We’re just friends…

If you are in a loving relationship, there’s no such thing as “we’re just friends.” No, I am not talking about you and your significant other. I am talking about friendships you have with the opposite sex outside of your relationship with your significant other. If you disagree, don’t quit reading. Hear me out for a second. Friendships with the opposite sex is fine to a certain degree. By saying that, I mean you can have “buddies,” but never to the extent of texting one on one, private phone conversations, inside jokes, and especially driving alone together. It just doesn’t work. The moment you begin having relationships with the opposite sex beyond surface level is the moment you allow a third party in your personal relationship. No longer is it a boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancé/fiancée, husband/wife relationship. The third person becomes a stumbling block that can lead to a myriad of issues. No it’s not jealousy and no, it’s not being controlling. It’s the principle of honoring the relationship you are choosing to pursue.

I am naturally a friendly person. I grew up in a family that is no stranger to man. Growing up our home was always open. It was open to every and anyone. Whether it was family, church friends, work friends or school friends, my parents welcomed all. At times we even hosted missionary groups months on end. My parents are huge believers of being a friend to all. I took that very literally and did not realize how detrimental it could be in a loving relationship. As a female who is in a loving relationship, having a male friend outside of the one I am pursuing was not something I ever considered. Besides, I did not know all that comes with being in a committed relationship. With dating Jarrod, I had some learning to do. We both did. A lot of what I share are personal and serious learning on my part. Don’t get the wrong idea. Jarrod, my fiancé, whenever issues come up that require some learning on my end, he’s been amazing at not blowing up on me or get all crazy. He’s had some learning on his own too. We quickly had to understand that we are both learning and in that, there has to be grace. Back to the topic of having friends of the opposite sex. Let’s just say I almost allowed someone to become a third party. A place they had no right having. I bet you’re thinking wild here. Let me just give you the inside scoop.

Before Jarrod and I got engaged, in the early stage of our dating, a guy came along that needed help with his homeless ministry. Let’s call him Pete. I love helping people. And as mentioned above, I was raised to be a friend to all, so naturally I said, yes. It didn’t take long for Pete to ask for my number for “ministry purposes.” Texts quickly turned into phone calls. All along, Jarrod gently asked me to be very careful. Naturally, I thought Jarrod was being jealous and paranoid. Besides, Pete and I, well – “we’re just friends.” Boy oh boy was I wrong. While our texts and phone calls were centered around the happenings in “ministry,” I started noticing they became increasingly more frequent and longer.

The tipping point was when Pete asked me to go grab lunch with him after one of our ministry meetings [one on one]. It was then Vashti’s eyes were open to the reality of what was going on. What seemed harmless in the beginning led to someone that had created ties with me I had no intentions creating. I had to admit something to myself that Jarrod had told me from the start, Pete liked me. He knew I was dating Jarrod, but that didn’t stop him. Jarrod always tells me,

People don’t care if you’re in a relationship or not. If someone likes you, they will be there and their “being there” is simply a means to take the seat of the one that’s currently occupying it.

They are waiting for their moment and they will patiently wait until you put in place boundaries and remove the means for them to wait. It starts small only to have a snowball effect. You get to choose that snowball effect. After this whole ordeal, Jarrod and I had a hard sit down conversation.

Something I thoroughly love about Jarrod is that in hard conversations, he always makes clear, he loves me. Whatever we are discussing does not remove or change the foundation of love. Let me tell you, that conversation was not easy for this non-confrontational girl. But it needed to happen. We created boundaries in a number of areas of our relationship, but one of them we did not cover was that of having friends of the opposite sex. The one thing we did cover in that aspect was never driving alone with the opposite sex outside of immediate family, but outside of that, not much. Before I get into that, I bet you’re curious to know if I grabbed lunch with Pete. I did, but clever Vashti found a way to make this one on one lunch into a whole group event. We all carpooled and I made sure to take the backseat as to not be paired up next to Pete. On the way to lunch I humbly texted Jarrod, “You were right. I am so sorry!”

Two people cannot simply be friends. One will always end up growing some type of feeling for the other. Don’t believe me? Ask someone who’s been through some type of infidelity. I have no place speaking for friends and family who I’ve witness having gone through a separation or divorce. That’s their story to tell, but what I will say is, the common denominator is one party thinking “we’re just friends” which led to emotional and physical cheating. Jarrod was gracious with me. Sometimes I think he is a little to gracious as I am learning the ways around being in a loving relationship. You can say I grew up a tad bit sheltered. What I viewed as a harmless friendship, was an entry way for something that could have ruined the trust built between Jarrod and I.

