After my post Time to Nip that Relationship ASAP – I heard from a reader on my site www.peacefulsinglegirl.wordpress.com – and I am really excited to share her comments. I think her message is IMPORTANT for Christian single women AND for Christian married women, too! She is talking about being a single woman and how dangerous it is to be friends with unbelieving men. But I want the married women to view this post from the perspective of whether it is God-honoring and wise for us to be friends with other men at all outside of our marriage.
I will share some of my thoughts at the end:FROM A READER: Might I add… because you know its wrong to date an unbeliever – you maintain you will remain just friends. Be Careful ! You may very well sincerely treat him as just a friend and keep your boundaries. But that is no guarantee of protection from attraction: if he is masculine and you have admiration for him and are sociable with him attraction can build over time. Sometimes we think we are hiding our butterflies well by all the while insisting you want nothing more than friendship but he is not blind. He can see you admire him and he’ll milk it for all its worth. All my guy friends have known whether I had a little crush on them: my face can’t hide it and I tend to smile a lot. I discovered personally if I open up to a male friend by talking a lot about every day life in general with frequency and over time I start to like them! : o HOW WE GET HOOKED Just a steady stream of frequent casual conversation makes me begin to bond with them and once I start confiding in them then exactly what you quoted happens:” he wants to “counsel” you or “guide” you in your life.” So true: everything from how you should think, what you should do, career decisions, trying to bring up doubt about how you were raised, questioning your beliefs… spot on!! Another area of caution: he may initially agree to be just friends; all the while hoping to become closer and win you over …. or later on over time he can be attracted to you as more than a friend. Familiarity breeds liking and boldness in men. MY MOTIVES WERE PURE – HIS WEREN’T I was chipper, bubbly and VERY conservative and restrained with this one guy who knew I am a Christian and date only Christians. I kept the friendship very pure and I knew he liked me……. Fast forward months after – I was gob-smacked when said guy tried to cop a feel of my breast while we were chatting on campus, then had the gall to try and kiss me as I hugged him (as I do all my friends make and female) to say goodbye!! I was livid! Of course knowing that he doesn’t respect me and wanted ultimately to bed me – our friendship died a natural death. HIS TACTICS That former acquaintance said things like:
“If you don’t want me, why don’t you leave me alone?” When he asked to date me and I said no he got so angry….
“What, do you scorn me do you think I’m not good enough for you?” This is even after I explained being why being unequally yoked is sin and that Christians are only able to stand because of grace and faith in the Lord Jesus TRYING TO “WITNESS” TO A GUY CAN LEAD TO TEMPTATION FOR US Him: – “What do you want from me”
Me: – “uh…… uhmmm I am just saying ‘hi.’ Did I do something wrong?”
Him – “what are you trying to do? Save my soul?” >:( Of course I responded ” I cannot save your soul, and I won’t try to, your relationship with God is a deeply personal matter. I can only show and tell you my experience and hope and wish and pray that you come into a saving knowledge of Christ.” We can be the best of friends as long as there is absolute purity. I will never make the mistake of pressuring him or any guy to come to church in order to date me or try to play Holy Spirit Jr. What happens if there’s a breakup or by some twist of fate i were to grow lukewarm? Does he lose his faith? I want him to come to God for the right reasons. Even though at then end – he harshly rejected my friendship in a harsh, degrading manner I still pray about him and think of him hoping he’ll find his way back to Christ and that God will bless him and give him a wife, kids, a ministry a hope and a future. NEW INSIGHTS I sought God desperately about him. I didn’t want to leave any room for error. I kept my Mom and youth leader as accountability partners. I prayed often and when I found myself getting infatuated, I said, “God if you don’t want him in my life, move him out.” He lived on nearby and sure enough months later he literally moved away to another city! I wondered how God would have worked it out. Well as it unravelled God prompted me ahead of time with dreams showing me his true character and any time I knew I was gonna bump into him I prayed and God covered me and prepared me.I really, reaaallly wanted to be his friend,- a hey can you do me a favour, sure buddy what is it kind of friend. It reminded me of David who was trying so desperately to be friends with Saul meanwhile Saul wanted to annihilate him.“See I am being nice to you/ kind to you… why do you resent my friendship? Why do you seek to insult me and bring me pain?” (insert pout)
God had to create a diversion a the rock of escape and moved Saul away so David could escape unharmed, Yes sometimes we are so blind and naive to people’s true intentions but God is merciful to us!
