Ladies, might there be men who would have initiated with you but for their uncertainty about or discomfort with your intimate friendship with another man?Guys, has a woman perhaps turned you down over questions about a woman friend you spend lots of time with?Bottom line: I believe it is difficult and rare — as a practical matter — to honor these principles in the context of a close, intimate friendship between two single Christians of the opposite sex.(For the verbally precise among you, I think such friendships between non-single Christians are also a bad idea, but that's not what we're talking about here.) Intimate friendships between men and women almost always produce confusion and frustration for at least one of the parties involved.Let's assume for the sake of argument that your intimate friendship is one of those rare jewels that is devoid of the potential for hurt or confusion. In the past, when both sexual immorality and intimate male-female friendships were much less accepted and less common in society, men and women moved more deliberately toward marriage earlier in life.By offering a taste of the companionship and interactions that make marriage so satisfying, with none of the accompanying commitments or responsibilities entailed in marriage, intimate friendships discourage the pursuit of the grown-up, God-intended outlet for marital desires — marriage.Unlike most other people of our age and experience, we are (insert favorite answer here) a) really astute students of our own and each other's hearts, b) -clear and talented communicators, c) always honest with each other, even when such honesty entails huge vulnerability for whoever is speaking, d) all of the above." Maybe.
In my experience counseling and writing on this topic, everybody thinks (or at least we'll end up in one of the situations you just talked about.They tend to involve the sharing of many aspects of each other's daily lives and routines.In other words, they tend to involve much of the type of intimacy and companionship involved in — and meant for — marriage.Yes, I know, the other person is an adult who is free and responsible to walk away if he or she is so unsatisfied, but like it or not, it tends not to work that way. Especially if it's the woman in this position (as seems to be the case more often than not) she will likely feel that if she pushes for something more than friendship, she may lose the interaction and companionship she currently has.Still, given her desire for a husband — and perhaps to have man as her husband — the status quo of "just really good friends but nothing more for some odd reason" will leave her unsatisfied, frustrated and confused.