Welcome to Purposeful living today. Do have a great day, God is your provider and defender this week.  In all you do walk with wisdom for wisdom is profitable to direct. Eccl 10:10


A relationship with the opposite gender can only go so far before it starts infringing on the covenant of your Relationship/marriage. The point here is that i am not saying you can’t have friends of the opposite sex. And I am not saying that all your opposite gender relationships are bad. But what I am saying is, the unavoidable progression of relationships is something that is far too easily ignored, for how dangerous they can be . If ignored and dismissed for too long, you’ll be in a relationship too deep to stop. The good person in you won’t want to hurt them (your opposite- gender friend) or your spouse because neither one deserves to be hurt. So it becomes a mess.
These situations can seem complicated, but they are actually quite simple to understand.

Yes, you can have friends of the opposite gender

This article is about why and how they CAN ruin your relationship or marriage. Think of it as more of a warning, than a “hammer and judge.”

The heart behind this article is to bring light to a topic rarely talked about, and open the inter -webs for healthy discussion on the matter .

Here is an experience of Jeremy Ripoff; a relationship/marriage expert. He tells his story of how his relationship was almost ruined as a result of ignorance.

"While I was in college in Santa Barbara, I had a good friend that was a girl. Simultaneously , Audrey and I were in a long- distance relationship. Over time, my friendship with this girl evolved. You could say she was one of my best friends. This started to cause a lot of issues with Audrey and I… but I couldn’t understand why, because in my mind we were just friends, maybe even in her mind too. But as we all know from experience… all dating relationships are GOING SOMEWHERE. Either closer together , or further apart. While Audrey and I were weathering our long -distance relationship and growing further apart , I was hanging out with this girl almost every day, and we were inevitably growing closer together .
Audrey had asked me many times to stop hanging out with this girl as frequently as I was. To my regret, I didn't listen. I was wrapped up in my “harmless” relationship with this girl. There came a time where, despite my lack of understanding at the time, if I wanted a healthy relationship with Audrey, I had to say goodbye to my friend. There was nothing wrong with her, she didn ’t do anything wrong, in fact, she helped me a ton and had a huge impact on my life in college… . but at the expense of my relationship with Audrey .
Think about it this way, say you have a scale of 0 – 100 percent. The maximum effort you can give is 100 percent. You cannot give more than 100 percent effort, it’s not possible! Your relationships, not just marriage, are constantly fluctuating . They are in a fluid state of giving and taking energy and effort. Every time you give to someone else the percentage on that scale changes in their favor. The more you give to someone else, the less you have for your wife or potential spouse. And once you are married, your wife is the most important relationship you have besides your relationship with the Lord . Your effort and energy should go to her first, always.
In my situation, it was basic math .
I was splitting my efforts 60/ 40 percent between Audrey and my friend. Marriage requires 100 percent effort. Although I was not married to Audrey yet, when you are dating intentionally, the principle remains the same. If my relationship with my friend in Santa Barbara had progressed any further, I would have been choosing my friend, over Audrey . My time and effort would have swung more in her favor , instead of Audrey ’s.
Although my deepest desire was to have a healthy relationship with Audrey that was progressing towards marriage, my strongest desire was to remain friends with this girl. Sometimes our deepest desires are overridden by our strongest desires. If your deepest desire is to have a strong, healthy, covenant marriage, then you have to be willing to align your strongest desires with your deepest desires.
I was in love with Audrey and she knew that, this girl was just my friend who I cared about deeply . I didn ’t understand why it couldn’t work! Besides, we ’re not even married yet! But I was dating to marry , and if Audrey was going to be my wife, then I needed to learn an important lesson . Actions speak louder than words .
“The closer I get to marriage, the less concerned I need to be about pleasing others, and the more concerned I need to be about pleasing my future wife.”
One day I was wrestling with why I had to break off this friendship with my friend that was a girl… and it hit me. We tend to only see where we ourselves stand. So I put myself in Audrey’s shoes, and thought to myself, “What if Audrey had a guy friend who was becoming her best friend, and it wasn ’t me …”
I hated the thought. And we weren’t even married yet! Within marriage that would be so wrong it’s insane . Not only wrong, but detrimental . Your spouse should be your best friend.".

