Is It OK for Married People to Text the Opposite Sex?

Affairs don't start with sex.

When I was young, I never liked when my mom and dad would close the bedroom door at night after saying goodnight. Being all alone in a large bedroom provided the opportunity for my imagination to run wild, letting all those monsters and villains run wild in the privacy of my room. As I grew older though, a closed bedroom door at night provided me privacy to let my introverted self relax and decompress from the day’s stresses and demands.

We all have different privacy needs based on our personalities. However, I probably don’t have to tell you that too much can be dangerous—especially privacy with someone of the opposite sex.

Ask yourself: If you were at home and your spouse was not, would you invite over someone of the opposite sex, to have a conversation in the privacy of your bedroom? Especially in the privacy of your bedroom with the door locked and window shades drawn? Most likely—and hopefully—your answer is a firm, “No!”

But if I were to ask if you regularly texted with the opposite sex, the answer may not be the same.

Texting and the Doorway to Infidelity

Text messaging has become the social norm for communicating. Its ease of use with hardly any effort allows us to be in touch with anyone from anywhere at any time. We’re texting with our bosses about why we showed up to work late, sending messages to our co-workers about the next meeting and messaging with our friends about this weekend’s barbecue. We text without thinking. We text because the world we live in says text messaging with others, including the opposite sex, is perfectly acceptable communication.

Unfortunately, there is a false sense of security that exists in cell-phone text messaging: It almost always feels as though the words sent and received in a text will not venture into dangerous open waters. The reality is a text message is open water. There is no shallow end to stand on or wall to grab onto. What is sent and received in a text-based world can easily trigger our deepest, darkest feelings and desires, surfacing them in a conversation that began harmlessly.

What is sent and received in a text-based world can easily trigger our deepest, darkest feelings and desires, surfacing them in a conversation that began harmlessly.

We learn early on in Scripture that the heart is deceitful above all things. (Jeremiah 17:9) Too often in text messaging, particularly with the opposite sex, insignificant words are sent that are consciously and unconsciously linked to more significant emotional or sexual roots in the heart; roots that are intended to remain deeply rooted in a marriage instead outside of it.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard stories of married men and women texting outside their marriage with the opposite sex and it began innocently, discussing topics about their kids’ school or their spouse’s new job, and then all of a sudden finding themselves in a heated conversation about how their spouse doesn’t want to talk about their feelings or that they noticed the other at the gym, commenting on how they like their tight-fitting gym clothes.

Opening these conversation doors allows infidelity the opportunity to advertise itself.

Affairs Don’t Begin With Sex.

Men and women were designed physically and emotionally to have sex and talk about deep feelings. However, talking about sex and feelings with the opposite sex through texts can quickly detach a married person from his or her spouse emotionally and sexually in the real world. Let’s be honest: Many married men and married women text the opposite sex without ever falling into this trap. There are many who respect their spouses completely, stewarding well their texts, never venturing into discussing feelings or sex with the opposite sex in a text.

But I think the slope is too slippery to ignore; these individuals walk it like a tightrope, sometimes without even knowing it. Text messaging itself is not the culprit. The culprit is the heart of the person text messaging.

Here’s the important thing to realize: Safeguarding your marriage against infidelity should extend beyond the bedroom. Infidelity occurs well before having actual sex with someone, and in today’s culture, the smoke is usually fanned into fire during text messaging. We’ve all heard the saying, “The grass is greener on the other side.” This is saying that we sometimes want what someone else has because we assume it's better than what we have.

Text messaging provides an opportunity for wandering hearts, hearts not fully committed to their spouses, to seek pleasure from someone other than their spouses when their relationship grass may be losing its color. More alarmingly though, text messaging provides an opportunity for even hearts most devoted to their marriages, to inadvertently seek pleasure from someone other than their spouse. Jeremiah communicated how deceitful the heart can be, even for one who thinks they have control of their heart.

It’s this truth we must listen to and, apply guidelines in our marriage for communicating with the opposite sex, in an effort fully to respect them and our Lord, Jesus Christ.

How to Handle It

I’ve put together some suggested guidelines you and your spouse can consider when it comes to texts and the opposite sex:

- Avoid giving your phone number to the opposite sex. If it is necessary to keep in touch with them, have your spouse give their number to them.

- If you already have someone of the opposite sex’s phone number, treat it as just that: a phone number (not a text number).

- If you receive a text message from someone of the opposite sex, choose to respond by calling them immediately instead of responding through text. Making a phone call communicates to them that you would prefer speaking over the phone instead of via text.

- Treat your private email like you would a text message. It’s understandable that you might not be legally permitted to Cc your spouse on a work email to the opposite sex, but when you are communicating from your private email with the opposite sex, copy your spouse. This provides transparency between you and your spouse and also communicates to the opposite sex your desire to keep communication public.

