The Struggle For Emotional Purity: Guest Post – Purity Part 3

Part 1 – Emotional Purity: What Are Your Thoughts?
Part 2 – What is Emotional Purity?When emotional purity is discussed, I find it interesting that the focus is always on ourselves. We consider whether or not a given situation would be beneficial or detrimental to us. I think this is a very poor way of looking at the topic of emotional purity.

I hardly hear anyone talk about looking out for the best interests of others. I believe that we should be seeking to help one another, and as men, we should especially seek what is best for women.
Speaking to young men, rather than merely considering whether or not a given situation or interaction might harm us, we should instead consider how it might negatively impact a young woman. For example, perhaps a hug or communicating deeply in private would hold no emotional sway over you, but it might for the young woman.
Instead of trying to communicate myself how, in general, women are different from men when it comes to the area of emotional vulnerability, I decided to seek help from those who would know better than I what it’s like to be a woman. A friend of mine, Emily Long, was gracious enough to write me a letter detailing the struggle for emotional purity from a young woman’s perspective, and it is copied below. I hope you find it as enlightening as I did:

Dear Reagan,

You have asked for my opinion on the issue of emotional purity. I would like to do just that by illustrating it a little.
          First, let me introduce you to our characters. The main individual is a girl just 20 years old. She has not been very emotionally pure up to this point, but has not exactly had a solid emotional relationship yet. Just a crush here and there. Perfectly normal, wouldn’t you say? We shall call her Krystal. Because I like that name.
To continue…
          Joseph is our unassuming male counterpart, who is the same age as Krystal. Although he has never had girl friends or crushes, he can’t deny that he has noticed the female population, as they seem to be everywhere. Joseph also has no sisters, and therefore does not exactly know the interworkings of a female mind. To be honest, neither do females, but we won’t get into that.
          Krystal has a good relationship with Christ (as long as He doesn’t ruin her fun, and she can still be popular). She has a heart for discipling young girls, she loves children, helping moms, serves the elderly, singing for the glory of the Lord, waiting (physically at least), for her prince charming, and keeping constructively busy being a stay-at-home-daughter. On the outside, she is doing everything right. But inside Krystal’s heart are longings. A desire to be loved, to feel beautiful, cared for, protected, safe. Her father is away a lot working to provide for her family, and Krystal just feels disconnected from him and doesn’t exactly know how to share her heart with him. She hasn’t grasped the concept that in Christ alone can all these longings be fulfilled.
          Now that you understand Krystal a little, let us introduce Joseph into her life. Here is young Joseph, noticing a pretty girl who is quite talented, popular with all the people who know her, and really seems to have a heart for God. Interested, he spends a little time with her. He is not in love, has not stated anything, and is possibly not even entertaining thoughts of that sort. She has noticed him as well, and believes that perhaps he is also interested. Their families spend more time together, giving Joseph and Krystal ample opportunities to talk, form opinions, and seek each other’s attention. In Krystal’s mind, thing are getting serious, especially since “the families are involved”.Joseph has never said anything, but he genuinely seems to be seeking her out. She finds him funny, kind, diligent, caring, protective; every girl’s dream boat, right? He also happens to be handsome, which of course, doesn’t exactly matter, but it…matters. Another female thing.
          Moving on…

