Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Guiding Opposite-Sex Friendships in Marriage/Relationships

So, I came across the following questionaire and felt it was interesting.  There have always been questions in my dating relationships and marriage on opposite-sex friends.

I, personally, have had bad/questionable experiences with opposite-sex friendships in my adult life, so typically stay away from any type of friendship (unless it is very surface-level) with people of the opposite sex.  The exception would be if I were single and/or interested in exploring more with the individual.  In that case, I can do what I want.
Please note that if you are single and the person of the opposite sex is married or in a relationship, the guidelines still apply. (though the bulk of the responsibility does fall on the committed person to make that distinction to their opposite-sex friend.)
Also note that there are some people who have attractions towards the same sex.  In these situations, the opposite-sex rules would apply.

Questions: Guiding Opposite-Sex Friendships in Marriage

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)

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