Last week my phone buzzed on the kitchen table, and I set down a soapy, wet plate to swipe the screen and see who’d texted. Maybe it was my mom sending cute pictures of her kitties playing in the sink. Or maybe it was my husband letting me know he was swinging by Redbox on the way home.
It wasn’t either.
The text read, “Why don’t we talk anymore? Like we used to?”
It was from an old friend. A guy I’d known for years. We used to be quite good friends, but time and life had separated us. We’d kept in touch for a while, even seen each other on holidays at home. But then I’d fallen in love and gradually stopped talking to him. It hadn’t been on the forefront of my mind. It had never been a conscious decision.
As the sink ran, I stared at the text, analyzing it. The soap dripped off my fingers to the floor.
The sound of wheels on gravel averted my attention to our driveway, and my husband pulled up a moment later. He winked at me as he got out, grabbed his bag and bounded up the porch steps.
I finally wiped my hands, turned off the faucet and greeted him at the door, phone in hand.
He kissed me, and then I handed him the phone. “Read this. It’s from that guy you met once.”
He read the text and handed my phone back, a smirk on his face. “You’re going to have to tell him that you talk to your husband now.”
This has been on my heart for a while now. And it’s not just because of what I’ve experienced; it’s because I’ve seen this happen with so many of my friends.
It’s not OK.
When you get married, relationships you had with friends of the opposite sex needs to change. I repeat, it needs to change.
It’s a conversation we don’t have with each other. It’s a conversation I always thought didn’t need to happen because it was like, “well, duh.” But I’ve witnessed the fallout that happens when someone wasn’t prepared for their guy-girl friendship to end, and it’s shocking to me how common it is.
Feelings are hurt. Guilt shed. Relationships compromised.
So let me put it out there:
Ladies, you shouldn’t have close friendships with men after you get married. And men, you shouldn’t have close friendships with women after you get married either. (Heck, I’m an advocate that you should never have close friendships with members of the opposite sex at any point in your life, but I’ll save that for another time.)
Let’s talk about boundaries and trust.
Boundaries are blessings. They’re what keep us from veering off the road and careening over the side of a cliff. Boundaries help you protect your heart. Without boundaries, trust is easily broken. How can you trust your husband when he shares his heart with another woman? When he creates an emotional and spiritual bond with her? In any relationship, trust is HUGE. In marriage, you should never let even a sliver of doubt into your relationship.
It’s so easy to fall in love–and lust.
It’s so easy to connect emotionally with another human being. And it’s so easy to drive a wedge in your marriage because of sharing that connection with someone other than your spouse. Why would you want to ruin what you have? Why would you want to hurt your spouse? Why would you want to hurt yourself?
Let’s talk about how our minds and bodies work.
If you haven’t seen the movie “When Harry Met Sally,” go watch it. It’s a great example of how men and women CAN’T be friends. There’s always more that follows. We’re humans. We have physical attractions and physical needs and emotional attractions and emotional needs.
“Men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.” – When Harry Met Sally
Marriage is a life-long commitment, and you need to do what it takes to protect your marriage. That means setting up boundaries and being aware of how susceptible we are, as humans, to making mistakes–and preventing them.
I didn’t respond to the text I got from my old friend. He never texted me back, either. I guess he figured it out. But I’d like to clear the air now, for the future:
Dear men of the world,
I’m sorry, guys. You can’t have my heart. It belongs to Jesus and now it belongs to my husband.
I’m sorry, guys. You can’t have more than what I feel is necessary to share with you. That may mean you don’t get to hear about my crazy day at work, or how stressed out I am about finances, or how I long to travel the world. You don’t get to be the first phone call I make when my car breaks down and I’m stranded. That’s not your role in my life anymore.
I’m sorry guys, but I’m not sorry. My marriage comes first. My husband comes first. I will do whatever it takes to protect that.
I’m sorry guys, but No, we don’t get to talk like we used to. It’s not because I’m insecure in my marriage. It’s not because my husband will be jealous. It’s not because you’ve done something to frustrate me. It’s because I RESPECT and LOVE and CHERISH my husband more than you. It’s because I want to honor and serve him by putting boundaries up, so that there is NO ROOM for questions, jealousy or distrust. So that there’s no room for me to become emotionally entangled with anyone besides my husband.
If you’re married, I hope you’ll put these boundaries up. And if you’re not married, I hope you’ll put these boundaries up, too.