April: The Importance of Friends
When Barbara and I were first married, we had the incredible blessing of falling in with a group of other young couples in our church. It began as one of those multi-week evening home Bible study programs (which in itself was very enlightening), but when the allotted time was up, we decided we wanted to keep meeting together. Thus began the “Tuesday Night Bible Study” group.
We met almost every week for many years. Some of us were newlyweds, some had young children. We prayed together, we laughed (a lot!) and we sometimes grieved with each other. But mostly we grew: spiritually, socially, and in our marriages. The group morphed some, with a few couples coming in, and others having to move away, but the core group was pretty steady. Although we now live in many different places, we still count those couples as good friends. And as far as we know, only one couple out of the whole group has divorced.
Make no mistake: friends are important to a marriage. And I don’t mean Facebook “friends.” When you are surrounded, on a regular basis, by other couples who have healthy marriages and with whom you can be open and honest and have fun, it has a positive impact on your relationship. On the other hand, if you are isolated from other couples, or worse yet, are hanging around with people who are negative about life in general and down on marriage in particular, it can have the opposite effect.
Not that your friends all have to have perfect marriages. There is no such thing, and even if there were, you’d probably feel out of place, right? No, we’re talking about surrounding yourselves with healthy marriages – those marked by commitment, communication and common values. Where couples can be honest about their mistakes and fears, but not shackled by them. Where inappropriate attitudes or behaviors are called out, but grace and forgiveness are abundant. Where people care and share, rather than try to compete and outdo one another.
“Make new friends, and keep the old – the former are silver, the latter are gold.” Good couple friends can be the protective cocoon that helps transform your relationship into the butterfly of healthy, lifelong marriage.
Contributed by: Larry Compter, Executive Director
Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net