The Danger Zone of Guy Friends

I am not an expert, a counselor, a psychologist, a theologian or a pastor. I am just an ordinary Christian wife. My posts and my blog may be helpful for you – they may not be.  I share ideas and suggestions – they are not rules and they are not guarantees.  Ultimately, each wife must prayerfully decide what she believes God wants her to do to obey Him and to honor Him in her unique situation. God has wisdom. I do not. I write specifically for wives who tend to be controlling and dominating. Wives who tend to be more quiet and have dominating husbands may find that my blog is not a good fit for them. If your husband is abusing you, please seek godly, experienced, wise counsel ASAP! Please be safe! Please do not read my blog if you are a wife who is being abused. You will need VERY specific help in that situation.

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Being close friends with men outside of our marriages can be dangerous.  And for single women, being close friends with men who are married, is equally dangerous.   Of course, as a friend recently pointed out to me, even same-sex friendships can lead you away from God.  There is no truly “safe” human friendship.   Ultimately – we must abide in Christ and seek to be filled with His Spirit and sensitive to His promptings.

DEFINING FRIENDSHIP

Let’s define “close friends” as someone with whom you spend a good deal of time with alone, you email privately, you text privately, or talk with on the phone privately.  Opening our hearts to men besides our husband makes it very handy to have someone to turn to in order to “confide in” when things aren’t going well in our marriages.  That can be very dangerous ground – and one of the biggest reasons Christian wives, or any wives (or husbands), end up in affairs.  My encouragement would be to seek not to have close guy friends generally other than our dads and brothers.  (Of course you will have male acquaintances and may have to work with men.  You can be polite and have very casual and neutral conversations, but it may be wise to keep all men at arm’s length, other than your husband.  And act quickly if you realize things are becoming inappropriate!)

TIME TO CHECK OUR HEARTS AND DO AN INVENTORY

I urge each of us to pray about this.  Are there men that we are talking to a lot, at work, online, on Facebook, in the neighborhood, at church  – who might be temptations for us in a time of weakness?  Don’t think the more spiritually mature men are safe friendships – there is no “safe” friendship with the opposite sex once we are married, in my opinion.  I would encourage all of us to walk completely away from any potentially tempting relationships.  When at all possible, have NO contact with a man who you know might be at all tempting to you, or if you know that you might be at all tempting to him.

Yes, I’m sure that does sound extreme.  And it isn’t always possible.  But if Jesus said that if your right hand causes you to sin, it is better to cut it off and enter heaven maimed  than to allow your hand to continue to cause you to sin – then I think that tempting relationships may also need to be cut off at times.  For some women, Facebook may be too tempting, or chatrooms or certain groups of people or places.  If you find yourself being drawn to other men and enjoying conversation too much somewhere, it is probably time to shut that area down and really pray and seek God’s direction, wisdom and His perfect will for you and your marriage.

I WOULD NEVER DO THAT!

You might think, “Oh, I’m married, I don’t have to worry about that.”  But you do!  No one is exempt from temptation or from being able to commit certain sins.  We are all human and all plenty capable of committing sin against God and our spouse under the right set of circumstances.   Don’t fall for the lie, “I’m too old to need to be concerned about guarding my heart.”   There are many people who Satan brings down late in life, in their 60s or later with adultery.  Satan can be very patient, waiting to trip us up in this very serious area!  We’ve got to protect our hearts and keep our focus on pursuing God with all our hearts.  John Piper (whose sermons I LOVE) talks about the only way to prevent sexual immorality of any kind is to be close to God.  We are to be busy nurturing our relationship with God daily and nurturing our marriages.   The Bible says to “flee from sexual immorality.”

ABOVE ALL, GUARD YOUR HEART, FOR IT IS THE WELLSPRING OF LIFE.  PROVERBS 4:23

There is no command from God for married women to be friends with other men – making frequent phone calls, emailing regularly, talking to this person alone, doing things together alone.

I used to think, “I can witness to him!”  What near tragedy almost happened from that line of thought when I was a young newlywed!  I was extremely naive and thought that being a Christian meant I had to be an open book to everyone, men and women.  I had no idea what it meant to guard my heart or that there could be any danger.  To guard our hearts, we would be wise not to discuss our marriages with guys, not confide in them, not open our hearts to them, not be their marriage counselor, be cautious with hugs, and not spend too much time privately with men.

 

What precautions might we take to protect our husbands, ourselves, our children, and our precious Jesus from the fall-out of a possible affair in our life?  The cost is GREAT – even if it is “just” emotional infidelity – that is still ugly sin in God’s view!  Proverbs describes the slain of the adulteress as a “mighty throng,”  and warns that many have been brought down to the grave by her – and that works both ways with adulterers, too!   Dabbling with romantic emotions, “what would it be like” fantasies and friendship with another man can lead us to destroy our marriage, our husbands, our children, our relationship with God, and our witness for Christ.  Is there anything that could be more destructive to our families than this? There are no winners in an affair except for Satan.