So what did Jarrod and I agree on? In our conversation I found out something eye opening. Other than his female family members, Jarrod doesn’t text any other females. On occasions, if it’s to surprise me then he’ll text my sister in laws and my closest friends. Outside of that, Jarrod firmly believes he has no place texting any other female. To say I felt pretty crappy is an understatement. He didn’t tell me that to make me feel bad about myself. Jarrod shared his heart to make clear his priorities and his top was to honor God and then me. His way of honoring me was never creating a space that I would lose his trust.

Now don’t get the wrong idea about me here. It’s not like I have boys on end texting me. That’s not it at all, but the ones that did have my contact information, I had to put a firm line between me and them. Currently, I work with mostly men. Married and unmarried, and to protect all hearts I’ve implemented Jarrods example of honoring me. If it’s not work related, there’s no place for texting/calling. After 5pm, if it’s not an emergency, then it can wait. My priority is first God and then Jarrod. In honoring, I had to set boundaries that will protect what’s sacred.

Here’s the thing, if you need to have friends with the opposite sex while in a committed relationship, you’re in the wrong relationship. One of my sister-in-law’s has this saying, “it’s you and your spouse against the world.” You choose to make your significant other the priority. That doesn’t begin in marriage. If you are dating just to date, that’s a whole other issue. But if you are seriously dating with the intent to marry, create healthy habits of boundaries with the opposite sex. It’s not control. It’s not trust issues. It’s not even jealousy. It’s removing any means to create distrust, dishonor, and infidelity of any sort.

I will conclude with this, some things we’ve implemented in terms of opposite sex relationships that we’ve held strong and firm on are:

  • No driving alone with the opposite sex outside of immediate family.
  • If it’s not work related or an emergency, there’s no place to have a text/phone conversation with the opposite sex.
  • For our friends that are married, if there’s a need to text one of them, we form a group message for that. This is to honor our friends marriage.
  • (this one is important) NEVER confide in friends of the opposite sex. The moment there’s secrecy, trust between you and your signifiant other becomes questionable.

Don’t create a room where emotional or physical cheating can creep in. Protect what’s sacred and always remember that it’s you and your significant other against the world. There’s no such thing as “we’re just friends.” Someone always ends up creating a tie/connectedness.

Do you have “we’re just friends” of the opposite sex that you text and call outside of your loving relationship? Has that created issues in your personal relationship? Figure out what your priority is. If you cant, then you probably shouldn’t be in a relationship.


More than “sex before marriage”

If you didn’t know, it’s wedding month which means why not center this months blogs around all things relationship. My fiancé Jarrod and I have been engaged for 9 months and this month, on April 29th, we will become husband and wife. Our relationship has not been easy. It’s taken quite a bit of work. Now, we most definitely do not know it all, but we have learned a lot throughout our 8 months of courting, 2 years of dating and 9 months of engagement. One thing we’ve found is that the church does an awful job at helping young Christian couples who want to do things right, do things right. Reality is, we just don’t talk about it. Growing up, the fear of God was drilled into my heart that I knew sex before marriage was a no go. Why? Because it is sinful (what I was told). Don’t get me wrong, I completely agree but, can we just be real here… there is way more that can be done before marriage that is outside of “sex” that is also sinful which defiles the marriage bed. 

So what is sex? 

Sex can be talked about in two forms. The first is considered a person’s gender. This can be male or female with the basis stemming from chromosome in the human body. From my vague memory of biology in high school, males have Y chromosome and females have XY chromosome. That is the very basic generalization of sex.

The second form of sex is when a man and a woman joins together to become one (the joining of male and female sex organs). Our bodies were uniquely created to fit into each other. Neat huh? But why is this so important in Christian living? Why do we stay away from having sex before marriage? From joining with one another…

From a biblical perspective, Old Testament writers hammered on the issues of sexual immorality. Let’s start from the beginning. Genesis 2:24-25 states

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” 

Jarrod and I both have never had sex. We’ve both chosen to wait prior to dating each other. But I will say this, we sure have been tempted. Naturally so. When you love someone you want to share your life with them, but there is a place and a time for that and marriage is that time and place. Besides the act of sex, we’ve discovered we’ve had to be very careful because there are things that can easily lead to the trap hole of sexual immorality. You can defile the marriage bed and join with each other outside of the act of sex. That’s what I want to talk about. The church says, “DON’T HAVE SEX” and that’s that, but what about:

  • Wandering Hands
  • Sexting
  • Lustful thoughts
  • Masterbation
  • Pornography

I’m sure there are others out there that I am unaware of, but just to name a few, those are a form of sex that defiles the marriage bed and can hurt any relationship. Entertaining any of those can lead you down a trap that is very difficult to escape. While Jarrod and I managed to not fall down the rabbit hole, we sure were tempted and when we were, learned to step back, seek God, and allowed those who are in our corner to speak truth, wisdom and perspective.