I believed when I was first married that having male friends was totally fine. I thought I was safe because they knew I was married. And I thought I was above infidelity. Now that I am 39 years old and have a lot more experience under my belt and understand the deceitfulness of the human heart and the utter sinful wretchedness of every human being much more clearly – including my own – I know that I was extremely naieve and unwise in my beliefs.
Just like this reader discovered, I, too, figured out in time that just because my motives are pure at the outset of a “platonic friendship” with a guy, that doesn’t mean my motives will stay pure. I am vulnerable to developing feelings for men who are off limits to me – we all are. And I don’t really know what the guy’s motives are – but even if his motives are pure in the beginning, he may develop an attraction to me – and that is a big problem!
Is it possible for men and women to have platonic friendships that don’t eventually turn into attraction or romantic/sexual feelings? Maybe.
If your definition of “friendship” is just to smile and say, “Hi!” and only talk with him when your husband is around and you are not talking with him a lot, or you are friends on Facebook but only comment occasionally in public and never have private conversations – that might be ok – but still use great caution! To me, this would be more of being a friendly acquaintance – not a friend you spend one-on-one time with or confide in.
In my mind – the risk of a moderate/deep friendship with a man is MUCH too great of a risk to take for married women.
I have seen in my own life, in my friends’ lives and many women I have heard from WAY too many times when the attraction eventually became an issue – even if it wasn’t at first. And once you have those feelings of being “in love” – your heart and feelings will happily deceive and mislead you and you will be willing to rationalize all kinds of reasons why it’s ok to talk with/spend time with/get cozy with this other man. It is a very slippery slope to adultery. God’s Word tells us to FLEE from sexual immorality.
CLOSE FRIENDSHIPS WITH OTHER MEN ARE NOT WORTH IT IN MY BOOK!
Satan wants to take us down. And he would be VERY happy to do this by bringing a handsome, funny, magnetic, charming, sympathetic, understanding, attractive – maybe even godly – man into our lives who will tempt and convince us to water down our faith and convictions and make compromise after compromise that will erode the foundation of our faith, the foundation of our marriage and the Lordship of Jesus in our lives.
As a married Christian woman, my personal convictions are:
– Do not become good friends with men. (no private conversations, emails, texts, dates, time alone together, flirting, etc.)
– Be CAREFUL when witnessing to men. If a guy acts interested in hearing you talk about coming to know Christ, try to only speak with him in public, and, ideally, introduce him to a godly man who can lead him to Christ. There are plenty of guys who will follow along and act interested in Jesus as long as it means they have a chance at YOU. BE CAREFUL!! GUARD YOUR HEART! Could God use you to lead a man to Christ? YES! Does it need to be in private at his house? NO!!!!!
– Put the will of Jesus WAY, WAY ahead of your own will and desires. Die to your own desires and your flesh and take up your cross and follow Jesus daily with the greatest passion and purpose and intensity.
– Dress, act and speak modestly. Draw attention to your Lord, not to your body or your sexuality.
– If you have couple friends with your husband – concentrate your attention on the other wife, not the other husband
– Concentrate on developing strong friendships with godly girls/women who respect their own husbands and respect your husband and God’s design for marriage
– I would strongly recommend finding a godly older woman as a mentor and/or an accountability partner
– Avoid having many conversations with other men – especially spiritual/emotional conversations or listening to their marriage problems
– Avoid giving a lot of respect and admiration to other men!!! That is DANGEROUS GROUND!
– It is probably wise to avoid hugging or touching other men at all in most cases.
– Stay in God’s Word daily. Pray frequently throughout the day. Mediate on God’s Word. Praise Him in your heart all day long.
– Immediately repent of ANY sin or ungodly thoughts or motives – and, if possible, tell your accountability partner and your husband if you are having tempting thoughts. Keeping these things secret is what allows the illicit feelings to grow – bringing it into the light and open usually helps to kill the ungodly desires, and also makes it much harder to give in to the temptations when you know you are accountable for them.
– Focus on your own husband and your relationship with Christ. How can you bless your husband and honor God in your marriage? How can you make your husband’s life better? How can you flirt with him? How can you minister to him? How can you make him your greatest human priority in the world?
ARE MY CONVICTIONS THE WORD OF GOD?
You will have to pray and hammer out your own convictions between you, God and your husband.
My convictions have come about due to experiences I have had or witnessed with others. And they are subject to further scrutiny and change if God or my husband or my accountability prayer partner wives see something lacking or something dangerous in my life.
My prayer is that this might give you something to think about and a place to start. I pray that God might protect you and that He might show you how to guard your heart and marriage to prevent much heartbreak in your future by building a healthy hedge of protection around your heart, soul and marriage today.