POTENTIALLY HEALTHY HABITS

There won’t be an affair if we are not in a car alone with a man, and  if we aren’t feeding an emotional connection on Facebook or through emails or text messages or phone calls.  Satan would LOVE for us to give him access to our hearts through a guy who could destroy our marriage and our impact on the world and our families for Christ in this way.  Immediately confess impure thoughts to God  – and preferably also to a female prayer partner and even your husband so that you will be accountable and get this out in the light before it has time to grow into a deadly cancer.

SET WISE BOUNDARIES AND GUARD YOUR HEART

It is better to hurt another guy’s feelings (if he is acting inappropriately towards us) in order to show honor and respect to our husbands, and to the covenant we made with them and with God.  It is better to cut guys off of Facebook  or shut down our private email account than to indulge in fun, flirty conversations with other men that could lead to dangerous attraction and dangerous emotions.  It can take years, but we can end up in a place we never intended to be if we are careless about opening our hearts to another man.  A male friend can become an extremely convenient outlet when we are feeling lonely and misunderstood by our husbands.  It is better to have mature, godly women to confide in and pray with.  Even if you are seeking counsel from a pastor, don’t be alone with him!  This is for your own sake and for his.  If accountability is needed, be sure your husband knows that he can look at all of your text message history anytime and that he can read any emails he wishes to at any time.  It is better to drive by ourselves for 2 hours so that we aren’t alone in a car with a male coworker, then to leave room for temptation or for even the appearance of evil.

BILLY GRAHAM’S STANDARDS

I love to read about how Billy Graham would protect his heart, the rules he had and standards he kept so that he could never be caught in a compromising position by the media or anyone else.  He would never enter a hotel room first, in case a woman was “planted” there and there were photographers waiting to catch him in a surprise picture with a scantily clad woman.  He was extremely careful never to be alone with a woman – even though it was inconvenient.   I think there is a lot of wisdom in not allowing ourselves to be alone with any man – not at our house, not at his house, not in a car, not on a business trip,  not in a restaurant, not in an isolated location or behind locked/closed doors at work…

DRESS MODESTLY TO HELP KEEP YOUR MESSAGE CONSISTENT AND TO PREVENT TEMPTATION

I believe it is wise to dress modestly and behave modestly around other men so that we are mindful  not to present a temptation to them or to ourselves.  Our clothing can say that we respect Jesus first of all and also that we respect our husbands, ourselves and others.  We need to be sure that even when we bend over that everything is covered and we don’t have to worry about any wardrobe malfunctions.  Our clothing needs to speak of our humility and our desire to point attention NOT to ourselves and our bodies but to Christ alone!

I believe we can smile and be friendly to a point with coworkers, church members, neighbors and customers, but we need to have a very firm, pre-determined line that we just don’t cross that is FAR AWAY from the edge of the cliff.  None of us are immune from sexual temptation and the destruction it can bring.  But we can put a strong hedge around our marriage, act and dress in godly, feminine ways that don’t attract undue sexual attention outside of our marriage and we can cling to Jesus daily and ask Him to empower us to be pure for His glory.

PRAY FOR LEADERS AND PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH TO UPHOLD HONOR FOR CHRIST!

Our pastors, teachers, deacons, husbands and wives in our church and the church around the world need our prayers for their purity and for them not to fall and damage the reputation of Christ!  Christians in the public eye need our prayers to help them maintain holiness and purity, too!  They are HUGE targets of Satan and he would like nothing better than to destroy them with some sordid scandal and try to throw filth on the Name of Christ and His church.

I pray that we would carefully nurture our own husbands physically/emotionally/spiritually and make sure that we are ministering to their needs and being the best wives we can be (through the power of the Holy Spirit) and that we would depend on Jesus, the ultimate Husband, to meet our needs.  I pray that we would leave no room for Satan to attack us and cause us to fall and that we would be ever mindful of his schemes.  Empower us by Your Spirit to be pure, holy and set apart for Your use, Lord!

Lord,

Please help us to very carefully guard our hearts and our marriages.  Help us to be completely invested, involved and plugged in to our own marriages and our own families, and help us to quickly and carefully extract ourselves from any tempting relationship before things turn into a huge mess!  Help us to honor You , our marriages and our husbands.  Let us each be godly wives and minister well to the needs of our men.  Search our hearts and lives and show us any area that You are not pleased about and show us how You desire us to change!  Give us soft, pliable hearts that mold easily in Your loving hands!

Amen.

NOTE:

It IS possible to turn this (or almost anything – reading the Bible, going to church, dressing modestly) into legalism.  That is not my intention!!!  These are ideas and suggestions to consider – each believer must decide on her own convictions before God about these issues.

Here is a post about legalism

My hope is that we will use godly wisdom and that we will carefully listen to God’s Spirit and that we might have discernment and discretion.

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24 Comments on “The Danger Zone of Guy Friends”

  1. Adam's Eve
    April 2, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    I’m not sure I completely agree with you.

    As a married woman, I do have casual male acquaintances and previously have had close guy friends (however, moving across country has changed that quite a bit). And I know my husband has casual female acquaintances and female friends.

    The difference between our before-married life and our after-married life is 1) we would spend time together with these friends of the opposite sex (almost 99% of the time). 2) we trust each other implicitly so there’s no need for jealousy between us or anything that we know of that would tempt us to stumble. 3) Neither one of us is going to the other sex for emotional support or any other kind of support for that matter.