          As the months progress, and they learn more about each other and grow closer, they never really talk about their relationships with God, they kind of focus more on each other. They start spending time, not technically alone, but away from the group. Their friends start teasing them, and Krystal is getting kind of excited. Could he be the one? She is attracted to him, and he seems to feel the same way…
          But month after month passes, and although they are now offhandedly talking about their futures, i.e. What state they would like to live in, how many acres…etc. (though they never actually discuss it, Krystal already has the names of their first five children. Yes, Reagan, that is the female mind for you. 3 months after they met, she had her wedding colors and bridesmaids chosen!), Joseph has never intimated or said anything about moving into that phase of a relationship. Now she is beginning to grow frustrated. He has been giving her compliments, standing way too close to her (dangerous to do by the way: it really knocks a girl for a loop), and has started saying hello and goodbye accompanied with side hugs. All her longings are being fulfilled, but now she believes herself in love. She can talk of nothing else, and she is sure he will ask her dad to enter into courtship. It’s been a year since they met. What is he waiting for? Maybe if she tries harder for his attention. So now she is pursuing him. He enjoys the attention, and returns it, but he still is not stating anything or talking to her dad.
          Then one day, the worst happened. A bunch of families decided to meet at a park for fun and fellowship. Krystal is happy because she knows Joseph will be there. She gets prettied up, wears the dress he has told her he likes, and then leaves with her family. When they arrive, she spies him standing near a tree, and as a smile creeps on her face, she moves toward him. As she draws near, Krystal hears him conversing with a young woman. No problem, He has other friends (“But I am special!” she assures herself).
          When Krystal walks up to Joseph, he sees her and introduces her. “Krystal, I would like you to meet Shelly. We just officially started courting. Shelly, this is a friend of mine, Krystal.” The girls awkwardly shake hands, and after a brief exchange (mainly about the weather and scenery), Krystal excuses herself. Numb, she goes and finds a secluded place. As she shatters into tears, thoughts begin to cloud her mind, “What did I do wrong? Am I not good enough? Pretty enough? Godly enough? Shelly looks so cute and perky, no wonder he chose her over me. How could I have been so stupid and naïve?”
          I believe girls tend to be more emotionally driven, wouldn’t you agree? Guys have a protective instinct towards women, and when those two traits come together, it can create a situation not unlike this one.
          Our culture is based on doing what feels right, following your heart, and being yourself. And since we are living in this world and saturated by these lies, we start to adopt it as our philosophy, often without realizing it. I will be the first to raise my hand.
          When a guy starts paying attention to a girl, whether out of politeness or genuine interest, it is the inclination of a girl to want to run with it. If a girl feels safe with a guy, she will start to share her heart with him. The more she shares her heart, the more “in love” she feels. While the guy is merely being nice and chivalrous, the female tends to think his intentions are more of a serious nature.
          I am not saying that this is the reaction and thinking process of every girl, but my suggestions for a young man who is sincerely seeking to guard a young woman’s emotions would be:
  1. Never make physical contact unless absolutely necessary. No hugging, touching her arm, and don’t stand too close to her.
  2. Try to remain in a group setting. Don’t take off with her somewhere or separate a little from everyone. The female may very well take that as a sign of interest.
  3. Don’t ask about her feelings, and don’t ask her what she is thinking. She is likely to share her heart, because she will feel like her words and thoughts are valued, and that is a danger zone. I think this is the most important point of all (hence why I put it last!).
Take the leadership role in the relationship. Don’t be afraid to say, “Hey, I think we are texting too much.” Or “I don’t think we should talk on the phone anymore.” Always make sure she knows that you have no intentions toward her, through both your words and actions. If they are unstated, the girl is left to guessing and more often than not will read into everything you do and say. (Note: As a female, it is essential that a guy explicitly states everything. I know that guys just assume we should know things, but we need to be told. In a nice way of course.)
That is what I have learned over the course of my young adult life, and I hope it was at least a little helpful.

Emily Long Carmichael

Emily Long is a 22 year old stay-at-home daughter of the risen King. She wisely invests her time in various Proverbs 31 pursuits including homeschooling 5 year old twins, leading a Bright Lights Discipleship group for young ladies, teaching violin, and singing for the glory of God with her sisters in churches and at community events. Emily occasionally blogs at Bright Lights in a Dark World.

Click here for part 4! Is Emotional Purity Harmful?

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  1. This is a deep, emotionally involved subject for me, as “emotional purity” (I will refrain from further words) ruined two best friendships for me (one guy I was in love with – recognised by both parties – decided to distance himself from me with this, and one guy I wasn't later part contributed to a dear family cutting me off completely).

    However, maintaining my calm and praying while I'm posting:
    I am not a stay-at-home daughter. I had to work to support my (then-disabled) mother after she and my father divorced and my mentally unstable brother was put into care. If not being stay-at-home discalculates what I have to say – fine.
    Yes, I struggle with being attracted to guys in the office who flirt with me. But I fight it. Why? Because I'm a Christian, and because God calls me to higher.
    I find that description of a girl extremely offensive – as a girl who has fought hard and fallen and got back up and is still fighting. When I meet a guy (and yes, I have guy issues thanks to my dad), I don't start thinking about wedding dresses and bridesmaids. Yeah, I wonder if I'm attractive, sometimes – but I crush that thought and/or hand it over to God. Why? Cause God's in the matchmaking business, not me.
    A guy refusing to hug me because I'm female makes me feel insecure, uncertain and threatened. A bit like being told I have to wear a burkha to make sure guys don't lust after me, or being told that laughing in public means I'm not chaste and quiet. To associate a hug with relationship means that someone has some serious issues to work through – no offence intended.
    That girl described has serious immaturity issues if all she regarded Joseph as was a potential suitor because they were friends. She should be concerned with his soul and how to build him up as a brother in Christ first.
    And…that's about as far as my calm extends. 😛
    Hope this isn't too offensive.

  2. As a 25 year old, homeschooled single daughter I have to say I totally disagree with this post. I always try to treat my guy friends how I would treat my brother, as that is what the bible instructs us to do. Would I hug my brother – why yes I would. Would I stand next to my brother – er yes. Would my brother sometimes ask me what I am feeling or what I am thinking? Yes he would also do that.

    You see, I think the problem comes in when people start treating men as though they are not brothers, but each are a possible suitor. Every guy you meet is not going to want to marry you, and you definitely shouldn't view each guy as someone you may one day marry. He should simply be a friend to you. If we followed the bible a little more in treating guys as our brother, these problems wouldn't be so proficient.

    People, especially in the homeschooling community, make such a big deal out of marriage, purity, not touching guys, not being alone with a guy, I personally think that is why girls start to view men as something 'abnormal' and not in a brotherly light. The people mentioned in the first section of this series were boys and girls who treated each other as items to be looked at, desired, tried out – that is where the problem lies. You either have a group of people who just want to have the prettiest girl, and look out for the hottest one to swap to when they are done with the first, or you have a group of people who dare not touch one another, sit next to one another, stand by one another. Stand talking to a guy, are you kidding? He might think you're after him. Hello people, we're brothers and sisters in the Lord. Treat your guy friends as your brother, treat your female friends as your sisters. Would you talk to your brother about your thoughts, would you care about his feelings? Yes. Would you kiss your brother – No, would you tell him he was hot – no. Would you talk to your sister about how sexy your brother was. No. If you wouldn't say it, do it, or speak to your brother in that way, then don't do it with your guy friends. It's very simple.

