The Friends We Keep: She Says

friendswekeepshesays
Take a moment to think about your close friends. Close meaning, the friends you confide in one-on-one. Those individuals you have coffee with and who keep you accountable. The people you invest quality and quantity time in just the two of you. Do they…

Esteem marriage?

Respect the opposite sex?

Build up your marriage and not just you?

If you answered, yes. Great! These are all areas I explore in a friendship inventory I discuss in my book Team Us: Marriage Together. This inventory is one way I’ve learned to distinguish the more casual friends from the close. Because the truth is, even as adults, we are influenced by those we allow to “speak into” our lives regularly. Peer pressure has no expiration date. Because of this, we do need to be careful to surround ourselves with influencers who will cheer us on in our marriages and direct us toward our spouse.

But I have one more question for you. Are these close buddies male or female? If you’re a husband, my hope is that you said, “male.” And if you’re a wife like me, I hope you answered “female.”

Why?

It’s not that I hold to a men-and-women-can’t-just-be friends philosophy. I have male friends. My husband Ted has female friends. I think it’s okay for you to also. So I’m certainly not anti-opposite sex friendships. That is if – and it’s a big if – once you’re married, these opposite-sex friends fall more closely under the label casual.

What do I mean by casual? Do I mean you awkwardly pass each other with a quick wave or nod. That there’s absolutely no depth to your interactions?

Not at all.

Have conversations. Have depth. Don’t be afraid to answer the question, “How’s it going?” with “Not so great.” By casual, I mean don’t make opposite-sex friends the ones you’re regularly and consistently confiding in one-on-one. Don’t schedule coffee dates and have accountability sessions. Don’t invest quality and quantity time just the two of you. Don’t bear your unguarded heart to them.

Yep, it may be a controversial view to some, but when it comes to those friends Anne with an “e” would call bosom friends – you know a kindred spirit you turn to for emotional support and guidance – I believe that as marrieds, there’s wisdom in keeping them same-sex.

And let me clarify a bit here. I am not saying that you and your spouse can’t be “kindred spirits” with another couple. That the four of you can’t confide in each other. That you can’t have coffee and keep each other accountable. Or invest quality and quantity time into each other’s lives. Ted and I have had and continue to have friendships with other couples that we value deeply. As a couple, we consider them close friends. But … I’m not meeting separately with the husband or confiding solely to him. Or vice versa with Ted and the other wife. We still exercise discretion and have boundaries in place to not only protect our marriage, but theirs as well.

So the next time you step back to examine your close friendships, I encourage you to ask yourself the three … no, four questions I posed at the beginning of this post … including whether those bosom buddies of yours share the same set of chromosomes as you.

And don’t miss tomorrow as my husband Ted shares his thoughts on this subject of opposite-sex friends within marriage. Just a word of caution: people normally either love or hate what Ted has to say. He’s kinda polarizing like that. Me? I love what he has to say. Usually.

signatureforarticles

AshleighSlater.com and MarriageTogether.com

9780802490704_p0_v1_s260x420

For more practical ways to cultivate and strengthen unity in your marriage, check out my book, Team Us: Marriage Together.

He Said/She Said: Becoming One Flesh One Issue at a Time

one topic two views

God said that a man should leave his father and his mother in order to hold fast to his wife.  And He said that the man’s holding fast to his wife should be done so tightly and permanently and continuously that the two become one flesh (Genesis … [Continue reading]

Two Words for a Heart that Overflows

two words

I don’t think I say “thank you” enough. In fact, I know I don’t. I don’t always receive compliments well, I find myself having an expectant heart rather than a grateful one, and I probably come across as bossy and controlling to my … [Continue reading]

Have You Lost Your Parenting Perspective?

Have You Lost Your Parenting Perspective?

If waking, working and winding down at the end of another very long day brings you emptiness and questions as to whether or not you have truly invested into your family, then perhaps you are stuck in the rut of routine. Are we following strict … [Continue reading]

3 Ways to Center Your Family Around the Cross

3 ways to center your family around the cross

One of my deepest desires is for our family to be marked by godliness... that we would be a group of people marked by faith, Christ-like character, joy, and peace. But as I hear my kids arguing about whose turn it is to walk the dog, or as I hear … [Continue reading]

I Want to Be His Wife AND His Friend

The Embrace of a Wife is Sacred

The embrace of a wife can be one of the most sacred places on earth. It’s a place of refuge where a husband can rest from the toil of everyday life. It’s a place where he is welcome and wanted. He is strengthened by her gentle embrace and restored by … [Continue reading]

17 Four Letter Words Husbands SHOULD Use In Marriage

Four Letter Words

Four letter words are given a bad name due to the fact that there are a select few of them that are not edifying. As husbands, we need to avoid those words (Proverbs 21:23) and focus on the four letter words that encourage, nurture, and grow our … [Continue reading]

Have You Lost Your Heart For Your Family?

Happy three generation family sharing a mealtime together

Sometimes "being present" is not enough.  We work hard to make time for family dinners, go out of our way to make family activities fun and inspirational, and purpose to be home together soaking up the quality time. Yet, in the end, we feel as if … [Continue reading]

Getting the “Extra” Out of the Ordinary

getting the extra out of the ordinary

How many of you were fascinated (or possibly still are fascinated) by superheroes? (It’s OK to admit it…) My personal favorite by FAR was Superman. The amazing transformation from Clark Kent to Superman was my dream, my aspiration, and my … [Continue reading]

Why “Old” Is Good for the Family

Why Old is Good for the Family

What’s wrong with being “old?” I was called “old” a few weeks ago because I am pushing 40. I have an “old” car because it has over 100,000 miles on it. And my iPhone is “old” because it’s a 4s (there may be some truth to this one). We don’t … [Continue reading]