Last week, we talked about the kind of friends that could adversely affect our marriages. The complainer, the critic, and the cynic all hurt our God-given relationships and in many cases have contributed to the demise of a “friend’s” wedded bliss. But thank God that those are not the only friends we get to choose from. There is the other end of the spectrum, a different breed of friends. These are the friends who care about us. They care about our marriage and pray for us to make it. They hurt when we hurt, cry when we cry, and rejoice when we rejoice. These friends truly love us and want the best for our marriage. They don’t get all clingy and jealous of our spouse. They are encouragers. They are honest. They are real friends.
Let’s examine the type of friends we must surround ourselves with who seek to help, and not hinder our marriages.
The Honest Friend
It must start here. It is hard to move forward in a friendship without honesty. We cannot live our lives based on lies. Why would we want to have friendships that are dishonest?
In a time of “networking,” we have been programmed to make friends based on how they will help us in our business and life. And to some degree, that’s what this post is about. However, sometimes, honesty goes out the door because we’re afraid to hurt each other’s feelings or maybe it’s just not our business. Some might even say, “I’m not by brother’s keeper!”
If you see your friend walking towards a busy interstate highway, intending to hurt himself, what would you do? Would you trust what he’s doing? Would you say, “it’s none of my business?” Or would you scream to the top of your lungs, “stop,” while running to pull him back to safety?
I need a friend that would be honest with me and just say, “You’re being a jerk with your wife,” if I am being one. I need a friend who would be willing to give me honest feedback regarding my character, reputation, and marriage, especially at crucial stages of my life. And when done in love and at the appropriate time, I don’t consider it meddling.
We need friends that will be honest with us.
The Encouraging Friend
Can we all agree that there’s enough drama in this world? We don’t need to add to it! I need a friend who will encourage me. Notice what Paul said about the house of Onesiphorus:
“The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:” 2 Timothy 1:16
I know I’m not perfect. I know that my marriage isn’t perfect. I don’t need anyone creating drama around it or reminding me of how much I fail in life. I need someone who would refresh me. Someone who will say, “It’s okay if you messed up. Get up, get it right, and keep going.” Do your friends, like Onesiphorus, often refresh you?
The Challenging Friend
It’s been said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I receive help better from people who I know care about me. Abraham Lincoln said, “He has a right to criticize who has a heart to help.”
The fact is this: we are not done growing personally and maritally. We need help! Therefore we need friends who will challenge us to go to the next level. We need people who will challenge us to be more caring, romantic, thoughtful, etc. We need friends who constantly remind us not to settle for second best. After all, when it comes to our marriage, our attitude should always be, “the best is yet to come.” That only happens if we are willing to grow and a friend can help us with that.
Do you have friends who care? Friends who don’t get in the way of your marriage but rather become the stepping stones to a successful relationship. If so, hang on to them tightly, thank them for being honest with you, encouraging and challenging you. Your marriage has been helped by these special angels. How can you repay them? Be the same kind of friend to them, a friend who cares and together we can create a community filled with strong marriages.