My Question: Married & opposite sex friends that are homosexual

(out door ) #1

Hi everyone,
I have a question about boundaries with opposite sex friends when you are married. Specifically if that friend is a homosexual.
My wife sees no problem traveling on a vacation with a homosexual man (she has a few homosexual men friends and has done so, I can give more details if needed) and I say it puts yourself in potential positions that could cause issues of choosing to travel with opposite sex, even if a homosexual man. She says is safe with a homosexual man and she would never travel with a heterosexual man for a vacation trip.

My wife asks why I feel this way (I told her it puts out marriage in jeopardy after it happened last time after I asked her not to travel on vacation with other men and I’m not there) and the answer I come up with is basically our relationship is a covenant and between us. After I told her it puts our relationship in jeopardy she agreed to ‘obey’ me even though she doesn’t agree.

I’ve been reading and listening on the site to help me be able to articulate more to her. I’m a Christian and really have been working on reading and studying about the role of a Christian husband/father lately.

Even our Christian marriage counselor tried to express the priority of it but she is quick thinking and quickly defended/ turned around the argument.

Could I ask for some feed back on things to think about in marriage boundaries with opposite sex friends - straight or homosexual?

I’m also getting asked if it is okay for her homosexual men friends to be allowed to stay in our home should they come visit. As a father of young children I’ve begun to requestion some things and what I want to go on in my house or marriage. Not to say I cannot be a friend to a homosexual, but more of what is the purpose of specific friendships and those boundaries?
For example one homosexual person we have known over 10 years; I believe my biggest issue is the emotional relationship I feel that is there, and I’m sure since we are not in a strong marriage relationship place today that could be contributing. I due believe sexual sins are wrong as the bible says, and we all are sinners. Sometimes I just wonder what the attraction to homosexual men is for my wife?

I’ve even asked her is homosexuality a sin and her reply was ‘I don’t know’. I asked her does she believe what the bible says and didn’t get a response.

(C Rhodes) #2

@outdoor7or24. Your questions remind me of a similar environment I often meet in the relationship with my lesbian sister. My sister is worthy of all my love and I am careful to ask the Lord how to best show that love.

But I notice often when my sister comes around, calls, or comments upon my postings; she positions herself as someone living a righteous life despite what the Bible says. Most noticeable if she sends me gifts. It feels like a very deliberate attempt to place legitimacy upon her life choices. Even plagiarizing my determination to love, as proof that how she lives is legitimate or sanctioned by GOD. But I will not allow my sister to love me as a bargaining chip with GOD. I don’ want to witness her life ending without receiving grace.

I think in today’s environment there is a persistent push to redefine righteousness. So that any form of loving acceptance is twisted to suggest legitimacy. This frightens me for my sister. By definition of the Word of GOD, she is reprobate in her thinking. My sister would rather believe a lie as truth and call truth a lie.

I have always held to a standard when family or friends visit my home. I expect you to visit my home in the spirit that dominates my home. I always invite them to come, but they must honor the home that GOD has given me.

So that means, whether you are heterosexual or homosexual in your private living; there should be no expectation to make the culture of my home an annex of your private choices. I don’t care if you cohabitate without the commitment of marriage, whether you have a homosexual marriage by virtue of civil laws that say you can. Whether you are a persistent liar, demented doper, if you are wanted by the law, whatever. If the Word of GOD says differently, in my home that is law. When I visit your home we will respect your rule of law. My family knows this about me, though sometimes resents this stand.

Sometimes it is said that this standard is hypocrisy. Perhaps people have a point. If I am someone different than what I say the Word of GOD calls for, if I am more concerned with your comfort then obedience to the Word of GOD; then yes I am a hypocrite. Anyone versed in the scriptures knows we can not serve two masters at once.

When my sister’s rule of law violates the law of GOD, I can still love her; but I will not separate from relationship with GOD. So, some places I may not be able to follow her too. In some spaces, we are not able to commune.

I also have an easy and comfortable fellowship with gay men. But I believe that is about ministry, not a safe place for me to dwell. I have great respect for the sensibilities of the sin nature. I do not assume that I will not compromise myself with my gay friends, or maybe give the appearance of compromise. I have seen to many valiant soldiers be overtaken and surprised by their own flesh.

We have a great commission. To be light in a dark world. The only effective lamp is the one that burns consistently bright each time. A flickering lamp is worse than the dark. In the dark, your eyes will adjust and you can still see some things. But a flickering light is maddening, mind-numbing and physically hurtful. That makes living honest before GOD not just something I do for my own survival, but I do for everyone I love and befriend. And I will always do so on behalf of my sister.

(Kenny) #3

Heys @outdoor7or24, thanks for being brave enough to open up on this topic.

It is definitely very sensitive (especially being a male as well, from a conservative Asian culture to make matters worse, haha). As I read through your sharing, I am starting to realise how complex the situation is. If it is okay, I would like to break it down into a few key areas so that it becomes easier to explore this topic.

To set the stage on where I am coming from first. I come from a Chinese background (where traditions are fading away since my parent’s generation). I am also from Singapore, where some people say it’s like the boundary between where East meets West. Also, I would be sharing more from a male POV, maybe a female can also share her thoughts on this same aspect, from a female perspective.


<< What Is Marriage? >>

Before defining the boundaries in marriages, I think it is crucial to understand where your wife is coming from first. That is because behind every belief / question / statement, is a person who has latched on to certain values or understanding which unfortunately results them in having this POV. Therefore it is key to understand more about her definition of marriage is. I’d encourage you to focus on trying to understand the “why” behind she feels marriage is this or that way, rather than the “what” that constitutes a marriage, and you may gradually get to see why she differs in views on how to handle this matter.

On the other hand, it is also good for you to open up to share your own views on what marriage is, and where you are coming from. With this common understanding of where you both stand, you can then work towards finding a common ground in which both of you can agree on.


<< Boundaries in Marriages >>

As a heterosexual man, I’d have to admit that I am attracted to pretty women. Therefore, knowing that I will have the tendency to fail (especially if I am not a perfect being), the question would be, “Why would I put myself in a position where there would be a chance (no matter how small) of something happening?” That is like saying that, “There is a 0.001% chance that I will get burnt if I keep swiping my hand over the fire, but since the chance is so low, let’s give it a try." Worse still, is that after trying, if nothing happens, it builds our confidence that the probability seems lower than what we expect, and we tend to try it again. Until I suddenly picked the short straw and get burnt. I should just eliminate the possibility and make it an impossibility - “How can I cheat on my partner, when I have never gone overseas 1:1 with that person?”

So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. (Genesis 39:6-12)

Potiphar’s wife would’ve definitely been one of the choice picks of the city, and Joseph definitely felt that he reached a point where, any longer and he might’ve given in to it. As a result, he knew that the best way was to get out of that situation, and he didn’t just left, but ran away from this temptation.

Furthermore, if I love my spouse dearly, and this is a concern that my spouse has, why would I put my spouse through such mental turmoil of worrying that I may cheat on her? Her mental state of mind is more important for me than just a trip overseas. Maybe perhaps she just wants to travel more, but you are unable to because of your current commitments? Maybe both of you can agree to a middle ground of having a yearly trip at least? I’m not sure quite about how both of you settle your arrangements in this area though.


<< Traveling Overseas Opens Doors to the Heart >>

Being overseas, is something that I find to be very scary in some aspects. That is because the feeling of distance from home, just makes you feel more free and open (and this applies even to a staycation as well). However, being more free and open also means that you are more vulnerable as well in your sharing.This is also why retreats tend to get people to loosen up and open up about some things they feel about work, or friends, etc.

I am sure everyone has their portion of heartfelt sharings in which they felt safe enough to be vulnerable in what was shared. And whenever you share heartfelt matters, bonds are forged - because you feel accepted that people are willing to understand you, and not judge you despite all the flaws you are revealing to them.

One thing can lead to another - feelings of acceptance can lead to feelings of safety. Feelings of safety can lead to feelings of desire. Feelings of desire can lead to feelings of lust.

Sin is a very cruel thing, because it brings about condemnation, and when you are over the cliff, that is when you will be thinking, “Since I have sinned, what difference does it make to sin more?”


<< Traveling Overseas w/ Others >>

Firstly, let me share Ravi Zacharias’ stance on sexuality:

I think it is so powerful, because it properly brings together the grace and the truth of God into a single answer to address this sensitive area.

And I have never come across anyone who does it with so much love from the person as Ravi Zacharias has done.

Therefore, with that as the foundation, and knowing that sexual preferences can be changed back, especially with the power of God, I’d lean more not to travel 1:1 with someone of the opposite gender. And yes, this is regardless of my travel partner’s sexual preferences, for the same reasons that I mentioned in the previous 2 sections.

However, this is not to say that going overseas is an impossibility. Can there be alternative arrangements made? Let’s say, to have a 3rd friend accompany for the trip, rather than it being just 2 people, if you are unable to make it. The 3rd person will definitely help to provide a certain level of accountability to the whole situation.

