Marriage Missions International

Questions: Guiding Opposite-Sex Friendships in Marriage

Image credit: Ids Living

Image credit: Ids Living

If you have ever wondered whether or not your close opposite-sex friendship poses a potential threat to your marriage take a few moments to answer the questions below. Read each question and then quickly and honestly record the first answer that comes to mind.

1. Is your spouse unaware of your opposite-sex friendship? __Yes __No

2. Would you ever behave differently around your friend if your spouse were present? __Yes __No

3. Would you feel uncomfortable if your spouse had the same quality of friendship with someone of the opposite sex? __Yes __No

4. Do you prefer to spend time alone with your opposite-sex friend rather than in a group setting? __Yes __No

5. Are you physically and/or emotionally attracted to your friend? __Yes __No

6. Is your friend someone you would consider dating if you were single? __Yes __No

7. Have you ever entertained romantic fantasies about your friend? __Yes __No

8. Do you ever compare your spouse to your friend? __Yes __No

9. Do you think about sharing important news with your friend before your spouse? __Yes __No

10. Do you and your friend ever exchange highly personal details about your lives or complain about your marriages to each other? __Yes __No

11. Do you often reference or talk about your friend with others? __Yes __No

12. Has your spouse ever expressed concern about your friendship? __Yes __No

13. Is your relationship with your friend ever a source of tension or conflict between you and your spouse? __Yes __No

14. Have you ever ignored or minimized your spouse’s requests to end or modify the relationship with your friend? __Yes __No

15. Have you ever deceived or misled your spouse about matters concerning your friendship? __Yes __No

16. Has anyone other than your spouse ever cautioned you about your opposite-sex friendship? __Yes __No

17. Do you do things with your friend that your spouse is unwilling or uninterested in doing? __Yes __No

18. Does your friend fulfill needs that you wish your spouse would meet? __Yes __No

19. Do you have unexpressed or unresolved anger toward your spouse? __Yes __No

20. Does your marriage lack intimacy? __Yes __No

If you answered, “yes” to one or more of the questions above, your opposite-sex friendship poses a real threat to the quality of your marriage. It may be in the best interest of your marriage to either significantly limit or actually end your close friendship. Be completely honest with yourself and your spouse and pray that God will give you the wisdom, discernment and courage to do what is best!

It is possible for married people to have healthy opposite-sex friendships. However, special consideration must be given to a number of factors that, if ignored, can potentially serve to threaten your marriage and seriously compromise your relationship with God. If you desire to make or keep your marriage strong, here are some tips for managing opposite-sex friendships in your life.

• Make your relationship with Jesus Christ your number one priority in life.

• Develop and consistently nurture a “best friend” relationship with your spouse.

• Develop and consistently nurture close same-sex friendships.

• Make sure your spouse knows your friend and is completely comfortable with the type and level of interaction you have with them.

• Honor your spouse’s wishes concerning your friendship —even if it means ending it.

• Avoid establishing close friendships with opposite sex singles.

• Avoid close opposite-sex friendships if you are struggling in your marriage relationship.

• Address unmet needs and unresolved anger in your marriage in an open, honest and timely fashion.

• Demonstrate a God-honoring character in all your relationships.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.(Proverbs 4:23)

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable —if anything is excellent or praiseworthy —think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)

My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble.(Proverbs 3:21-23)

The above questionnaire was written by Dr. Todd Linaman. This document was used by permission from:

Family Life Communications
PO Box 35300
Tucson, AZ 85740

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Comments

40 Responses to “Questions: Guiding Opposite-Sex Friendships in Marriage”
  1. Thandiwe says:

    (SOUTH AFRICA)  My husband has a friend who is of the opposite sex and I am really not comfortable with it. They work together with the lady (who has a child) and after the first time she met me she stopped speaking to my husband for 3 months. She’s recently made a come back and she wants to tag along with us to functions. My husband does not seem to have problems with this whole setup and said that I should not make a big deal about it! She’s just worming her way in and I don’t want to be a friend to a person who does not respect our marriage.

    My only concern is I don’t know how to react and to approach it because we had made an agreement that we won’t have single opposite sex friends.

  2. Tayo says:

    (NIGERIA)  My husband has always enjoyed keeping friends with the opposite sex even before we got married and each time I raise a concern he gets annoyed and tells me they are all just friends. In recent years he has been keeping very close friendships with some ladies in his office. The first one was about 5 years ago with a single lady who he picks up in the morning to work and drops off in the evening every day.

    Sometimes I drive past them on my way to work or back and the lady usually just ignores me. When I raised the issue of the friendship with my husband he simply said the lady’s father used to work with him and he was only being nice to her, also that she is a Christian and I should not be worried. But I was always worried all the same. Eventually he mentioned one day that the lady was getting married and I think my mind was at rest. Also we packed from the area where the lady was leaving and I stopped seeing her.

    Recently, I can guess that my husband is involved with another lady in his office again. Though I have not had the opportunity to meet this lady, they call each other regularly over the weekend and some of the discussions I hear are what I believe concerns our family and I wonder why he would be discussing this with just a colleague. My children have met the lady in question (when he took them for a beach party arranged by his office) and I learned she has a small boy, though I guess she might be a single mother.

    I have accused my husband on the relationship and how he has time to take the lady and her son out while not having time for me and the children but he turned this into an argument. We did not talk for days and since then I have not raised the issue again even though I know they are still quite close.

    I am most concerned about this relationship because our marriage has been going through a difficult period in the last few years and I really do not know what to do. From listening to their conversation, he feels very comfortable with this lady as they can talk for a long time (he claims it is a free office line). Presently we both are not too comfortable in each other’s presence; on his own part I guess because he has a lot to hide and on my own, I guess I feel hurt and also I want to avoid major disagreement as this has been the pattern in our relationship.

    • Kitty says:

      (USA)  You have my support on this … read my comments to Jeff…. Your husband is ‘helping’ this woman at the expense FIRST of YOUR relationship …YOU should be honored by him and he should not defend himself along this line…HE is WRONG. He is ALSO not allowing this woman to bond with anyone else.

