When you’re going through rough times in your marriage or relationship with your significant other, who’s the person you usually call for support? After praying to Heavenly Father, many of us would reach out to our BFFs for a shoulder to cry or lean on. It’s a friend that will always listen to us blubber through as we try to make sense of what is happening. It’s someone that offers spiritual encouragement, compassion and support, and not judgement. These are the women we count on, and we have established deeply rooted ties, some stronger than biological ones. But one of the things many of us struggle with is how to honor these friendships, especially while balancing them with the relationship needs of the significant man in our lives.
It’s inevitable that there will be friends, some we’ve had quite a long time, who have developed a sense of entitlement when it comes to our time. It’s not unusual to hear about a bestie feeling displaced and upset because a new man is in the picture. You’re not able to have as many phone conversations or hang out together as much, because you’ve got new priorities. The more your relationship grows with the new person in your life, the less time you have on your hands to devote to others.
This happened to Tammy, when at forty-one, and with two college aged kids, she married a wonderful man. Her friends had been with her through thick and thin. They all comforted and encouraged one another through broken marriages, the toils of being single, and the struggles of raising children as single parents. Tammy knew her friends were thrilled for her happiness, but they were accustomed to keeping each other in the loop. As her new relationship grew and ultimately blossomed into marriage, Tammy didn’t feel the need to communicate with her close friends about new changes, boundaries, or how she would need to handle any of it. She was so engrossed with the new man that she wasn’t even aware she was letting her friendships slip through the cracks.
1Peter 4:8(NASB) says, “8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” We’re not exempt from this passage just because we find Mr. Right. One of the greatest and most profound lessons we must learn is one concerning what we need to do as single women to build a landing strip for the blessing of marriage. As friends and wives, God’s standard is that we serve one another as good stewards of His manifold grace. Yes, our priorities must change when we partner, but as God so beautifully tells us in 1Peter 4:8, the love of Christ will cover a multitude of sins.
Job 6:14(NIV) tells us, “Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.” Kindness dictates honesty, compassion, and communication. All three are necessary to convey to those who have supported us that we’re continually appreciative of them, and we need their understanding as we navigate a new chapter in our lives. When Tammy and her husband planned a trip and needed to depend on trustworthy friends to check in on their home while they were away, she was surprised by some of their comments. Although willing to help, her longtime girlfriends felt as if they had been kicked to the curb by Tammy, and had no problem saying so.
Sometimes friends we’ve had a long time must go their separate ways when life-changing events occur. Everyone can’t go where we’re going, and it is necessary to part ways, but this isn’t always the case. We need good people in our lives, and we also need to continue the ministry of being a loving, supportive friend. It is one that keeps us operating out of the love of Christ as we are a blessing to others. If we allow the love of Christ to rule our hearts in this area, we’ll find that our friends will be much more understanding. Again, this requires us to be honest, thoughtful, and keep the lines of communication open. If we do this and allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us, we can establish boundaries that honor our significant relationships and maintain the friendships that are so dear to us as well. ■
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
“As We Go Our Separate Ways”, written for findchristianman.wordpress.com. Copyright©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.