In our fortnightly column “Great Sexpectations” the Woman Alive panel answer your questions on sex, faith and intimacy. Drop us a confidential email on firstname.lastname@example.org and ask us anything. Here, we tackle; whether or not a Christian woman can be friends with a man without feeling tempted.
This panel member has a lot of male friends. Gorgeous-hearted, Jesus-loving lads who swing round to help her assemble flat pack furniture in exchange for pizza. You would think, from that start, that I’m going to say: “Yes have Christian friends of all sexes and live your best life.” Then close the case and get on with answering another one of the emails in our mail bag. But you may be surprised to hear I don’t think it’s as simple as that.
A while ago a friend of mine, who is male but isn’t Christian, said: “No matter what anyone says, when a straight man and woman are friends, one of them would always be willing to kick it up a gear if the other asked.” I baulked and told him not to be so cynical. But the more I think about it, the more I think he’s (at least partially) right.
I know that with some of my male friends, if they came to me in all seriousness and said that they think we should give it the old college try - I would say yes. And there are some who I have a sneaking suspicion would be game to give it a go if I made the suggestion. On the other hand, there are definitely friends of mine who I know don’t feel that way and I don’t either. In the case of my married male friends, there is almost a wall that comes up that prevents me feeling any flirtatious or overly intimate ways about them.
If you’re a Christian *married* woman and you want to keep a male friend around but you fancy him, I would urge you to reconsider.
In short - the answer is yes… and no. Yes Christian women can be friends with men. It’s ok to be friends with someone who you fancy a bit and would be interested in dating should the opportunity arise. Although if this is more than just “a bit” and it’s causing you pain, I would implore you to just tell that person and see how they feel.
If you’re a Christian *married* woman and you want to keep a male friend around but you fancy him, I would urge you to reconsider. Or at very least never meet up one on one, pray for relief from those feelings and never do or say anything that comes near to crossing a line. If you are worried you are fighting temptation, don’t face it down. Don’t force yourself in front of it to see who’s strongest. Walk away. God fights your battles (Exodus 14:14, 2 Chronicles 20:17, Deuteronomy 3:22), don’t keep yourself in a place of weakness. That may mean that, for now, your feelings are too strong and you need to keep your distance to prevent sexual sin. That’s ok. You’re not evil for fancying someone - married or not. It’s what you choose to do about it that can be wrong.
Don’t force yourself in front of temptation to see who’s strongest. Walk away and let God fights your battles.
It would be a shame to cut off all male friendships because you’re a woman. There’s so much to gain from diversity in your friendship group - you can’t just hang with the girls all the time. But that said, be clear with yourself about where you are and why you want to spend time with that person and when you interact with them ask yourself if your actions are appropriate, for both you, them and anyone else in your lives.
Ultimately if you keep it light and in the light, you shouldn’t go too far wrong.
Our Great Sexpectations column is written by a number of different contributors who make up the Woman Alive panel.