      HE may be thinking he is helping her ..but he is taking up time with her ..and spending time bonding with a woman clearly in need of a relationship with a man at YOUR EXPENSE. I am sorry for you …your husband may be clueless as to the things HE is LOSING OUT ON >..and if you have children HE is REALLY going to look back in sorrow.

      That other woman’s son also is being damaged …todays culture believes any male is a good influence upon a child. A boy DOES need a FATHER ..not just a male friend who is a role model for neglect of his own family …disregard for his wifes heart. ..and actually a selfish person who think he is ‘doing well’ when he is out of the will of GOD.

      God’s will is clear…we are to be giving where and when we are within BOUNDARIES of our responsibilities. Jurisdiction for carrying out parenting are within the MARRIAGE COVENANT. That means whatever that marriage needs GOD makes the husband responsible AND supplies the means to carry it out.

      Outside relationships are OUTSIDE the marriage covenant and NOT the god given jurisdiction of YOUR husband. People do not see this …humanism has taught that we are ‘all responsibile ‘ for everybody! Jesus said ..Who are my mother and my brother ? Those who KEEP my commandments.’

      Outside close friendships lead to coveting …stealing ,…lying …and adultery very often in especially single parent women with married men!

      HELLO!

      Your husband needs to rethink his VOWS ..does he care about what GOD told him to do? God will not ask him what he did for others. His FIRST enquiry will be “what did you do with the woman I gave you to love and cherish and display my Son’s character to in how you treated her? What kind of image of my Son did your behavior toward YOUR WIFE provide for your children and then others? My SON …gave his life for his BRIDE>..I told husbands to DENY themselves as my son did ..and GAVE HIMSELF FOR his bride…have you?”

      SO then I hope if you read this it may bring some ides for your husband to consider…Outside input from those NOT OF the marriage covenant can be very destructive. If this woman is truly a christian she should RUN from any kind of function in the destruction or stealing of another woman’s husbands time …energy and affections.

      It will harm her testimony and keep her from being able to relate properly to others and a possible godly mate ….and she will be guilty of sin in that she is entering into a relationship that has been regarded as reserved for the spouse ONLY!

      NOt even his parents are to be in that place…GOD first in all things eternal …and WIFE first in all things relational here in this world …or it will be a drain and lead to more and more darkening of the understanding of those who WILL NOT hear.

      They have a choice…fun here …and eternal losses …or obey the LORD …for a LORD means he gets to tell us what to do !

      • Pavrone says:

        (USA)  Kitty, this post of your belongs on the Wall of Fame. You said it and perfectly. I do not believe ANY married people need or should have friends of the opposite sex if they will be spending ANY time void of the spouses.God is clear, they are asking for trouble.

        The world’s view of marriage is the fodder of sitcoms. We see it daily and are desensitized to it but God says it is the joining of two to become one. The best friendship He invented. Sadly few will or have ever had a marriage like that as this is the devil’s world and so many men remain disobedient kids that continuously try to “get some” to look cool in front of their friends or get away with something. Excellent post!

    • Dontb says:

      (US)  Tayo, You should not be afraid to speak to your husband. If he is intimidating you then something IS probably wrong. You have every right to speak on it while giving honor to him as the head of your household. BUT in all submission pray to God about the matter first then realize that your body belongs to him and his body belongs to you. SO if his body is all over the office, speaking on the phone to other women then he is violating scripture if he is giving his body away. It belongs to you so you have every right to confront him if GOD leads you to do that.

      If he is angry and intimidating you may want to pray first or speak with the pastor’s wife or another because he is sinning against you. If he is talking to these women because of ministry you can let him know he needs to keep from the appearance of evil because he is not respecting your marriage to the church. If people are seeing him ALONE with a female he is not keeping away from evil appearances in my view, therefore, you have legal grounds to confront b/c this could lead to adultery.

      He should NEVER be alone with women to guard against temptation. And if he is, perhaps he is unconcerned but he should not be getting defensive about it because you are doing what the Bible says. And if he IS, he is doing something wrong. IF he isn’t doing anything wrong it should not offend him in the least because he knows he is right. So if he feels he has no right to say anything you can pray, ask your pastor or pastors wife, or two to three witness and show him the Bible.

  3. Jeff says:

    (CANADA)  What a horrible article. I believe that opposite sex friends should end immediately after marriage if not after engagement. This does not mean you cannot work in the same office or talk to opposite sex at church or meeting. I simply think that it cannot/should not be done. There are WAY too many ifs ands or buts that can happen and do happen.

    Are there people who have purely platonic friendships of opposite sex? Yes. I see this as a potential for disastor. Can people drive ok with a couple of drinks? Yes, but why do it, and it’s even legal to a certain % of alcohol, but it’s proven that one drink can decrease your alertness and reactions. Why allow or take the chance? When trying to grow a healthy marriage why put anything in the way that could make someone stumble? I don’t see the point. People read here to get opinions and advice. You will have a man or woman who is in turmoil over their spouse having a friend of opposite sex come here or their spouse will come here and they’ll say, “hey, see, it’s ok.”

    You’re doing no one justice by making it ok, and then recanting by saying, “unless you and your spouse don’t agree on it.” It is or it isn’t ok! That is very wishy washy and “relative to the marriage” crap that needs to be relegated to the secular society, not Christians who know temptation exists and can even happen to them.

    • Kitty says:

      (USA)  Have to agree with Jeff. Present day lack of boundaries and teaching of the purpose, and function in marriage is so lacking that for the most part the culture is designed to encourage ‘freedom ‘ at the expense of responsibility.

      Building a one flesh relationship is going to REQUIRE the LEAVING of all other relationships in terms of intimacy, loyalty and all of the variety of ways time and energy is to be spent in ‘living with your wife in an understanding way.’

      Too often friendships with ONE particular person though of as a ‘best friend” saps the energy and focus from the marriage relationship ..as do too much input from family and close friends.

