Not "Just Friends"
Updated: Jun 28, 2020
Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well ... Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. (Proverbs 5:15, 18)
Proverbs has quite a bit to say about sex. In this verse the message is to find fulfillment in only your spouse – “your own cistern” – and not from someone else’s spouse. While movies, music, and social media often glamorize promiscuity, it turns out that the happiest, healthiest sexual relationships are between emotionally committed spouses.
In her book NOT “Just Friends”, psychologist Shirley Glass explores the causes of and healing after affairs. She offers a helpful metaphor for guarding marriage – spouses need to keep an emotional window open between one another to exchange their inner thoughts and feelings, while keeping a wall between themselves and members of the opposite sex to avoid sexual or emotional affairs.
This does not mean that you cannot have opposite-gender friendships, but it does mean that you must reserve your core desires and vulnerabilities only for your spouse. Glass explains:
In a love affair, the unfaithful partner has built a wall to shut out the marriage partner and has opened a window to let in the affair partner. To reestablish a marriage that is intimate and trusting after an affair, the walls and windows must be reconstructed to conform to the safety code and keep the structure of the marriage sound so that it can withstand the test of time. You install a picture window between you and your marriage partner and construct a solid or opaque wall to block out contact with the affair partner. This arrangement of walls and windows nurtures your marriage and protects it from outside elements and interference.
There are many applications of this principle, but a few guidelines may help as illustrations. In order to build strong walls, it’s unwise to take lunch breaks with the same person all the time; unwise to drink or dance with co-workers at office parties; and unwise to discuss emotional problems with people over the Internet.
In order to open a window with your spouse, plan a daily time for meaningful conversation; share your dreams with each other, no matter how impossible they may seem; remember and retell the stories of your dating and early marriage years; and strive to always be honest with one another.
Sexual sin is a huge and heavy topic, and we will return to this theme in future devotionals. But the note to end on today is that the Bible is full of hope for sinful people. It’s striking that the Book of Proverbs was written largely by King Solomon – a man who was infamous for having hundreds of wives, many of them from pagan nations. If God can use and redeem a great sexual sinner like Solomon, then he can use and redeem your life as well. And having received his forgiveness, trust that God’s ideal for sex is best for you, whether it has taken a short time or a long time to find this path.
Father, thank you for your call to purity, to drink only from our own cisterns. Today purify my sexual desires anew. By your Spirit, help me to be honest with myself and wise in my behavior. Give me your strength to honor you and to honor those around me. In Christ’s Name, Amen.