My friend Jonalyn Fincher recently blogged on whether or not men and women can be friends. It’s the topic of discussion at our next Salon Wednesday night, Oct. 17th. Thanks Jonalyn for getting the conversation startred.
“In so many ways our culture trains us to be unfit for friendship.”
Paul Wadell as quoted by Dan Brennan, Sacred Unions, Sacred Passions
After we got married, my husband invited his long-time friends, B and his wife, A, to visit. Their kids came along. We took them Jeeping and ATVing. At one point B and I took the kids for a short trip down a side road.
I was excited to show their daughter how fun an ATV was and felt proud of my off-roading skills. So when our quad slipped and the back wheel got lodged downhill under a log, I felt nervous and embarrassed. I waved B down for help. He circled around back and muscled the ATV out of the spot. Even though we were out of danger I still felt nervous.
Being alone with B made me nervous. I felt tense being alone with a man who I admired, appreciated, whose company I enjoyed.
If I’m honest, I really was not anxious we’d do anything elicit. I didn’t want to start making-out in the woods. But I felt nervous because I had this unexamined belief that since I was a woman I was untrustworthy alone with a man.
And though I have little evidence that I am unsafe around men (I have no marital infidelities in my record, I work professionally with spiritual direction for men of all ages in one-on-one settings, I’m open about my struggle and victory against lust, I have found Jesus strong enough to keep veering me toward love, truth, confession and change) I was still nervous.
Being alone with B in the woods made me think, again, that regardless of Jesus’ power, I’m not to be trusted with a guy, that I’ll sabotage the goodness of a marriage, that something about him would make me lose control.
Nothing of the sort happened, and I’m proud to say I’ve since investigated this strange anxiety. There’s a reason for it.
And it’s not simply a matter of lust and sin.