[I’ve had a lot of questions based on a post I wrote about bad boundaries. So, I asked a couple of my fave ladies their thoughts on five questions. Let’s start with theses answers from my pal Annie. Keep an eye out for the other responses!]
1. What is your current stage of life?
I am newly married. We have been married for a little under a year and a half.
2. Do you think guys and girls can be friends? Do you have male friends? Describe those friendships!
I do think guys and girls can be friends. However, I do think there is a giant caveat to that statement. I think we have to be completely honest with ourselves when it comes to that guy. If there is any note of interest, that friendship is going to be really hard to achieve. If there is an attraction there, I think it wiser to be friends in groups.
I do have male friends, but he becomes a friend of mine and Kyle. I still ask him about his life and how he is doing, but only when Kyle is with me in the conversation.
3. If you are single (or when you were single), what is one thing you wish you’d done differently in regards to male friendships?
If I could go back and do my single days again, I would focus more on my girl friendships. I spent a lot of my time trying to figure out my male friendships. I spent all of my heart’s energy trying to turn a friendship into something it was never meant to be. I spent time trying to justify why it was okay for me to spend most of my time with a certain guy who was just a friend.
4. If you are single (or when you were single), what was your view of dating? What is your current view of dating?
When I was single, my view of dating was all over the place. I swung from thinking dating was just a fun way to exploit crushes and have a reason to get dressed up and look cute and have layered conversations (you know, the ones when you say something seemingly unimportant, but you give your best come hither look and they get all confused. Are we talking about the salad or did you just tell me you liked me?). Then swung to the other side of the spectrum that dating was simply the best way to find the godliest guy. It didn’t matter whether I was attracted to him or enjoyed him or not.
Yep, all over the place.
Since then, my view of dating has somewhat fallen in the middle. I think dating can be fun. And I think dating can be a great way to find out if the guy is legit or not. But I also believe that God is sovereign over that area of our lives too. How often you date – or how good you are at dating – is not necessarily an indicator of whether marriage is on the horizon or not.
5. What boundaries did you (do you) have with guys? What is your current view on that?
I have quite a few boundaries for myself when it comes to my relationship with guys. I didn’t have quite as many when I was single, and in some ways I regret that naive freedom I allowed myself. I know my weaknesses. I know that I like it when a guy likes me, I like the power I feel when a guy likes me.
In marriage, those desires don’t change. My desire for a guy to like me is not a knock on my husband, it’s a nod to understanding my sin tendencies. While the Lord has given me the grace to fight that sin and enter into marriage, it’s still a pull to my flesh nonetheless.
The phrase “flee sin” has a whole new meaning to me. Practically speaking, if a guy catches my attention, I look away. If I notice myself lingering on anything about him, I stop my thoughts and repent right then and there. I don’t allow myself to have deep or one on one conversations with men – single or married. I don’t allow myself to engage in extended email or Facebook conversations with men. And lastly, but most importantly, I bring Kyle into the conversation. God has given us to one another for us to help persevere one another.
If I am not honest with him about what I am struggling with, he cannot rightly help me fight that sin. So, if/when this sin area becomes an issue, I bring it to Kyle and confess it to him. In his great love for the Lord and for me, he helps me fight. He puts my holiness before the potential pain that could come from this type of sin.