Now, the point is this. Some people may say that they have always had opposite- gender friends, and marriage shouldn ’t have to change that. I’ve heard people say that being able to have opposite-gender friends is a sign of a healthy relationship.
Not true .
In my opinion, this viewpoint is naive and selfish. Relationship/marriages have “ups” and “downs.” During an “up ” season, where everything is bright and dandy, it might be easier to allow a seemingly harmless opposite- gender relationship to exist , even if it frustrates your spouse a little bit. But in the “down” season, that opposite-gender friendship could become a destructive wildfire – and one that is very hard to extinguish. During that "down” season when you start having issues , disagreements , with your wife, conveniently you have a female friend who understands you, will listen , is “always there for you, ” and is fun and easy to talk to.
Wait a minute, that sure sounds a lot like the vows once made to a special person called your spouse…

“Marriage is a unique relationship where you choose to throw your decisions under the authority of your word.”

You made a promise, and now you must make decisions that honor your promise . When you find yourself torn between where you should spend your effort and energy, the answer is likely your spouse. They are your priority, and your energy and effort should first be devoted to them . Even when it’s hard, and especially when it’s easy.
We must not be tempted to base our decisions on our current season. They need to be filtered through the standard we are choosing to uphold. To protect your standards, you must create some boundaries.
You might be asking yourself, “Why?”
If “why” is your question. I want to ask you, why are you asking why?
Is your questioning coming from a defensive heart ? A stubborn heart ? A defiant heart ? Or is your heart completely yielded to your spouse, and ultimately the Lord ?
I think by asking this question you are also asking , “Where is the line, and how close can I get to it?”
Instead, you should be asking , “Where is the line, and how far can I get from it?”
Do you want to protect your relationship/marriage and make it the most exciting, challenging, rewarding thing in your life? If so, then don ’t make room for relationships that will cause your spouse to doubt , feel jealous, compare themselves , or even feel like they are missing out.
Don’t send that completely innocent text about  “work stuff” after hours .
Don’t keep going to lunch alone with that co-worker.
Don’t let that friend in on what you’ve been thinking and wrestling with lately , especially if you haven’t let your wife in!
It’s just plain dangerous. Hanging out with the opposite gender alone is not just asking, it’s begging for problems. Worst case scenario, you look to that female friend to fulfill your wife’s shortcomings . The goal should always be to make your spouse feel like he/she fulfills all your needs.
You might be thinking , “Well, my spouse says they don’t care if I have close opposite- gender friends .” you would be warned, that means that they think it’s okay to have close opposite-gender friends too, or at least, to be justified if a circumstance came about . That’s not living by a standard that will protect your marriage.

Maybe your spouse does care that you have an opposite- gender friend and they have expressed their concerns with you, and you’re thinking… “They can’t tell me who to be friends with. ”
I disagree, and I think scripture argues that point as well. (Ephesians 5 :33 ) Out of love and respect , your wife or husband should have a say over your friendships . And, the only reason your spouse would ask this hard, awkward question, (“could you please umm… not be friends with them …?) is if it’s seriously bugging them . If something you are doing is bugging your spouse enough for them to ask you to stop… THEN STOP. Because if you don’t, your scale is beginning to tip in a direction away from your spouse.
Here is a classic example that we maybe have all seen or witnessed in action , and how it can become divisive.
Lets say the wife becomes friends with someone. And they become really good friends. Inevitably this would cause the husband to feel a little uneasy. (even though it might have been his fault in the first place, and even though it’s a completely innocent relationship) He may have even asked her to pull back a little bit. If the wife doesn ’t pull back, because her actions are seemingly justified with this innocent relationship, then she is making a decision and the husband would feel disrespected , causing a division in their marriage. Now lets just say that the husband wrongfully becomes friends with someone of the opposite- gender, and it’s his wife’s turn to ask him to pull back, and now he won’t… again, he is making a decision. Nothing says , “you are my priority” like putting your spouse before everyone, no matter what. So their relationship continues to digress and have more division , more complication, and more unexpected outcomes.
We ’ve all seen this happen. And the point of the example above is to highlight the ignoring of your spouses feelings . At the end of the day, they both think that their opposite- gender relationship has precedence over the way their spouse feels… Super obvious problem that I think we can all agree on.
This is all because of a stubbornness to be the one to do the right thing. Both people in the example above seem to be waiting for the other person to fix the problem…
As I mentioned before, you can have friends of the opposite- gender, but nine times out of ten it can easily slip out of control. And nobody even saw it coming. How can a good thing, a friendship, ruin my marriage?! I think the proof is in the pudding. Talk to anyone divorced, which is something neither partner had in mind when they said “I do, till death do us part. ”

