“Sure, that’s fine with me. Have a good time,” is what my husband said to me after I asked if he was okay with me meeting up with an old male friend of mine for dinner. Jokingly I said, “You know, most men probably wouldn’t be okay with that.” To which he said, “I’m not most men. I’m me. And when I married you, I agreed to trust you unconditionally – that means in every circumstance and at all times.” What ensued afterward was a thoughtful discussion between us about friendships and marriage. That day we decided that for us, friends of the opposite sex wouldn’t threaten or ruin our marriage. Here’s how we came to that conclusion, summed up in to simple principles.
“I’m not most men. I’m me. And when I married you, I agreed to trust you unconditionally – that means in every circumstance and at all times.”
As I mentioned previously, my husband and I have unconditional trust in each other. That means when he has late meetings at work with his female boss or I meet up with an old male friend – the idea of cheating isn’t the first thought to cross our minds. I believe him to be the upstanding, loyal man that I married nearly ten years ago. And I will continue to do so until he gives me reason to believe otherwise (the same goes for me).
It’s very easy for you to trust in your spouse when you don’t have any apparent reason not to. It’s when moments come that could potentially compromise that trust that reveal how strong your faith is in your spouse. It’s not enough to say, “I trust you.” You have to prove it. With that being said and understood, it’s up to your spouse to honor that trust and keep it in tact.
I don’t seek to hide things from my husband and he doesn’t hide anything from me. Even though we have each other’s passwords, I don’t go through his phone or email and he doesn’t go through mine. We respect each other as individuals that share a life together. Lying, deception, and secrets are what set the stage for trouble in a marriage, so we avoid those practices.
All of this may seem over-simplified; but quite honestly, it doesn’t need to be more complicated than this. Some additional efforts that work for us are that we don’t actively seek out new friendships with other people; we definitely operate within boundaries that make sense to us, and we constantly strive to respect each other’s feelings.
Every couple should do what works for them and communicate clearly about what they’re comfortable with and what they aren’t. Exercising unconditional trust and unwavering honesty is what that looks like for us. For another couple, it may be different.
Ultimately, it’s not other people that ruin marriages – whether they be friends of the opposite sex or complete strangers of the opposite sex. It’s the two who said, “I do” that have the power to ruin what they’ve built and who, in my opinion, should make the daily choice and the effort not to.
BMWK, Do you and your spouse have an understanding about friends of the opposite sex?