you to leave a review. If you’ve been listening for a while and you really like what you’ve been listening to, we just want to encourage you to take a moment and leave us a review. This is one thing that just really encourages Aaron and I, but it’s also a way that other people end up finding the podcast.

The more reviews we get, especially the higher rated ones, more people see the Marriage After God podcast, and get excited about listening. The other thing that really helps is leaving a comment review. If you could just share a couple of words about how it’s been impacting you or impacting your marriage, we’d be super stoked to see those come through. If you have time for that today, we’d be super appreciative if you left us a review.

Aaron Smith:
Also, we’ve been doing a new thing over the last several podcast where we’re giving something away for free. We want to just talk about our free 52-date night conversation starter kit. It’s a download. It’s completely free. What it does is it gives you 52 conversation catalysts. It’ll give you something to talk about on your next date night. That way, you can spend your date night with your spouse going deep on what it means to be a marriage after God, what God is doing in your marriage.

Answering those questions with each other just brings another level of intimacy to your date nights. That’s completely free. To get that, you’re going to go to a datenightconversations.com. That’s datenightconversations.com, all one word, and fill out the form, and boom, you’ll get the download for free. We hope that blesses you and your marriage.

Jennifer Smith:
All right, moving right along to the topic today. We’re a marriage podcast and so we do try and stick to marriage topics, although not always-

Aaron Smith:
Sometimes, we go beyond that.

Jennifer Smith:
They’re not always so specific to marriage, although they affect marriage or impact marriage. Today is just one of those topics where it’s very specific to the marriage relationship, and so we thought it would be a great time to just open up this conversation, share with you guys the importance of this topic and what it looked like in our marriage, how we’ve navigated it. We’re not here just to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do.

What we want to do is open up that opportunity for you to take what you hear today and discuss it with your spouse, especially if you have never done that before, if you’re newly married or maybe this has been an issue in your marriage that needs to be confronted or talked about.

Aaron Smith:
Maybe you haven’t learned how to.

Jennifer Smith:
We just want to equip you guys, or at least just like I said before, open up those lines of communication. We’re here to just share on this very specific marriage topic today.

Aaron Smith:
Good intro. Our heart as usual is to inspire and encourage you and your marriage to be more like Christ, to chase Him boldly, to be a light and salt in this world, and so we can’t avoid these kinds of conversations. These are important conversations. We need to… Something that I’ve recently over the last year or so began to ask myself, and I think it’s a healthy practice for all Christians to practice, is asking ourselves if there’s any area in our lives that God’s not allowed access to.

I mean, you ask that question. The Holy Spirit’s going to show you.

Jennifer Smith:
It could be a lot of different areas too. It could just be one area, or it could be different kinds of areas.

Aaron Smith:
What I’ve noticed in my own walk is God is very kind and gentle with me. He’s also sometimes harsh and rough with discipline, but when it comes to me saying, “Lord, is there anything that I’m keeping from you?” Often, He doesn’t just dump a truckload on me. He points out the thing that He wants right now. Then once I give him that thing, and then I’m able to see the next thing, and then we’ll just do the next thing.

When we’re talking about this, I want to encourage you, if you have any hesitations or resistance just like you saw the topic and you’re like, “Oh, opposite sex relationships or friendships,” like, “Oh, I have friends that are of the opposite sex, and I’m allowed to have friends like that.” If you have any resistance to this idea, I want you to examine yourself, and I want you to start… maybe even pause the episode and say, “Lord, is this something I’m keeping from you? I want to hear. I want to soften my heart.”

I want to ask you some questions. Are you willing today to hear some biblical truth? Are you willing to be challenged in your thinking, and are you willing to ask God what I just presented to you? God, is there anything in me that I have not let you have access to? Meaning, you have all this but you can’t have this. This one thing over here is mine. Don’t touch it. We got to ask ourselves those things.

I just want to read some scriptures on the power of having a teachable heart. Proverbs 4:7 says, “The beginning of wisdom is this. Get wisdom and whatever you get, get insight.” We want to be wise people, right? It says, “Get wisdom. Get insight.” Proverbs 3:13 says, “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom and the one who gets understanding.” If we’re hesitant or resistant to these ideas because it’s something that maybe we have these relationships that we don’t want to let go of or we’re afraid of being told we can’t have.