I have some dear friends that have shared the battle of sex they’ve dealt with prior to marriage and in marriage. Both Christians and non-Christian alike. The common theme shared from their struggle is the shame that sex outside of marriage brings. Interesting how the Bible says “they were not ashamed” in Genesis. Whether it is the act of intercourse or wandering hands, sexting, lustful thoughts, masterbation, or pornography. This shame comes about because of the vulnerability it requires and the human body designed to know and understand good from evil. Shame is not present when the union is done within the right context.

Look, no one teaches a 5 year old how to lie, but they know it’s wrong. Hence the guilt on their face when addressed. The difference between good and evil is engraved in human nature. The reason we struggle is not because we do not know. Rather, it is because we reject the knowledge we do know. Sin in dating comes in all shapes and forms. We know right from wrong. The issue is, we don’t talk about it. Rather, we pretend the only sin in dating is the act of sex, when the steps leading to that are left unaddressed.

Imagine you had $1Million in an account. Someone comes to you and say they have $1Million likewise and would like to join accounts. You’d probably say no because that’s a complete stranger. But if it’s someone you know and love like a significant other you are pursuing then, you’d be more inclined to do so. Joining accounts means, you have access to their money and they has access to yours. That’s intense vulnerability right there. But can you really trust this person with your money? As much as you love them, what if they run away after accounts are joined? What if they spend it all? You would probably experience quite a bit of shame, guilt and regret, right? It would be different if you had a binding contract. A contract built on trust, truth and honesty that is willing to stand the test of time.

Similarly, sex was designed to be under a covenant (contract). From a biblical perspective, a covenant is an undertaking of legal contract built on a promise of faithfulness, committedness and love between God, man and woman. Under God’s covenant there’s Gods promise to protect and bless. Overtime, the court of law adapted the role of a covenant to a contact with similar principles. Sex is an exchange of self. Beyond loving someone, sex is an act of ultimate vulnerability and trust. This my friend is why I believe our creator, God, designed it in the first place. He knew that man and woman sharing such intimacy would require a covenant under His blessing.  

That is by no means saying, once you lose it you lose it. Mistakes happen. Awful things happen in this world, but there is grace. There is forgiveness. And above all, God is such a good God that he is able to redeem. The secret is not simply saying “no more.” It is no secret honestly. Whether you believe in Jesus or not, if you are ashamed of your past or are struggling to remain pure in your relationship, God is your answer. If you cringed at that, I get it. The “God” card upsets me at times too, but that was and still is the answer for Jarrod and I. Thankfully, both of us had the same goal in mind. We both wanted to honor God with our bodies and as difficult as it got, we always resorted back to Gods word. Remaining pure is more than the act of sex. Remaining pure has to do with your mind, heart, soul and body. Lack of attention and discipline in keeping your mind, heart and soul pure makes it very easy to give your body away. The key is keeping the innermost part of your body pure with Gods word and truth.

For my readers who have had sex before marriage and is carrying shame. You are not your mistakes and you most certainly are not meant to carry that scar. I’ve seen Jesus do some pretty amazing things through friends and family and have redeemed what was broken. Seek His name and seek His love. Don’t know how, send me a message. I’d love to connect.

For my readers in a dating relationship and you’re tempted to mess up or have messed up. Now’s your time to take action. Tempted to sit another 20mins in the car alone together? Don’t. Tempted to visit each other’s apartment alone for “just a movie night”? Don’t. You and your significant other need to be on the same page. If you are not in agreement, then you are dating the wrong person. If they are not willing to respect your body, then it’s time to call it quits. You have to agree that wandering hands, lustful thoughts, sexting, masturbation and pornography are off the board, completely (inside and outside of marriage). It not only dishonors each other, but as a follower of Christ, it dishonors who God has called you to be.

If it means not driving together. Do that! If it means setting a curfew. Do that! If it means finding an accountability to track you’re coming and going. Do that! If it means writing a sticky note in your car that says “I will wait!” Do that! Extreme measures often times proves great results. All those ‘do that’s” are exactly what Jarrod and I did when the love between the two of us began growing. We both agreed on honoring each other, and in order to do so we had to take some extreme measures. But most importantly we made it a priority to keep the innermost parts of us pure. The wait is worth it. As April 29th quickly approaches I am realizing more and more, how beautiful the wait has been. Sex (all that it entails) is a wonderful picture of redeeming love, of giving up self, the wants of each other, putting it aside in reverence to God and each other.

