Estimated reading time: 6 minutes.
It is good to have close friendships with members of the opposite sex.
Relational apologetics is a topic I’ve been speaking about a lot this year. Often I tell the story of my friendship with Deanna Unyk as an illustration of what I’m encouraging, and then argue for why we should pursue friends, even if the person is the opposite gender.
I recently learned that some people who have heard me speak about Deanna have concerns about our friendship. First is that some people will think I’m a wimpy pro-lifer. After all, how could I be good friends with a pro-choice, lesbian atheist without compromising my beliefs when discussing topics like abortion or same-sex marriage? I’ll address that concern in a future post. Today I want to address the concern that I am “too close” to Deanna, that I’m even putting my marriage at risk.
I don’t usually take the time in my speeches to give a strong defense of guy-girl friendship. Frankly, I’m still learning the best ways to communicate with people about my friendship with Deanna. I don’t want my audience distracted by wondering, “Is his marriage unhealthy? Why does he care so much about a woman he’s not married to?” I’m making a few minor adjustments to the way I talk about Deanna in my speeches to minimize the possibility of being misunderstood.
There’s also a part of me that feels sad that a blog post defending guy-girl friendship is even necessary. While we’ve all seen the painful consequences of men and women falling into sexual sin, some people unfortunately assume that members of the opposite sex are more dangerous than they are worth in a friendship. Many of us have bought into an idea that is preached at us time and time again in movies and popular TV shows, that men and women CAN’T be friends without eventually sleeping with each other, or at least lusting for each other. According to this theory, whether it’s Ted and Robin or Harry and Sally, it is impossible for a man and a woman to have a lifelong, platonic friendship.
I don’t buy that.
While it is possible for people to fall into sin, guy-girl friendship can also be virtuous, God-honoring brother-sister friendship.