      If a person has not understood the value of boundaries and the priority of the Word of GOD as the first and last definitive information of how to evaluate all that we are confronted with in LIFE here as we go THROUGH this world …they will often be swayed by advice which is not necessarily in line with scriptural truth.

      Most of what is out there ..including a LOT of what is taught as ‘biblical’ truth ..is NOT based upon the whole content of scripture but a variety of MIXTURE of fleshly doctrines based on psychology …or biases and tradition. When will we regard the WORD of GOD as truth and allow that GOD knows what he is talking about.

      The FIRST LAW of MARRIAGE …LEAVE all others in terms of loyalty , priority , and closeness ..and bond by way of CLEAVING to the wife …and OPEN HONEST [NAKED] sharing of all of the self.

      So often the worldly way of viewing ONE FLESH results in condemnation because it is identified as ‘emmeshing ‘ …no ..it is according to truth to serve GOD by way of obeying Him and in marriage there are clear instructions in how making your spouse your BEST friend and lover is not only protective of that one flesh but engages a concern for becoming more of what GOD would make in us as we do so!

      Thanks for sticking up for the truth of the WORD in this area ..compromise with the world in order to not ‘appear too strict’ has led down a path further and further from the standards of truth that would have prevented and protected more and more people who ‘don’t want to hurt anyone’ and ‘want to help others’ at the expense of providing for the relationship they HAVE.

      The ‘rescuer ‘ ..the ‘white knight’ and the ‘nurse ‘ will often find more satisfaction ‘helping’ their ‘friends in need’ because it offers a quick feel good ..while the needs of the spouse go unmet…even if they are brought to their attention.

      It is a LOT easier to ‘give’ to others than to face the often difficult task of OPENING UP and DEALING WITH the challenges of marriage relating.

      I agree…this list seems like a good idea …but as God points out ‘the way of man that seems right ends in DEATH ” …the outcome is not going to be good as FEELINGS seem to be the bases of friendships …and all other means of ‘bonding ‘ which need to be APPLIED to the spouse …

      One other thing …when other people are admired and a spouse is closely and often involved with them, their standards may be less demanding and more ungodly …if the spouse at home IS endeavoring to follow after the truth in all ways…the outside friendships may be comparing more ‘loving ‘ and ‘pleasurable ‘ than the spouse ….ending up with the spouse being compared more …and found to be not as ‘fun’ or ‘pleasurable.’

      God is clear…the companionship with the world corrupts good MORALs….This from the voice of experience …both as the one who had to learn it the hard way …and as the spouse of one who would NOT take any counsel and has thrown away most of his time, energy, and family finances pleasing other people.

      SO what will it be…the Lords way ? or the ‘highway’ to hell ? and pain and suffering of all who the marriage touches?

      Those not IN the marriage have NOTHING to lose ..nothing invested…one friendship is as good as another to them ..they have no VOW to keep.

      They will take…and in many years later…they are no where to be seen…or if they are…they are only there as long as there is some kind of ‘feel good’ to gain.

      The marraige spouse is the ONLY one that is called upon to be ONE FLESH for LIFE. IF there is a refusal to BOND by way of time, energy, affection and every other aspect of what marriage is then they have spread themselves too thin.It is like they say ‘ if there is a vacuum it will be filled.’

      Keeping watch on commitments of work and other things so that they do not drain the marriage. Today most people are selfish ..they “need’ time to themselves ,. their work takes up most of it ..then their sports or hobbies…WHO has time ‘enough’ for spouse and family if those things are first?

      Then at the end they wonder why they have ‘nothing much in common!” ….whose fault is THAT!

      There is little enough time in the day to do the things we are SUPPOSED to do because we married someone and are SUPPOSED to want to make that FIRST.

      So then …my rant is over…I see trouble in this generation that has such a broad view of friendships and such a shallow understanding of what sex is ….case in point ‘hooking up ‘ and ‘best friends with benefits’ …there is NEED for people to realize WHAT GOd was DOING IN marriage …it is not just ‘ALL ABOUT US !

      Thanks for letting me steam this one.

      • Wife2one says:

        (USA)  You are right on point! Your words are so fulfilling and much needed in this society. I for one needed this moral support TODAY. For a moment I was beginning to think there was no one that could reason the potential for disaster in this whole set up. Simply put as you stated… we should regard, “the priority of the Word of GOD as the first and last definitive information of how to evaluate all that we are confronted with in LIFE…”

        I hope that there are more people–Christians that will stand for what is right and just not what seems popular at the moment. This causes more corruption than they realize. Thanks, Kitty for making a stand.

    • Pavrone says:

      (USA)  As I said to Kitty, your posts here on this topic should be on the Wall of Fame! Very well said!

  4. Caroline says:

    (UK)  Hi everyone… Jeff I can understand what your saying but I really have to say I do disagree with what you have said. I do not think that there is anything wrong having opposite sex friendships before, during and after marriage but as a married person you have to give yourself the boundaries and change your state of mind from a single person to a married person.

    My husband’s best friend of 17 years was a female and actually she was his very first girlfriend, so they had a lot of history. When we were married he chose her to his best person which I didn’t mind at all because by the time we were married I had built up a good friendship with, never did I feel that she was a temptation for him or that he would stray with her or anyone else for that matter.

    Their friendship truly was platonic; she was actually more like a sister to him, I believe that we have to become safe and secure un our relationships, through communication and more importantly through prayer and keeping Jesus as the focus of marriages.

    Marriage does not mean the end of any friendships we had before that, I think what we should do is unite with those friendships, from the beginning my husband has known all my friends, and my friends are now his friends, vice versa too. I have always had more male friends than female friends, and my husband has actually had more female friends than male friends, it’s just how we always were.

    What we had to ensure was at no point during our relationship either of us ever felt threatened by any of our friendships, for us it was never an issue and if it had been I know that he would ofcourse be my priority.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know that opposite sex relationships can be an issue for people but I don’t think saying that your not allowed to have male friends or female friends is a way to deal with that issue if it affects you. If my husband said to me he felt threatened by a friendship I had with a guy I would want to know what has caused him to feel that way, if ending that friendship was necessary then I would do it, but I don’t think that would solve what issues we obviously had.

