By Mandy Kelly, Contributing Writer
Marriage is a friendship, but not the only one we need
There is the old saying that goes, “Friendship makes the world go round.” There might be some truth to that. Friendships are such a vital part of our lives. The ultimate friendship, outside of our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, begins the day our closest friend turns into our marriage partner for life!
Marriage is just a friendship that chooses to stick it out, through thick and thin, through good times and bad. They are the friends you choose to make family, and the ones we want to spend our every day and most intimate moments with. Yes, marriage is truly is lifelong, intimate friendship.
Yet, it wasn’t very long into my marriage that I learned my husband could not meet every need that I had. I still needed girl friends – and he still needed guy friends! I still like to get coffee and go shopping – and he still likes to go to the gun range and go fishing! We have learned to enjoy these task together, but he doesn’t like to shop as much as I might, and I don’t like to fish as long as he does! We have learned the importance of still needing friendships even though we’re married.
The blessings of other friends
It has been a great blessing to our marriage to have relationships with other married couples. Couples that are in the same life station as we are – that we can invest in, spend time with, and share life with! We have learned that there is a lot to be said of having people who call and encourage us, hold us accountable, and lift us up in prayer. These are all things we do together within our marriage, but that we also feel like we need friendships in order to help maintain these areas.
My husband is my best friend- there is no doubt in that. There isn’t a woman on this earth that I would run to before I ran to my husband with a need, for prayer, or to hang out with. However, I am so glad my husband knows me well enough to know that it fills my love tank, and brings me joy, when I get to spend time with other women. Especially women who can sharpen me in my faith. I have learned so much about being a wife and a mother through the relationships that I have made with other women in my life.
Some ways that my hubby and I have this work out in our marriage are these:
1) We encourage each other to get lunch out with our friend (same gender)
This means we don’t take away from time with our family, or our spouse, but it does allow us time to connect. We set aside money in our budget for this as well.
2) Have couples over for dinner
This allows our whole family to get involved. We get to minster to another family in our home, and allows us to still be together, while allowing us to connect with other couples. We do dinner, game nights, and even movie nights at times. We have also done things where we go to events and concerts with other families.
3) Stay connected to your women’s and men’s ministries in your church
We encourage each other to always make church activities within our gender a priority. Baby showers, men’s prayer breakfasts, and Sunday school activities can be a great way to connect with other couples!
4) Double date
Grab a sitter if you need one (or a family member!) and go out and have fun with another couple. Sporting events, Bible Conferences, or active things are always great ideas!
5) Keep “US” time a priority
My hubby and I make sure we have regular date lunches (once a week) and date nights (in or out) weekly. We have dinner together almost every night, and try to turn in at the same time nightly. This allows us to connect as a couple, and not get other relationships in a priority over that of our spouse.
Let’s allow ourselves the freedom to enjoy time with friends – I really feel like it makes my marriage stronger!