Take a moment to think about your close friends. Close meaning, the friends you confide in one-on-one. Those individuals you have coffee with and who keep you accountable. The people you invest quality and quantity time in just the two of you. Do they... Esteem marriage?
Respect the opposite sex?
Build up your marriage and not just you?
If you answered, yes. Great! These are all areas I explore in a friendship inventory I discuss in my book Team Us: Marriage Together. This inventory is one way I've learned to distinguish the more casual friends from the close. Because the truth is, even as adults, we are influenced by those we allow to "speak into" our lives regularly. Peer pressure has no expiration date. Because of this, we do need to be careful to surround ourselves with influencers who will cheer us on in our marriages and direct us toward our spouse.
But I have one more question for you. Are these close buddies male or female? If you're a husband, my hope is that you said, "male." And if you’re a wife like me, I hope you answered "female."
It's not that I hold to a men-and-women-can't-just-be friends philosophy. I have male friends. My husband Ted has female friends. I think it's okay for you to also. So I'm certainly not anti-opposite sex friendships. That is if – and it's a big if – once you’re married, these opposite-sex friends fall more closely under the label casual.
What do I mean by casual? Do I mean you awkwardly pass each other with a quick wave or nod. That there's absolutely no depth to your interactions?
Not at all.