Since the beginning of the world, God created men and women with an innate desire for companionship and the means to fulfill that need in the context of marriage. The Bible says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24 AMP). God wired us to pursue and long for an intimate relationship with a member of the opposite sex and cleave to him or her. With that said, having friendships with members of the opposite gender can be extremely rewarding, but also very challenging at the same time because of the unique chemistry God built into each of our DNA. So, the million dollar question to ask ourselves is, “Can guys and girls just be friends?”
A survey was given on Facebook recently about whether or not guys and girls could really just be friends and why. Here are a few quotes from some of the people who commented:
“I do think guys and girls can be friends for a short season to see if there is interest in a possible pursuit of something more. But if there is no interest, friendship needs to dissipate and communication needs to be clear.” – Lindsay, 30’s
“As one who has always had male friendships – yes, it’s possible. It is also possible that romance could grow from that but it’s the exception – not the norm. Whenever my guy friends did start dating someone who often later became their spouse, the nature of our friendship changed in a healthy way.” – Cheryl , 40’s
“I believe that guys and girls can just be friends. At the same time, I believe that there should be boundaries within that friendship. And it does not necessarily mean that you have to have a special boundaries ‘talk’ with every person of the opposite sex, but rather mentally have your intentions laid out and clear.” – Nick, 20’s
“I actually have some pretty strong feelings on this subject after spending most of my younger days thinking the answer on this was a resounding ‘Yes’, I now believe that it is difficult to very dangerous for a guy and a girl to carry on a friendship solely, especially engaged and or married girls. They should have their husbands as their only male friend. Anything other than this is asking for issues.” – Sherry, 50’s
“Biblically, I don’t believe there is a mandate for them to not be friends, but I also believe that lots of sexual immorality can come from close friendships with individuals of the opposite sex, and we are told to ‘flee from sexual immorality.’” – Shane, 20’s
As this survey depicts, there are differing views on the subject and the Bible actually never directly states whether or not guys and girls can be just friends. This article is not meant to give an all-inclusive or definitive answer, but rather, be a helpful guide for people when facing friendships with men and women of the opposite sex. Here are some thoughts to think about:
Guard Your Heart
The Bible says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23 NLT). Be careful how much you share with a friend of the opposite gender. The deeper your conversations go and the more life you do with someone, the easier it is to give your heart to that person and wish things could work out differently than what the friendship is meant to be. If you are not careful, you could end up making a decision you know in your heart is not right. It could eventually take you far of course from your God-given destiny. The direction of your life flows out of your heart – protect it!
Have Friendships Based on Pure Motives
It is easy to take advantage of a good thing when you know it benefits you at the expense of another. The Scriptures teach us that real love is not based on selfish gain (I Corinthians 13:5). This means we should not take advantage of someone simply to get what we want. For example, a guy really likes a girl and will do anything to spend time with her. She knows in her heart that she really doesn’t like him more than a friend, but plays her cards to her advantage by asking him continually to do things for her around her house. The man thinks she might be falling in love with him, but the woman is really using him. This situation happens a lot for both men and women. The key is to be open and honest about the relationship, even if it changes the dynamics of it. It really is not fair to either party if one or both are not honest. If a friend still wants to do something for the person because he or she loves and values the friendship, then that is fine. It really comes down to the motive of the heart. Ask God to help you know what your true motives are and He will!
Respect Each Other’s Boundaries
If a man or woman really likes someone, but feelings are not reciprocated, they should respect their decision to just remain friends. They should not try and pressure them or coerce them into developing something beyond what they want. Many times the individual being pursued will end up despising the aggressor or vice versa and the relationship could be destroyed altogether. Entrust every relationship to God and He will help you keep healthy boundaries and direct you to the right marriage partner if that is a desire of yours.
If Married, Cleave to Your Spouse, Not Another
When a person gets married or engaged to a significant other, he or she should place that relationship far above all other opposite gender relationships. God’s Word tells us that a man and his wife should cleave to each other and become one (Genesis 2:24). This means a spouse should find his or her emotional, relational and sexual needs met and fulfilled in his or her marriage relationship, not with some other man or woman.
If you are keeping secrets from your spouse and sharing them with a member of the opposite sex, you are asking for serious trouble. Or if you are friends with members of the opposite sex that your spouse is not aware of and/or approves, again, you are navigating toward danger. A good question to ask yourself would be, “If my spouse knew everything about this ‘other’ relationship, would he or she approve of the person and/or the level of friendship being developed?” If the answer is “No” or there is hesitation, chances are that specific relationship might be unhealthy!
Infidelity in most cases starts out as an innocent conversation that overstepped a boundary. In fact, one of the leading causes of divorce in America is infidelity (See divorce.com).
Be careful what you share and with whom. Technology has allowed for easy communication with anyone at the click of a button. These modes of communication can be used for great good or can destroy marriages, families and friendships. “Eighty percent of lawyers polled believe Facebook is now a popular option to begin an extramarital affair” (See Infopackets.com).
Not every friendship or Facebook friend of the opposite sex is inherently wrong or bad. The idea is to build these relationships on truth, openness and transparency. When things are out in the light and nothing is hidden, a good foundation can be established and built upon and marriage relationships can stay intact and thrive.
Let the Holy Spirit Direct You
The most important step anyone can take when approaching appropriate boundaries with members of the opposite sex is to ask God for His help in deciphering the complexity of men/women friendships and what He deems as acceptable. The Bible says, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another comforter (counselor, helper, intercessor, advocate, strengthener, and standby), that He may remain with you forever-The Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive (welcome, take to its heart), because it does not see Him or know and recognize Him. But you know and recognize Him, for He lives with you [constantly] and will be in you” (John 14:16-17 AMP).
God, above all else, knows if a relationship is beneficial or damaging for us. There are so many variables and circumstances that come into play that only the “all-knowing” God could shed light and make sense of each situation. He is our counselor and helper and is eager to give us lifesaving advice. He is the Spirit of Truth, as well, and will reveal even the motives of our hearts.
Will you let Him examine your current relationships? He can mend broken marriages and restore the love couple’s once had. He can reveal hidden traps of the enemy, help steer one’s life clear of road hazards and He can give people strength to do the right thing no matter how tough it is.
Has God brought any specific relationships to mind after reading this article? If He has poked at your heart, prayerfully consider some of the advice given and take steps in the direction He is leading you. Or maybe you recognize that some of your relationships in the past have been unhealthy. Admit your mistakes and ask God to forgive you. He is ever ready to embrace a humble contrite man or woman and teach him or her appropriate interaction between sexes. If you fall down, get back up. Life is not about doing everything perfectly, but learning from our mistakes. Keep moving forward. Great God honoring relationships are possible!