We must strategize for success.

This is all a result of letting outside friendships get too close to their covenant marriage.

“When you don’t know what to do, just do the next best thing.”
What that means is, no matter how hard it might be, be willing to do the next best thing yourself. You must be willing to turn the other cheek no matter how it might be received.
Here are four takeaways.
1 . Always be the one to “do the next best thing”
2 . Never justify a good thing, (friendship) for the sake of the best thing. A healthy relationship/marriage.
3 . Don ’t. Ignore. What . Your. Spouse. Is. Feeling. They are feeling it for a reason.
4 . Adhere to a standard not of your own. Because if you don’t, you are ruled by the limits and constrained understanding of your own mind. Obey your standard, even when it doesn ’t make sense.

“There is freedom in the discipline of moderation”
Moderation feels like you are losing your freedom … when you are actually becoming free!
Moderation in spending creates financial freedom … . Moderation in eating creates physical freedom … Moderation in friendships creates a healthy relationship/marriage… .
Yes, your spouse has authority to tell you not to be friends with someone. You gave them that authority when you said, “I Do .”

Emotional polygamy is a real thing.
Most people consider polygamy to be morally wrong. And a lot of that is due to what we can observe from polygamous relationships. None of it looks fun, and they almost always end horribly. When you constantly hang out with someone of the opposite-gender, you allow an emotional relationship to develop . Even though you haven’t physically touched them , and you say you never would , it is still an emotional relationship. Culture tells us to gauge our relationships by their physical status , which I think is extremely naive.

• Don’t allow fluctuating seasons of life to compromise your standard . Hold yourself, and your relationship or marriage, to a standard not of your own. Even when it’s hard. (For us, our standard is Christ and His teachings )

• Don’t justify your friendship with the opposite gender by your spouses shortcomings . (1 Peter 3 : 1)

• Your best friend should be your spouse. If they aren’t, be willing to change that.

The devil wants to steal from you the joy of having a beautiful relationship/marriage; that is why he would always be happy when people live in ignorance, seeing things only from their own point of view and not from God's. Scripture makes us to understand that God's people perish for lack of knowledge(Hosea 4:6)

 Glory to God we are Christ's and He lives in us, He has paid it full on the Cross. We have wisdom, knowledge, understanding. We are victorious, overcomers, more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.

 If you have not made Jesus Christ who loves you dearly as your Lord and personal saviour you will struggle in building a healthy relationship/marriage with your spouse and will not be able to live a purposeful fulfilled life on earth.

 You can begin a relationship now with the Lord Jesus Christ by saying this prayer:

 Lord Jesus Christ I acknowledge that I am a sinner, I believe in your death and resurrection. I ask you to forgive me my sins, I reject the devil and all his works and l welcome the Holy Spirit into my life. I declare today I am born again and I am a child of God in Jesus name .Amen . If you just said that prayer I welcome you to God's family. Look for a Bible believing church where God's word is taught and fellowship there.

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