Friendships with the opposite sex

In the past three instalments to this column, we discussed a number of issues pertaining to friendships with members of the opposite sex for married people.

You will realise that most of the time we cautioned against clandestine friendships as they pose a real danger to your marriage. In this final instalment on this subject, we wish to provide a few tips for managing opposite sex friendships.

The first tip is that you need to make your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ your first priority in life. If your relationship with Christ is shaky or weak you run the risk of being trapped by the devil through your opposite sex friendship. The devils ultimate aim will be to wreck your marriage.

The second tip is that your spouse should be your best friend at all times. If this is not the case you need to take serious steps to nurture your relationship with your spouse to the degree that the two of you become best friends. You also need to develop and consistently nurture close same-sex friendships. These must be healthy and constructive ones, and not the rumour mongering ones that seek to find out and discuss the latest about other people or other couples. Make sure your spouse knows your friends and is completely comfortable with the type and level of interaction you have with them.

You will need to honour your spouses wishes concerning your opposite sex friendships even if this may mean terminating such friendships. You must always remember that your marriage is more important than your friendships. Try and avoid close friendships with members of the opposite sex who are single.

If you are struggling in your marriage, avoid opposite sex friendships since they can quickly act as false safety valves for your needs and longings, which should be provided by your spouse. It is better to work hard on your marriage until things work well than to resort to extra-marital relationships.

Effective management of opposite sex friendships requires that you address unmet needs and unresolved anger in your marriage in an open, honest and timely fashion. This may necessitate a visit with your marriage counsellor or pastor for assistance. You also need to demonstrate a God-honouring character in all your relationships. Any friendships that cause you to depart from honouring God should be terminated as quickly as possible in order to safeguard your marriage and your relationship with both your spouse and your God. It is our fervent hope that you will take some of these tips into your marriage and friendships with members of the opposite sex. May the Good Lord bless your marriage.

Post published in: Opinions

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