    When my husband and I got married we did discuss our opposite sex relationships. Completely dumping these friendships seemed un-Christlike. Instead we made an effort to get to know each other’s opposite sex friends in a common setting together. I’ve had my opposite sex friends over for dinner with my husband before and my husband’s opposite sex friends over for dinner. I think this is a great way to make things more comfortable.

    I do think it’s a good idea to avoid being alone with a man if you’re a married woman (or a woman if you’re a married man), but if the situation comes up, if at all possible – discuss this ahead of time with your husband and make the decision together. If you’re thrown into a situation last minute and feel awkward, then by all means, find a way out (i.e. waiting for your husband to get off work to pick you up or asking a girl friend to tag along).

    Speaking of girl friends, the danger to “emotionally rely” on your girl friends is just as real. It’s easy for us to complain to our girl friends (as we might to a guy friend) when our husbands aren’t doing their job (just as it’d be easy for a husband to complain to his guy friends and female friends if we’re not doing our job). I make it a practice to always speak positively about my husband, and if I have a genuine concern about my husband (after I’ve brought it to him, maybe even more than once), then I might seek out an older more experienced female for advice (i.e. a spiritual mentor or leader). I also make it a point to try to the best of my ability never to speak badly about my husband to my in-laws or family as I believe this goes against “leaving and cleaving” and is disrespectful to my husband.

    I also think as a single gal opening your heart to any man, regardless of what type of relationship you’re pursuing is dangerous, and men can be just as tempting. As a single gal, being alone with the opposite sex is just as dangerous. This is why God calls us to exercise wisdom and guard our hearts above all things for it is the wellspring of life (Prov 4:23). But I don’t think by guarding your heart you should avoid the opposite sex (save fathers and brothers) altogether. What about pastors? Brothers-in-law or male cousins? Fathers-in-law? Male co-workers? Are you going to ask to be reassigned or quit your job if you have to work with another man? Would you ask your husband if he had to work with females? That’s a little ridiculous. If you’re that tempted, then you need to address that issue and seek help. But in reality, most women aren’t going to be falling for and opening their hearts up to any and every man that walks by and enters their life.

    This is an issue that each married couple needs to discuss and settle together between themselves. If you have a friendship with someone through school, work, church, some other outlet, or Facebook and it’s taking up more time than it should and the conversations could lead to temptation in a moment of weakness, then it’s time to pray and reconsider that friendship (especially with exs – in fact, I’d highly encourage a married woman break off all friendships with exs)! I agree with you there’s no safe relationship… but the concurrence stops there – there is no safe relationship save the one we have with Jesus Christ regardless of the sex of the friend. If you’re having marital problems, I’d even recommend avoiding your opposite sex friendships for awhile and seeking counseling with your husband. But I don’t think you need to “give up” all opposite sex friendships within reason if you have wisely discussed this with your spouse.

    John Piper makes a good point – we need to be growing closer to the Lord daily, and the Bible does say to flee sexual immorality. BUT being friends with the opposite sex is not condemned in the Bible. Yes, all other men fade compared to your husband. BUT being friends with the opposite sex is not sexual immorality. I don’t suggest opening yourself up completely to the opposite sex the way you would to your female friends. Actually you really shouldn’t be opening yourself up completely to anyone other than your husband. He’s the one who should know you best and if someone else knows you better or you know someone else better than your husband than it’s time to take a step back and reconsider your friendship with that person and spend more time investing in your relationship with God and your husband.

    I’m curious what your thoughts are on being friends with other married couples, especially if you’re friends with the married couple prior to being married yourself. What about male coworkers? It’s one thing if your male co-worker or friend is crossing boundary lines and flirting or seems “too interested.” But it’s a totally different thing if he’s just politely engaging in conversation. Yes, the danger of something starting innocently and developing into something more is there, but do you really think we’re being a good Christian witness by “being rude” to the opposite sex? And I’m not talking about opening yourself up and sharing absolutely everything – in fact, I make it a practice not to share details of my marriage with my opposite sex friends, acquaintances, and coworkers. I’m talking about engaging in completely neutral topics (i.e. the weather, if he asks the time, if we’re talking about work related stuff, etc). If for any reason a guy would cross the line, my husband would be the first to know and I’d have my husband talk to him, and if I myself feel tempted to cross a line, then I’d take it to my husband again (or a close older female mentor). What about talking with a pastor? Typically, my husband would know what I’d want to talk about with the pastor (and would normally come with me), but I don’t particularly see anything unBiblical about talking with my pastor especially if I’m in a sanctuary (or fellowship hall) full of people. And I’m sure there are things that single gals may want to talk to their pastors about – in the past, I’d typically bring a girl friend with me, but sometimes that wasn’t possible. Sometimes the pastor would recommend talking with an older more experienced female in the church, but again, this wasn’t always possible. What about brother-in-laws or male cousins? And there’s still a danger in opening up too much to your brother or your father. When you marry, you leave and cleave.

    • lori
      December 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

      Adam’s eve, I was going to reply until I read your articulate response. You said what was on my mind perfectly. The only thing I can add to this is that as an: A) older woman and B) former Mennonite I believe that this article borders on legalism.
      Becoming *over concerned* with this issue can lead to problems as well. This line of thinking leads, eventually, to the extremist situation that the Anabaptists (Mennonites and Amish) churches have…men sit on one side and women on the other. After church there is almost no conversations between the opposite sexes-it is extremely segregated.

