It is important to have positive, encouraging friends of the same sex. I am so thankful for the ladies at my church because they are uplifting and they speak respectfully of their husbands – and this in a world where women often degrade their husbands to their girlfriends. Regardless of how loving a relationship you have with your future spouse, the day will come when he or she will hurt you. It will likely be unintentional, but when you marry, know that you are marrying an imperfect person who will slip up – just like you will. It will be very tempting in those times of hurt to find friends who will validate your feelings of anger and hurt. Validation of your feelings is not a bad thing; however, you need friends who will point you back to Scripture and not bitterness. These are the friends that will not allow you to put your husband down. They will hear you and then offer godly counsel on how to restore your marital relationship. If you share your situations with a friend who is only interested in hearing the bad things in your relationship, find a new friend.
One of the greatest relationships you can have outside of your family are friendships with the same sex who are as committed to godly marriage as you are. Your spouse will be blessed if you are spending time in the company of friends who build up their spouses. When I spend time with my Bible study friends, I leave feeling all the more connected and thankful for my husband. When I spend time with women who are only interested in gossiping about and tearing down their husbands, I’m filled with bitterness at my husband’s mistakes. Both husbands and wives will make plenty of mistakes, but when you are filling your heart with God’s Word and godly counsel of like-minded friends, you will find yourself forgiving more easily and increasingly reflecting on their positive qualities.
Maybe you are a man who has had an easier time socializing with women than men. It is not wrong to have female friendships in the context of other couples, but it is unwise to spend time alone with members of the opposite sex once you are engaged or married. It may begin as the most innocent relationship ever, but when you share your heart with someone of the opposite sex, your heart opens to them and begins to close to your fiancée or spouse’s heart.
My husband has friends that I consider brothers in Christ. I enjoy being in their company, but I also consider it important that Eric be with us whenever we are together. What you may consider a godly relationship with a member of the opposite sex can quickly turn into a sinful relationship if you begin to share things with them (physically or emotionally) that you should only share with your spouse.
Take some time and consider the godly marriages you have witnessed in your life. Were they surrounded by Godly people? Did they spend their time in the company of those who also held their marriages in high esteem. You will often find that couples who value their marriages spend time in the company of others who value their marriages in like manner. If you are thinking about getting married, engaged, or are already married, investing time in building same-sex friendships and friendships with other Godly couples will be a lasting blessing to your marriage relationship.
What same-sex and couple friends do you have that will help you build up and encourage your relationship in a godly manner?