By Hope Bolinger, Crosswalk.com
Editor’s Note: Crosswalk's Singles Advice is an advice column for singles featuring an anonymous question from a Crosswalk.com reader with a thoughtful, biblical reply from one of our single contributors.
I’ve been in love with my best friend for a while now. Although she likes me, I don’t think we have the same amount of affection for each other. Even when I go to God it seems like he’s indicating the same thing: that she’s not looking for something long-term at the moment.
What should I do?
As someone who has been in love with my best friend and thought I was supposed to marry him, and he didn’t feel the same way, I’m sorry you’ve landed in this situation, and I’ll try to provide as much biblical insight that I can for this particular situation.
Know that before I dive in that if the Holy Spirit seems to be prompting you in a certain direction, make sure to read Scripture and make sure what you’re being told checks out. If what you’re being told aligns with Scripture, then there’s a pretty good chance that’s the direction God wants you to go.
But, of course, in this day an age we can have difficulty interpreting how to act in certain situations in which Scripture remains silent.
Especially since dating, etc. didn’t really exist during Jesus’ day. Using Scripture and drawing from personal experience, here is my advice.
1. Establish Boundaries
One of the first things I had to do with my best friend, when I professed my love and he didn’t feel the same, is to establish clear boundaries. We have maintained our friendship to this day, but knowing my feelings versus his, we had to make sure to:
- Hang out in places where one of us won’t get tempted to pursue something beyond friendship.
- Meet in group settings where the pressure is off to perform a certain way.
- Be honest and open in communication, establishing that although the feelings are present (or not present in the case of the other person), we won’t act outside of what God has called us to in the moment: a friendship.
2. Don’t Force Anything
Since your friend does have at least some feelings toward you (maybe not completely reciprocal feelings) you may feel tempted to manipulate the situation.
Similar thoughts have passed my mind, “Maybe if we get together, he’ll start to feel the same. Maybe he’ll start reciprocating after a while, especially if I pour one hundred percent of myself into making this relationship work.”
First, from personal experience, don’t do that. You’ll wind up massively hurt.
Second, we cannot force God’s hand (Proverbs 16:9). If he wants you to end up with this friend, he will establish your steps. Trust his timing and don’t force anything.
Forcing God’s hand always backfires, every time.
3. Trust God’s Timing
During this period of singleness, God may have other plans for you. Maybe he wants you to pour more of your time into a ministry or maybe he’s using this period for you to heal and recover from a past hurt.
Or maybe he wants to use this time to prepare you for a future relationship.
Always trust God’s timing. Years from now, you will look back and see how God has moved throughout these years and has unveiled a wonderful plan for your life.
4. If You Need to, Step Away
If all else fails, if boundaries don’t appear to be working, and the friendship ends up hurting you both, it may be time to step away from each other for a while. This way, you can give yourself time to spend with God and time to refocus your thinking. When spending time with this best friend, you may feel tempted to force the situation, even after setting boundaries.
Loving a fellow brother and sister doesn’t always mean we have to agree with them or spend time with them all the time.
Sometimes love means giving each other space. Perhaps God has a godly man he wants her to meet, and for that appointment to happen, needs you not to serve as a temptation for your friend (and vice versa).
No matter what the case, go to God for guidance. And consult the counsel of more mature Christians in the faith who have been in a similar situation. They can provide examples of how they overcame temptations, trusting in God’s timing, and when needed, stepped away from a friendship to give God room to move.
Yes, not ending up with the person whom your soul loves hurts, especially when they’re your best friend. But God has wonderful plans established for you.
Trust his timing, and don’t try to manipulate the situation. God will act at just the right time, in just the right place, and with just the right person.
Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 450 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 6,000+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young's blog. Her modern-day Daniel, Blaze, (Illuminate YA) released in June, and they contracted the sequel Den for July 2020. Find out more about her here.
Disclaimer: any single editor replying to reader questions through this advice column is a Christian seeking God's direction through his Word. We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. As we explore issues with you, we will seek God's guidance through prayer and the Bible.
Have a question? If you have a question about anything related to living the single life, please email [email protected] (selected questions will be addressed anonymously). While we cannot answer every question, we hope you'll find encouragement in this column.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Hamann La
Hope Bolinger is an editor at Salem, a multi-published novelist, and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 1,200 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her modern-day Daniel trilogy is out with IlluminateYA. She is also the co-author of the Dear Hero duology, which was published by INtense Publications. And her inspirational adult romance Picture Imperfect releases in November of 2021. Find out more about her at her website.