Friendships are great. In fact, are necessary for healthy growth, esteem and learning how to succeed in the dynamics of relationships. So when we were asked the question, "What about having friends of the opposite sex when you're married?" we need to put on our soft gloves - sort of.
The power of friendships
Friendships are of course one of the most powerful influences in one's life. And, to some extent, a very extension of the persons involved.
However, that being said, one of the most glaring dangers in having friends externally when you're married is the fact that friendships are dynamic. They rarely stay stagnant or still for very long. In other words, they either deepen and distance over time.
Remember, most married couples start their relationship from a friendship.
It's because of true blue friendships that we gain the support, courage, hope and excitement needed to have a healthy life. Don't get us wrong, healthy friendships are absolutely essential!
When friendships replace the spouse
This is where the inherent danger of good friendships rears its head up. Case in point:
When we are single, our mingle and mixers are open to whomever we feel are a good influence upon us. But when we get married, we have chosen our friend to be more than a friend, we begin the process of exclusivity on our focus, attention, time and energy. Yes, there are those that have the perspective of all is fair game, even after marriage, but we must warn you that such a mentality and lifestyle regardless of your belief system has proven emphatically that the marriage will crumble in a mere matter of time.
So, when we finally tie the knot, we have declared our undying faithfulness and total dedication to the one we married. And, in essence, we have declared our partner to be our "best friend" and the one we will first turn to in the need to fill the gap of friendship. They become our source of deep, loving friendship. So the question of how can you balance external friendships must have a question attached to itself - "Why the NEED for external friends when you already have the best friend you've been searching for and now have?"
One of the major factors in individuals in marriages that seek external friendships derives from an unhealthy lack of unmet expectations within the marriage relationship itself. Most couples that address this either effectively from within their communication, or with a neutral third party will in most cases resolve their dilemma and bring life, healing and closeness back into their marriage.
Then you have those that will simply justify the external friendships and explain away how it's not wrong and there's nothing that says that they can't have friends.
True, there is no written bylaw, but if your true affection and delight is in your spouse, you will automatically shy away from bringing in other parties into your marriage.
While having friends of the same sex is already an invite of time, attention and energy to be taken away from your spouse, having friends of the opposite sex, or shall we say are "attractable", is an invite for disaster.
Again, we refer back to the standard reason being unmet needs in the relationship, thus the driving need, which in itself is healthy, but the search goes beyond the parameters of the marriage itself.
The old adage, "If you play with fire, you might get burned" holds true in this case. But even more, it will not only burn you, but your spouse, children, family and more.
Why risk it?
So, while it's not against the marriage law to have external friends, or even friends of the opposite sex, it is against what is HEALTHY for your marriage. Always ask yourself, will what I do help or hurt my relationship.