As for having opposite sex friends stay over, it will really depend on your family. Personally, I don’t think it is an issue if they are staying in a different room, but I would also want to consider my spouse’s opinion, because we are now married (and are one). The suggestion is not to consider it to be a “my way or your way” kind of situation, but to try to find a middle ground in which you both can settle on. Even if someone will need to give in, a good method I’d always like to use would be to suggest, “How about for this time around, we do this. We can review after it happens, or we can try your method the next time.” This way, you can try out what works or what doesn’t work and gradually adjust to it, rather than just jumping straight in to rule something out or not.


<< Context is Crucial >>

Lastly, it is important to note that whatever views I shared above are just guidelines. One very important thing I have learnt about relationships is that there is no formula (unfortunately). Therefore, you may need to tailor and adjust some of it to be better fit into your country’s culture, societal norms, and even to include both yours and your spouse’s personal preferences.

Remember that we are all work in progress. Every marriage have different issues, and not every issue is meant to be resolved overnight.

Take some time to talk it out, and in the meantime, establish that closeness and relationship so that you both can accept the differences, and enjoy the common points.


Not sure if this helps shed some light on this matter, and I do apologise for it being lengthy, because of the complex nature of this topic.

Stay blessed, and if it is not too private, do share how it turns out.

(Tabitha Gallman) #4

Hey @outdoor7or24, I don’t know if this resource will help with your situation, but I got to be part of this Bible study with my S.S. class. It’s called “Guardrails”, by Andy Stanley. He speaks a lot about boundaries you should use in a lot of gray areas that you’re just not sure about.
My husband and I found it to be a helpful Bible study. Although I have to admit right now in my life I am probably crossing a boundary that I probably shouldn’t. Andy Stanley says he would never put himself in a position where he is alone with the opposite sex and neither would his wife. Just this past week I began a new job that a good friend of mine told me about. She helps a lot of autistic and blind people here in my area and she had a blind client that needed a part-time helper to run errands for and help with his business. I took the job and am assisting this blind man driving him and working along side him for about 6 hours a day. My husband and I talked about it and he is ok with it.

(Matt Western) #5

yes, we watched Guardrails series as a family and it was hugely helpful for us to understand that ‘Guardrails are placed in the safe zone to stop us going over a cliff’. It was great for me personally as a red-blooded man (as Kenny says above), and to open up conversation with my wife and teenage daughter about sexual boundaries, God’s design for marriage is best all all those conversations.

The hard part is having wisdom to know where to put these guardrails a lot of the time. It was interesting a while back when Vice President Mike Pence said he followed the ‘Billy Graham rule’ there was a bit of an uproar in the media (even in Australia here).

I guess the way I try to really think about it is to think first what is my priorities, and what is my responsibilities as a husband. As a Christian, I’m called to be a good steward of all that I have (money, time, relationships of any kind, talents). If my marriage, and the safety of my kids is my first priority, I have to ask what my friends are doing to my marriage relationship (and thus my kids wellbeing given that divorce causes long term harm to kids caught up in it). Any relationship is either being built up, or it’s being neglected, or actively torn down. I guess the question to ask any person is which relationship is most important - and is this decision going to build it or break it? It’s a difficult area, and very messy sometimes trying to figure it out.

(out door ) #6

All, thank you for your input and feedback on this! Going to read over some of these and come back with some thoughts and questions.

(Lindsay Brandt) #7

Hello, @outdoor7or24. First, I want to say my heart goes out to you. I had a marriage in which my husband was doing things that stepped over boundaries, and I remember that was painful. Next, I want to say that I read most of the responses above, and I think they are great. I did kind of zone in on this part and, probably because I have a human services education in which we were trained to look for these things, lovingly I say, your wife seems to be on the defense.

With someone on the defense, if I am not wrong, I’ve found that asking questions and actively listening is extremely helpful. Active listening involves seeking confirmation that we are understanding them correctly by reflecting back to them what they are saying and allowing them to either confirm or correct us in what we are hearing. This will usually go a long way in getting people to open up and be more open to back-and-forth sharing, because they don’t feel like they are just being told how they should be and what they should do. One-way conversations, if the person is putting a wall up, tend to make the person that has the wall up dig in their heels.

