A relationship is a cordial association with somebody for some specific purposes. It could involve sharing ideas, experiences and possessions. People relate when they have common projects to take together.
A relationship becomes stronger if the parties involved share common ideas and visions. As Christians, maintaining good relationships depend on mutual respect, tolerance and understanding.
It also requires compromise, reciprocating acts of love and care understanding and as well as an attitude of give and take. Inter gender relationship means a relationship involving two people of the opposite sex.
There is nothing wrong with two people of the opposite sex relating or coming together to share ideas, what is wrong however, is the way and manner this is carried out. It is necessary to state that every relationship has a boundary that demands respect and must not be broken.
A relationship between a man and a woman, a boy or a girl and a “guy” or lady definitely should have a boundary. This boundary will help to prevent physical and emotional injuries which might leave with it a life time scar.
Our culture forbids a long time intimate relationship between a man and a woman without a marital commitment. For instance in many youth and campus fellowships of our days, you will discover two people of the opposite sex always coming together for a long time under the guise of being prayer partners or doing academic research and study together.
Having a person of the opposite sex as your study mate is not a bad thing but the boundaries need to be respected. Some years ago, two students of the opposite sex approached me about the problem they were having.
They boy was the one who led the girl to Christ. He helped to follow her up in the faith and with time they also became study partners. Their bodies touched each other without any feeling or goose pimples rising.
Then one day, the boy noticed that his body chemistry began to change each time he came in contact with the girl. The girl also noticed that she felt an unusual void each day the boy was not around him.
They came to me for counseling and the restoration of their previous pure relationship. I plainly told the boy that the only way to retain the pure relationship was for them to severe all activities that bring them together. “You have to stop being her prayer partner and both of you will have to stop reading together alone,” I told them.
I specifically told the boy that he had reached the limit of the relationship and needed to give the girl a breathing space or get another prayer partner who is not a lady. I warned them that where they were heading to was a dangerous path and the best thing to do now was to flee, since they were just young students not yet ready for marriage. They left sad and did not return for the second round of counseling.
Many girls have often accused a boy this way, “After praying with him for five years, he left me for another girl.” Some say, “After being his study mate all the days of our university education, shouldn't common sense teach him that I had no other man in mind for marriage?”
My take on this is that being someone's prayer partner is not a license to think the prayer will lead to marriage. In fact once the thought of marriage or emotional intimacies begin to flood your thoughts in situations like this, it is an indicator that one is approaching the boundary.
I do not mean that prayer partners cannot become marriage partners afterwards, but going into a prayer or study project for the sake of hooking the person for marriage can be dangerous. The weaker person might expose himself or herself to exploitation and ridicule.
By Chinemerem Uche