I play the guitar … a little. When Jacob wanted to learn to play, I showed him a few things and shared my guitar with him, but I knew he needed someone else. The Lord gave us just the right person who has been a mentor, and Jacob has developed a musical love and ability I never could’ve given him. Love knows its limitations.
Sometimes when two marry, out of enthusiasm we misuse God’s idea of oneness. Instead of “and the two shall become one flesh,” we fall into the trap of thinking “and the two shall become one another’s universe.”
No matter how much we love our mate, we aren’t mean to be everything to them, relationally. I can never be “the guy pal” in Jeff’s life, and he can never be “the girlfriend” in mine. Husbands need other men, and wives need other women. We place unrealistic expectations on each other when we expect we can be all the other needs, and we set ourselves us for disappointment if we hope they’ll meet all our needs. Being “one” doesn’t mean being “everything.”
We know friends "sharpen" each other as iron sharpens iron, but also "the pleasantness of a friend
springs from their heartfelt advice" (Prov. 27:9-10), another good reason for married people to have godly friendships. Good friends are those who can provide faithful and loving rebuke when we need the "wounds of a friend" (Prov. 27:5-6). I know I'm a better wife because of the godly girlfriends, single and married, God has placed in my life.
This past weekend I enjoyed getting away for a few days with a girlfriend. Jeff encouraged me to do it, because he knows I need women in my life, and he was happy to make it possible. Bless his heart that while I was away, he even cleaned the bathroom for me!! Can I get a motion to nominate him for husband of the year?
Away with my girlfriend Tara, we enjoyed time to talk and rest and do girlfriend things. One day we toured a beautiful garden - a combination of sculpture, poetry, gardens, and history. Now my sweet husband would’ve enjoyed it with me, but he would’ve been trying to get out to the alligator pond the entire time, and when we saw a water snake while listening to the audio on the interpretive history trail, Jeff would’ve been in the swamp catching it. Instead, Tara and I wandered down the trail, taking pictures, talking about history, moving in the direction of chicken salad croissants. At home Jeff had the kids doing yardwork, out running, watching movies, and chowing down on things I hide in the pantry. It was good all ‘round. :)
- Jeff has been blessed by having guy friends in his life.
- I have been blessed by having girlfriends in my life.
- Our marriage has been blessed by having other friendships.
Love knows its limitations. We can’t be “everything” to each other in life. Jeff may be my best friend, but we benefit from having other friendships, and it makes us better as mates. Friends help meet needs in our lives, so we can give to our spouse and enjoy each other. Honestly, Tara and I talked for the seven hours it took to get to our destination … non-stop.
Did I miss my sweetheart while I was away? Of course! Who wouldn’t miss a man who will clean the bathroom and catch snakes? But absence makes the heart grow fonder and more appreciative. Time with friends keeps us healthier for when we’re together. Love isn’t afraid to release each other for time with friends, and love is wise enough to make friends. And after all, we love “being one,” but “being the universe” is a lot of pressure.
On this Marriage Monday, I hope you’ll consider how friendships help marriages be sweeter.
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