Are we saying, “I don’t want to understand because I want this thing over here?” We’re resisting. Proverbs 1:5, “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.” Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” We don’t want to be fools. Let’s soften our hearts and let us hear from the Holy Spirit. Does he have something for us to hear and to change us and to receive?

Proverbs 2:2 says, “Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding.” Are our hearts ready to hear? Are we inclining our hearts to understanding and turning our hearts to wisdom and desiring that? My heart in this is just to start off by saying, if you’re feeling hesitation or resistance to just stop and say, “Okay Lord, why am I immediately before I have heard anything feeling resistant to this idea?”

What do you think about that? I don’t know. I just want to bring those scriptures up to put hearts in the right places. What do you think about that babe?

Jennifer Smith:
No, I think it’s really good. I think it’s important for all of us to hear, even if maybe we weren’t feeling resistant right away when we first started the episode, because as we get into this, maybe some people will start to feel that in their flesh rising up. It’s a good thing for all of us to be reminded that humility is an important virtue and way of living our lives because we need to be able to learn and grow. When we’re resistant, we can’t do that.

Aaron Smith:
Amen.

Jennifer Smith:
Earlier, we talked a little bit about why this is an important topic. I just wanted to reaffirm everyone that talking about our relationships, especially relationships with the opposite sex when we’re married and creating boundaries, this is to protect our most important relationship. It’s not to say that those other relationships don’t matter or aren’t valuable, but there is something uniquely important and valuable when it comes to marriage.

We want to care about each other’s hearts, and so this was something that Aaron and I have navigated in our marriage, and we wanted to share it with you guys today because we know that it’s just one of those places in marriage that needs to be talked about and need to be discussed.

Aaron Smith:
It’s also one of the ways that the enemy can infiltrate.

Jennifer Smith:
Totally.

Aaron Smith:
We want to shine light and challenge all of us to close any gap or any place where the enemy can get in so that we’re resisting the devil, and we’re walking tall and in purity, and so that our ministry that God has for us isn’t hindered.

Jennifer Smith:
Totally. All right. I know you’ve already shared some verses, but let’s start with a verse.

Aaron Smith:
We’re going to start with a verse. I just want to talk about a specific word in this verse. It’ll help us get some context around this idea of like, “Well, how should we be thinking about our relationship with our spouse?” Before we even talk about relationship with others, the opposite sex outside the marriage, let’s just talk about our relationship with our spouse. Hebrews 13:4, the author says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”

First of all, the fact that the Bible has to say this, because a lot of us might be thinking like, “Of course, marriage is valuable, and we shouldn’t… We can’t commit adultery, and we can’t…” but it says some stuff in here. It says, “Held in honor among all,” so that’s not just you as the husband and the wife honoring your own marriage. It’s saying that everyone in your circles around you should also honor your marriage.

Then it says, “Let the marriage bed be undefiled, and how it’s not…” Then it says, “For God will judge the sexual, immoral, and adulterous.” He’s talking about both of those things, so there’s a lot of things that go into that. It’s like, “Oh, I didn’t commit adultery.” It’s like, well, that’s not the only thing he’s talking about. There’s lots of things that can defile your marriage bed, and the marriage bed is this representation of your unity.

The marriage bed is where you are the closest when you’re intimate with each other, when you sleep with each other, when you’re there. The Bible in the Old Testament calls it knowledge, so it’s so-and-so new so-and-so. They used that word new or knowledge for that intimacy. That’s the closest knowledge we have of each other, so that marriage bed can be defiled if we’re not careful in many ways other than just adultery.

The word I want to focus on is the word honor. There’s several definitions of it. The noun, here’s a few definitions. I want to talk about each line of these, just some thoughts. When it comes to honoring our marriage, honoring marriage, an evidence or symbol of distinction. Honor is a noun. It’s evidence or a symbol of distinction. Does the outside world do all of our relationships recognize that we have a distinctive, unique, valuable relationship with our spouse?

Jennifer Smith:
That’s really powerful.

Aaron Smith:
Is it just generic? “Oh yeah, no, no. You love your spouse, I get it, totally, but we can have our other things over here, and it’s murky.” Is it, “Sorry. No, there’s a distinction here. Ladies, you are not my wife or even close to her. Love you, sister. I’m glad that you’re doing good, but you are not my wife.” This is sounding harsh. I’m just saying internally this thought of like, “Is there a distinction?”

