Before my husband and I ever thought about getting married, we fought about friends of the opposite sex. I don’t mean physically fought, but about 90% of the serious disagreements that we had dealt with this specific issue.
He had a female friend who we both knew was interested in more than a friendship with him, even though he didn’t want to admit it because he never looked at her that way. And you know that a woman’s intuition is rarely off, so I was constantly on the defensive any time that she communicated with him. She befriended me, and I suspected that it was because she wanted to make sure that she could stay close to him. I even came right out and asked her if that was the case, which she adamantly denied. And then she blocked me on social media and then refused to talk to me. She made sure to keep talking to him, often asking how we were doing and if he was sure he wanted to be with me.
I remained friends with one of my exes, with whom I’d had a serious relationship. Like an “everyone who knew us, including myself, expected us to be married one day” level of serious relationship. The ex and I were friends before we dated and, after that relationship ended, we managed to reconcile our friendship. There was a particularly bad blowup with me and the hubby because I had some shirtless pictures of my ex, that he’d given me years prior, that I’d intended to return. I’d completely forgotten that I was in possession of them, but guess who found them… That “conversation” ended with me in devolving into tears, failing miserably to explain why I still even had them, and with him walking out and saying that he was done with us.
When it came to friends of the opposite sex, we had a rough start. Actually, “rough start” is putting it mildly. Both of us are fiercely loyal to our friends and found it increasingly difficult to abandon our longest friendships for this other person who we were not entirely certain was a sure thing. So much so, that when we did our “pre-engagement counseling,” that was one of the items we listed on our interview questionnaire to make sure we asked how other couples dealt with opposite sex friendships within their own marriages. We still had a ways to go in comprehending the “forsaking all others” command of entering into a covenant marriage.
how Can I have a friend of the opposite sex?
Having friends of the opposite sex, or even single friends once you’re married, is always going to be a complicated issue. I know lots of women, who say that their man having friends of the opposite sex is an absolute “not happening.” We ladies can handle having men as friends because we know how to deal with them. We tell our men that women can’t be trusted because they’re conniving and just want to get with you. Let an honest man on the hunt talk to you and he’ll tell you that most men are just biding their time in pursuit of what they really want. My husband had that conversation with me once and it’s why he’s always on guard when some guy tries to get close to me. And to be completely honest, we’ve both been cheated on in the past, so we’re looking at anyone of the opposite sex sideways, from jump.
Wherever you are in your life, be cautious and intentional about to whom you yoke yourself. It will make all the difference in where you go in life and love, and how far you get as well. The second part of Ephesians 4:27 ESV reminds us, “…and give no opportunity to the devil.” Contextually, this verse is talking about anger, but remember that he gets in and operates through people, so guard all aspects of your heart and life. When you’re fighting for your right to have a friend of the opposite sex, be very clear about what you’re fighting for.
Do the Scriptures say anything about this?
Of course they do.
Now, the default verse is 2 Corinthians 6:14 which says, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” Who are these “unbelievers” in this verse? Well, we know that Paul is talking to the Church at Corinth and telling them to watch with whom they associate. Don’t tie yourselves to those who are not walking with you spiritually. We use this for marriage most often, but we have to be careful whom we latch onto, or whom we allow to latch on to us, in all walks of life…especially in those areas in our largest spheres of influence, including friendships and working relationships.
Amos 3:3 says, “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?” No matter your dating status, you have to be very careful about with whom you align yourself. If you are one day hoping to be married, you can’t surround yourself with people who don’t believe in marriage and think it’s pointless. 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’.” You can’t get far in your relationship quest when the people around you are constantly reinforcing, through their words and actions, that relationships are not real and that they serve no purpose. You can’t be influenced to take your vows seriously when the married couple you’re spending all your time with doesn’t understand or recognize the seriousness of their own vows. Proverbs is full of advice on the interactions of people with one another, but Proverbs 13:20 reminds us that we should “walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”
I’m still overly cautious and vigilant about whom I establish friendships with, in regards to the opposite sex, as is my husband. We’re supposed to be. As a married couple, we surround ourselves with more married friendships but we’re all friends together. I’m not friends with a married man, if I’m not friends with his wife and she’s comfortable with that relationship; she also has to know my husband and be comfortable being friends with him. We have no issue with the other person having single friends of the same sex, but those relationships have to be equally yoked as well.
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Katherine is the author of Wounds to Wisdom, The Marriage Advocate, and is the voice behind Yoked, an online ministry dedicated to helping women prepare themselves to be a wife. Married to her best friend, she is living out her purpose by encouraging others to enter into covenant marriages with their eyes wide open.