      Complete avoidance of the opposite sex was not the example of Jesus. He talked to woman and indeed ministered to them in the power of the Holy Spirit with no sexual connotations.

      I believe this article has many good points and it is certainly wise not to entire into a close relationship with the opposite sex, but let’s be wise and follow the Holy Spirit-not a set of man made rules.

      • peacefulwife
        December 21, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

        Lori,

        Legalism can be a big temptation with many topics. I definitely do NOT intend to promote legalism – but to encourage us to think carefully and to guard our hearts.

        I actually have a post about legalism here if you are interested. :)

        And I try to OFTEN say, “Please do not listen to me more than to the Holy Spirit” and I talk about that these are suggestions to prayerfully consider – not rules.

        Thank you so much!

      • peacefulwife
        December 21, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

        Lori,
        I don’t believe I said to totally avoid men – but to avoid close friendships with men. But – I re-read the post, and I see where some of the language was probably too extreme. So I reworked it a bit.

        Thanks so much for the input!

  2. peacefulwife
    April 3, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    Adam’s Eve,
    Thank you for the thoughtful reply! I appreciate your comments greatly!
    Let’s see… where to begin…

    I am not saying not to ever speak to other men. I do smile politely, and briefly, at men at church and work, etc. (Although Scripture makes a case for not even doing that – refer to the verse in the article – being shame-faced means women not making eye contact with men.) But maybe I should define what I mean by being “friends.” I am speaking here about a person with whom you have a close relationship, make phone calls, send emails, talk to one-on-one on a regular basis… I think it is entirely possible to work with a man and not be “friends” with him – does that make sense? I don’t need to share lots of details about my life with him, I keep him at arm’s length,I need to use discretion and only speak positively of my husband. There are many topics I just don’t bring up.

    I believe that going out as couples on double dates would be ideal. If your husband is there, that should elminate most of the problems. But even then, if you are talking with a man, your guard needs to be up and you need to keep him at arm’s length.

    There are definitely other relationships that could be damaging to a marriage and to our relationship with God! I totally agree with you about the dangers of female friends and confiding too much in them – especially if they encourage you to disrespect your husband. We need to choose our close female friends very wisely and not take counsel from immature believers or unbelievers. And it is extremely wise not to say anything negative about your husband to girlfriends. I agree that a mature, female, Christian mentor would be a good place to go if you are having problems in marriage as a great first step. But I don’t believe it is wise for a woman to be with a pastor alone. Most pastors I know have a policy not to counsel women alone – there must always be another person present. They are “avoiding the appearance of evil” to prevent any possible attack on their character and to prevent temptation.

    I don’t believe that I said anything about quitting a job just for working with a man. BUT, if you realize there are feelings on either side of the equation – THEN it is possible that it could be necessary and wise to take drastic measures. The thing is that you may not have designs on a guy, but how do you know that he doesn’t have ill-intentions toward you? There needs to be a great deal of respect for the fact that any relationship with another man COULD become an issue. It’s good to be proactive and try to prevent a big mess than wait until things are difficult and then try to extract yourself. Things can get very sticky VERY quickly. The slope to an affair is extremely slippery. Most people who have affairs never planned to do it. I know many strong Christians who have fallen into this trap. The cost is obviously astronomical to marriages and children that are affected!

    I believe it is wise NOT to be alone with brothers-in-law, fathers-in-law, or any man other than my husband, brother and father if at all possible. And you are absolutely right, you could open up too much to even a brother or a father and violate the leave and cleave principle. So even then, we must use discretion. In Proverbs 2, Solomon counsels his son not to go near the door of the house of the adulteress. He says not even to go past her house. It is so much easier to prevent the whole thing from starting than to go stand on a guy’s front porch and talk with him a lot, and then go inside just for a minute, and then sit down and have a glass of tea… etc. So I do think that the Bible makes a case for avoiding friendships with the opposite sex.

    When I talk about being “rude” to guys – I am saying that it is better to be rude,(only if necessary), in order to stop a potentially dangerous relationship, than to dishonor my vows to my husband. For instance, I have had to say things to male coworkers like, “The way you are talking to me is completely inappropriate. I don’t EVER want you to speak to me like that again. I will report you to management if you act this way toward me.” (this is what I am describing as “rude.”) I grew up believing I should never hurt anyone’s feelings. I think that is generally a Christlike goal. But when a guy is coming on to you, it is better to be rude to him (or, very blunt), if he doesn’t get the point when you say things politely, than to allow his behavior to continue. I am not saying to cuss a guy out. But you may have to be very firm and stern and unfriendly acting to get your point across. There are guys who will not hear hints or polite requests. I have been there! My marriage vows are more important than another man’s feelings being hurt if he is not going to respect what I am saying to him about how to speak to me and what is inappropriate.

