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Can men and women just be friends? (How do we deal with opposite sex friendships before marriage)?

Discussion in 'Polls' started by pookiejr, Jun 21, 2017.


Can men and women just be friends?

  1. Yes

    2 vote(s)
  2. No

    1 vote(s)
  3. Yes, if there is no attraction.

    0 vote(s)
  4. Yes, if boundaries were not crossed.

    0 vote(s)
  5. Yes, but is will be different from dealing with a same sex friendship.

    0 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. This is in reference to unmarried people.

    I have noticed that there are a great number of people who have an understanding of various topics dealing with Christian life and conduct. However, I had a difficult time finding a thread on this subject (I may have overlooked such a thread, if anyone knows of on on this subject please post the link) With this in mind, I need your help in finding out how to navigate Christianity and singleness when is comes to dealing with members of the faith who are of the opposite sex.

    To my understanding, opposite sex "friendships" appear to have a high risk of at least one party having feelings for the other. There are polls that suggest that if a man is friends with a woman (in this case, friendship is defined as being willing to hang out with her one on one) then the man is (more likely than not) desiring to pursue a relationship with the woman (both parties being single), due to his admission of attraction to the woman.

    I have been in a situation where the relationship started as courtship and eventually devolved in to a necking buddy partnership; yet this person, while no longer interested in a marital relationship, still believes that we can be friends.

    With that, what say ye?

    Are these relationships a precursor to, or another name for, courtship?

    Should these type of relationships be avoided?

    Are there type of relationships biblical?

    If boundaries were crossed, can that relationship continue?

  2. Deut 24:1; “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house,
    Deut 24:2; and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man’s wife,
    Deut 24:3; and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife,
    Deut 24:4; then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.

    Just remember having an emotional affair of the heart is just as much adultery as having a physical relationship.
    It's a very slippery slope having a relationship with someone you have previously been intimate with. I won't say
    it can't be done, but I will say when another person knows you that well, they know when you are having problems
    and it's almost impossible to be friends with someone and not have feelings for them. Not just romantic feelings,
    but they hurt when you hurt, they worry when you worry, they laugh when you laugh. This is part of becoming
    "one flesh". When your spouse hurts, it is normal for you to hurt as much as they do... almost like they are physically
    a part of you. When you get this close to someone of the opposite sex.. I personally feel you have already crossed the line.

    apart from that... you're not supposed to marry them if they have been sexually active with someone else.
    (of course you really shouldn't be getting divorced in the first place).
    pookiejr likes this.
  3. Understood, I appreciate your referencing the bible. I agree that sexual intercourse creates a soul tie (not a biblical phase) between people and that only that would be able to break it is the power of God. However, I am confused at this one point; does the end or your post mean that because I committed fornication with someone that I cannot marry (or, that I cannot marry anyone other than the person who I committed fornication with)?

    Again, thank you for your time and consideration.
  4. Dear Brother,
    The closest I could come is one that Brother Chad started. However, it really has more to do with friendships with the opposite sex while being married. Otherwise, I can't recall the friendship prior to marriage or a precursor to getting married thread. I'll have to try some more digging. It might reside in the Men's or Women's Forums somewhere.....

    Opposite Sex Friends: Marriage

    I did hear a preacher this morning talk about how a young unmarried couple came to the altar to give their lives to Christ. No problem there! However, when the preacher and his wife started talking about helping her to get settled in another families home until they could make it right before God...........well.........some sins are tougher to give up than others! The preacher said they never came back. I truly hope they figured it out.

    I can't say that there is a blanket coverage to say yeah or nay to having this type of friendship prior to marriage. Much would have to do with the environment where this friendship started. Say, like through a teen ministry, or such church related activity. What started it, and why does it continue.

    After 34 years of marriage, I've come to realize that any relationship even one based in the Covenant Union of Marriage goes through changes. So, a "friendship" with someone of the opposite sex is bound to also undergo changes. The problem will be in their ability to determine if it's drawing both of them closer or further away from God. The Adversary doesn't require much to get man & woman to fall to this corrupted flesh we reside in.

    I'm curious how others feel as well. Thanks for opening up this topic!

    With the Love of Christ Jesus.
    pookiejr likes this.
  5. Tha
    Thank you for brother taking the time to post an article to possibly reference. I also appreciate the anecdote about the young couple, I hope they did too :). But at any rate, If I understand correctly, you are suggesting that it would be a good habit to:

    1. Look at the origin of the relationship "how did it start?"
    2. Look at the "fruit" of the relationship "why does it continue"
    3. Understand that all relationships change (based on your experience with marriage)?

    I am glad that this is a space where we can discuss how we can keep relationships (friendships and beyond) Holy. There aren't many materials that I know of on this topic (that I am aware of), and I would be glad to get some sound doctrine out of this, not only for me, but for others who have been told that we:

    1. Should 'Get it while were young'

    2. Should never ever ever talk to the opposite sex ever!

    and everything between and surrounding those statements.