I have no idea how your marriage is outside of this small part you shared, so please don’t think I am assuming anything–I promise I am not–but I always encourage couples who are going through very difficult situations in which they are having a hard time agreeing to try to make sure to put time into each other that doesn’t involve talking about the situation (not that you should never talk about it but there should be a way to get away from it for just a little bit). It will relieve pressure and strengthen the marital bond, and it will help give you a chance to continue to know each other in deeper ways–a chance to deepen emotional connection which is important for most women that I know. Marriage is like a dance. Sometimes the beat of the music in our lives changes, and we have to change our step, and if we aren’t paying attention to our partners and changes that are happening with them and ourselves, we can get out of sync. So, going on dates is extremely important for staying in step with our partners (easier said than done with kids, I know :slight_smile:). Also, if sensitive subjects do come up on dates, my go-to is always to simply offer an ear.

Outside of that, I always tell people to ask about prayer requests, to offer to pray with their spouses on bad days and also when they are celebrating and all the times in between. If words fail to convince, show is always better than tell in all things love.

These last things I mention are not particular to your situation, because these are things for any marriage, but I bring them up because they are especially important in very difficult situations and are usually, in those times, the most forgotten.

I hope some of this helps, and I hope that I have worded it in a way that makes sense. All my prayers and hopes for you and your family…

(out door ) #8

Hi @Kyrie your post caught my attention again when you talked about traveling overseas, why did you mention that?
The reason I ask is because that has been one of events I was referring to, even though I didn’t have that in my post.
@psalm151ls, yes I would say defense is present and thanks for the reply concerning questions. I have been asking more questions lately and I can tell it is viewed more like a challenge than seeking confirmation.

(Lindsay Brandt) #9

Hi, @outdoor7or24. Sorry to hear how the question asking is being viewed. It may be because she has her defenses up so high already and expecting challenge. If that is the case, focusing on the other things I mentioned (the prayer requests, the dates, simply asking her how her day went on a daily basis and demonstrating a willingness to listen and be supportive) would maybe be better.
After the defenses are down a little, you might try asking her if you could meet with her and her friends for coffee or go out for dinner together. I had that thought just recently. If she is not open to that, then I would go back to focusing energy on what I brought up in the first paragraph. I don’t know if you do woodworking at all, but if you try to force a nail or screw in where the wood is not strong enough to handle it or where it is too thin, and it stresses it too much, it will split.
In everything you do, point to her to the grace of Christ in you. That will start with you and your time spent with the Lord. As He pours His love and grace into you, your “tank” will be filled up to pour love and grace into her. Ephesians 5:25 and also, I would look into and study and meditate on Philippians 2:5-9 (one of my all-time favorite passages). I find
it is always helpful to focus on our own spiritual growth so that we can see ourselves clearly in these situations, which enables us to be better “little Christs” to those we love.

Praying over you and your household, and that the Spirit leads and guides you as you try to navigate this situation. This is no surprise to God, for He is in our yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows. May the peace of God which transcends all human understanding keep your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.

(Kenny) #10

@outdoor7or24 Oh, that is because you mentioned it:

My wife sees no problem traveling on a vacation with a homosexual man (she has a few homosexual men friends and has done so, I can give more details if needed) and I say it puts yourself in potential positions that could cause issues of choosing to travel with opposite sex, even if a homosexual man. She says is safe with a homosexual man and she would never travel with a heterosexual man for a vacation trip.

Furthermore, when it comes to boundaries, traveling is commonly one of the hot areas for debate. I come from a POV where I don’t believe in platonic relationships (as long as one of the individuals is heterosexual). I have a personal theory on relationships, so don’t mind me sharing, haha.

I believe that if we were to view Persons A, B, and C’s opportunities to get into a relationship with Person X linearly in a time-like framework, it will be likened to “windows of opportunities” for something to connect. Some people have larger windows (longer opportunities within a certain time, e.g. they go to the same classes in college) while others have smaller windows (shorter opportunities, e.g. they happen to be queuing in the same line). Some have multiple windows, while others have just one window. And these 4 factors can complement or go against each other (e.g. 1 large window only, or multiple small windows). Though we can never know where exactly the windows are, I do believe that there is always at least 1 window for each one. That is because we are made to be attracted to Jesus, and something they say / do / exhibit at that moment, makes us see the Christ in them.

Not even sure if this theory is correct, but it’s just something I noticed and came up with. :slight_smile: Feel free to disagree or debate haha.

(out door ) #11

Hi all, just wanted to give an update.
I am looking for the three laws of logic that Ravi talked about , maybe someone remembers the podcast title or video - like this

I am looking for a way to define marriage because when I say I believe marriage is moral, sacred, I do to you and do not to others, I will to you and will not to others, this does not seem to make much impact to my wife. She says she believes it is sacred too. This also does not seem to make a difference on what she thinks about traveling with homosexual men, and she states that other people think it is okay what she is doing (hence the law of logic question earlier).