    And I really don’t think you can compare relationships, marriages and people’s lives with alcohol. Christian marriage isn’t action a dictatorship, ‘you must not do this and that’, it’s about building a loving, safe, secure and most importantly trust worthy relationships with Jesus at the centre. I want my husband to know that I love, support and trust his actions, he comes first and I come first with him.

    Marriage is not a regime, as humans we are all faced with with temptatiom, as christians we draw on the strength of christ and the holy spirit to help us fight temptation because with christ nothing can touch us.

    If you’re tempted by opposite sex friendships then there is a far deeper issue which you need to discover and deal with, because if not then you will not get to the route to the problem. Through Christ there is a solution for everything, and if he is the centre of your marriage then you have great foundations in place. Marriage is not easy at the best of times, but when you start with dictations and ultimatums then i think your asking for trouble.

    I do not, and will never restrict my husband to having only males friends, to me that’s just rediculas, his not my son, his my life long partner, we share evrything, I know that he will always put my needs and feelings first, just as I will always put his needs and feelings first.

    People who come here are looking for help through people’s testimonies and opinions. These articles are people’s opinions, you take it as you want, the best place to go for help is his Word, the Holy Bible, and by putting all our worries and troubles by the foot of the cross, because Jesus will never fail us, even when people do.

    I have found this site so helpful since I first came here 14 months ago, but I don’t take everything written as gospel truth, but a sourse of help. The only gospel truth is the Bible.

    • Pavrone says:

      (USA)  If you do take the Bible at face value then know God says “Take heed lest you fall”.

      I would have sworn after 21.5 years my husband never would have done that either but here came the mid-life crisis and the opportunity. Satan has been persuading this in an attempt to destroy God’s most perfect unions, marriage/families since the beginning. We are no match for him but when you are so certain it won’t happen, it does.

      Read Proverbs 7:21, Proverbs 9:13 and Proverbs 23:27. The temptation is coming. Our pastor (of 35 years) fell and how with a student at the Christian school. He’s gone for a long time and as I’ve seen, if not stopped soon enough the sin of adultery is no longer good enough. That man resorted to child pornography. As I’ve learned the hard way, this does not just happen to other people.

  5. Angela says:

    (SOUTH AFRICA)  I think the questions here speak for themselves. They revolve mainly around whether your spouse feels comfortable with your relationships with opposite sex friends and whether you are honest about these friendships with your spouse. There are the sort of people who can handle their spouses having opposite sex friendships and there are people who can’t. We are not all the same, so if you feel comfortable with it, then good for you but the rule should not and does not apply to everyone.

    The problem starts when you don’t respect your spouse’s wishes when they say they are not comfortable. When you feel like you should hide these friendships, that’s a problem because then they are then not purely platonic relationships. There is definely something wrong when you cannot aknowledge these friendships with your spouse. And there is something even worse when you are confronted by your spouse and you simply refuse to give these up when asked. That means they take priority over the relationship you vowed before God to be abpve all others. This is the problem and where distrust starts in a relationship. And trust me, it is not easy to fix as I found, it only goes downhill from there.

    Bottom line is your spouse should be your number one priority and if you cannot give up these relationships for them, then I don’t know what you’re looking for, but it is not a peaceful, loving and trusting marriage. You will eventually reap what you sow into a marriage or any other relationship, so just make sure you sow the right seeds.

    • Nancy says:

      (USA)  Angela, I love what you say here. My boyfriend, soon-to-be fiance, has a close friend of the opposite sex that I am NOT comfortable with. He has been friends with her for many, many years and even had a 10-year live-in relationship with her which ended approximately 9 years ago. The reason I am so uncomfortable with this relationship is, first, their past relationship and, second, they met for drinks in his hotel room and both chose not to tell me about it “for fear of my reaction”. He even went so far as to tell me her grandchild was with her, which I found out later was another lie. This happened when our relationship was still new, approximately 4 months into it, so I don’t know if I’m overreacting.

      When asked, he said he would limit his contact with this woman and not “hang out” with her without me but would not end the friendship. I don’t know if that’s enough. I also do not feel as though he is putting me first. Also, he has several old girlfriends that still call him on occasion. I don’t agree with him answering the phone when they call because I just don’t think it’s appropriate for him to have that much contact with his ex-girlfriends (all live-in). I am perplexed and am not sure if I should give him another chance with the boundaries I am trying to set or am I simply setting myself up for a failed relationship and a broken heart. Any advice here would be appreciated.

      • Stacy says:

        (USA) Run away as fast as you can. That man has serious character flaws and is a total player. You obviously have different morals and values. He does not respect you at all. Read the book Love Must Be Tough and see that relationships with no boundaries and respect, always fail.

      • Rob says:

        (USA) Nancy, I completely understand your position here. Your boyfriend should always put God first, then you and your relationship above all others. He is supposed to honor and love you the same way that Jesus loves us. What I see here is a man who wants it all. His selfish and deceitful ways are proof that he is mainly concerned with his own pleasure, at your expense. It doesn’t matter whether this happened four months or four years into a relationship. It shows his character and what he values most. I think you should pray about this. But, also know that the bible already tells us how we should conduct ourselves. God is not going to give you an answer that is in conflict with his word in the bible. I would doubt that this man is going to change is ways, marriage or not. The bible says we will know them by their fruits.

  6. Katie says:

    (US)  First of all, if he is refusing to put you first, this is a bad sign, in my opinion. Just ended a relationship with a guy who, like yours, had many female friends. He told me point blank, he planned to keep in touch with all of them and recently started with a new employer. He got a call from one female friend and did not disclose this, and I found out by accident. He also flirts with women in front of me and had been clear this behavior would too continue well into the relationship. I just do not get guys who need to have other women around if they are ” satisfied” with their current partner. So, I agree with you this sounds like a red flag and should be discussed at length before you both make the relationship permanent.