    GBU brother
  6. QUOTE "3. Understand that all relationships change (based on your experience with marriage)?"UNQUOTE

    Have to answer this first and the rest later. I'm off to church, but it's a quick reply.
    Every relationship changes over time. Especially as an example the one we have with God. As our knowledge increases of God, I truly believe our joy also increases. I do not believe we will ever know all of God, but we'll have an eternity to continue to do so! Alleluia!

    "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. John 17:3

    An Earthly relationship can't help but change as we change ourselves. No one is stagnant, even those in darkness. Man/Woman grow closer to the light or to darkness. Thank-fully in Christ Jesus it is the Light we continue to grow to!

    Off to Church!

    With the Love of Christ Jesus.
    pookiejr likes this.
  7. Thank you for taking the time to produce a quick message before Church. How was Church anyway? It seems like we (as believers) don't keep in mind that our relationships (or our conduct for that matter) are either going in one direction or the other. Which reminds me of how our relationship with God is related to our relationship with people. I thank God that He that has begun this work is able to perform it.

    Waiting joyfully for your reply,

  8. No. For as long as we are in the flesh it is impossible to just ''be / stay friends''. Leave any man alone with any woman on an island and what is inevitable will come to pass. It is all a matter of time. So 'friendship only' can exist if alone time is minimal / well controlled.

    Just to comment on your other options:
    1 Yes, if there is no attraction. God created attraction between man and woman. God does not make mistakes. There is always attraction.
    2 Yes, if boundaries were not crossed. Boundaries with alone time? Boundaries are 'no alone time'. IE 'boundary', not 'boundaries'.
    3 Yes, but is will be different from dealing with a same sex friendship. Indeed. Like 100% different.

    A God-fearing man who is accepting who he is as a man, will always be highly attracted to woman. It is in our God given dna and vice versa.

    The only way we keep the flesh at bay is by the spirit. Christians therefore do have restraint, but it is limited. It is not wise to test those limits.
    pookiejr likes this.
  9. Thank you making time to provide insight. By Boundaries I meant not allowing yourself to have any intimate contact (when I say this, I am counting that hug that last a bit too long, the "in the moment" kiss as well as anything "beyond" that.) However, since reading your statements, it seems like that is an impossibility (especially if I am around a man who is walking in the manliness that he was made to have). We were created for procreation, even that man who finds me to be the most unattractive hag this side of the equator will give in to his design if I am the only female available (imagined or otherwise). One thing that I would like to know is how does one control one on one interactions? Also, how does a couple "get to know each other" (in a holy manner) without "Getting to know each other" (physically)?
  10. Church was awesome! Thank-you for asking. If I am I'll regale you with a story from the night.
    We have a WWII veteran who grew up in an orphanage and professes to never being taught love and it was only through his wife that he's starting to understand it. Saying this at the tender age of 92 always seemed sad to me. I listened to him talk of this again to a group of young men, me too :) Now for a little background on how he communicates with others.

    This man will always speak to whomever he finds himself in contact with and will attempt to lighten their day. He likes to say being old allows for some advances that would not be accepted if presented by others :) Anyway he'll go into a doctors office and will see a young lady, who of cause is anyone younger then he is and will say "I was told that you have something for me." Of cause the other person is perplexed and say "Excuse me" with a bewildering look on their face. He'll then say "I was told that you had a smile to give me." "Do you mind if I have it?" :) Of cause his manner is excellent and unassuming. People can't help but smile and a conversation thus starts. He has done this for years and years.

    The Holy Spirit opened my mind to understand that this man who put importance on "a smile", was actually sharing the deep love he had from Christ Jesus, without knowing that he was doing it much less that it was "Love" the one thing he always felt he was deficient in knowing! Thank-you Holy Spirit for that learning.

    I shared this with him and to everyone's amazement he said "You embarrass me and you know what?" "I believe you are right" and he gave me the shyest biggest smile from the walker he was sitting in. :) Alleluia! All Glory to God!

    To bring this back to the subject at hand. When men with other men can share moments like that, It is a fellowship that in truth I believe would be difficult to impossible to have with a woman in only a friendship status, that is not seen as a "Father/Daughter" or "Mother/Son" relationship. Maybe, it could be seen as a "brother/sister", but though we are this in Christ Jesus, could ones not yet meat eaters of His Word, and walking in the Spirit be able to continue this way?

    I do not know, and would venture to guess as I stated before, that the hurdles as each person changes "might" be more difficult as the cords became more closely nit for it to remain being just a "friendship". Still, in Christ Jesus all things are possible!!!! Especially, if we are to look to our Lord or others in the bible like Paul as examples!

    Needless to say we are talking of a friendship that is based in Christ Jesus. Within a Ministry which is to his purpose and within His will to hold to. As you placed my words in numbering to 1 & 2. :) So, I believe that friendship with the opposite sex should be seen to the purpose of seeking one that can be that helpmate to the Glory of God and unified in the Covenant of Marriage.

    So, if it's to just "hang out"......Entertainment.......Someone to confide in.....loneliness? It all goes back to that number 2 "to what purpose". and so back to my previous paragraph which is really, looking for what one can find in the Covenant of Marriage, while being Blessed by God for it!