- If you are feeling an emotional or sexual pull to a particular opposite sex member, especially during text messaging, immediately stop. In person, let this individual know your desire to respect your spouse, even with text messages. Confess this behavior to your spouse, repent and begin the healing process. If you don’t stop, the emotional and/or sexual detachment from your spouse will continue to broaden as you continue in communication with the opposite sex person. Please stop.

Our culture is progressive. It always will be. Culture tries to define what is appropriate when it pertains to being married and being in private with the opposite sex. The definition of privacy extends from actual private spaces, to social-digital-text messaging spaces as well. Our goal is to remain constant with living above reproach, living above what culture says is acceptable or unacceptable, especially in our marriages.

Top Comments

Josh Poland

4

Josh Poland commented…

Go read the FB comments on this piece. This is terrible advice. All the critiques I'm about to list have been posted by others:

1. This treats others as temptations instead of brothers and sisters
2. If you have to stop texting in order to stay faithful, you might have bigger problems in your marriage than who you are texting
3. Infidelity does begin much sooner than sex, but having conversations with members of the opposite sex that your spouse isn't privy to isn't the gateway to infidelity, its called being social.
4. This is over-simplified, legalistic thinking that doesn't do anything other than pander to immature fears
5. People in constant communication might have a legitimate reason to be talking other than infidelity
6. Managing behavior won't change the desires of the heart

If the author had stayed focused on the important part, where many couples who don't feel like their needs are being met by their spouse start communicating with members of the opposite sex to meet those needs, maybe this article would have had a different title and some better advice. The author probably has some valuable words to contribute in that area. Let's hear that and not this nonsense.

Justin McLachlan

1

Justin McLachlan commented…

I'm sorry, but the "slippery slope" argument is trash. Why don't you just lock yourself in a bubble if you can't trust yourself to even COMMUNICATE with someone whom you may or may not have a sexual attraction to? Is this really the kind of life you'd want to lead? One where you view yourself as so incapable of maintaining your own promises to another human being (fidelity in marriage) that you have to abscond from even the most rudimentary forms of human interaction with other people? Do you understand how you sound? Is that the kind of person you want to be? One so untrustworthy, so out of control, so immature, that you can't be trusted at all? That's what you're saying. Christians need to stop relying on each other for sex advice if this the standard for it. Because this is stupid, to say the least.

40 Comments

Jacob Bolton

1

Jacob Bolton commented…

this is absolutely rediculous an article, its unfounded and unscriptural based on the writers own presumptions.

Zack, please, if you are struggling with these things, do not encourage others as a method of guarding their hearts. Zack if this is something you struggle with , please dont tell others that they need to protect themselves, instead go get marriage counseling yourself, i say this with no malice as well.

Clotilde Hélène Barberon

19

Clotilde Hélène Barberon commented…

I love Relevant but I mean... come on! Shouldn't it all be about what you talk or how you talk to each other?
You're married and flirting with someone else? NOT GOOD.
You're married and talking to someone else? Welcome to the normal world where people talk and not everything is gender/sex-based.
I've texted friends who are male and married to my friends and it's all been good. No one's cheated on no-one.

You could litteraly keep going down that road by saying : You don't want to cheat? Don't look at anyone else, you never know, you might stumble. Living in fear is a no-go.
Being wise is what we're called to. If you think your connection with someone else than your spouse is starting to be a bit dodgy? It probably is. If your spouse would not be allowed to read the conversation, probably not good either. But come on, enough of making laws so broad and lame, that you actually end up in a one-gender world. My friendships with guys have been so helpful. Some are married, some dating, girlfriends and wives know me and are my friends and that's that!
So no thanks, ain't taking this onboard.

Clotilde Hélène Barberon

19

Clotilde Hélène Barberon replied to Clotilde Hélène Barberon's comment

Also think that this all reminds me of the whole "I kissed dating goodbye" situation which has been so harmful to a lot of people in my generation. It's just the married version of it.

Marie Desmond

33

Marie Desmond replied to Clotilde Hélène Barberon's comment

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Chinedu Ezeobi

1

Chinedu Ezeobi commented…

I personally believe the writer is on point. Some people from the opposite sex can be mischievious and if not checked, can actually lure one into intimate conversation during texting. Any conversation that you would rather keep from your spouse should be discouraged. So many people are lonely even in marriage and loneliness is a gateway to infidelity, and texting with the opposite sex who tends to pay you so much attention especially in the areas of your looks is a no-go. Sex is also a thing of the mind, the Bible told us that by looking at a woman in a certain way one has already committed adultery so we really need to check our texting with opposite sex coz if not checked could lead to "defiling the marriage bed". I have read text like, 'what are you doing now, are lying down now, what are wearing, can you send a pic, and so on. That is how it all start, and mind you more intimate request can be made like video chat. The enemy is always ready to plant tares.

