♥ ♥ ♥ 33 days to Valentine’s Day ♥ ♥ ♥
I had an interesting email from a generous wife (thanks, Tonya!) asking about a challenging subject. The gist of her post was:
If you’re married, can you have opposite gender friends and, if so, what do you do about boundaries?
I think there are enough scriptures in the New Testament that speak of opposite sex friendships that we can rule out the “don’t have any men friends” option.
I do, however, think that a few boundaries are in order.
Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. 1 Timothy 5: 1-2 NIV
I like what Paul said to Timothy about treating people as family. I think this means to have right attitudes about others. If you are married, you are not looking for a date. Older men will be more like grandfathers/fathers/uncles, same age and younger men will be more like brothers or sons. That attitude will show in how you speak to them and how you treat them.
I also think a part of the equation is how you treat your husband. If men can see a difference then it’s clear they are friend material.
Though my husband is a friend, he is obviously much more than a friend. I have greater intimacy with him on all levels. No one else will come close to that, much less exceed that. I don’t keep secrets from him. He knows more about my life in every area that any of my friends. He is set apart and obviously very special to me. I doubt there is anyone who does not know that I am married and that I love my sweetie.
My husband and I also tend to socialize together. The men friends in my life are generally “our” friends not just “my” friends. It’s just another nice layer of relationship safety.
Online, it’s fairly similar. My husband and I tend to have “our friends” online. We know each other’s passwords.
If I really needed to speak alone with a guy (I can’t think of any reason why right now, but theoretically it could happen), I would probably invite him to have coffee at the local coffee shop where many people I know gather.
Work situations are a bit tougher because you may have work related reasons for spending time with a guy. In that situation, I would be very professional and do my best to involve my husband in anything social (like invite my husband to lunch when office friends dine out and/or have him drop in now and then, so that he knows my male coworkers/friends).
And, if all else should fail, I have an accountability partner. Anything starts looking fishy in my relationships, and I guarantee that Auna will be in my face. She is perceptive and isn’t afraid to call me on stuff. She is a valuable help and wonderful friend.
Bottom line …
Be wise. Treat your men friends as friends. Don’t flirt and set boundaries that make it plain that your husband is the love of your life. Create whatever safeguards you need to keep your heart right and your marriage growing.
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