This Week’s Reading (Chapter 9)
This week we are working through Chapter 9. We encourage you and your spouse to read through the introduction together or separately (which ever works best for you) and then schedule a time to chat about it. It is best to write anything down that jumps out at you so you can discuss it further with your spouse. We also encourage you both to pray together asking God to open your heart to receive what He wants to show you each week.
This Week’s Video Discussion
This week Carlie wasn’t feeling well so the video is a lot shorter. We also stayed indoors so she would be more comfortable so the quality isn’t that great – but the words are still clear. Thanks for taking this ride with us! Without any further ado, let’s dive into week 10!
Want to dig deeper? For further study, please visit Ashleigh’s blog for a free downloadable study guide.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this week’s study! Please leave your comments below or go ahead and start a conversation over in the Facebook community!
What do your close friendships look like now that you’re married? Are these close buddies male or female? If you’re a husband, my hope is that you said, “male.” And if you’re a wife like me, I hope you answered “female.”
It’s not that I hold to a men-and-women-can’t-just-be friends philosophy. I have male friends. My husband Ted has female friends. I think it’s okay for you to also. So I’m certainly not anti-opposite sex friendships. That is if – and it’s a big if – once you’re married, these opposite-sex friends fall more closely under the label casual.
What do I mean by casual? Do I mean you awkwardly pass each other with a quick wave or nod. That there’s absolutely no depth to your interactions?
Not at all.
Have conversations. Have depth. Don’t be afraid to answer the question, “How’s it going?” with “Not so great.” By casual, I mean don’t make opposite-sex friends the ones you’re regularly and consistently confiding in one-on-one. Don’t schedule coffee dates and have accountability sessions. Don’t invest quality and quantity time just the two of you. Don’t bear your unguarded heart to them.
Yep, it may be a controversial view to some, but when it comes to those friends Anne with an “e” would call bosom friends – you know a kindred spirit you turn to for emotional support and guidance – I believe that as marrieds, there’s wisdom in keeping them same-sex.
And let me clarify a bit here. I am not saying that you and your spouse can’t be “kindred spirits” with another couple. That the four of you can’t confide in each other. That you can’t have coffee and keep each other accountable. Or invest quality and quantity time into each other’s lives. Ted and I have had and continue to have friendships with other couples that we value deeply. As a couple, we consider them close friends. But … I’m not meeting separately with the husband or confiding solely to him. Or vice versa with Ted and the other wife. We still exercise discretion and have boundaries in place to not only protect our marriage, but theirs as well.
One way that I protect my relationship with my wife is to be careful not to become too close to other women.
Ultimately, I figure if I never get onto the intimacy on-ramp with another woman, I’ll never find myself in a sexually compromising situation. But that’s not really my biggest concern. My more immediate concern is that I save my “emotional connections” for my wife. If I’m going to let my guard down and share vulnerabilities, it’s going to be with my wife Ashleigh. Those deep things of the heart are too precious to share with women from work, from church, or from the grocery store.
And if for some reason I’m unable to share them with Ashleigh, then I may share them with one of my guy friends. Yeah, I’m not an egalitarian. I have this notion that men and women are inherently different, and that my connections with guys are different from my connections with women. There are things I can divulge to my guy friends that I just won’t share with my female friends.
This is nothing new. Maybe you’ve heard of Billy Graham. Maybe you’re impressed that through decades of in-the-spotlight Christian ministry, his reputation has remained pure. Why? In part because he has guarded his relationships with those of the opposite sex. He has been OK keeping a bit more distance between himself and non-spousal women.
For Billy, this has meant being counter-culturally extreme, to the point of being potentially offensive: never being alone with a woman he’s not married to. He has been careful not to share a private meal with a woman, not to counsel a woman alone, not even to be on an elevator just him and one woman.
I imagine some women have taken offense at his “off-putting-ness.” Some may have found his wariness to be sexist. Maybe Billy missed out on some great conversations – even some great opportunities to be a minister of blessing – by limiting the depth and intimacy of his contact with those of the opposite sex. But check out his track record. Maybe his hyper-guardedness in regard to women has helped him stay true to his wife, true to his ministry, true to his Lord. Maybe the “Billy Graham Rule,” as it has come to be called, is a fine guide, even now when such rules come across as naive and dated and quaint and ignorant.