    I totally disagree with everything Emily says about how most girls feel, and how she thinks when a guy is friendly with her. You can have an amazing friend who is a woman and have a brilliant platonic relationship with her. You can have an amazing friendship with a guy and have a brilliant platonic relationship with him. Women and men can be friends, without a woman thinking every guy wants a relationship with her………

  3. (Posting in two comments as it wouldn't accept it as one)

    ……Another problem I think that arises in homeschooling circles is training women 'just to be mothers'. The focus on 'getting a husband' can put a girl under a lot of pressure. Not every woman will be married, some people may not be called to marriage, and some women may be single forever. Yet in some circles the pressure put on women just to be married and not encouraged to be or aspire to anything else seems to be growing more and more. Women cannot be anything but a Mother and Wife – their home training has taught them to be a stay at home daughter until the day they marry. So sure, if that's how you've been brought up, and you have no other future and are not willing to believe that God would have any other future for you than mother and wife, you definitely could struggle with thinking every guy is interested in you. For those of us who don't just focus on Motherhood and think of the other blessings that God may have prepared for us as single women, maybe it's not something that bothers us as much. I certainly don't think every one of my friends who is a man wants to be my husband. I can have friends who I talk to, enjoy their company, confide in and still not be interested in them as a spouse. If you can't hold a friendship with people without wanting to marry them, then maybe you are not ready for marriage.

    I may never marry. One day I may be married. Only God knows. However, I am certainly not going to live my whole life afraid to have a normal friendship with a guy, in case I face the prospect of thinking he likes me, when he really doesn't.

    How would you treat your brother? How would your brother behave towards you? Would you talk to your sister about your brother in that way? Would you think about your brother in that way? Ask yourself those questions, and if you are not treating your guy friends in a way that you would treat your brother, then maybe – just maybe – you are in the wrong. Are your guy friends treating you in a sisterly way – cool. It's all that matters. Don't be so fearful about friendships – don't get stuck on these tiny details – I mean is a guy stood too close to you? Would you sit next to your brother? Yes – how much closer can you get? Do you want guys and girls to have a conversation stood so many feet apart? Do you see what I am saying? Would you say to your brother, you can talk to me, but you aren't allowed to stand next to me?

    Would I have a private conversation with my brother – er yes. Do I private chat with him sometimes – er yes. Has my brother ever taken me out for a coffee alone – yes.

    Please note I am not saying a woman cannot struggle with this, as clearly Emily is saying that she does. What I am saying is that maybe it's not the norm; maybe rather than it being the mans problem and how he treats her, it is rather something that a woman who struggles with this needs to look inside herself about, and ask herself if it's the way she is thinking of men, and treating men that is causing these struggles.

    I can assure you that this emotional purity from a woman's perspective definitely does not apply to every woman.

  4. I too, disagree almost entirely with this post. I think the fear of what parents expect in the area of romantic relationships leads to a silence, a dishonesty, that creates these types of situations. They're tragic, but the way to avoid them is not to be bride of Christ that is cold to its own members. Better to be hurt than to fail to love.

    “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
    – C.S. Lewis.

  5. I'm sorry to hear that you have been hurt. It is definitely true that good things can be misused or abused.

    Also, this post by Emily isn't intended to speak for all girls everywhere. Of course there will be exceptions, but in my experience, Emily's experience, and the experiences of many others, most girls are very vulnerable in the area of emotions. You admit yourself that this applies to you.

    And again, I'm very sorry for the bad experiences you've had, but I also think you're bringing that baggage into this post and it's tainting how you are reading this, implying that this post is saying things it does not say.

    Yes, the girl described did not act perfectly, but I also don't think guys should make it harder on girls. Similar to modesty. Yes, guys should control their thoughts, but girls shouldn't make it harder. It's very analogous, which is why many people describe romance novels as “porn for girls.” It's pretty widely known and accepted that the emotions of girls are very volatile.

    “A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” -Jane Austen

  6. And you said nothing offensive. Disagreement is not offensive. 🙂

  7. This post is amazingly accurate. It would be great if Christian men took more responsibility when it comes to protecting the hearts of women. That means determining quickly what your intentions are and stating them! I don't think the guy in this scenario is innocent. (I know he's fictional but based on aspects of real men). He's having his cake and eating it, too.

    It's refreshing to see a post that asks men to take responsibility rather than yet another that tells women to toughen up and harden our hearts. One of the beautiful things about being a women is having a soft heart. I want to keep mine soft no matter how many times it gets hurt.

  8. I notice in the comments a spirit of feminism, something that unfortunately has permeated the church. It's that spirit of feminism that would have us women deny our soft hearts and pretend we're just like the guys. It's what stops men wanting to protect women. It's what makes women think being “just a mother” (how that reduction of motherhood makes me cringe!) is not good enough.

