Remember a guardrail is a system designed to keep us from drifting into dangerous or off limit areas. There is a line out there for me that once I cross it, I violate my standards and realize there is a consequence that will hurt the people I love the most.
In every area of your life where there is desire, you need a guardrail. With sexual intimacy, you need reinforced steel.
You can recover from other disasters. Financial disaster, if given enough time and discipline, you can recover and prosper and it’s a lesson learned. Education – you can flunk out but get back in school, go to summer school, graduate and then it’s just a funny story you tell your kids about. Professional disaster – you can get fired, go bankrupt but you can recover.
But in sexuality, those are the stories no one laughs about now. The damage done in this area stays with you.
Because intuitively, we know, that sex is not just physical. It’s way deeper than that. When we cross certain lines in physical intimacy, there are things we can carry with us the rest of our lives. Culture says that sex is just physical and no one gets hurt but we know better. The damage, the guilt and the memories follow us through our lives.
1 Corinthians 6:18, Paul gives us a strong but simple command, “Flee from sexual immorality.”
Flee. Not “be careful”. Not “watch out”. Not get as close to the line as you can without going over. No. It says “flee”. And let’s be honest, this is what you want your wife to do. For goodness sakes, it’s what you want your daughter doing. Don’t kid yourself, it’s what you should be doing. But when it comes to “me”, I don’t flee. I flirt.
Culture will bait you right up to the line and then mock you if you take the bait and cross the line. So, guard yourself. Have that line you will not cross. Don’t play with this.
For Christians, there is an even greater incentive – “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” I Cor 6:19
“You are not your own: you were bought at a price”. You have been purchased from sin. You don’t have to give into your desires and appetites. I am the master of my body because my body is now under the authority of God.
“Therefore honor God with your bodies.” The litmus test – whenever you’re about to act, ask yourself “Is this dishonoring to God?” Ask it. The Holy Spirit indwells you. Whatever you’re about to do, you’re bringing it in alongside the Spirit. Ask Him. Listen for that “voice clearing” He’ll warn you if you listen. If it doesn’t honor God … don’t even think about it. Don’t look at it. Don’t ponder it. Decide to honor God daily in all you do with your body.
You will not regret these guardrails. They are not extreme at all in this culture. They should be your standard operating procedure. It’s more possible than you think – once you’ve made your mind up.
- Don’t travel alone with members of the opposite sex.
- Don’t eat alone with members of the opposite sex. Every affair he’s dealt with, except one, began with a meal.
- Don’t hire cute members of the opposite sex because you want to help them. Don’t deceive yourself.
- Don’t confide in/counsel members of the opposite sex. “They need me”. They need help. They don’t need you. When your emotional world gets entwined with her emotional world, you’re in trouble. Intimacy begins with the emotional. Watch out.
- When you feel your heart/desire drifting to another woman, tell someone. Find a man you trust and tell him. By speaking this out, you’re bringing it out of the darkness and into the light. (hard to do but perhaps is your most powerful guardrail)
Your guardrails – your wife needs to know what they are and she needs to be comfortable with your guardrails and standards.
- Same rules as the married people – except you are not to do these things with married people i.e. not travel with a married woman, not counsel a married woman, not eat a meal with a married woman.
- No sleep overs. Remember sex is not just a physical act. It bonds you to that woman. Even if it’s “just a date” or “just having fun”, you are bonding with her and very importantly, she is bonding with you. You’re creating a soul tie. Don’t kid yourself. Women don’t hook up. They bond. Sex is like glue for them emotionally. So while you might be “just hooking up”, she’s bonding to you and you’re responsible for the pain a future breakup might do to her. Remember a guardrail is there to protect you from that thing you’ll regret the most.
- Take a relationship break. Take a year off. If “date” has become synonymous for “sex”, you need to stop dating. Take a break. Give God a year to renew your mind and heart.
I will promise you, you will not look back in five years and regret these guardrails. Intimacy in marriage is fueled by exclusivity. If your wife knows you only have eyes for her and if she can trust you completely, your intimacy will grow. After all, it isn’t sex you want, it is intimacy. You want to be known. Intimacy starts with guardrails. Learn to honor God with your body and He will reward you with a relationship of intimacy.