Today’s Friday short is inspired by Stacie’s question:

I have been so interested in the topic of cross sex friendships. I have a few myself. I am a married lady with children and I have cultivated some good friends that are male. A couple are currently single young men and others that are the fortunate husbands of some of my dearest lady friends. After some contemplation and reading books such as ”loving your marriage enough to protect it”, I found myself curious to your perspective on a few things. While cultivating friendships with single young men in my church I have had a few eyebrows raised. At one point someone stated that my friendship ‘could’ be deemed inappropriate. I no longer hear those things. It seems to me that the longer my friendships with these men go the more others realize ‘oh, there really isn’t anything ‘going on’ there.’ I wonder though at the stringent rules that we are told to protect our marriages…yet I do think that fundamental guidelines are useful. That being said, I’m curious to hear your thoughts are things such as, a common marriage vow of forsaking all others (I heard this preached on as a reason against cross sex friendships), and rules of not ever allowing yourself to be alone with someone of the opposite sex even on a car ride? Because I have witnessed the heart break of what unfaithfulness causes in a marriage I can understand customized safe guards. I also have the knowledge and years of trust so solidly built in my marriage that I don’t feel a twinge of jealousy when my husband notices another’s beauty. I was hoping to start a conversation regarding the pitfalls and the freedoms that come from these enriching friendships. I have admiration and love for all these men in my life. You have had a couple of articles on this topic, yet I haven’t seen one yet handle any red flags of inappropriate feelings that could potentially arise… I’m very interested to hear your thoughts.

A few red flags and guidelines for cross-sex friendships: