Friendships and Marriage

“Today, I married my best friend.” That phrase was all over various items for our wedding. That’s how Amy and I really felt. God gave our marriage the solid foundation of a strong friendship. We fell in love as friends and to this day, I can say without hesitation that she is my best friend. There is no one on the face of the planet I’d rather spend every moment of every day with than my precious wife. I love her and I would marry her all over again.

But realistically speaking, there are other friendships that surround our marriage. As husband and wife, we have other friends, may it be other couples, singles, elderly, etc. Yes, you’re spouse is still your best friend but you have other friends, too, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

But did you know that your friendships affect your marriage? I’m not saying you shouldn’t have friends when you’re married but the kind of friends you have will have some influence on your marital relationship. The Bible says it this way,

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20

Simply put, friendships can shape the choices and consequences of our marriage. Just like we caution our children to “choose their friends wisely,” we should do the same, especially if you’re married. Who you “walk with” will determine whether your marriage will be filled with wisdom or eventually be destroyed.

Today, let’s notice the friends we may want to keep at arm’s length. I’m not advocating being mean-spirited or cliquish. But I would be careful not to spend too much time with friends that have these characteristics.

The Complainer

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings:” Philippians 2:14

As Americans, we’ve become accustomed to “having it our way.” You can customize your house, your car, your food order, your phone, your playlist, and on and on it goes. Because of this, when something just doesn’t go our way, we want everyone to know about it. We’ll post a negative review or slam someone on social media. If you think about it, our lifestyle has led us to believe that it’s okay to complain when we don’t get our way.

May I remind you of life’s rule 44? Life isn’t fair! You can cry and complain about it or you can deal with it. Complainers hurt their own spirit as well as the spirit of those around them.

If you hang around someone who complains all the time, it won’t be long before you pick up on the same attitude. What’s amazing is that you have this unbelievable love for your spouse but when you begin to have a complaining spirit, all of a sudden that perfect companion and soul mate begins to manifest all of his/her flaws. Newsflash: it’s always been there but because you weren’t a complainer, you allowed your love to cover the multitude of his/her sins.

So stop hanging around the complainer.

The Critic

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29

Our words have power. They can either build or destroy. A critic is a typical “arm-chair quarterback.” They’re the ones who want to offer every parent advice when they don’t even have a child. They’re the ones that have all the answers to marital problems when they’ve never even committed to someone for a lifetime. They believe it is their life’s calling to critique everyone. Watch out. Being around this type of “friend” will cause you to be that spouse who thinks it’s always someone else’s fault. If God says we are “one flesh,” then it means it’s both of our faults.

The Cynic

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

God is good. Always. All the time. In our good times as well as the bad, God is always good. And yet, there are those who are always so negative. We’re not talking about the power of positive thinking. We’re talking about knowing the power of an omnipotent God. Don’t allow your trust in God to be tainted by the negativity of the cynic.

People who are negative have a tendency to bring others down with them. After all, doesn’t “misery love company?” Marriage is already hard work in and of itself. Don’t pile on top of it by bringing in a negative and untrusting spirit. The wrong kind of friends can do that to you.

These are three types of friends you want to limit your time with because it can adversely impact your marriage. Instead, do you best to influence them to be the opposite of what they are: contented, encouraging, and positive. Why? Because these are the type of friends that will help strengthen our marriages. And trust me, we all need help to do just that.

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