    With the Love of Christ Jesus.
    pookiejr likes this.
  11. 1. Jewish woman do not allow any physical contact. None whatsoever. Interesting that this be passed on in Judaism, sourced from OT / prophets....God.

    2. There is no such thing as one born an ugly hag. Only a person who has become lazy and let themselves go. Laziness and gluttony is unattractive. Even to God. That is why He in His wisdom made us go fat from it. God also made make up for woman who are not lazy and want to be extra attractive.

    3. By having it in public / with others near or present. No alone in car to work or visiting inside house to drop something off.

    4. Well at my church there is an involved courting process. You announce to one elder, who announces to the church that so and so are courting and we must not stress too much if we see them sitting together / spending more time with each other. They both go to counselling from an elder. Courting processes are normally six months before and engagement and marriage soon after. This is only because the elders know the people in the church well and if they believe both are Godfearing, they will fully support the union. Anyone who does not care about elders recommendations and advice without proper reasons is simply in a state of rebellion to God and oversight He has put in place for our protection. Love can make us blind and stupid. Insanely stupid. Marriage is to please God, please flesh, have kids, have someone to support and love you until you die. In heaven there will be no sex, but there will still be relationships. Some theorize that even in heaven you will feel bonded. As God makes two spirits one. Of course the requirement being that you be someone who wants heaven / to be with God / please God. Marriage makes no sense to me for the unsaved to do. If we don't have God's blessing on a marriage, it may as well be called a fling.
    pookiejr likes this.
  12. Thank you for sharing your, and the Veteran's, experiences, it is very nice to see every day ways to show the love of God. With that, it seems like it would be possible to have such exchanges in a group fellowship, but one on one (unless it is, like you said, a parent/child type relationship) would be difficult.

    A agree that the purpose of any relationship should be to glorify God, but now one thing that I wonder about is wether or not a friendship when the relationship's tendency to glorify Him seems to be hit or miss.
  13. I can see this make men get married just to be able to touch a woman if this was applied to our culture, but since American culture values whoredoms over chastity, I may not be found by anyone.

    I am an african american (black, negro, I am not caught up on the terminology) woman, there are plenty of people who would look at the amount of melanin in my skin and say no thank you. The strange thing is that I have gained weight and I have received more attention from guys after gaining then I did when I was skinny. Is there some equilibrium for guys when they believe that the woman is too skinny?

    Sounds fair and reasonable to me.

    Seems legit, so the two have no interaction before they start courting (how do they decided that they want to court in the first place)? is it acceptable for someone to find out during the courting process that they are not compatible?
  14. It applies to men too. They may not even sit with a woman they are not related to or married. I actually agree with it.

    To each their own I guess. Too skinny is just as bad as obese. The point is simply that we let ourselves go. God did not create us ugly.

    Well how do you decide you want to kiss and hang out with someone? Eyes and brain. Eyes like what they see. Brain grasps the person is a likely match. Guess there is smell too.

    Yes. What happened with me is the elders got to know my girlfriend better and disapproved of her. I disagreed with them and still pursued a relationship / engagement. Lets just say things went terrible for me and I should have heeded their warning / insight.
    pookiejr likes this.
  15. Oh, ok. So zero interaction between male and females in the church (other than being in the same room)? Also, do you believe that children should have sex separated church activities to prevent future problems?

    Seems legit.

    So basically it's "Hi, I am attracted to you and know nothing of you, due to our lack of interaction (also you may smell good); lets see if we are compatible for marriage. If we are not (compatible), I will indefinitely leave you alone; if you do not agree to the compatibility testing and desire to go another route with me, I will indefinitely leave you alone."?

    Sorry about that.
  16. Lol. The courting process is to determine marriage potential.

    Think of it as dating, with counselling, no physical contact and no alone at house or in car, time.
    pookiejr likes this.
  17. So being alone in public is ok (restauraunt, lazer tag, polka fest, etc...)?

    This seems like something that would take trust. If the idea is determining marriage potential, it seems like honest and full self disclosure would be a must.

    This (system) is something that I may actually consider with people who are potential suitors as a safety measure. Nothing like seeing what you are worth to a guy; but at the same time, nothing like seeing what you are worth to a guy.

    But with that, wouldn't t end the same (basically, if this doesn't work out, no we can't be friends, no we cannot interact)?
  18. You mean when it's something less than to the Glory of God or that it becomes/is less than that?

    Most times what is being sought is companionship. However, as innocently as this may seem, many times this is not something that is seen through the belief that it's for the Glory of God, but looked as rather a source of support/mutual interests. Yet, because we are still battling against the flesh part, we can easily/deceitfully be lead astray. I don't know for sure, but if the men & women of God who have fallen to the wayward sin were to tell there stories to us. Many would readily admit that the intent in the beginning was not what it ended up being.

  19. I was referring to when it starts out good, then eventually becomes less than glorious to God. In such a case would the friendship/relationship be worth salvaging, or should it be avoided all together?
  20. 1 & 2. Yes :wink:
    3. Correct, intimacy / sex is for the honeymoon.
    4. It is easier to be friends as you have not been intimate. Trying being friends with someone you just gave your body too. The good person always gets damaged in intimate relationships outside of marriage.

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