Friends before dating

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Yet even with all this deep communication going on, at least one aspect of these friendships inherently involves a mixed message.

No matter how clearly one or both of you have defined what's happening as "just friends," your are constantly saying, "I enjoy being with you and interacting with you in a way that suggests marriage (or at least romantic attraction)." The simple reality (of which most people are aware, whether they admit it or not) is that in the vast majority of these types of relationships, one of the parties involved either began the "friendship" with romantic feelings for the other person or develops them along the way.

Close friendships by their very nature tend to involve extensive time talking and hanging out one-on-one.

We were together two years before we got married and next month is our one year anniversary. You should factor in whether trying to take the friendship to the next level may cause you to lose him as a friend if things don't work out romantically.

First Thessalonians 4:1-8 admonishes us not to wrong or "defraud" our brother or sister by implying a marital level of commitment (through sexual involvement) when it does not exist.

As I've discussed before, a broad (but sound) implication of this passage is that "defrauding" could include inappropriate emotional — as well as physical — intimacy.

Romans 13:8-14 calls us to love others, to work for their souls' good rather than looking to please ourselves.

More specifically, verse 10 reminds us that "[l]ove does no harm to its neighbor." Romans 14:1-15:7 offers a discourse on favoring weaker brothers and sisters above ourselves, valuing and encouraging that which is good in the souls of others.

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