  9. Yes! I completely agree! Women are different from men, and that's GOOD! Men and women have different weaknesses which make us susceptible to different things. I believe we are to look out for one another and not take advantage of these weaknesses.

    I think most guys don't realize how emotionally driven women are, and mistakenly lead them on when they don't mean to. I've been guilty of this. But that doesn't make us any less responsible. You are right, the guy in this scenario is not innocent.

    It's my hope that more guys come to understand this, and seek to treat women like woman, and not just like “one of the guys.”

    Thank you for your comment!

  10. Very true. It's so ironic that many of the things Feminists bemoan today are the result of Feminism. They want to act like men and be treated like women. Reality doesn't work that way.

  11. I thought I left a comment earlier but I think I might not have fully posted it. If it did go through, just delete my earlier one.

    I wrote my response as an article on my own blog:

    I hope you don't find it too harsh or offensive. Also, I would like to note that I am fond of my spirit of feminism, because contrary to popular misconceptions, real feminism would have women be themselves…whether that self is “like a guy” or soft-hearted…which is a really strange contrast considering that many guys have soft hearts too. Real feminism (and I'm talking about outspoken liberal feminist groups that I follow) argues against the “man hate”…I have read several articles already by feminists saying that it is not okay to even joke about hating men, because the intent is not to continue the cycle of oppression by beating men down, but to end it by lifting women up to the same level. These /real/ feminists express no disdain for stay-at-home mothers.

    What has unfortunately permeated the church is a disdain for feminism, and for women who aren't stay-at-home mothers. The claim that it stops men wanting to protect women is false. I'm a man. I'm a feminist. I want to protect women…and men, and children, and everyone. I want to protect /humans/.

  12. I believe you are misapplying 1 Timothy 5:2, “Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.”

    We are to act with respectful treatment as is well fitted to promote purity. Therefore, any treatment that would NOT promote purity, is not good. Purity is not just physical, as Jesus points out in Matthew 5:28. Purity encompasses our whole person, not just our physical bodies.

    Therefore, I think Emily's letter is, in fact, encouraging us to treat one another as brothers and sisters with all purity.

    You are right that we should not consider all members of the opposite gender as potential spouses. That is a major part of emotional purity. Therefore, we should not flirt or act in a manner with the opposite gender that implies we have special access or privileges with them.

    And I agree that men and women can have amazing platonic friendships! Emily believes that two! So we are in agreement!

  13. And now you seem to be going off on a tangent that is unrelated to this post, so I can't really respond to that. However, I will say that I don't know any homeschoolers who train women to “just be mothers.”

    In response the rest though, I know many guys who have tried to treat girls like sisters–myself included–who then discovered that these female friends misunderstood their actions. This led to a lot of pain. The Bible does not tell us to treat one another as biological brothers and sisters, but as brothers and sisters in Christ, in all purity. I think it is significant that Paul explicitly stated, “in all purity.”

    I believe guys should seek to protect women, including their emotions, and not simply ask women to just try harder. Women are much more emotional than men (as a whole) and that is very good, but also comes with vulnerabilities.

    I do agree that women are not free from responsibility. They need to guard their hearts and protect their thoughts, yes. But men shouldn't make it more difficult on them. Also, it is very clear that what Emily described IS the norm. In fact, it's so understood, that we see it often joked about in books and movies–girls often thinking a guy likes them because of something he did or does, and the guy is completely clueless. Certainly, there are exceptions to the rule (which Emily agrees with) but just because there are exceptions, it does not follow that we should throw out the rule. We don't throw out grammar rules just because there are exceptions.

  14. w ow okay i don’t even know where to start here. uh. i guess i’ll start with the easy one.

    Some time ago on facebook you claimed that you thought platonic male-female friendships were possible. Before you ask “but when?? where???” it was in the last discussion I participated in, and you were quite explicit in saying it. Well, here you have proved my point from that time: clearly, you do not think platonic male-female friendships are possible. In case you need clarification, I ask you to consider: what is it, exactly, that you think friends do? Friends hang out together one on one, friends open up to each other emotionally, friends stand next to each other, friends occasionally hug or sit next to each other touching, if they are comfortable with physical touch as a form of affection. This post declares all of these things to be off-limits when considering contact between males and females. And before you say “but I didn’t actually say that!” remember that this is your blog and you asked someone else to write a post for you. Clearly you agreed with it, because you posted it with little commentary beyond an introduction.

    Now on to the actual post.

    WOW there are problems with men and women interacting in society? Misapprehensions?? People getting HURT??? Problems arising because of stereotypes and misunderstandings? Not communicating? Gee, this sounds like /life/. Imagine that. Now /how in the world/ would we go around fixing that?

    Well, for starters, throw out all of your preconceived gender roles. They are not “rules” in the sense of grammar rules, because grammar rules are solid and do not change except over long periods of time, and even the exceptions follow the rules to some extent. People change. People are different. For every stereotype you make about men or women, there are many people of the opposite sex who break that stereotype. Please, for everyone’s sake, cut the bullcrap that men and women are “wired” different ways. We are not robots. Let me say that again: /we are not robots./ See this lovely article here: And this other one here: which touches a bit on gender roles in marriage.

