One of the wisest choices you can make to build your marriage is being careful with the friends you choose. Your marriage is vulnerable to attack—just ask the 50+% who have walked through the valley of divorce and those who were nearly divorced. The friends around you is a significant determiner to the success of your marriage!
Here are 10 keys to guide you in evaluating the friends you choose. Pursue people who fit these criteria and build a wall of allies around your relationship. Who you have as your friends is up to you!
1) Choose a friend who is the same gender.
Cross-gender friendships grow in intimacy over time. Confidential stories are shared. Embraces, words of understanding, consolation, tenderness—may begin with good intentions—but can wreak havoc on one or both person’s hearts. Wisdom says to build hedges around your marriage and pare down your choice of friends to your gender.
2) Choose a friend you enjoy.
You want someone who brings joy and energy into your life. VDP’s (Very Draining People) generally are not good reciprocal friends and allies.
3) Choose a friend who is pro-marriage.
You want a someone whose basic values are for a husband and wife to be united for life. You don’t need a confidant whispering in your ear that, “Divorce is an option. Get out and get happy!”
4) Choose a friend who will fight for your marriage.
We need a friend who will prop us up when we feel like giving up. We need someone who will encourage us to stand strong, trust God, and do whatever it takes to build…or re-build…our marriage.
5) Choose a friend who will challenge you to be a better spouse.
Perhaps your friend will recommend a book or a blog that will help you grow as a husband or wife. Or they will recommend a retreat you can attend as couples. Maybe they set an example for you in some ways that you can emulate.
6) Choose a friend who will hold you accountable.
We all need someone who will speak truth to us—even at the risk of losing the friendship. The Bible says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted.” (Proverbs 27:6) Be sure to have people in your life who love you and your marriage so much that they will point out where your thinking is flawed, your character is in jeopardy, or your actions are astray.
7) Choose a friend who has been married longer than you.
There is wisdom and hope to be found in the lives of those who are a few steps ahead of us on the journey. Ask questions. Learn deeply from them.
8) Choose a friend who has been married less years than you.
When someone is looking up to you for direction, there is a greater attentiveness to the marriage example you set. They need you to be in their life!
9) Choose a friend you can count on.
The world is full of “fair-weather” friends who are there when it’s convenient for them. You want a friend whom you can depend upon—and who can depend on you as well!
10) Choose a friend who will pray for you.
Victory in marriage is won on our knees. Ask your friend if they will pray for you in your role in your marriage. Ask them to pray for you and your spouse.
Your friends will, in large measure, chart your future in your marriage. Do whatever it takes to have friends who will help you build your marriage!