Last week, I discussed friendship in marriage with “7 Ways to Be Your Spouse’s Best Friend“. The traffic to this post has been amazing and the biggest thrill is that there is so many of you out there who are seeking to nurture & grow the friendship between you and your spouse. This week, I’d like to discuss the friendships we keep outside of our marriage.
The 5 friends that every married couple should have:
(1) The “Right There With You” Friends – This is the couple that was married around the same time as you and is on pace with the stages your marriage is going through. If they share the same biblical views & commitment to marriage as you, then you should be a source of encouragement to one another and a trusted voice to hear “You’re not alone” as you navigate the bumps & turns of married life.
“…they help each other and say to their companions, “Be strong!” – Isaiah 41:6
(2) The “Just Ahead of You” Friends – This is the couple who is a few years ahead of where you are. If you are newly married, perhaps they have recently become parents. If you are in the trenches of parenting a newborn or toddler, this is the couple who is just exiting that phase as their kids head off to school. They are the ones that allow you to see that you will survive and can offer advice on how to keep strength and sanity during your current season. You can meet our “Just Ahead of You” friends, Todd & Helen.
“…that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” – Romans 1:12
(3) The “Let’s Be Like Them” Friends – You don’t want to be like them in the way that you want a home like theirs or a bank account that compares, but you’d like a marriage like theirs. This is the couple who inspires you in the way they displayed love & commitment throughout the years. Some are lucky enough to have this model in their parents’ marriage or grandparents’, but whether found inside your family, inside your neighborhood or hopefully somewhere evident inside your church, spending time with these folks will offer the encouragement and wisdom that every married couple needs. I wrote about our “Let’s Be Like Them” friends, Larry & Sue and a couple that truly inspires us, my husband’s grandparents, Bill & Jean, married 70 YEARS!
“The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life…” – Proverbs 13:14
(4) The “Just Behind You” Friends – To someone else, you can be the mentoring couple. We love these friendships in our marriage because they hold us accountable. Would we want these couples who look up to us to model this behavior? We foster these relationship by teaching a Marriage Prep class at our church. It also let’s us take the struggles we faced, the lessons we’ve learned and use them for good. We are open and authentic in the ways we followed the world, and God opened our eyes to His design.
“…the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3
(5) The “Double Date” Friends – This is the couple who you share interests with and could easily imagine vacationing with and having an amazing time. You are friends as couples and you also easily pair off by gender – the men are off to do this, the gals are off for a little of that – and the friendships are just as strong. The memories you build, as couples, eventually as families, bring the years together in such a way that when you are with them – you forget that you are getting so old! 🙂
And the two friends every couple should not have…
(1) The “Toxic Relationship” Friends – This is the couple who not only seems to live off the drama of their own relationship, but seem to be able to stir up strife in others’ as well. Their lack of respect for one another, degrading or sarcastic language, and basic disregard for the sacred nature of marriage is toxic. Hang out with this couple too long…and you’ll be one of them or worse, not a couple at all!
“The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” – Proverbs 12:26
(2) The “But We’re Just Friends” Opposite Sex Friends – This is a person of the opposite sex with which you hold a friendship but your spouse does not. If your spouse has voiced concern and you’ve ever had to rationalize the friendship with the words, “But we are just friends”, then you need to give this some consideration. Or if you’ve ever had to hide your interaction with this person from your spouse…major red flags. I’ve read so many points of view on this one. People believe that a strong relationship shouldn’t have reason to worry, but I believe a strong marriage is one built like a fortress with a foundation on God’s Word…and boundaries to protect it. You’ll need to ask yourself the hard question…which relationship means more to you? Or better yet, which would God want you to honor?
“Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace…” – 2 Timothy 2:22
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