Opinion | Sexuality

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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