    My husband does have to go on trips with work where he has to ride in a car with a woman. I totally trust him. There has never been an issue that has caused me concern. And there are times that such situations can be unavoidable with work. But I still don’t think it is ideal. I think if it is possible to avoid being alone with a person of the opposite sex, that would be the wiser thing to do. Am I going to tell my husband he can’t be alone in a car with a woman from work? No. But am I going to make every effort not to be alone in a car with a man? Yes. When a neighbor offers me a ride to the PTA board meeting, I say, “No thanks.”

    Talking to a man in a sanctuary at church should be fine! If you are using the wisdom and discretion you have described. Unfortunately, many women do not have the wisdom and discretion that you do. For a woman who has a really hard time controlling what she talks about with friends, she may be better off avoiding the situations completely. Some people can handle more temptation than others. For some people, being in a room all day with a chocolate cake isn’t a big deal, they aren’t tempted. But for others, it would be constant torture. There may be differing levels of temptation for different people. But the wisest thing if you are on a diet is to not be in the room or at the table with the cake!

    I’m hard pressed to see that many benefits for a married woman to have guy friends but there is a wealth of possibility of potential dangers and pitfalls.

  3. Adam's Eve
    April 3, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    Thanks for you long response. It did help clarify where you were coming from.

    I first looked up the definition of shamefaced which was described as “modest or bashful.” I looked up the word shamefaced in my Bible concordance and found none. Perhaps it’s the version I’m using. Then I went to Biblegateway and typed it in the search bar, trying different versions. I only found a reference in the King James Version in 1 Timothy 2:9. It says, “…women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety…” the New International Version updates it to “dress modestly, with decency and propriety.” The NASB updates it to “with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly…”

    Some maintain that Paul’s teaching here in 1 Timothy is strictly historical, not universal or timeless. Others view it as applicable to every age. I’m not going to argue for either, just merely bringing up the point. “Paul is expressing a caution in a society where wearing such things were signs of extravagant luxury and proud personal display.” (NIV Study Bible). I cross-referenced to 1 Peter 3:3 which again is talking about a woman’s physical appearance. Personally, I believe that interpreting it to anything other than modesty and reference to physical attire is exegeting. If there is another part of the Bible you’re referencing, please let me know, because based upon this only verse, I’m not sure if the Bible “does” make a case given the potential stickiness of this one passage (whether in historical context only or applicable to every age).

    However, all that being said, I do believe women need to dress modestly – not in a way that could intentionally attract another man to them or knowingly cause them to stumble. I am not at all advocating that women dress however they want to (except in the privacy of their own home in the company of their husband only). I do believe that acting in any way that would shame your husband is wrong, including talking to another man extensively, flirtatiously, or in a way that may be interpreted badly. I think any male friend with whom you have a “close relationship (with), make phone calls (to frequently), send emails (to frequently), talk to one-on-one on a regular basis” is completely dangerous and should be cut off. Your husband needs to be the #1 man in your life and this is way too much of a problem and could be interpreted badly in too many ways. I do agree with you that the woman should avoid standing and talking to a man on his front porch, and especially avoid going into his house to accept a cup of tea or anything without her husband. I do agree with you that a woman needs to be firm anytime a man is crossing a line in his conversation, attitude, and/or actions, and if it means being rude, than by all means, risk offending him rather than shaming your husband. I agree with you that you can work with a man and not be “friends” and I suppose what I was describing was more like an acquaintance relationship anyhow.

    I’m glad you’re not saying married couples can’t go on double dates or spend time together at each other’s houses. I do think that when you said you need to keep your guard up at all times is a bit extreme. Let me clarify that. If by keeping your guard up, you’re talking about not “sharing a lot of details about your life with him, (keeping) him at arm’s length, (using) discretion, and only (speaking) positively (about your) husband” than I 100% agree. If you’re talking about worrying about offending the other person, worrying about what you say, and dwelling on that worry unnecessarily (because that is how it may be interpreted) than no. The Bible tells us not to worry, and being too concerned with what the other person might think is fearing man, not God. Being too concerned about what you might say is also fearing man, not God. We are freed from worry and guilt through Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice. Does this mean we should intentionally take advantage of God’s grace? Absolutely not! Does this mean as married women (or even single women) we shouldn’t exercise discretion in our conversations? Absolutely not! I am merely trying to point out that what you said could be interpreted in a skewed manner. A wife should act in a manner pleasing to God and honoring to her husband. She should speak wisely and carefully. If a wife does anything to cross a line or the other man does then this is a matter to be discussed with her husband and he, in turn, should talk to the other man. But I don’t think this means she has avoid talking to the man or worry about everything she says, how he’s interpreting it, how his wife may be interpreting it, how her husband is interpreting it, and how other people (if they are around) might be interpreting it.

    You are right about the pastor thing – I didn’t even think about that. I almost always would ask or the pastor would suggest that a girl friend to come along, or my husband (after we were married), or a Christian female mentor.

    In the extreme circumstance of feelings on either side or on both sides in a coworker relationship, then yes, I would advocate the serious consideration of transferring or quitting, especially if it’s the wife’s feelings involved. My husband has accepted rides from female co-workers when our car was out of commission, and I have accepted a ride from a male co-worker (after discussing it with my husband) who wouldn’t be able to pick me up until late at night (after the store was closed), it was storming badly out, and I didn’t have any cash on me for a bus ride, and it was unsafe for me to walk home alone. But I have waited until late at a nearby restaurant before for my husband to avoid this circumstance a few times also. I do agree with you that it is wise NOT to be alone, but some cases are unavoidable. And since these rides weren’t frequent and were in extreme cases, I do not see anything inherently sinful about them. IF they were to become more frequent, and/or IF either one of us felt uncomfortable, this situation wouldn’t repeat itself.

