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Love and marriage are the greatest adventures in life, and they point they way to our relationship with the Almighty.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Positive Friends for your Marriage

This is the third part of our series "Five Positive  Logs to Light the Fire in your marriage", adapted from James MacDonald's series "Five Logs on the Negativity Fire".

Today we're going to talk about bringing positive friends into your life...the kind that will strengthen your marriage.

Our friends can bring out the best in us.  The can call us on our failings, in a positive way, and help us to be better.

And they can celebrate the best in us, and put a final polish on the best we have to offer.

Making friends when we're single is pretty easy...and we have to say that it's harder to make "marriage friends".

A lot harder.

The reason is simple - instead of finding a friendship equilibrium that pleases two people, you've got to please four.


Yes...because when you're married, you should make an effort to befriending other couples.

I have nothing against single people; I was one for most of my life. But a marriage needs the kind of input and support that only other happily married couples can bring.

It needs the example that while bad days happen, good wins out.

A marriage needs to be in the space provided by another pair of shared hearts. And it works both ways...your marriage will help strengthen that of your friends.

Our single friendships usually developed from a common interest, but we have to go beyond that for a couples friendship..

We need to turn to common service, whether it be a church ministry, or volunteer work with an organization like Habitat for Humanity or the literacy program at your city library.

The cornerstone of marriage is service; it's the example Christ set for the Apostles, and if we're supposed to be like Jesus for our spouse, there's not much ambiguity in our directive.

So it should not be a surprise that the best and strongest friends we find for our marriage will be looking outward together, to serve. These are the people with whom we can best join hands, because there's a common hard core of values.

Obviously, you don't pick up a ministry to meet people, just as you didn't take up a singles activity to find a date. (Uh, well, maybe I have done that...but it was stupid, and led to some world-class bad dates.)

Find the service you love, and you'll be a magnet, drawn to others as they are drawn to you.

A few cautionary words...

First, don't come on too strong. The ministry is the first priority; socializing is a benefit.

Second, don't "serve and run". Make sure that you can spare time to interact.

Third, try to cultivate friendships outside your own age group - either seek out a mentoring older couple, or become that for a younger couple. The reason should be obvious.

Well, okay. The possibility of intermarriage "attraction" is higher in the same age group.

If you find yourself attracted to the "other" spouse, make sure you're never alone together. It's not unusual to develop something like a crush, and these usually pass...because the attraction usually isn't mutual. But guard your heart, and watch your hands.

If you feel that it's an uncontrollable situation for you, do not have a heart-to-heart with the other couple, with the premise, "Hey, I'm really attracted to your husband, and we can't do this any more."

You can throw a bomb into someone's marriage that way,and create suspicion where there's no cause.

Likewise, don't tell your spouse, "Hey, I'm really falling for Joe's wife..."; you probably won't get the chance to finish the sentence.

This is one of the few times in life where truth is not the first best answer. If you can remove yourself from temptation through subterfuge, the feelings that can cause damage will pass, far faster than you think.

Back out gracefully, and step away from the activity. Develop an aversion to what you're doing; or, better, a compelling interest that takes its place. This is an emergency; get out.

You may leave bruised feelings, but it's better than broken hearts.

This post is linked to Wedded Wednesday, a compendium of really cool posts on marriage (and I got to write today's!). If you click on the logo below, you'll be taken to www.messymarriage.com, which is the springboard to a wealth of information.


  1. Our friends influence our lives and marriages, we may not know it but given time, things rub off. Thanks for sharing this Andrew, especially for the details on what kind of couples to cultivate relationships with.
    Have a super blessed day!

    1. Please pardon my tardy response; I've been quite ill.

      You're very right, that we may not see the effect of our friends immediately, but they definitely change us - and our marriages - over time. Great insight!

  2. I wholeheartedly agree, Andrew. "Couple friendships" have been a hard thing for me and my husband to find and keep. We have one couple that we went to seminary with back in the day and they remain our close friends even though they live a state or two away. We try to take yearly short trips with them and that's always been a highlight of my year. Thanks for this challenge, my friend. I think it is crucial to a couple's health!

    1. Beth, please overlook the tardiness of my response...health isn't too good at present.

      What an inspiring story of the friendship you've nurtured and preserved! In this 'throwaway' society where even people are disposable, you're a light of hope.

  3. You make such a valid point about having to please four. If one person in the pair doesn't get along with another, it makes getting together uncomfortable and less likely to happen. My husband and I have a few couple friendships, but also many separate ones too. Hope we're keeping a healthy balance... Thanks for this, Andrew. Sage advice, as always.

    1. Lisa, it's definitely a good idea to keep your separate friendships...they're the ones that foster accountability in a Christian life. I was going to add that but sorta ran out of energy, so thanks for adding it!

      Sorry it took so long to come back with a reply; the past few days have been a bit trying.