Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Time Spent With The Opposite Sex

Greetings from Spain,

I'm writing you because you could surely help me with a Christian question.

I'm most interested in knowing what is the sound biblical stance on three quite specific questions:

1. Should men touch women other than close relatives? I'm thinking in casual or friendly hugs and things like that, but not only.

2. Should men stay alone with women other than close relatives?

3. Should men be close friends with women other than close relatives?

Do you know some good books which deals with them?

Thank you very much for your time and attention and best wishes for you and your loved ones,


Hi Carlos,

I'd suggest reading some books on marriage, for example, Reforming Marriage (My Life for Yours would also be good) by Douglas Wilson is a good one. While you're reading notice all the things that husbands should do for their wives that promote good physical relationships. Also, read your Bible with a view to how God treats and thinks about Israel as his wife.

Then, with all this in mind ask yourself what God would think if you were to treat someone who is not your wife in the way you're thinking about treating the in front of you. Another way to think about it is to think about how you would like another man treating your wife in the way you're thinking of treating this in front of you.

Another tack is to think about how you would like other guys to treat your sister. This is a little more subjective than the others, in a way, but it is also more Biblical. The bible tells us to treat the young women like sisters in all purity (1 Tim. 5:2). So, would you kiss on your sister? You might hug her, but what kinds of thoughts would be sneaking through your mind as you did it? Do you hug the women at church with the same purity of mind that you have when you hug your sister?

In all of this don't fool yourself. I know many many men and women who think they can have a "platonic" relationship with a woman who is not their wife. They are fooling themselves and playing with fire in a way that will eventually hurt someone if it hasn't already.

So, to answer your questions:

1. In general it is not good for a man to touch women, who are not direct family members, in any way other than to shake their hands; and that is sometimes a problem. There might be cultural differences that make it okay in Spain, but here in the United States it is rare for a young man to be able to hug a young woman and not notice in a particular way that she is warm and soft and it goes on from their. So it is much safer to keep your hands to yourself.

2. You should not stay alone with someone who is not a close relative. If you wouldn't want your wife to stay alone with some other man, don't you do it with someone else's wife (or future wife). Also, if you want to spend time alone with your future wife (whether she knows it or not), you will destroy your relationship with her if you do anything that is not completely honorable and pure.

3. Men should not be close friends with women who are not in their immediate family. It just isn't a good thing and almost always leads to some heart-break or worse.

I hope this helps.

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