    On the subject of in-laws, in my case, it’s a bit difficult since we’re currently living with my in-laws and my husband works weird hours. I do spend time hanging out with my younger brother-in-law alone and on occasion, have been alone in a room with my father-in-law (although not completely alone if there are other people in the house). My husband trusts me implicitly, my brother-in-law looks up to me, and we are usually hanging out at home with my mother-in-law in the other room or we go for a short walk around the neighborhood kind-of-thing. If at any point, I’d feel like either one of them crossed a line, I’d say something to them (even to the point of being rude) or have my husband say something.

    If by friends with a man you are defining it as frequent one-on-one time, emails, phone calls, etc, then no, those are not wise relationships to have as a married lady (and even as a single lady, you should exercise caution). However, being friends with my brother-in-law has so many wonderful benefits, especially since I’m closer to his age than his mother, and he cares and values my female advice and womanly opinion, and it gives me insight into my husband’s childhood and relationship with his family. He has interesting thoughts on spirituality and faith and God and I find he challenges me from time to time. These are conversations I end up having with my husband and I always ask my husband’s advice and opinion first and consult my husband before making decisions. That’s not something I do with my in-laws. We share similar interests, most of which my husband shares also, and makes spending time together fun. However, I find any time I spend with another man just makes me want to spend more time with my husband and I’d hope and pray that other women would feel the same.

    As of now, I do have friends from college who are guys, that I occasionally post short things on Facebook too, that I wish happy birthday from time to time, and who I occasionally see and my husband has a few female friends from college – BUT those relationships never take preference over my husband and his relationships never take preference over me and they don’t take up exorbitant amounts of time. I don’t think it’s Biblical to just drop those friendships entirely, but the dynamics certainly have changed drastically since being engaged. If at any point I felt like a line was being crossed, again, like previously said, I’d reconsider those relationships.

    Thanks again for the clarifications. I’d appreciate your further thoughts.

  4. Adam's Eve
    April 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    Oh, one other thought. You wrote, “The thing is that you may not have designs on a guy, but how do you know that he doesn’t have ill-intentions toward you?” We are not responsible for a guy’s ill intentions or his thought life. Yes, we can and need to make every effort to dress modestly, speak wisely, act appropriately, not knowingly cause a man to stumble, and present ourselves holy and blameless before God, but ultimately, his thought life and emotions are between him and God. We can’t be going around wondering what every man thinks of us or feels toward us or we’d drive ourselves crazy. If he is obviously flirting with us or crossing a line, that’s one thing – to tell him to back off and not encourage it at all. It’s one thing if you feel uncomfortable with him and aren’t sure where he stands and that would be something to discuss with your husband and if necessary, to confront him about with your husband or a trusted Christian female mentor or have your husband confront him, or if he’s a coworker, speak to management about. Otherwise, you cannot be held responsible for his sins.

    • peacefulwife
      April 6, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

      Adam’s Eve,
      My experience may be abnormal… but there have been so many times that I discovered later that a guy I thought was just friends in the past really wanted a lot more. So, I don’t worry about it, but I am aware that this is likely to be a reality in many situations. I am not responsible for the sins of other people – but I am always aware that I need to use care and not allow a situation to get out of hand. It’s much easier to do this by prevention than by reacting once there is an issue.

      I have also seen so many strong Christians fall by beginning to confide and just think of someone as a “friend” – even a brother-in-law or father-in-law or some other close relationship that seems “safer.” So, I believe it is worth it to go to some lengths that may seem a bit extreme in order to avoid purity problems for me and also for the men around me.

      Knowing what I know now about how men think and what they need – I am very careful not to give too much attention, admiration or go too heavy on respect with men around me. I know that is what men need. I know that most of them are starving for respect. I am heartbroken for men when I see how desperate they are for the admiration of a woman. But they don’t need it from me! They need it from their wives! I have to be careful not to go there!

      So I am not worried – I am just aware. Keeping your guard up can prevent an awful lot of pitfalls: using discretion, not discussing your marriage with other men, keeping conversations polite and friendly but brief and not too in depth.

      On Facebook, I do have “friends” that are guys – but I generally don’t chat or message them, and if I do, it is only about a specific topic and I let my husband know. That way there aren’t any problems or secrets to hide.

  5. Jenn LeBow
    April 13, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    This is a good reminder that we need to guard what is precious – our marriages and our hearts. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    When my husband and I met, I was shocked to find that he had never had a female friend, only girlfriends. As a young single Christian woman, I had several close, platonic male friends. Two of them were “bridesmen” in our wedding, standing up on my side. But those are the only male friends I have now. One has married and I am on great terms with his wife, as my husband is on great terms with my male friends. We all live in different states, so there is no question of spending too much time together. I am friendly (pleasant demeanor and lighthearted, never flirtatious conversation) toward the husbands of friends of mine, but I accept without question that I will never make a new male friend again. There are too many unanswered questions involved – why do you need to go outside your marriage to make an opposite sex friend? Does this mean you would be open to having an affair? And on and on. My husband trusts me & I trust him – but we are both very careful never to give each other any reason to question that trust. My male friends are as treasured as if they were my actual brothers, and our friendships (including the frequency of our contact) reflect that.

