[From Julie] So far we’ve talked a lot about the husband / wife relationship (obviously, since this is a marriage blog). Other people in your life however have a huge influence on your marriage, whether you want them to or not, so let’s spend some time talking about friends. In one of our Peasant Princess groups someone mentioned that she had never stopped to think about the impact her friends have had on her marriage. I wonder how many others have never thought about that either. If you have great, positive, supportive friends then you become more like that. If they encourage you, speak well of your spouse and even hold you to account then they have the ability to strength your commitment to your marriage. On the other hand if your friends are bitter and negative, especially about their own marriages, and they see the negative in your spouse very easily than it often makes you more negative as well.
Two things are important here: You need to surround yourself with people who can be good friends for your marriage and secondly, you need to be that good friend for someone else. Noel has recently started meeting with a couple of his friends for breakfast on a scheduled basis. It is scheduled because it wouldn’t happen otherwise. Six AM at the truck stop, rain or shine. I am so happy that they’re doing this because it’s the support they each need and many men don’t seek that out very often. They all know each other very well and they’re willing to ask each other the hard questions about their marriages, their work, their struggles and their commitments. Sometimes it’s not easy to listen to another person’s opinion but they have the kind of bond that makes this possible. I trust these guys to give good counsel to Noel and be supportive of him. I know they will be there whenever he needs input. I love my husband’s man-friends. These are the kind of friends you need in your life.
Women seem to be able to find friends like these more easily. We have women’s groups of all kinds. At Tintern alone we have our women’s Bible study group, girls weekend trips to see various speakers, mom’s group, baby/wedding showers on a seemingly regular basis, Wednesday night meal prep (which is usually a couple of women planning and making meals every week). There just seems to be more opportunities for women to spend time talking and getting to know each other. I think it just comes more naturally for women. We ask for each other’s opinions more easily and ask for support more easily. As women, we need to take this very seriously. Make sure you give good positive counsel when you are asked, and make sure you ask for counsel from wise people. Don’t just listen to the loudest voice. Listen to the wisest voice, from someone who is trustworthy.
Marriage is hard work. It doesn’t matter how well matched or how well meaning you are. You need to work at the relationship. Identify another couple that is farther along in this journey than you and build a relationship with them. They can mentor you and your spouse in so many positive ways. They may not even need to be aware that they are your mentors. Their example is often more telling than their words. If you don’t know anyone like this right now, pray about it. God is gracious. He can bring you exactly who you need. Keep your eyes peeled because that person may be right in front of you.
You need your peers as well. I would never suggest that you disregard their advice. They probably know you in a way no one else does. They are the ones that you do life with most closely. Embrace each other and make your relationships strong. Speak into each others lives and ask for help. Ask for forgiveness when you’ve done something to hurt another. Ask for prayers and support. Simply be a good friend. Together we can build a culture of support that values marriage.
Anybody else have some thoughts on this?