  7. Lera says:

    (USA)  I need to know the Bible reference for the verse, “Guard your friendships well, for they influence every area of your life.” It’s for a young 23-year-old friend who has been drug free for nine months. She wants to grow spiritually and stay drug free. She has received Christ as Savior and I’ve told her she needs to avoid her old friends who are on drugs. We will help her make new friends who do not believe in involvement with drugs. She asked me where in the Bible this verse is. Please, please help me.

    • Shayla says:

      (USA)  I could not find that verse, but did find one of interest. James 4:4 “Ye adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore would be a friend of the world maketh himself an enemy of God.” Since obviously her old friends are worldly and she needs to stop sinning and follow Jesus. Jesus obviously needs to be her #1 friend and love.

    • Cindy Wright says:

      Lera, I’ve looked for the “Bible reference” that you ask about in your comment but can’t seem to find it. The closest I can find that is close to this premise is found in Proverbs 4:23. It talks about guarding your heart as to how it can lead you astray or lead you on the right path. It says that the heart is the “well-spring” of life. The following are links to documents where you will see that the sentence that you refer to is very similar in context of this verse. One link you can read through is found at: http://www.abible.com/devotions/2005/20050124-1201.html and another can be found at: http://bible.cc/proverbs/4-23.htm.

      In context, it would include guarding your friendships well because they very well CAN influence every area of your life. We’re told in 1 Corinthians 15:33 that “Bad company corrupts good character.” In the next verse 1 Corinthians 15:34 it tells those who are making bad choices in the company they keep to “come back to your senses.”

      Also, in the “Assorted Marriage Problems” section of this web site, we have an article with a number of links to additional articles that discuss the influence of friendships on marriage. You can find it at: “Friendships and How They Influence a Marriage.” Whether it is opposite sex friendships or same sex friendships, whether this concept pertains particularly to marriage or to our lives in general, “friends” can have a great influence upon our lives and can dull our senses on doing what is right and also on what is wrong and unhealthy. So we NEED to guard our friendships. I hope you are able to help your friend stay away from those who have the ability to pull her in a damaging direction. May God help you and help her!

      • Pavrone says:

        (USA)  Agreed! Think of what we females talk to other females about and what the guys talk to other guys about. What do married people have in common with members of the opposite sex?? Nothing and how many times is it initiated by the discussions of God??? As this is the devil’s world and his one goal is to destroy all God loves, a male/female relationship will always eventually GO THERE!

        My husband and the one seeking money at work began with slandering their spouses to each other. He reflects that she never once spoke to him and it was not about money and how she was sick of being broke. her husband didn’t earn much and I didn’t know how good I had it (covetous) When he could no longer think of any more horrible things to say of me, he made things up and admits it. He is/was so private he did not want his mother seeing a shot of him and our oldest 9then about 6) in matching Teddy Bear boxer SHORTS but he discussed his Vasectomy with this stranger?? He knew where that was going and so did I and I just had to watch as he carried on for 5 years calling it a Christian friendship! I saw him daily infected with thoughts of her and I knew what happened would eventually happen and he was willing to go to hell for her and nearly did. He said as he knew he was saved he knew he wouldn’t go to hell. That is who Jesus is speaking to when He says “depart from me, ye workers of iniquity, I never knew you” That was many years of his uncontrolled everything leading up to this. It was pre meditated and he thinks that was a saved man? I don’t think he thinks that now.

        I feel sorry for him that he views Calvary as a license to sin and a ticket out of hell. I know when he sees God, it will all be very different for him although I believe he is saved “Now” but there was nothing of love in him. He was one with her and although sickened by her and her physical dirtiness, he told her he was in love with her. Chose her over all even God. Did not care what he had to do to be with her or even if his kids died. As much as he hates smoking, he not only endured it but took up chewing tobacco to hang with her in the smoking area. Total sell-out even of SELF!

        All of society programs us to mock marriage. Every sitcoms. It is the antagonist/protagonist, wife as the adult, husband as the kid and sadly, it’s really that way for so many. The shows are funny but as God calls Satan the Prince of the Power of the Air, it is no coincidence. The local Christian school instructed our former Pastor to counsel a girl with many issues at home and with her dad, Guess what? yep and he began with child then when the adultery wasn’t enough, he returned into pornography and child pornography. Using little girl’s profiles he knew to go into chat rooms. My baby is 9. I left that church in Nov. of 2009 because I could no longer look at him. I didn’t know why, just that I felt sick and everyone grew hostile at me.

        I said nothing to anyone other than to my husband that I could no longer sit under that man’s preaching. I supported my husband in taking the kids saying that as long as one of us was going to the building they were going. Had I known what was going o with the Pastor that would have been different. Knowing what the devil would love to do, I have since made it a point to study/worship here more than I ever did leaving my house. I am open to what God would have me do but for now, this is where we are. All of us. Tithing still to a local mission.

        A dozen men out of that church of 53 years fell too, including my husband. Each holds their own accountability but a Pastor is the Shepherd. If the Shepherd is infested and running off the cliff, what becomes of the flock? I have seen actual Sheep. They do not have enough sense not to run into each other or into obstacles as if blind. That is why God refers to us as Sheep.

        In marriage we become one flesh. The second greatest love. If that is done properly there should be no need for another to confide all too and God makes it clear that women are to be home attending to her family. Not in the workplace, the factory where these things begin. Now to women that have to work to support their families (a man that doesn’t support his family is worse than an unbeliever, says God), I applaud you but we all know what I’m talking about.

        I have never thought any good could come from married people confiding in the opposite sex and now I’m very positive. Men love your wives as Christ loves the Church and all else will fall into place. Do guard your hearts!

      • Cleo says:

        (GERMANY) I am a married woman and I have such a situation that you are facing. Even though I am a beliver my husband has cheated in our marriage, lied to me, and hurt me on it. Why? Because there was a woman in his life who he must have filled his mind with for him to look at his wife and children at that moment, as less important. My husband has believed what a so-called friend told him and accused me as his wife, and said I am a liar.