    I would encourage young single Christian women to choose their male friends wisely and cultivate those friendships with the goal of integrating those friendships into her married life in an appropriate way. A godly male perspective is a wonderful thing to have in your life, and it’s very rarely (I’m not a big fan of absolutes, so I’ll leave it at “very rarely”) appropriate to pursue those kinds of friendships once you’re married.

    • peacefulwife
      April 13, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

      Jenn,
      Thank you for your very thoughtful comments! I appreciate your feedback greatly. There may be a few women (and men) who can handle platonic relationships. I agree that it is possible. But there are many women and men who can’t handle these types of friendships – people who THOUGHT they could but then things take a turn and go where they never intended. It can happen SO slowly it can be difficult to stop in time. I have seen many strong Christians fall – unfortunately. But I am glad that things are working well for you! Definitely a great deal of caution must be used in these potentially hazardous relationships. I pray for God’s continued wisdom and for His empowerment for your marriage!

      • Jenn LeBow
        April 13, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

        I agree with you – so much potential for misunderstanding & eventually even heartbreaking consequences for our marriages. That’s why I can’t even imagine approaching a new male friendship. And why I am so thankful for the long-term friendships with my male college buddies that have evolved into family friendships. I referred to the frequency of contact in my last reply, & I’d like to clarify that. My contact with these friends is usually a twice per month kind of thing. A text or a quick phone call, often with my husband in the same room with me & if so, he has a turn talking with them, too. My mom & her brother speak about that often. I wanted to clear that up because I think we can mask semi-romantic feelings behind a “he’s as close as a brother” label, & I’m certainly not advocating that!

        Thanks for hosting this conversation. So interesting! :)

        • peacefulwife
          April 13, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

          Jenn,
          Thanks for your clarification! Those sound like wise boundaries in your relationships. I am very glad that your husband is so involved and that the conversations are brief and not private. Those are two important ingredients to keeping things from getting dangerous!
          Great insights!!!!! Thanks so much!

  6. Erin (Mystery32)
    April 19, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    Quite a post! I think your most important point is not being alone. I, also, love Billy Graham and all that he would do to avoid falling into temptation, but part of that was also not allowing others to think that he had. We should not only keep ourselves pure, but keep our reputations pure as well. Not for our own benefit, but to glorify the Lord and to be respectful of our spouse.
    Thanks for your input on this topic! :)

    • peacefulwife
      April 19, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

      Exactly!

      He was all about God’s glory and that involves avoiding even the appearance of evil. Then no one can make false claims because he wasn’t in a compromising position.
      Our reputations reflect on Jesus so they are very precious!

  7. krackler
    January 28, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    peacefulwife, you are so right. My wife thought exactly as some of these other women did. Guess What….an affair cropped up, and more than once. Now I know some will blame my wife, but if she would have followed peacefulwife’s advice it would have NEVER HAD A CHANCE TO HAPPEN. Period. Think about what is more important, your marriage or these guy “friends”.

    • peacefulwife
      January 28, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

      Krackler,

      I am SO terribly sorry to hear about your situation. I know I used to be so afraid to “hurt other guys’ feelings.” And my husband never said I shouldn’t talk with other men. But I eventually realized that I had a choice. I was either going to hurt the other guys’ feelings, or I was going to hurt my marriage. NOT WORTH IT!

      Thank you!

  8. Nena
    February 17, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    Hi Peaceful wife,

    I really like your blog, and all the posts, I found you by googling, “my husband forgot my anniversary”, lol! Then after reading your blog, I felt better, but also a bit guilty because my husband said he didn’t forget, anyways. This blog on flirting is really insightful, since I assumed I really didn’t have a problem with this, I decided to read it because my friend who is christian has concerns about her marriage, well, her husband oogling women, actually. When this happens, she excuses herself to go to the restroom, (for a good while) and when she comes back, he seems to be totally done with oogling (for a good while). A marriage counselor who is also a Christian (Catholic) told her it was just a bad lack of manners that he had. But in my case, I think I do subtly flirt with men, well, I appreciate their friendliness and I am friendly back, but maybe in a coquettish way. I am a late bloomer conservative christian, I believe because by default, I just followed whatever was going on when I was younger, but I also was a bit modest and demure in relationships. Of course, I realize if I had pursued the path I am on now, from the beginning of my adulthood, my life would be oh, so different. Although now I am happily married to another conservative Christian, and I feel fortunate he doesn’t flirt, well not that I notice.