    Second, get rid of the idea that women’s words and thoughts are not valued. That is a base lie and so ridiculously offensive that when I read that passage aloud to my roommate, she laughed because she thought I was reading a satire. I honestly don’t know what else to say to this other than that if you think this way, if you think that women don’t deserve to be listened to because you might form an attachment, then you do not deserve female companionship.

    Third, remove yourself from the boy-meets-girl-becomes-courtship idea and the idea that women are to be passive in relationships. Not only is this not supported biblically, it is also impractical. Someone has to get the ball rolling and not all guys are confident enough to do it. Furthermore, while that Jane Austen quote may be true of some women, it is certainly not true of all women, and it should /not/ be true of anyone at all.

    Finally, stop teaching men and women that they are somehow responsible for the other’s actions. Men are not responsible for women falling over them left and right with hopes of marriage and never saying anything, and women are not responsible for men sexualizing their bodies and lusting over them when the men think the women’s clothing choices are inappropriate. Teach personal responsibility and self-control.

    Also, I want to leave you with this comment that I found from an informative post I read recently ( “But if your listeners (or readers) are coming away with an idea that’s false, the burden is on you, the teacher/speaker (or writer) to use your language clearly enough to eliminate miscommunication.” For when you want to say “but I didn’t actually say that!”

  15. Yes, I do believe that guys and girls can be friends. I actually mention a couple comments up that I believe guys and girls can befriends. I have quite a few female friends myself, and nowhere does this post rule out that possibility.

    What your comment does show, however, is that you have a very limited view of friendship. Two of Jesus's best friends were women, and yet we don't have descriptions of Him ever being alone with them, sharing deep feelings, or touching. So your idea of friendship seems to contradict the Bible, since the Bible called them His friends. Friendships are so much richer and more powerful when there are more than two

    Guys and girls certainly can share deep personal details, but doing so one-on-one is not wise. But this is very possible within a small group of friends.

    Also, what you say about men and women not being different is pretty outrageous, and I mean no disrespect. There have been a ridiculous amount of scientific study done to prove otherwise, and it's quite clear to most people that men and women are different. These are generalizations, yes, that means there will be exceptions, which I have said multiple times. But an exception does not disprove the rule.

    As far as your second point, you are choosing to misunderstand Emily's words, so I'm not going to even give a response, especially considering the mockery with which you wrote.

    Concerning your third point, I have no idea what you're talking about. Nowhere do I say women should be passive in relationships. But I do know that the man is supposed to lead. That is Biblical. Do some guys need some help? Yes. However, we also live in a world where a lot of men need to man up. Just because one person is supposed to take the initiate doesn’t mean the other person has to be passive. And you describe exactly what I believe concerning the Jane Austen quote. Of course not ALL women think like that. No reasonable person would make such a claim. But it is true that most are that way. Should they change? Yes, but some need help changing, and we shouldn't complete disregard them before that happens. This is exactly what Paul is talking about in 1 Corinthians about not causing others to stumble.

    I find your lack of concern for others very disturbing. We are called as Christians to consider others as more important than ourselves. Certainly, everyone is responsible for their own actions, but we must not think ourselves innocent if we play a part in someone's hurt. Again, Paul makes this clear in 1 Corinthians. If we cause our brother (or sister) to stumble, we not only sin against then, but we sin against Christ. I talk quite a bit about responsibility and self-control in many of my posts, including part 2 of this series, but I also teach about respect and caring toward others, and selflessness. We must not be so inconsiderate as to not care how our actions might harm others, even if the consequences are unintended. The attitude you are expressing that we do as we please be free from fault if harm comes to others is a cultural virtual, not a Biblical one.

  16. I also think it's pretty insulting to Emily that you attack me and say my understanding of women is wrong. Emily is, in fact, a woman. I believe it was you who told me to listen to women more. Emily is one of many women that I listen to. In fact, I consulted several women before sharing this post by Emily, and yet, it seems you are still not happy. You don't want me to listen to women, you want me to listen to you, and those that think like you. You want me to disregard those who believe otherwise. I find that rather dogmatic.

    I additionally find the way you demand that I stop what I am doing incredibly disrespectful, dogmatic, and judgmental. You are certainly welcome to express disagreement, but I will not accept disrespectful or hostile comments on my blog.

    I’m sorry I have to speak so sternly. Like I said, you are welcome to engage in a civil debate, but I can’t allow comments which mock and blatantly disregard the views and experiences of others. It’s hard to have a productive discussion this way, and it’s also just not very nice.

    Those issues aside, I thank you for your thoughts, and for being a faithful reader of my blog. 🙂

  17. I don't have time right now to reply in full, as I am going to help one of my friends move house, but I will say to Laura that when I said ;'just a Mother' I meant a Mother and nothing else – not Just a mother in a derogatory term. That was taken completely out of context and I certainly wasn't aiming to reduce Mothers. I actually believe that the greatest calling a woman can have is being a Mother – it is a beautiful and sacred thing. However I do not believe that God calls every woman to Motherhood, but I believe people can put so much emphasis on it, that it can make a woman/girl desperate to find a man – which can result in them seeing more in a friendship than there actually is.