My wife is distinctive among all the women I know. There is none that compare. There is none that lineup. There is none that are equal. There is nothing. That’s what honor is as a noun, that there’s a distinction made, and vice versa. As a husband, there’s a distinction. There is no other man that you compare me to. There is no other man that you… I’m set apart and distinct.

Jennifer Smith:
As much as I knew this going into marriage, I think it took longer for me to learn or understand this in those early years of marriage. Then once hardship came and we started experiencing that tension and conflict in our marriage, it was even harder for me to make that distinction for myself.

Aaron Smith:
Well, those are the moments that we start recognizing other things. We start seeing other people who have distinctive qualities that we wish our spouse had, which is that danger, and the enemy gets a foothold and makes us covet. The next part of this, it says under honor being a noun, “A person of superior standing.” This goes back to what I was just talking about, that symbol of distinction.

Now used especially as a title for a high… a holder of a high office, so like someone who has an honorable position, someone who’s in a position of honor. Is your spouse in a position of honor in your life? Is she honored among all women or all men? As we talk about these things, people are going to start recognizing, “Wait a minute, I have a relationship with someone of the opposite sex, and there’s not as much distinction as there should be.”

Another word is privilege. Honor as a noun, you have the honor of cutting the ribbon. You get the privilege of cutting the ribbon. Our spouse has a privilege that no one else has. They’re privileged to certain things. The Bible even talks about this, and we’ll get to some of those verses, that my body is not my own. It’s my wife’s. My wife’s body is not her own. It’s mine. That’s a privilege that no one else gets, our intimacy.

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Our intimacy with each other should be a privilege that no one else gets. This is what this scripture is specifically talking about, undefiled, sexual immoral, adulterous. There’s a privilege no one has. There’s an internal, the privilege of knowing my deepest, darkest desires and secrets and sins. There’s a privilege that most people won’t have in that, if any. Next under known is a good name or public esteem, so reputation. Think about that in the context of our relationships outside of our marriage.

Do we hold our spouse in honor among those people, or do we take the opportunity to complain to so-and-so about my wife, or complain to my good friend over here about my husband who’s also…? He’s a man, and I’m saying, “Oh, I wish my husband was more like you, or I wish…” Those things happen. You’re angry. You’re frustrated. You had a fight. You’re discontent about something in your life, and it just starts coming out of you with this friend that you have of the opposite sex. They just understand you, and they get it, right?

We’re ruining our reputation. We’re not holding our marriage and honor. We’re not protecting our spouse’s name, among others, our close friends outside of our marriage. Then lastly, it says… Well, not lastly. It says, “A showing of usual merited respect, recognition,” again, going back to that distinction. There’s a superior standing. Then under noun, there’s another, the synonym chastity or purity, right?

Your honor is something that there’s a purity there, not defiling someone’s honor. Are we protecting that purity in our marriage? You see, this is all in this one word honor. Now, this scripture just blows up with light on all of the value that we see in how we should be placing our spouse in the world, how we should be representing our spouse in the world to outsiders, including your closest friends of the opposite sex or not, right?

Jennifer Smith:
Yeah. I feel like it gives a really clear picture of how we should view our spouse. It’s defining it for us.

Aaron Smith:
I know that Hebrews verse is specifically talking about sexual morality and adultery, but the adultery, Jesus tells us, is something that happens in the heart. There’s emotions there. There’s words there involved. There’s relationship there that shouldn’t be there, at which we have to be very careful of. The verb form of honor, and we’ll be done with this soon, but it says to regard or treat someone with admiration and respect.

Do I have women in my life that I’m honoring like this when I should not be honoring him this way? There are people that deserve honor. I’m not talking about the general honor of how you treat your elders or how you would treat a stranger, right? You’re going to honor them because the Bible tells us to do that, but regardless, treat them with admiration and respect the way I would my wife.

Jennifer Smith:
I think another question could be or maybe even more especially, “Are you giving someone else or treating someone else with that admiration and respect and not giving it to your spouse?”

Aaron Smith:
Which often happens. It’s rare. I would imagine that I’m equally. I’m treating my wife with this utmost honor and respect, and then I have a close girlfriend that I’m treating with the same honor and respect. I don’t think that works. I don’t know every situation, but as we talk about this, all I can ask is that the Holy Spirit would be convicting those that need to be convicted.

Jennifer Smith:
Sure.

Aaron Smith:
Again, to give special recognition to you, to confer on our on, am I giving special recognition to a close friend of mine, a girlfriend, or are you giving close recognition to a guy friend that I should have, not them? You give them special time and attention and things that I should get. We should think about these things. Are we honoring our marriage, and are we teaching those around us to honor our marriage?

