Women’s Ministry panel discussion highlights importance of male-female friendships


Photo by: Layna Corbett

Rows upon rows of women listened to a panel discussion to learn more about maintaining friendships with men on Wednesday, Oct. 24 in the Gentile Gallery of the J.C. Williams Center.

This Women’s Ministry panel discussion was guided by questions from attendees, which went back and forth between the topics of friendships and dating.

The representatives on the panel were Matthew Breuninger, who holds a doctorate in psychology, Joanne Storm, who also holds a doctorate in psychology, husband and wife Bob and Kate Lesnefsky, sophomore Kendal Huntsman and junior Zachary Mercugliano.

In response to one question, Breuninger said that being friends with the opposite sex can bring out a feminine dimension in men and a masculine dimension in women required for spouses to complement each other in marriage. This male-female relationship can lead to a new interaction with God and can help men become better fathers and teachers.

Another question on the table for the night was how friendships between opposite genders can affect a person’s life. Storm answered that friendships with the other gender can be fruitful and healthy but can also lead to what she called “feminine confusion.” She said that women often like to be liked, even when they do not necessarily like the person liking them, which causes confusion in friendships and romantic relationships.

Sophomore Madison Mead appreciated the advice given during the discussion, saying, “You don’t have to figure out your life before dating; sometimes you figure it out during dating. … (This) reiterated that I need to be more patient with myself but also take care of myself.”

Some students found this talk more helpful than regular dating talks. “I think these talks should be a bit more balanced,” said senior Annie Mellody. “Friendships are more prevalent than the dating culture.”

This was the fourth session in the Abide Series led by Women’s Ministry. The next session will be on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the Gentile Gallery.