    I have seen it so many times in my homeschooling circles, Reagan, which is why I feel so strongly about it. Please note – none of my comments are at all meant as an attack on anyone, I don't want you to feel like I am being antagonistic towards you, just because I disagree with what you are saying. 🙂 I'll reply to your comment later.

  18. Goodness! It amazes me how many people came out to pound you on this post! I am not going to take the stance of a simpering girl and say, “aw, poor thing” to you because that would be belittling and insulting to your own strength of character. Instead I will say, “Well done!!!”. You gave some great replies to some pretty dirty comments, and I am actually excited to see you putting up your “guns” in a way. I recall you sharing the fact with our family that you have gotten hammered outside of your blog for controversial subjects you have put up, and now to actually read some fresh new ammunition from your followers is very eye opening! Be confident in what you know is the truth and good law of the Lord!

    In Christ alone,

    The eldest sister & singer

  19. What Emily describes in no way limits love. Yes, it may limit the number of romantic relationships one has, but that's just fine, since we were created to only have a love like that for one person.

    However, Emily's post is entirely consistent with the agape love of Christ. We should seek to will the good of others, and it is not good to put people into situations where they can become emotionally compromised. I know you used to agree with me on this.

    I actually visited Emily and her family a little over a month ago, and they are some of the warmest people I have ever met.

    And C.S. Lewis is definitely correct. But Emily's post is about refraining from loving. She is, in fact, encouraging us TO love, and to strive for purity. The easier thing to do, and the more emotionally satisfying thing is to communicate with your female friends in private and open up emotionally. But that's not appropriate, and not striving to remain spiritually pure for our future spouses.

    I like that you quote C.S. Lewis, since he has been a big influence in leading me to the conclusions I have reached about how males and females should interact as friends. Another Lewis quote to consider:

    “Above all, Eros (while it lasts) is necessarily between two only. But two, far from being the necessary number for Friendship, is not even the best…When the two people who thus discover that they are on the same secret road are of different sexes, the freindship which arises between them will very easily pass – may pass in the first half-hour – into erotic love. Indeed unless they are physically repulsive to each other or unless one or both already loves elsewhere, it is almost certain to do so sooner or later.”

    In other words, if you want to maintain a friendship with someone of the opposite gender, that friendship should take place in a context with other friends, rather than being just the two of you, as that can easily lead to “eros” or “romantic love.” I know you have witnessed this and experienced this for yourself.

  20. First, I would ask whether you read the various articles I posted. I’m guessing not. Please do so? They’re not terribly long, and this conversation will run a lot smoother if you do.

    More than two what? More than two people involved in the friendship? Dude, I hate to break it to you, but the more people you involve in a relationship, the more likely you are to have arguments and personality clashes, in my experience. As an introvert, I do not really like interacting with more than one person at once on a deeply personal level. Does that make your group friendships richer and more powerful than my one-on-one friendships? No. It just makes them different.

    “Don’t ask about her feelings, and don’t ask her what she is thinking. She is likely to share her heart, because she will feel like her words and thoughts are valued, and that is a danger zone. I think this is the most important point of all (hence why I put it last!).”
    Please explain to me how that [sharing deep personal details] is possible in context of this quote. Explain how you think close friendship is possible without ever leaving a group setting. Also, many people do not feel comfortable sharing deep, personal details in groups–I am one of them, and I know many others–and so this “method” is actually quite useless for getting to know someone of the opposite sex for me. I would encourage you to read this article, as it addresses many of your arguments about courtship and emotional purity, including the “men and women should always interact only in small groups.”

    A handy list of references debunking this myth. I’m afraid it’s not outrageous at all. :/

    And /yes/, there are physical differences. Anyone with eyes can see that, and I’ve never claimed that men and women aren’t different physically. /BUT/ women can achieve the same if not greater strength than many men if they decide they want it and work for it. So “all men are stronger than all women” is not true, either.

    “She is likely to share her heart, because she will feel like her words and thoughts are valued, and that is a danger zone.”

    wOW dO noT lSeTN TO WOemn bE c theN THEY WILl feel VALUeDD wHAT

    …Forgive my sarcasm, but I am deeply offended by the idea that my words and thoughts being valued is a DANGER ZONE for guys, and therefore guys should not ask after me at all, because they should not value my opinions. The fact that this was written by a woman is no less offending, and the fact that you cannot see this

    By this logic–do not ask after the other person’s feelings because then they will feel valued–women should not ask after guys’ feelings, either, because then the guys will feel like their words and thoughts are valued. And when that occurs, what else is there to talk about, the weather?

    Where, exactly, does it say that men are to be the leaders? What /specific/ verses? Where in the Bible does it say “thou women shalt not deign to lead a male/female relationship because men are superior in this manner”?


  21. (pt 2) The way to change this Jane Austen mindset is not to stop men and women from interacting one-on-one at all, but rather to encourage this and instill the mindset that close friendships do not have to lead to romance, not all physical touch is romanticized or sexualized, and throw the gender role stereotypes out the window.

