Opposite Sex Friendships in Marriage


Hold tight Wilis, this is gonna be a long one.
I have heard that this is a difficult topic to write about. I feel like it’s pretty simple and can be summed up like this: “There are only a few things more hazardous to your marriage than having an intimate relationship/friendship with another woman other than your wife.” I am not talking about your colleague in the cubicle next to you or someone in your community group. I am referring to someone that you may spend time with alone, or share intimate and private details about yourself with other than your wife. I’m not saying avoid all women like the plague, but I am saying your wife should be the only woman you are to ever be alone with and sharing intimate conversations with.

Let’s start from the beginning…

Let’s step back to the original intention of man and woman for a minute. In Genesis 2:18 God said that “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” That’s awesome. Good lookin’ out God (I don’t even know how to schedule a dentist appointment without Tristan). When Adam was created he lacked connectivity of some kind even though he was connected to God in paradise. I was thinking to myself, “well how in the world could that be”? I don’t think this is a discount to God and his infinite, fulfilling pleasure and joy that he brings to us when we are connected with him in a personal relationship. But doesn’t that say something about Adam’s wiring? He still longed to connect and be known by someone else? That internal design that we all have is meant to be solely enjoyed and experienced with your wife. That hard-wiring still exists in us today men. Your wife deserves your attention. I repeat, your wife deserves your attention. Part of how most women feel loved by their husbands is by quality time (See my blog on “The 5 Love Language Test”). If most of yall are like me, I feel like there are only about 16 hours in a day. I am SO busy. Therefore, we simply don’t have time to be hanging around with other women when our wives come first. Period.

It’ll never happen to me…

One of my past best friends thought the same thing. You’re not alone in your naive thinking. Honestly, that is why I am so motivated to write on this topic. I lost one of my best friends and saw his marriage suffer because of this. You know what’s even more relevant? The girl that he was involved with was his wedding photographer. I confronted him about my concerns that I was having before everything went down with the two of them. He simply said “eh, it’s nothing man”. It never starts as anything, but sin and temptation grows in the dark and in the phrase “it’s nothing, it’ll never happen to me”.

No blood, no foul…

I remember playing pick up games of 21 at the local rec center in high school. My friends and I would head over a few nights a week to hoop and mess around with some of the other kids from school. We would always call our own fouls, after all, we were tough as nails (like most 16 year olds think). In doing so, most of the time we would use the phrase, “no blood, no foul” to set the standard. Most of yall who have spent any time on the court are familiar with this. If you’re not, it’s when you have the ball, and the defender aggressively acts physically out of defense past the set acceptable parameters given by the officials. Moral of the story, you are being too physical with the person in possession of the ball. When you’re out grabbing a coffee or whatever it is with your friend before heading home from work, some of those court rules start to show up don’t they? It’s not like your doing anything wrong, right? No blood, no foul. Your not acting on any physical level toward her. It’s just coffee or frequent texting conversations. What’s the big deal? I’m glad you asked. It’s easy to develop a connection with someone of the opposite sex even without any physical contact. I believe that once you start spending any amount of time investing in someone you are developing an emotional connection with that person. Naturally, that is how we operate and communicate as a society. We relate by social class, experience, careers, sports, whatever it may be. My point is that laying those types of foundations with other women other than your wife can be dangerous to your relationship and instill insecurity in your wife. There is far too much of a gateway at stake when you start offering footholds like this. Your wife or fiance is entirely worth every ounce of your full, committed attention. More than likely, your wife would rather you be spending that time with her anyway if she was honest. She may not be to the point in your relationship where she feels comfortable expressing that because she “doesn’t want to make you feel tied down or dependant” so I’ve heard. BREAKING NEWS, YOU ARE DEPENDANT AND TIED DOWN TO YOUR WIFE and there is no greater thing to share in marriage then becoming one together as a couple. More on this later!

Don’t offer a foothold…

Here’s the thing, once you open yourself up in certain places to other women sometimes those wires can get crossed. Fact in point, when things get hot and you and your woman are at odds, you’ll like to go to someone who could help you understand why your woman is acting the way she is. After all, who better to ask than a woman, right? You don’t go see an accountant when you’re feeling sick. That’s what is logical to us guys though. Instead, We need to lean into God’s design and cleave to our wives in those times and trust the covenant we made with our wives and God the day we said I do. God doesn’t make mistakes and when he made us, he made us specifically to be connected to our spouses even when things hit the fan.

Something we all experience far too often…

One of the real dangers of being friends with women is the potential comparison that can come with it. Comparison is something we all struggle with. Check your vibe in the back of your head next time you see your dude on Instagram with his new truck. In your relationship with your wife, it can break you down if another girl is in the picture. Often you will find yourself in those hot moments thinking to yourself, “why doesn’t she just see it like ____ does? She never understands me or gets me like ____. If only she knew my past like ____ does she would get it.” I am sure my past best friend gave into these thoughts far to often and reeps the consequences. Men, remember that God has placed the woman in your life for his eternal purposes and glory. Let the immense weight of that sink into your shoulder blades. When you say and think those things about _____, you are saying to God that he dropped the ball. That when He said He would make you a “suitable helper” specifically for you, he missed the part about her understanding you or your past better than the other girl or his photographer. Be reminded that your life is not your own and that you cherish the blessing of having a companion handcrafted for you to connect with. Once you have fully accepted this truth and realized how awesome it is, why would you even think of jeopardizing it?

This takes me back to Sophomore year at Liberty University….

Everything has a cause and effect on us and our relationships. While in business school, I remember browsing Zales.com in the back of Dr. Lights Microeconomics class trying to find the perfect rock for Tristan instead of note taking economic theory of price elasticity of demand *yawn*. Since your dying to know, its defined as “The degree to which individuals, change their demand or the amount supplied in response to price changes.” Thinking back to it now It can oddly relate it to this topic. However much time you spend investing in other women other than your wife, you will see the changes in demand for your need to cherish your wife and build your relationship. You will struggle to see the best in her, support her in her insecurities and love her the way you are instructed to. The value (price) of the undivided commitment you and your wife share dropped due to the distractions of the other women that you supplied in your life. Don’t let your relationship become a meaningless economic statistic of supply and demand with other women in your life. Nobody likes Economics anyway.


opposite sex friendships in marriage

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We are Ben and Tristan Handley - a husband and wife photography team promoting authentic marriages and documenting love stories through timeless photographs. We provide educational resources and encouragement for young couples who value devotion and commitment.


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