    A situation where I have to work co worker that I started working with is married in the last couple of months; they have a 1 and a half year old child and she blatantly, in front of me, was telling me how much she missed her old co-worker who is a male about her age, and he is married too. Of course my first knee jerk reaction was that was a bit insensitive to say but I just took it with a grain of salt, thought I thought it was odd since she is married. Tthis month, after being at another site for three months, he came back, and she is so happy, she is now constantly with him on the hours that they work together, having lunch together everyday. Of course, texting, calling, emailing. but it is work related. She constantly told me how much she missed working with him, calling him her “work husband” jokingly. She is not christian. in fact she is a very outspoken anti religion. I have just kept my mouth shut about it. I know I need to mind my own business. The irony is that they appear to be the great work team and she is so judgmental about other people’s work ethics. I have decided it’s best to stay out of it, and find another place to work if it bothers me that badly. I don’t want to work somewhere that is more difficult though. Thanks for reading this, I was wondering if there are other people who have been in situations like this where they have to share a work space. If you just mind your own business, and say, “oh, that’s nice”, when asked?

    • peacefulwife
      February 19, 2013 at 9:32 am #

      Until someone accepts Christ – it is pretty pointless to try to get them to stop certain sins. This woman’s biggest need is Jesus. Trying to get someone who is a slave to sin to stop sinning on their own doesn’t work. So I believe you are right to try to stay out of it. But you can certainly pray that God might give you opportunities to share Jesus with her. That is her primary need.

      I wouldn’t say “that’s nice.” That would be a lie. Has she directly asked you about her situation and your opinion? WHat did she say?

      • LR
        March 5, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

        To let other men be chivalrous gentlemen to you, you’d probably think it is dangerous as if they would snatch your from your husband.

        Also, you should write about the dangers of women looking at porn while they are married because there are women who do but end up being punished by their husbands with abuse, especially when they look at nude men.

        • peacefulwife
          March 6, 2013 at 7:30 am #

          If a man holds the door for me, I smile and say, “Thank you very much!”

          Porn is so destructive for anyone who uses it. It has destroyed many marriages and families.

          Thanks for the comment!

          Sent from my iPad

  9. Bizzy Izzy
    April 16, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    “My encouragement would be to have ZERO guy friends other than our dads and brothers.”
    Disagree here – I have five good male friends, I get on better with guys than girls and am happily married with an 18month old. My husband knows all of these guys, but has zero concerns as he trusts me and knows that if anything ever started to become inappropriate, I would quit the friendship. I’m often alone with one of my guy friends as we work together a couple of nights a week and it is a non-issue and has never been for the last 8 years. I think you can have guy friends, but it is your responsibility to ensure that your heart is pure and that anything remotely inappropriate is quit immediately.
    However, that being said – my husband cannot and will not have close female friends, due to his acknowledgement that he has a tendency to lust. It is in his admission that he can say “no” and keep them at arm’s length.
    I don’t think that a blanket statement saying that married woman should have zero guy friends, or that married men should have zero female friends is helpful. Rather, suggesting that we examine our hearts, minds and previous relationships and judge whether or not we can have these relationships and keep ourselves pure. That is something that I continually evaluate in the relationships I have with my “guy friends”.

    • peacefulwife
      April 16, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

      Buzzy Izzy,

      Thanks for your comment! I pray you will stay very sensitive to God’s Spirit. :). May He richly bless your marriage and family. God’s Spirit is much more important than my convictions.

  10. Rebecca Budd
    May 8, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    I have to say April that you are RIGHT ON with this article. I almost destroyed my marriage because of a guy friend. I worked with him and we were friends long before that but it was usually my husband and I both hanging out with him and other friends. My friend wasn’t a serious flirt and I have only known him to have one girlfriend since I knew him. I never ever saw him hitting on girls. He had many girl friends that were also my friends. We all thought of him as the “safe” guy friend. He admittedly says that he has no interest in a relationship or in going out and “getting laid” at this point in his life. So in my mind, he was a safe guy friend. My marriage started having problems. I was struggling to be a godly wife. I started confiding in my friend. He didn’t have a car so I would give him a ride most of the time. Most of the time he wanted to be dropped off somewhere other than his home or he’d invite me to hang out with him. He was a fun guy and I wanted to have some fun. I felt very tied down in my marriage. So after work we’d go hang out at bars, or at parties, or sometimes something very innocent as doing crossword puzzles on the beach. Or watching anime together. MANY times we would talk about God. He was very fascinated with the subject. Anyway, I started being with him up into the night and sometimes wouldn’t come home until early morning. Even though nothing ever went on physically between us (my husband was convinced that we were sleeping together) I will admit that I had huge romantic feelings for this guy. Well, my husband started to get abusive towards me. I packed up and left and went straight to my friend’s house. Things didn’t look good. We started going to a Christian counselor and I had to make a decision to completely dump my friend. It was hard, and to be honest, I still miss him sometimes because I let feelings build up for him. I don’t regret my decision. It’s truly amazing what God has done in our marriage since. I’m learning to respect my husband, to guard my heart from a situation like that ever happening again. God has totally transformed our marriage. So, I don’t have guy friends anymore. I no longer believe that, for me there is a such thing as a guy that’s “just a friend”. I tried so hard to keep things platonic with my friend, but it didn’t work. I realize now that I had an emotional affair with him. It’s something that I deeply regret. I just praise God that it didn’t ruin our marriage.

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  1. When Your Husband Flirts with Other Women and Handling Jealousy | Peacefulwife's Blog - November 26, 2012

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