Singles out there, honor yourself and your future spouse by becoming the person you hope they will be. Let’s get this straight though, chastity is not a superiority card. It is a choice. You got this!

Make waiting more than the act of intercourse. How can you make a step towards purity of mind, heart soul and body?


Honor Who?

It’s appalling those who claim to be Christians and act like the world does. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m looping myself in this. Christianity is not a superiority card. If anything it’s the opposite of that. Christianity, is being set apart. At least, that was the original intent. Today, Christianity is blended. We look like, talk like, dress like and post like everyone else. There’s absolutely no filter in the modern day Christian’s mouth and heart. We live to speak our minds, even if it dishonors those in authority, encourages profanity and subjects those around us to compromise.

Despite your political view, if you claim Jesus is your Lord and Savior, honoring those who are voted, elected and placed in power is the heart that Jesus called us to have. Honor does not mean you agree with rather, honor is respect. The inconsistency in the Christian faith saddens me. We degrade, publicly shame and dishonor those in power or of authority who we do not agree with. Gone are the days of speaking in moderation and morality. Freedom of speech has been abused. Being the “salt and light” of the world is replaced with compromising biblical principles and character in order to speak our minds.

You’ve probably caught on to what I am referring to. Here’s the thing, I am not here to convince you who’s the better political leader. My opinion remains mine, and yours remain yours, but what I do want to convey is that the way you speak, and publicly share your thoughts is a direct reflection of your heart. Anger towards one party or another, hate and detest towards men and women in power is an issue of the heart. No matter your opinion, the way we speak and publicly share our opinions should not remove grounds for God to move and speak. True Christianity strives to change the world, and to do that, we cannot be like the world.

Christians no longer desire a revival in the church. We don’t want a revolution of the heart towards Christ. We don’t want Pentecost. We want like-mindedness. I wrote last week on the attitude of “rightness.” In this attitude we see the issue of pride. Pride that manipulates us to believe we can say and do as we please no matter the cost. Our language has shifted from that of love to bitterness, self-righteousness and anger. The feeling or knowing you are right in what you believe is not an excuse to dishonor those around you, and especially those in power. You can not like someone and still respect them. Story time.

When I was younger, there was this particular teacher who gave me a hard time. She would pick on me for being a “Christian girl.” Odd isn’t it? She would make remarks here and there and I learned to let it go as water on a ducks back. My mom came to find out what happened. I ended up in the principals office because the teacher thought I was being “too Christian.” No, my mom didn’t go all Jackie Chan on the teacher (although she could have) for absurdly turning me into the principal. Instead, she listened to what the principal had to say, calmly responded and took me home. On the ride home, my mom told me a couple things that have remained with me to my adolescent years. In summation, she told me that not always will I like everyone and will everyone like me. The issue of likeness doesn’t grant authority to reciprocate hurt. Mom told me to honor, even when it’s most difficult. Even when I disagree. Even when it hurts, I must honor those before me. Honor is not likeness. Honor is respect and respect is loving those who are difficult to love. That next day of school, mom she gave me chocolate bar to give the teacher. I’d like to say she quit picking on me after receiving the chocolatey goodness . She didn’t. But I did learn a powerful lessen of humility. Honoring (respecting) those who are unlovable, who think differently than we do or believe differently than we do is walking in the foot steps of Jesus.

In the Bible, the author Matthew writes in Chapter 5 verses 13-16:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Did you know salt is important in human development and health. Salt in the body is the main source of sodium and chloride ions in daily diet. Too much or too little salt affects your nerves, muscle function and regulation of fluids in the body. It also controls blood presume and volume. Our words should be as good salt. Our speech should edify, uplift those around us and provide a source of life. That can be difficult when we think differently than others. Let’s be real, it is much easier to give people a piece of our minds rather than speak in love. But can I tell you something? Jesus, as he was being accused and ridiculed, do you know what He did? He did not scream at the naysayers. He did not lash out in anger and frustration. And neither did He proved his “rightness.” When you have some time, read Matthew 27. You will read, Jesus did not say a word. In his silence, he honored Pilate. Similarly, he did the same before Herod.

Jesus’ example teaches us the importance of, honor. We should have the same mind of Jesus. While we may be right in our beliefs or opinions, that should never grant the grounds to speak words that murders the souls of those around us. Needing to prove your rightness is pride. Whether it be differences in political views, controversial topics, family issues or the daily obstacles you face, we should be the salt and light of the world in the way we speak, live and post. True Christianity is not “blendedness”, it’s authenticity found in integrity of speech and character.

Are you struggling to respect those who think and live differently than you do? Make it a conscious point to respect and in respect, there is love.