Then lastly, the synonym of this is reverence, which implies profound respect mingled with love, devotion and awe. Those are big words for our marriage. Then the last one under synonym is deference, implies a yielding or submitting to another’s judgment or preference out of respect or reverence. That’s actually when the Bible talks about the wife’s role to the husband, this word deference is what’s used that she reverentially defers to her husband, that you shouldn’t be reverentially deferring to any other man, but me.

There is no other man in your life. The Bible doesn’t say women reverentially defer to all men. That’s not what the Bible teaches. You have one relationship like that. Remember, going back to that privilege that we talked about in the noun version of honor, that’s a privilege that no other man gets, and vice versa. I don’t look to other women for the things that I need emotionally and physically and mentally other than my wife.

That’s a privilege and honor that she gets alone. I think that starts us on a good place to just start talking about the reality of what it looks like to have relationships with the opposite sex.

Jennifer Smith:
I still can’t get over when you first started sharing that verse in Hebrews 13:4, I’ve always looked at it as I read that verse, “Let marriage be held in honor among all,” that I’m part of the all, and I am fulfilling that by what I’m doing. When you started out by saying, “Basically, are you showing and teaching those around you that your marriage is distinct and supposed to be held in honor,” I never would’ve considered that perspective based on that verse.

I just think that’s really unique and interesting, because it all happens within your interactions and engagements with others and with your spouse [inaudible 00:22:30].

Aaron Smith:
We’ll talk about some of these examples, but when you do things in public that make a stance to protect your marriage, it’s very visible. It actually freaks people out.

Jennifer Smith:
I don’t know. I don’t know about that.

Aaron Smith:
Well, I have an example. It’s In my own life, but we’ll get to that. When you do, you do fit certain things. It teaches those around you that you have an honor for your marriage, and you’re going to demand that same honor from others. Meaning like, “No, this is who I am, and this is how I protect myself, and this is how I also honor my wife so that she has no reason to worry or doubt, not that she should write. This is just how I want to react or how I want to respond and how I want to be even when it’s uncomfortable.”

There’s lots of situations that happened that just happened, and you feel uncomfortable. We have to make the decision right then.

Jennifer Smith:
The good thing about those is if you have any feelings about maybe what you saw or what you heard or what you experienced, talking about it with your spouse clears things up, right?

Aaron Smith:
Yeah. Then going immediately like, “Hey, this thing happened, and it was uncomfortable, and I just want you to know about it. This is how I dealt with it.”

Jennifer Smith:
Aaron and I are really good about sharing parts of our story, things that we’ve experienced and how we’ve navigated it.

Aaron Smith:
I think the word is transparency.

Jennifer Smith:
Transparent. Okay. We just wanted to share a little bit about how we’ve dealt with this issue and topic in our marriage.

Aaron Smith:
We’ve dealt with it perfectly.

Jennifer Smith:
No.

Aaron Smith:
We always say that.

Jennifer Smith:
I don’t know.

Aaron Smith:
It’s always a joke because you don’t deal with it really.

Jennifer Smith:
How has this topic affected or impacted us, and what memories do you have?

Aaron Smith:
I guess what I first think of is I would imagine… We’ve known people that they’re married, but they have really close relationships, friends with the opposite sex. To be honest, always, even when I didn’t know why, it didn’t make sense to me. It made me feel really uncomfortable, but I feel like a lot of those friendships are usually brought in from before marriage. You had these relationship. You were single, and none of them were romantic. They’re all platonic, and then you fall in love and you get married.

You don’t just throw everyone out. A lot of people don’t do that. In some situations, it just naturally happens. People move on and…but I feel like there’s a lot of people that they bring in close relationships with the opposite sex from before marriage. Often, you have a spouse that probably doesn’t say anything or doesn’t know how to deal with it. Maybe doesn’t have a problem with it, and so it just continues on.

For us, I feel like we were lucky. Any relationship that I had with females before I met you, they were cut off pretty abruptly, not in a rude way or in a mean way. Just my interest was in you.

Jennifer Smith:
I would say we both individually desired to marry our best friend. We had this goal and dream to marry the person that was closest to us in that respect, and so we started cultivating that friendship and knew that it was us.

