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Cross-Gender Friendships: What's Appropriate for Married People?

A new model suggests married men and women can be best friends—and not with their spouses. Think again.

Before I got married I was single for 28 years, and I learned a lot during that time. One lesson? That it can be horribly lonely as a single person in the church, especially given the popular teachings about marital boundaries.

Although I respect every married couple's right to define boundaries in their own way, these boundaries can be painful. As a single woman I often felt like a sexual object to be handled like fire. I grieved the loss of male friends who, rather than invite me into friendship with their wives, ended our friendship altogether.

Because of these experiences, I wanted my marriage to be different. After we became engaged, my then-fiancfamp;copy; and I thought long and hard about how to do friendship Christianly. I never wanted another woman to feel the way I had, and I wanted our marriage to be marked by hospitality. Rather than stifle friendship, I hoped that our marriage would be life-giving to the relationships around us.

I believe my husband and I have succeeded in our ...

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CT Women exists to highlight writing by Christian women. We cover trends, ideas, and leaders that shape how women are living out the gospel in our time. Learn more by meeting our advisors and editors.

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