        My husband had made a female and the friend lie against me. But my husband has instilled anger within me. My sister, the Bible says when two are married they become one and what God has join together no female friend can separate. A man who knows the importance of this takes the family to be first over any other person. What would make him take another woman out and the wife is left alone? And what will make the woman take the position in another woman’s home? My sister, I tell you what, you have to be holding a marriage prayer. Get into one because when the Lord fights you shall hold your peace. Let women rise up in prayer and save our husbands from strange Jezebel spirits that enter marriages.

  8. Olga says:

    (RSA)  Regarding opposite sex friendship, we had this problem with my husband. We talked about it even though it was not easy. He had a female friend and was I uncomfortable about it. He promised me that he was going to stop the relationship. Actually, he has stopped it. Now my problem is that my trust has been shaken because they are working in the same building. How am I going to know that indeed it has stopped. This issue is still hurting me every time when I think about it and I have this feeling that there is still some resistance from his side. I am trying to pull him close to me but he is making excuses, saying we should not pressurize ourselves. We should take one step at a time and always complains about him being tired we he gets home.

    The bottom line is I want to restore trust for my husband but it is so difficult for me. I am trying but I really can’t because I always think of the way he reacted when I asked him to stop his friendship. To me, it’s like I asked him to do the most difficult thing in the world and he is just doing it because I say he should. Please advise me. This is not on guys.

  9. Freddy says:

    (ZIMBABWE)  l feel it is important that couples should discuss things openly no matter how much it hurts. When l got married l had a number of friends of the opposite sex and my wife was uncomfortable about it. We talked things over and l respected her feelings, but we both acknowledged that doing away with the friends was not going to be an over night thing and hence she also had to play her part to help me get over it. For those friends that l felt still needed in my life, I introduced them to her and she also got to know them better and by so doing this helped to reduce any thought of suspicion. This piece of advice may not work for every couple, but it’s worth a try, otherwise the key words in any relationship are communication and transparency.

  10. Zara says:

    (RSA)  I have been chatting with someone I met on the internet through a friend and this chat friend is single. We talk about general stuff but I feel very excited every time we chat something I have not felt in years. My spouse is emotionally unavailable and has not been talking to me for several months and I feel so lonely.

    A few months back I discovered that my spouse has an opposite sex friend and when I confronted my spouse he said that it was not an affair, that this person helped my spouse heal (we’ve been going through a rough patch). I was really hurt by this.

    Does this mean I am cheating and that my spouse cheated on me emotionally by talking to someone else apart from me? Pleases help me out.

    • Pavrone says:

      (USA) “Cheating” is doing or saying ANYTHING that you would not do or say in front of your spouse. Your marriage is in trouble and unless you both desire to fix that by commiting to God’s plan and each other, the worst will happen. I pray you both seek God’s plan in this but leave opposite sex friends to the single people. Spouses are supposed to be all each other needs in a friend.

  11. Mike says:

    (USA)  “Avoid establishing close friendships with opposite sex singles.” I’m going to call ‘balderdash’ on that one. You know why? Everyone who studies infidelity knows that if you’re going to cheat, do it with another married person – you’re way more likely to keep it just what you both want it to be: an affair, and not ‘the next relationship.’ Singles are ‘strategically’ inferior to lull into an extramarital affair, because they’re way more likely to nag you about leaving your spouse for them. Fellow marrieds know what kind of financial and emotional hassle that would be, and they’re more realistic about ‘respecting’ the parameters of said infidelity.

    And no, folks, I’m not advocating ‘good strategy’ for infidelity here, nor do I have any firsthand experience with the above (if you were curious). I just hate it when my single friends are pigeonholed as the great seducers of married people – in fact, fellow marrieds are way more likely to be bored, unsatisfied, and initiate/reciprocate illicit affections.

    • Cindy Wright says:

      Mike, This article isn’t particularly centering on single people. They are just mentioned (although single chat rooms certainly are problematic, just as other chat rooms on the Internet can be… and yes, someone who is married shouldn’t be in a single’s chat room… that’s part of the point). It’s not about someone of the opposite sex being a friend who is “single” or not, it’s about NOT spending exclusive time with someone of the opposite sex to the point where emotions could “happen” to spark. And yes, that happens quite often, whether it’s with someone who is single or not. If you received the emails and talked to those who we talk to on this matter, you’d know the huge threat concerning this situation. In getting upset to the point where you feel you need to defend your single friends because they’re being “pigeonholed” I believe you missed the “forest” for one type of tree. But if anyone who is single has been offended in some way, we apologize.

  12. THOBILE says:

    (SWAZILAND)  I definitely can relate to these challenges faced by married couples. After all has been said and done… Hebrews 13:4 & Phillipians 4:13. Women of God, let us pray for our husbands, and men of God, pray for your wives. Let the fruit of Galations 5:22-23 be in all homes. God bless you all.

  13. Maria says:

    (USA)  My husband and I both are leaders at our chuch. I discovered through cell phone records my husband was calling her at night when he went to work and in the morning before he came home. He was also texting her. In one month he talked to her for over 17 hours not counting text messages these calls lasted for over two months. I confronted him about the calls and he said she was going through a difficult time.

    My husband has never been unfaithful in the marriage and neither have I. I told me I was right and he would stop the calls and he did. My problem with the issue is he takes all responsibility for the calls. I am fustrated with him because he tells me that she is not to blame; he is was the married one.

    My problem with that is this woman was smiling in my face week after week knowing she and my husband were on the phone having long talks. I feel he should own up that she had a choice and could have said this isn’t right, you are a married man and because I serve alongside you and your wife in the ministry, I am going to respect you both and myself.

    This single woman should have told my husband I can only talk with you over the phone when your wife is present. Am I wrong for feeling this way in feeling she is just as wrong as him? I am rebuilding the trust with my husband of almost 26 years. I told him that I feel that if I had not find out about these calls it could have turned into a physical affair.