Aaron Smith:
We’ve both had friends of the opposite sex, but they were never close friends. I feel like we might need to just a little define what we’re talking about because people are thinking like, “Come on, you don’t have any friends that are of the opposite sex?” What I would say is defining a close friend of the opposite sex, I would just flip it for a second. [Inaudible 00:26:10] a close friend of the same sex or my close friends, I go and spend time with them outside of my marriage.

I’ll go-

Jennifer Smith:
Coffee date.

Aaron Smith:
… coffee or to dinner or to the movies or go shooting, or I’ll do something with them alone for an extended period of time, and we talk about deep things, things of the Bible. We talk about our marriages. We talk about things we’re growing in. We talk about lots of things. If I take everything I just said and make it no more thinking about me and make it a woman?

Jennifer Smith:
I wouldn’t be okay with that.

Aaron Smith:
You shouldn’t in my opinion. To be honest from some of the stuff we’re going to talk about, I don’t think that works. It’s not the same thing as we have lots of friends of the opposite sex, but none of them do I go and spend alone time with, and go and dig into deep conversation with alone, and go and give intimate details about my life alone and talk about spiritual growth things alone. I don’t do that with a single other woman in my life, not that I haven’t had opportunities.

Not that there haven’t been people that want to do that. It’s just you are that woman. I think it’s been the same for you. There hasn’t been men in your life that you go and like, “Oh, he’s my best friend though. We want to go hang out,” like, “I just want to go to dinner with my best friend. What’s the big deal?” It’s never been a thing for us, but that is a thing for a lot of people, a lot of believers.

Talking about that word honor, I feel like there’s something that needs to be considered if you’re having that kind of relationship with someone that is of the opposite sex. All of that craving desire to go communicate and share and like, “I just need to get some stuff off my chest. This is what close friends are for.” Those are the things that your spouse should be getting, not this other person.

Even my guy friends when I communicate about my marriage, and you can probably attest to this on your side, point me back to you. If I’m sharing, if a complaint comes, “Hey, have you talked to your wife about that, or I just want to remind you this is your role as a husband. You need to love her. You need…” They’re pointing me back to you, so they’re actually strengthening my relationship with you.

Not that the opposite sex can’t do that, but again, think about what’s happening. There’s an emotional exchange happening, and that’s dangerous. For us, we’ve had to walk through this. What does it look like? We’ve had to talk about boundaries in our own life like, “Am I alone with other women ever?”

Jennifer Smith:
The way that these conversations have come up is if you’re working and you’re sharing what happened at work today, and I hear something that I wasn’t there, so I asked you about it, and then you can share about it with me. If I felt uncomfortable with it or if there needs to be more said, then we talk about that boundary. I remember one time your work moved. It was 20 miles away, but it was two hours of traffic each way, and you were looking to save money and you were going to carpool.

There was this girl that had a more economical car.

Aaron Smith:
She was a good friend of ours.

Jennifer Smith:
She was a good friend of ours.

Aaron Smith:
We’re friends with her and her husband.

Jennifer Smith:
I trusted her, and I trusted you, and you guys worked together, but that was one of those situations where I felt like we needed to talk about it because I didn’t like even just thinking that you were going to get in the car with her, and so making a boundary of there has to be three-

Aaron Smith:
Other people there.

Jennifer Smith:
.. people in the car.

Aaron Smith:
Ideally, not doing it at all.

Jennifer Smith:
If you’d fit in, but if you had to, then finding a better way.

Aaron Smith:
Looking back, we didn’t fully make that decision back then, but looking back, I wouldn’t have. One of the ways I think about this now is I reversed the role. Would I feel comfortable with you driving for an hour and a half alone with-

Jennifer Smith:
We talked about those. We said, “What types of things come up, because obviously you’re going to talk.” This is all growth you guys. It’s not that Aaron and I have the perfect explanation or reasoning for all of this. It’s just these are some things that we’ve walked through, and they’re growth experiences and-

Aaron Smith:
We’re willing to talk about them. I know we’re willing to submit them before the Lord and say, “Lord, do you want this to change in us?”

Jennifer Smith:
Because we talked about certain boundaries in our marriage, I remember this one time, it was before we had kids. We lived in an apartment, and we invited another couple, young couple like us, over for dinner. I was at home getting things ready, and the husband showed up.

Aaron Smith:
They were driving separately.

