Opposite sex friends outside of marriage. I'm saying this is one of the biggest causes of marriage problems couples face today. Many couples have a troubled marriage due to this issue.
So, should your spouse have opposition sex friends? If so, what are the boundaries? Is your friendship with this person making your spouse insecure or jealous? What if the friendship starts to develop into something more? If there is danger of this friendship developing into something more, is it worth more than your marriage and your spouse?
These are all questions that should be considered if you're in a friendship with a person of the opposite sex when married. The second you stand on that altar before God and all of your friends and family, your marriage took precedence over everything, even your family and friends.
However, if you and your spouse are contemplating whether or not it's okay to have friends of the opposite sex here are a few things you might want to consider.
Boundaries. What do I mean by boundaries? Boundaries when it comes to opposite sex friendships in marriage means "rules" in a sense. I know this sounds ridiculous but hear me out.
For example, would you be okay if your spouse went to lunch with one of her male friends? Just the two of them? What about if your wife hung out with a group of her friends, and a few of them were male friends so she was not alone with him? Would you be okay with that? These are boundaries that should be set.
Boundaries should be set early on in a marriage. This results any type of confusion or misinterpretation from happening from the get go. For example, if you discuss them early on, your spouse can not be mad at you later on when you tell her that you feel uncomfortable with her having lunch with just her male friend.
Another good thing about setting boundaries is that it enhances communication between you and your spouse. As you probably know, good communication is one of the most important things you can have in a marriage, other than trust. If you and your spouse can learn to communicate with each other on difficult topics like setting boundaries with opposition sex friendships, you are already well ahead of the game.
Finally, setting boundaries let's your spouse know exactly how you feel about certain situations, such as your wife having a one on one lunch with one of her male friends or coworkers. Otherwise, your spouse may have no idea that you're not okay with this.
Contrary to popular belief, married couples are not psychic! Sometimes we really do not know how the other feet about something, until of course they both blow up and a huge fight erupts, in which case it's too late.
Jealousy and Insecurity
Jealousy, which often leads to insecurity, can rip a marriage apart. Just ask any married couple and they will probably tell you at one point or another that one of them, if not both of them, have become jealous and / or insecure at one point because of something their spouse did.
Jealousy is a nasty emotion. Song of Solomon 8: 6 says, "Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; Jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. "
Jealousy is as cruel as the grave. Solomon is saying here that the grave is where people go when they die, right? Well, jealousy can extremely end in the death of a marriage, which often times does.
Jealousy often occurs when two people of the opposite sex get along extremely well and laugh and joke together leaving the spouse to believe there is some type of connection going on or there seems to be more than just a "friendship" going on.
This is especially true when the spouse has a sexual appeal to their friend of the opposite sex, making it that much more difficult on the other spouse to deal with.
Is There a Sexual Attraction to the Friend?
This is where opposite sex friendships outside of marriage became very dangerous. When a spouse is physically and sexually attracted to his / her friend, it is that much harder to resist temptation.
Many times, adultery occurs when a married couple has an argument and one of the spouses turns to their friends for emotional support and comfort. Often times, the friend they turn to is a person of the opposite sex. Moreover, it is a person of the opposite sex that he or she is sexually attributed to!
As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the number one causes of divorce is abandonment. And what happens when a married couple is mad at each other? They sometimes emotionally shut down, which then leads one, or both spouses, to turn towards a friend for emotional support.
Turning towards a friend of the opposite sex for emotional support during a conflict with your spouse can be treading very dangerous waters, especially when it involves a friendship with an ex .
Husbands and wives, if you realize that your opposite sex friendship is getting to the point where it needs to be kept secret, YOU ARE ASKING FOR TROUBLE AND YOU SHOULD GET OUT NOW! If not, there is a very high possibility that your marriage WILL NOT survive.
Keeping secrets from your spouse about a friendship can be a huge indicator that the friendship is absolutely inappropriate. There should be no reason to keep a secret about an opposite sex friendship from your spouse. EVER.
I love what James says in James 1:14, "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away from his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringseth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. " I know I quote a lot of Bible versa but it just so happens that God is right about EVERYTHING He says. Hmmmm.
When you get married things change. Plain and simple. You and your wife are no longer just dating, but spiritually and emotionally connected to each other through the most sacred covenant you can have with God. So when deciding whether or not opposite sex friendships are okay in your marriage here are a few things you must consider (among many others):
– Boundaries – If you and your spouse decide that opposite sex friendships in marriage is okay, then you must set boundaries to ensure you are both on the same page.
– Jealousy and insecure – If one of you becomes jealous and insecure, it may be a good time to cut off the friendship before it's too late and the marriage is destroyed. Typically, spouses become jealous and insecure for a reason …
– Is there sexual attraction to the friend? – If you are married and start becoming sexually attracted to one of your friends, cease that friendship immediately, unless that friendship is more important than your marriage …
– Secrecy – As soon as a spouse starts feeling that he / she must hide a friendship from their spouse, that friendships should probably be cut off immediately. Secrecy is a telltale sign that the friendship is inappropriate.
So what does God say to do when faced with temptation? Flee from it! Turn to God for wisdom. 1 Corinthians 10: 13-14 says, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. "
Notice how that verse says "common to man." God knows that temptation is strong, specifically within a marriage. There is nothing that God does not know about us, so if you are struggling with opposite sex friendships, turn to Him for guidance.
As always, please feel free to provide any questions / comments / concerns that you deem necessary so that others struggling with this in their marriage can get some first hand insight.
Thanks and God bless.