  14. Purple says:

    (CANADA)  My husband and I have same set of friends which we both introduce to each other. However there is this one female friend of ours that is really close to my husband. She is married and has kids. Recently, I observed that my husband spends more time with her and less with me. They go out often with the kids, calls each other often, even late at night and early in the morning. I was so hurt and spoke to my husband about it. He claims that nothing’s going on between him and our female friends.

    I trust my husband but have mixed emotions on what to believe, for their closeness (actions) speaks louder than words. I told my husband that I am hurt. I told him how jealous I am… that he’s spending more time with our female friend and she who admittedly “clings too much”.

    I love my husband too much but I am also hurt. For me, boundaries should be set but I do not believe my husband understands the situation.

  15. Sally says:

    (ZIMBABWE)  I’m a Christian lady married for 9 years, and am quite an outspoken woman compared to my husband. My problem is that he tends to be over friendly with other women who are my friends. And the main issue in that for me is that when I’ve shared with him on little fall outs I’ve had with them, he seems to lean towards them more. He is a good man, but I just feel secondary to them sometimes and it really gets me down. Shouldn’t it be God first, then me before anyone else?

    When I try to talk about it, he says I’m just insecure. As we are one, shouldn’t he be more concerned about my well being in every aspect of my life before anyone else? I’m trying not to make it a big deal but I cannot help the way I feel about it all. Please give me some sound advice on how to tackle this issue before it gets really out of hand.

  16. Akosua says:

    (GHANA) I am in a dilemma and I need help. I have being having series of quarrels with my husband over his supposed girlfriends whom he considers first before me. I have always suspected him of having an affair with some of them but he always denies this. Not long ago, in november last year, I caught him and he confessed to me. He appologised and promised to be what I want him to be and also going to tell them to stop calling him since their call causes problems for him.

    My husband talked to me like his enemy, and called me derogatory names which hurt my heart so much and he would come the next minutes to tell me, “I love you.” Sometimes I ask whether he is aware of the injury he is inflicting on my heart.

    He hides a lot of things from me No communication. Our conversations turn to quarrels immediately when we start to talk. I am also going through a silent hatred from some of his relative and when I complain to him he fights with me on their behalf. Sometimes I feel insecure and defenseless so I try to defend by explaining and he would try to hit me.

    We live together with his sister and husband, and this makes me feel uncomfortable. The sister and husband make decisions concerning the house without involving us. For instance, my baby was eight months old when his sister ordered a sprayer to spray the house without informing me. The chemical entered my baby and she started to sneeze, cough and couldn’t breath. To my surprise my husband couldn’t say anything but rather got furious at me for talking about it.

    Her husband packed used clothes in one of our rooms, took the key to the door away without informing us. All that my husband could do was to get annoyed with me when I conplained.

    The recent one was when I told him I felt he was hiding something from me and he got annoyed and insulted me heavily. I then left the house to my grand pa’s because he nearly hit me. Now he apologises and asked that I pray for him because something tells him to hurt or say painful words to me.

    I told my grand dad I would not marry again but I’ve realized I love my husband. What should I do since he is also not ready for us to leave his sister’s house?

  17. Mary says:

    (USA)  I have single female friend whom I think is taking it too much for granted on how she behaves with my husband. Last night my husband and I went to the local dinner dance. She was tending the entrance for tickets. We walked in and she told my husband how handsome he is. Later when she walked by our table and made a point to touch my husband on his shoulder.

    After the dinner and people started dancing she came up to our table and asked my husband for a dance before my husband had a chance to dance with me. Was it right for me to say, if my husband wants to dance he’ll dance with me? On another occasion she was a guest at my home for a few days. She is a nurse. I found her in my bedroom massaging my husband’s shoulder and placing a heating pad on him. I didn’t say anything to her. However, I felt she was over stepping her boundaries.

    • Cindy Wright says:

      Oh yea, this woman is definitely overstepping her boundaries and is not too subtle in how she is stepping into yours. You did right by saying what you did. You also should never have her be a “guest” in your home. It’s pretty obvious that she wants to be more than a “guest” to your husband. Beware! A “friend” doesn’t do those kinds of things unless she wants to go to a new level of “friendship” with someone, and that someone is obviously your husband.

      Be wise in tending to your marriage –making sure YOU’RE the one who is doing the massaging, and making sure she isn’t given the opportunity to do any “tending” of her own. Be wise and be aware of what’s going on here. She is no friend of yours.

  18. Deanna says:

    (USA) I posted this in a different thread, but I feel it’s more fitting here. I have been married to my husband for three years. I told him to leave our home as he refuses to change his ways. He was texting a girl and I asked him if I could see the messages and he refused, and this while a minor incident was the last straw in a long past. He insists on talking to women constantly. He texts all day and night. It has become a pattern with him and we get into arguments when I object to him talking to certain women that I don’t know or in some cases that I do know when I feel that his communication level is crossing the line (ex. 150+ texts per day, talking to them about his problems like he would to me or his best guy friends, going out for drinks or clubs alone with them, texting and talking to them after I have gone to bed or texting them after midnight while laying next to me in bed, having them be the first person he texts and the last person he texts before going to sleep, having them over at our house while I’m away, etc.). I feel like this behavior is that of single man or of one that is dating. He gets bored easily. I believe that his intentions are not bad and that he simply seeks the companionship of women. He just doesnt believe that this behavior is disrespectful to me and that I should be able to trust him.

    I feel that I do trust him, even though at times it’s hard to do since he has lied to me so many times before about this issue, I feel that his level of communication is disrespectful to me and our marriage. I’m a believer that people of the opposite sex cannot be close friends, unless there are special circumstances. He says that I do not want him to talk to any women and that I’m a jealous and controlling person, but I am not. I want him to feel free to talk to whoever he wants but have boundaries just like any healthy marriage should. He doesn’t want any boundaries or restrictions.

    I am a Christian and he is a believer but he has never had an actual relationship with Christ. He also has never had a steady job and I have been our financial source during the duration of our relationship. This is also why I told him that he could stay at our house and that I would leave as I know that he doesn’t have another place to stay. I don’t want a divorce, I love him and I want our marriage to work. I am hoping and praying that he will seek God during this separation, and grow into the responsible man and husband that God wants him to be. I feel that by staying with him I’m continuing to allow his behavior to go on and I’m being an enabler to his lack of responsibility and disrespectful behavior. I guess you could describe this as tough love.