Jennifer Smith:
The husband showed up first, and I didn’t realize that. He came in with some groceries and set them down and started talking to me. When I clicked, I was like, “I’m really sorry, but would you go and wait in your car until my husband got home?” He totally understood. He was like, “Yeah, I didn’t even think about that,” and he walked outside. You know what, sometimes, we’re put in situations that are really hard and uncomfortable, but is your marriage worth it?

Are you willing to take that step to protect your relationship no matter what could happen, or even if nothing happens?

Aaron Smith:
Not just protect your relationship, it’s also a respect to the other people. Our friend who wasn’t aware could have been more aware and said, “I don’t want to make you feel uncomfortable. I’m going to wait for my wife in the car. Here’s some groceries. I’ll see you in a minute.”

Jennifer Smith:
Hey, I see that as a growth opportunity for them.

Aaron Smith:
Exactly.

Jennifer Smith:
By me being bold and saying something, maybe it started a conversation in their relationship. I don’t know. I’m just giving these examples to help people see that we’re not perfect at this but-

Aaron Smith:
We’ve had lots of opportunities, lots of examples.

Jennifer Smith:
My encouragement would be to use those situations that make you guys feel uncomfortable or just make you think twice about something and talk about it.

Aaron Smith:
Going back to the close friendships, if I have a best friend that’s a woman and it’s not my wife, or if you have a best friend that’s a man and he’s not me, I want to strongly encourage anyone listening that’s in that situation, before getting offensive or offended or before getting angry or thinking like, “You don’t know. You don’t know how it’s working. My husband’s totally fine with her, and my wife’s totally fine with it.” Before any of that, I want you to ask the Lord to search your heart and to show you anything that needs to be addressed because…

We have some questions for you to ask yourselves later on, but if it’s something that you’re not willing to question, then it’s something that God doesn’t have access to. I feel like every… That’s the whole point of humbleness is realizing like, “I don’t actually have all the answers. I could be wrong.” To be honest, I’m often wrong, and I’m talking about myself right now. The moment I think I’m right in something, I usually find out how wrong I actually am.

The more I come to know God, the more I realize I know very little of God. If we just have a stance, and we’re holding our… We have to ask ourselves like what is that that we’re holding onto.

Jennifer Smith:
That’s good.

Aaron Smith:
In reality, your closest relationship and friend should be your spouse. Whatever it is that that friend, that other relationship… If we think about relationships in a very pragmatic sense like don’t think about the specific person for a second. Don’t think about their name. Don’t think… Think about what relationships are for, so why God… First of all, we’re relational creatures. God said it’s not good that man should be alone, so he made Eve. He gave him a woman. He gave him a helper.

It’s not good that we’re alone. Relationships make us not alone. We can talk. We can communicate. The ideas come out of our heads and out of our mouths, and then they get bounced back to us. We get changed. We get sharpened. We get encouraged. We get loved-

Jennifer Smith:
Comforted.

Aaron Smith:
… comforted, touched, held, whispered to, all of the things that our inner creature naturally needs. We can’t be alone. It’s not a thing that can happen for a human in the nature that God has for us. Think about this, God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit have been in perfect unity forever. He made man and woman in their image. We’re created to be in a-

Jennifer Smith:
Together.

Aaron Smith:
… together, to be in unifying nature with other people, which is why the Bible is very specific in Christians and how we should relate to other Christians. We have to ask ourselves like, “What is this relationship doing for me? What am I getting from it? Why am I holding it? And is there something that I’m getting from this that I should be getting from my spouse, and I’m using this other person as a replacement, which will never build unity?”

If you’re working on it, if you’re struggling, it’s not going to make it better. It can’t. I want you to humbly ask the Lord to open your eyes and see if there’s anything that needs to be addressed and talked about. Let me just [inaudible 00:35:21].

Aaron Smith:
Hey guys, this is the second time in a row that we’re going to be doing a two-part episode. We’ve just been having so much stuff to talk about on these episodes, which is great. We’re going to be splitting this episode into two parts. Next week, we’ll finish off this topic of what it looks like to have boundaries and friendships in our relationships. Also, we’re going to be answering some questions from you.

We pooled the audience, our followers, about questions they had on this topic, and so we’re going to be answering about 12 questions from our audience in next week’s episode when we finish out the second part of this topic. We look forward to having you next week. Thank you for joining us on the first half.

Did you enjoy today’s show? If you did, it would mean the world to us if you could leave us a review on iTunes. Also, if you’re interested, you can find many more encouraging stories and resources at marriageaftergod.com, and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

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