She also asks me why do I feel this way about her traveling with homosexual men and why can I not explain my problems of her traveling with her friends who she has never had any negative issues with.

I have been praying for God’s will to be done and for daily strength.

I hope I can have a clear message on what the meaning of marriage is should the question present itself.

I also realize asking questions about her beliefs or the why or what do you mean by that seem to irritate her on average like @psalm151ls mentioned.

Is there anything else I should be thinking about?


(Lindsay Brandt) #12

Sorry to hear things are so hard. I’m afraid I don’t have a lot more to offer. I am noticing that while I start to hang out with groups of women more and interact, many of them are not as interested in logic and reasoning as I am. I am not saying they are not intelligent or anything like that, but I am myself now learning that a lot of times when I try to approach one of my lady friends with logic in response to some weightier issues, however gently or diplomatically I try to do it, it puts them up in defenses. So, I am learning that sometimes I have to look at and tend to what is going on as far as an emotional level goes, too. That is difficult for me, because I like to logic and reason my way through things, because to my mind, that makes the most sense and will more easily bring resolution, but I am finding that doesn’t work for some people because of the emotional attachment that goes with relationships. Perhaps it cannot be approached with logic.

I very much wish I had more to give you, and I am praying for you and your wife, @outdoor7or24.

(Kevin Hurst) #13

Hello @outdoor7or24 my heart aches for you my friend. This seems to me to be a very difficult and sensitive subject indeed. I pray the Lord will grant you wisdom as you seek His face on this matter.

I don’t know if my thoughts will be helpful or not here, so if not you can just ignore them.

One of the precious gifts that God has given to us is marriage. I as I would understand it it gives us a picture of Christ and His bride groom the church. What a wonderful compliment that Christ gave to his relationship with us as Christians.

But the other thing precious thing that He has given to us is our free will. That makes marriage such a wonderful thing when two wills are together but a very difficult thing when the two wills are not together. To make any one really do anything is also very difficult. I think that is what to me is so difficult in this situation. As much as we would like to make someone do something it is very hard to do that.
I appreciate your desire to try to have answers for your wife and for this situation and may God grant them to you. My thought to remember here is that in the end logic can only go so far to win someone to Christ. As Ravi says it helps to clear away the brambles so that we can clearly see the Cross. But logic alone will probably not win someone in my thinking if a persons mind is pretty well made up.

What to do exactly I am not sure. I did think of the verses in Ephesians 5 where Paul talks about the relationship of a husband and wife. A husband is called to love his wife like Christ loved the church in that He laid down His life for her. Jesus said no greater love hath man than this than that he lays down his life for his friend. I think doing that in one moment is a lot easier than doing that over a life time=)! What does that look like exactly I am not totally sure in your situation. But I did think about the story in the Old Testament if Hosea and Gomer.
Gomer kept leaving Hosea and leaving Hosea and every time Hosea would go after her and love her back. Just like God did with Israel.
I don’t know if this story relates to yours exactly but it has spoken to me in my life. My grandparents did not have a good marriage at all. My grandpa became a very bitter man against God and the Church. He became very bitter man and took it out on his family. He even ended up having affairs with a number of different women. My grandma was a very Godly women. She prayed and prayed for my grandpa to come back to Christ. There was a verse in
1 Peter 3:1 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives
that my grandma clung to. Now I know many people may not support this when abuse is happening and I don’t judge someone if they don’t. But this is what I saw lived out in my Grandma’s life and how she handled her situation.
I know that is also talking to the wife and not the husband, but could it also refer to the husband in loving their wife in laying down there life for her. I would like to think so.
It was about 30 years from when Grandpa began living the way he did. But my grandpa, praise the Lord came back. After Grandma died my Grandpa lived for about 2 more years. I went to talk to him and he cried and cried talking with me. He said Grandma never rebuked him or turned him down for sex all those years that he was living the way he did. He said I hope that God can forgive me for all that I did to my wife and family. When he died they found him in his bed with his covers gently wrapped around his body and his head resting in his hands. There was no struggle at all in the end.
My youngest uncle made this observation. It was as if God was saying “John, (that is my Grandpa) John I forgive you. Come home!” It was a beautiful picture to me of the love of a wife for her husband who tried to live out what she believed the Bible was commanding her to do and the result of that.
Now I know I cannot promise that will always be that way. But hopefully this story can be an encouragement to you in your situation. May God richly bless you my friend!