    Have some posts about how emotional purity is harmful:

    Aaaaand some posts about how modesty (dressing for our “brothers in christ” who are likely to “stumble” if we dress inappropriately) is harmful:

    I am concerned for others. Whereas you seem to be concerned for the men in this side of the equation, I am concerned for the women. For all of the reasons listed in the above posts.

    (To reply to your post below this: I should have specified something like “here are some general guidelines to fix these problems you seem to be having with girl/boy friendships” rather than “you personally need to do these specific things.” So. Grain of salt, dude.)

  22. My comments weren't in any way supposed to be 'dirty', or in any way trying to 'pound' Reagan. I always thought people used blogs to share what they found and to have healthy discussions. *Shrugs* This blog post has been discussed today with a homeschooling family I'd called on, and also in my own family. Good discussion, and not 'pounding'. Just because people disagree does not mean there cannot be healthy disagreement. If Reagan doesn't want comments that disagree with his point of view, then he can always just not publish the comments he doesn't like? I certainly wasn't trying to discourage, or upset anyone; if you post controversial topics, you're bound to get disagreeing and agreeing comments. 🙂

  23. But Stephanie said “I totally disagree with everything Emily says about how most girls feel, and how she thinks when a guy is friendly with her.”

    She's saying she believes a girl can be extremely close friends with a guy (in the process breaking several of the rules Emily describes — especially the third communication rule, as that is key to relationships and deep communication is key to deep relationships), and for the relationship to still be wholly platonic.

  24. Thanks, Mark! That is what I meant. 🙂

    Reagan, thanks for your reply! Sorry I haven't had time to reply sooner!

    *Nods* 1Ti 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
    1Ti 5:2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

    In what way do you think I am misapplying this scripture? Emily isn't showing people how to treat the other sex as brothers and sisters with all purity, because she is somehow bringing a barrier between the two, and saying you can't treat brothers and sisters in the Lord as brethren. For instance my point, if you'd hug you brother (which I would) why can't you hug your brother in the Lord?

    What is purity? Can you really not hug someone with all purity? Paul says a number of times 'Greet one another with a holy (meaning pure/chaste) kiss. Peter says to greet one another with a kiss of charity (affection).

    Tit 3:15 All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen

    When you look up the meaning of the word 'greet' in the Greek, it has a few meanings – one of them being 'enfold in the arms' When you see the words 'Salute thy brother' or ' greet thy sister Mary' and etc, the word Salute can mean embrace, welcome, and 'enfold in the arms'. I do not believe that having a pure, and chaste friendship with someone is wrong, I do not see what Emily or what you are saying laid down in Scripture.

    The problem is, you and Emily don't seem to advocate treating other Christians as brothers and sisters with all purity. What Emily describes in this blog post in not how brothers and sisters should treat one another.

  25. See, I don't think it is unrelated. I think that the reason many girls can jump to conclusions about how a guy is feeling, is based on the fact that they are desperate to find a husband. I know a lot of homeschooling families who push motherhood and being a wife, and nothing else. So for many of those girls it's like they're constantly on the lookout for a husband, because their focus is getting married. Which is why you get this cause of pain you are talking about.

    Do we not treat our biological brothers and sisters with all purity? How is that kind of purity different that the kind of purity with which we should treat one another?

    How is it very clear that what Emily is describing is the norm? I'm not quite getting how that is so very clear. Films are very seldom like real life…..

    The rule? See this is what I don't like about this – you're making this the rule. It gets very specific, and becomes law. This is the rule of how women should be treated? I find that sad, and am blessed by the number of brothers in the Lord who show me true love (yes, the bible does talk about loving one another' without fear – but still respecting me as a sister at the same time. I certainly do not feel like my feelings would not be taken into consideration, or my thoughts would have no value to them. I don't think they want to marry me, just because they care after me with all purity. I know many godly young men who treat me in this way, I have never chased after them, nor have I ever been hurt by dreaming up false intentions. I am not saying that immature younger girls could not fall into the trap of fantasizing about someone, but I am on the other side and believe that, with good parenting and teaching, it is not the norm.

  26. I actually have the opposite experience from Emily, but I completely agree with her conclusion that boys should be straightforward about whether or not they are interested. My own experience, and that of my sisters, has been much more of the clueless–really? You're interested in me? Well why didn't you say so? variety, more than thinking that a guy likes us when he actually doesn't.
    See, I went out into the world not interested in any guys and assuming that all guys were equally uninterested in me. Maybe that's not normal, but that's my personality–I couldn't even imagine the thought of having a crush. My husband and I were plain old good college friends who went to Bible study together and played games with friends together. He never actually came straight out and told me he liked me, he just eventually started calling me on a daily basis and telling me that he wanted to meet my family. I finally was the one to ask him, “I just want to know, do you like me or not?” because my mom thought from his behavior which she knew all about that he must like me but I was not at all convinced. When he, in shock, responded that yes, he did like me, then I was like, oh, okay, let me think about that for a bit, but it's possible I could like you too but we'll see. In my own little world it was the first time I'd actually known of a guy liking me and the first time I'd thought of considering liking him in response (we'd been friends for well over a year so I already knew him and his family)

    Least romantic beginning ever to our awesome marriage, but hey, that's what worked for us–and while I'd argue that there are plenty of us girls who DON'T get crushes and who DON'T assume that their male friends like them and DON'T get their hearts entangled by having friendships with others….in my opinion it is very helpful when a guy is straightforward and says “I'm interested in you” because some of us, at least I, are not very good at guessing.