Teresa Swanson

1

Teresa Swanson commented…

The supposed 'Christian' ethics and morals of today have declined considerably throughout the past thirty years. The accountability factor, and the responsibility of ones own relationship with Christ is also at stake here. When a man allows himself to have the number of the wife of a friend, and the wife also has 'said' husband's number of the other wife, and they DO begin to call each other, and this continues for many years, with the wife kissing the husband of the other wife on the lips EVERY TIME she sees him, tell me, oh you wonderfully intelligent men out there, that it doesn't take much for a married man to be turned on to another woman who claims she too, claimed to be a Christian.And it didn't just stop at the phone calls, when they were around each other, they made some excuse to go somewhere ALONE, in a car, or at an event both couples attended, some little excuse for them to be ALONE with each other. That wife was not the 'friend' of the wife, but the friend of the husband. I think, the deeper level of all of this is Just How Much Do You Love Jesus Christ, and can you with a clear conscience in front of Jesus, say that what you are doing, whether it is texting, calling, or emailing, the opposite sex, and vise versa, when it begins to disintegrate your own marriage, and when divorce comes you wonder why? No, I think Zack knows far more about the 'heart of man' than a lot of the men who left comments here don't even want to 'go there' in their own minds. When a spouse lives with a narcissistic self-serving, and yet very charming, and intelligent spouse, the narc will never expose him/or herself to the level of accountability that should be held in Christian marriages. And then again, there is the glaring fact that the other spouse may not even be a believer and they are only 'religious' so, they aren't even going to 'get it' that God wants them to stay holy. 'Be ye holy, says the Lord, for I am holy.' Not HOLIER THAN THOU, just holy, humble, and with a heart that hasn't fallen to the degree that the rest of the world thinks it's just hunky dory because of the day and age that we live in ALLOWS such supposed 'innocent' textings to the opposite sex. I have seen this first hand, and when the spouse who has to deal with this emotional unfaithfulness from their own spouse,as that is what it really boils down to, I would say that the spouse who allows themselves to continue to flirt like this, never really cared about the feelings of their own spouse, that they were never dedicated to the marriage in the first place. When you are single, that is a totally different avenue of thinking. I had a young man begin calling ME, after I was married. I did not like it at all. Then I began to be sympathetic to him, and I justified myself, and one day called him, and my conversation went something like this. "if we don't let people know that we love them, how are they going to know?' And I don't want to fool myself and say that I was innocent in saying that. The young man had hounded me at church, and I was not the flirting kind. Yet he persisted. After that phone call I made. I began 'ghosting' him, as I knew what I had done was wrong and was going in the opposite direction of where God wanted me to be going. It was my tender conscience and my ultimate Lord for the Lord, which kept me from entertaining any more thoughts about that young, unmarried man. So, yeah. Phones calls, text messaging, emailing, accidentally bumping into that person, are dangerous. Even when you think you are such a very strong Christian. 'There has no temptation taken you, such as is common to man, but with the temptation, God will make a way of escape for you.' I have made it a rule to never be in a house alone with another man, or even alone in a car. In fact, I almost go out of my way to 'avoid all appearance of evil.' And I grew up in a legalistic church, so I KNOW the cult mindset. So, I am not talking about being a prude, it is about realistic choices we make, as the devil will tempt you often. When he fails to make a Christian fall, he will attack you in another area of your life, and it is a ceaseless attack, otherwise God would not have to repeat himself to us to 'Resist the devil and he will flee from you.' We have the power of God and we are overcomers, otherwise, we are living very shallow lives for the Lord when we make excuses for our flesh. So, I thank Zack for writing this. Maybe it's because Zack's article actually touched some sore spots in your own life, and maybe it's time for some of you to grown up and become a mature man or woman in Christ. I really didn't want to post my own name for this comment, but I couldn't change it. So, there is nothing like being transparent, as after all, All things are open and naked before God, with whom we personally have to do and with Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Marie Desmond

33

Marie Desmond commented…

I just caught my cheating husband Thankfully my friend gave me a reliable contact, (hacksecrete@gmail.com) he works with discretion and delivers, he does all sorts of hacks,.access to social networks, school servers, icloud and much more,
viber chats hack, Facebook messages and yahoo messenger,
calls log and spy call recording, monitoring SMS text messages remotely,
cell phone GPS location tracking, spy on Whatsapp Messages I would prefer to let his services speak for itself, you can contact him at(hacksecrete@gmail.com) , tell him i referred you, he’s quite picky.

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