    This is so painful because I just want to run to him and have him hold me and us to be happy again. Aside from his lack of initiative to find employment and issues with women, we have a great marriage. The fact that we haven’t been faithful followers of Christ is what I feel has gotten us in the predicament, but like I said before I pray that God hears me and that our marriage can be salvaged. Any encouragement or fresh perspective would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  19. Jane says:

    (US) I, also, disagree with those comments saying that you should never have opposite sex friendships. I also disagree with the question as to whether a friend will do activites that your spouse either does not want or is unwilling to do.

    I have had male friends my entire life. I am athletic and outdoorsy, so naturally, I meet more men that have those traits than women. My husband, though sometimes willing to do outdoor activities, is usually unwilling to do certain things. So, I do those things with other friends. I never go on outings with my male friends unless we are in a co-ed group and my husband is completely comfortable with it. We have had many discussions about this because I’ve always been concerned with whether this would make him uncomfortable. I love him and never want to do that.

    Something that he mentioned that I found interesting is this: The male friends I have are ones that I have had since I was a child. The majority of them were also family friends or are much younger than I am. However, if I were to suddenly make a new male friend, he said he would be very uncomfortable with that. I agree. If the situation were reversed, I would not appreciate him making a new female friend. Yet the few female friends he has that he grew up with I do not feel threatened by at all.

    Additionally, I think it is important to really think about what ‘friendship’ means to you. For me, I speak to my friends at the most once a month. Usually it is once every couple of months. I am too involved with my family to really have time for much more. That goes for female friends that I have made since marriage, too. I care about my friends, but socializing is not my top priority. If I were to be spending a day each week or more in the company of or speaking on the phone to a person of the opposite sex, then I think that my priorities would be out of line. I feel the same way about men and women I see that have a weekly ‘girls night’ or ‘guys day’ with friends of the same sex to the detriment of their families. (I am not saying that it is always to the detriment of their families, but often times, I see it is.)

    What it boils down to is whether Christ and your family are at the center of your life. I agree completely with those that have implied that Christianity is not a behavioral checklist. Had God thought we were capable of that, there would have been no reason for Christ to have come at all. Being a Christian means that you allow Christ to lead you in your life. There are going to be exceptions to plenty of rules. Our job is to pray and to LISTEN to the guidance God gives us. Certainly, there could be times when a man or a woman desperately needs a Christian friend and a married person of the opposite sex is who God chooses to fill that role.

    God will let you know if what you are doing is on the wrong track. Trust him!

    • Kay says:

      (USA) Very well said! Jane. You have wise boundaries in place in your marriage, and a strong faith in God’s will on your life. It sounds as if an honest open relationship with your husband is also a very strong hedge.

      I am thinking you are in a minority as it sounds if many individuals in ‘friendships’ with opposite sex do NOT have respect for their spouses and their marriages by letting down many safeguards. You have presented ‘good guidelines’ and a good example for those who do have opposite sex friends. Thanks for the insight!

  20. Philip says:

    (US) I think the blending of lives in a marriage covenant means working with the unique person you are with in coming into agreement about what level of interaction you are both comfortable with regarding opposite sex relationship, past and new friends. The internet and cell phones add additional “private” means of communication that challenge accountability within the relationship.

    These days, people are very used to one on one communications with almost everyone via the web and cell phones. It seems natural to continue to use these means after we are married to stay in touch with opposite sex contacts. How do we change gears? Do we need to? How accountable should we be? Should we share all passwords and access to phone records? Should we avoid or limit ourselves to public or friendly settings? Is it proper to converse one on one with someone’s spouse digially if if would not be proper in person or via letters? It’s not a simple thing to address, but each couple needs to assess what works.

    • Will says:

      (USA) I’m not married, but my parents sure are, and happily so! They both have friends of both sexes, and no other friend of theirs, same sex or opposite, has ever been any threat to the marriage in any way. They both know about each other’s friends (some of whom are old friends from before they were married or even childhood, and others are newer friends met through their jobs), and they know that no friendship, same or opposite sex, will EVER turn sexual in any way.

      The key here is that they know about all of each other’s friends (same sex AND opposite), and as such there are no areas of unknown to each other for wrongfulness to creep in there. Does that make sense?

      Again for that matter, I’m not married, but I have a female friend who is. (I’m a male.) Even though my friend’s husband has cheated on her multiple times (sadly, that has nothing to do with me, but still sad), I STILL would never even consider going after her romantically or thinking of her other than STRICTLY as a friend.

      I have another female friend whose fiance doesn’t treat her right from all I’ve heard. If she asks my opinion of him, I’ll be honest, but nevertheless I would NEVER go after her romantically now that she’s engaged. I did have a serious crush on her when she was single, but that’s in the past and now that she’s engaged, as undeserving as that guy is, I still make a point of acknowledging that our friendship is ONLY friendship, for that is the only way to continue it.

      I hope everyone sees the distinctions and subtleties here. All the questions in the article are very good indicators, ESPECIALLY #1, #3, #15, #16, and #18. As for #12, #13, and #14, the married people I know (including my parents and many of their friends) would tell me those are unlikely to come into play UNLESS the honest answer is already “Yes” to something else on the list.

      By the way, some of the harshest of the previous comments are hinged on Gnostic and Albegensian heresies (especially the one that specifically claims this is Satan’s Universe, not God’s, the Albegensian heresy in a nutshell). The Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds both have it that God made “all things visible and invisible,” and the physical things in this Universe are the “things visible” referred to there. I will not further dignify comments that contain cardinal heresies as stated or latent premises in their arguments, so much for that!

      So, yeah, think about all the other paragraphs in this response comment. :-)

    • Will says:

      (USA) Sorry, I don’t know how that other comment got displayed as a reply to yours. What I typed in was to display it as an original comment all its own.

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