Friendship with married people. Expectations, communication, etc.
I have a decent number of married friends, some I see more than others. Here are a few things that have made a huge difference in those relationships, at least from my end of things.
Small and regular
Life changes and friendships change. However, there’s a ton of value in building small ways to be together in our lives. When we’re trying to make plans, there are a number of mental and emotional obstacles that can pop up. One way a couple of friends and I have mitigated those is to build in the expectation of a regular hang. Life happens and we’re not always able to make it work. But for the most part, that expectation makes it easier to reach out. It’s like a mini commitment to one another that the relationship is important.
What are you already doing?
We’re all pretty busy, so it can be overwhelming to think about adding on. Granted, we make time for what’s important, but there are also limited hours in the day. A bit of advice I’m borrowing from my church’s former senior pastor Abe Cho is to think about what you already do. For me, I go on a walk every day. Sometimes, I need that time for myself. But a lot of the time, it’s something super easy to invite people to join. If not in person, can you call a friend to catch up while doing laundry or cooking or driving somewhere?
Learning to manage my feelings.
Admittedly, I’m still not great at this. Inevitably, there are times when I really want to see a friend and they aren’t available. You can insert any number of human limitations into that sentence. The point is that our friends and we are all humans. We’re going to come up short, or we’re going to place unreasonable expectations on one another. We’re going to disappoint each other and take things personally that have nothing to do with us. If you’re like me, the idea of experiencing these uncomfortable feelings can keep me from reaching out. However, these relationships are also mutually beneficial. As long as humans are involved, especially humans who live very differently than we do, stuff happens. We can choose how we want to respond when these kerfuffles happen.
Learning to use my words.
Another one I’m not so great at. However, the times when I’ve realized that my friends cannot read my mind and actually talked to them have been incredibly helpful. Sometimes that means asking if we can change the subject or asking them to initiate more. Yes, our feelings are our responsibility. But there are many times when we hinder our relationships by not communicating. This is something Terry Stokes and I talked about in his podcast episode. Keeping quiet because we feel like something shouldn’t be a big deal or because we don’t want to be a burden doesn’t lead to health.
Sometimes, friendship with married folks can be tricky. However, I think it’s good for both parties and worth the effort. What do you think? What’s been helpful as you cultivate friendships with folks of different relationship statuses?
Leave a comment and let me know!
Check out my recent blog posts!
Singles V-Day Reflection Guide
I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day. It's hard to say that without feeling like a cynic. I'd argue it's because I'm actually a true romantic. You see, I think our expression of love should not be constrained to an arbitrary day. Nor do I think we should make a deliberate...