  27. I don't think that anything Joseph did in this story should have made Krystal develop feelings for him. Every word or action that made Krystal think Joseph was interested in her could easily be placed into the “So I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious” meme.
    You say that you “don't think guys should make it harder on girls. Similar to modesty.” I would agree, but the difference is that immodesty involves going out of your way to stand out, whereas Joseph was simply treating Krystal the way he would want to be treated. Nothing he did should have caused Krystal to develop feelings for him, whereas immodesty– most of the time– is committed with such a purpose in mind. Now, you might say “You're not a girl; you wouldn't understand” but more than a few women and girls are in agreement with me on this subject.

    I think one thing that could've prevented Krystal's problem is a close relationship with her parents. Or at the very least, more communication with them. I have had crushes of my own, but I always go and talk to my parents about them. This has prevented much stupidity and heartbreak for me. 😛 If Krystal had communicated her feelings to her parents, then things could have gone a lot better.

    Another problem Krystal has is that her feelings for Joseph are self-centered. “I'm special!” she says to herself.
    When I had a crush on a girl who ended up in a relationship with someone else (and this has happened twice), I didn't feel 'numb'. I rejoiced! Why? Because my love for her was never about /my/ happiness, it was about /hers/. I knew she was happy with this other guy, and so I was happy for her and was able to let my feelings go. If Krystal's love was centered on Joseph's happiness rather than her own, then maybe she would've been hurt less.

    Overall, I think it's unfair for the feelings of one girl in one specific culture to be representative of all girls around the world for all time. Though girls certainly /tend/ to be more emotional than guys, we need to be careful about making such blanket statements, and saying that all girls think the same when it comes to relationships. I've talked to plenty of girls on the subject, and their views, opinions, and emotions all vary. I know girl that I avoid contact with completely, because they're extremely clingy on an emotional level. On the other hand, I know girls who have almost no interest in the opposite sex.

  28. “I don't think that anything Joseph did in this story should have made Krystal develop feelings for him.” :
    *he genuinely seems to be seeking her out.
    *They start spending time, not technically alone, but away from the group
    *Their friends start teasing them
    *they are now offhandedly talking about their futures,
    *He has been giving her compliments
    *standing way too close to her
    *has started saying hello and goodbye accompanied with side hugs

    “I think one thing that could've prevented Krystal's problem is a close relationship with her parents.” Emily did state that Krystal is disconnected from her dad, but being a stay-at-home daughter, one would assume she spends quite a bit of time alongside her mother, wouldn't you think?

    “I think it's unfair for the feelings of one girl in one specific culture to be representative of all girls around the world for all time.” Emily does state at the end of the letter: ” I am not saying that this is the reaction and thinking process of every girl”, but obviously it /can/ happen.

  29. I don't see side hugs, goodbyes, compliments, etc. as “genuinely seeking someone out.” I know people who act that way towards all of their friends, regardless of gender. That's just the way they express their friendship.
    As for spending time “apart from the group”, I think that depends on the context. Sometimes I have been “trapped” with someone (this happened the other night at the party!) when a one-on-one conversation was not at all my intention. Other times, I have talked with girls “apart from groups” simply because the subject of our conversation is one that only the two of us were currently interested in. Like talking about NaNoWriMo with Haley, for example. The only reason I talked with only her about it is because she is the only one I know in person who does NaNoWirMo. Not because I was pursuing her or anything like that. Now, there are definitely some cases where talking alone together could be a clear indicator of interest, but I think there are cases and contexts where it can be completely harmless.
    As for friends teasing, that can be easily ignored. Besides,some people will tease you about insignificant things like having the same birthday as a girl, even if you almost never spend time with that girl (I know from experience ;P); so I don't think teasing is any indicator of what we're talking about here. Teasing shouldn't really be taken seriously, because it's just that: Teasing.

    I didn't say Krystal's relationship with her parents was /bad/, I simply said it could be /better/. Which –if she's disconnected from her dad, and doesn't communicate her feelings with her mom– it clearly can be.

    I know Emily stated that. I'm not saying she was making a blanket statement, I said “we need to *be careful* about making such blanket statements.” “careful not to” probably would've made my point more clear. In any case, that comment was directed more at the rules Emily set up. You can't say “Krystal's reactions don't apply to every girl” and then make a list of default rules that based on her reactions. If not all girls act like that, then I don't think you should treat all girls like that. That just seems like common sense to me.

  30. “…standing way too close to her (dangerous to do by the way: it really knocks a girl for a loop).”

    I had to laugh! If a girl is that emotionally flighty, maybe she needs to get burned. (Hopefully it will be gentle and she will still have friends or parents to cry with!) Then she can grow stronger, pick up the pieces, get on with her life, and recognize that emotions can get out of control, that relationships are a constant give and take, and that guys and girls can be best friends – though the bestist friend will eventually be the spouse.

  31. hey!
    I am so glad that you, as a guy, post this! I need to hear this, thank you!

  32. I’m so glad this post has been an encouragement!

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