The 4th

Posted: July 5, 2007 in Church, Family, Happenings, Perspective

Nice midweek “weekend” we had this week.

– Tuesday night, a bunch of people from our small group came over and we grilled out.  Mmm… steaks, corn, squash, burgers, hot dogs.  Even played some on the Nintendo Wii after dinner.

– Slept late yesterday morning (isn’t that what holidays are for?), then headed out to Point Mallard where, after watching his band play, met up with Jonathan C. and we hassled…um, er…interviewed people for a video we’re doing for church Sunday morning.

– We raided Dave’s pool in the afternoon for some much-needed swim time.  Nothing beats relaxing in the water on a hot summer day.

– Had a seafood feast for dinner:  Snow crab legs, king crab legs, shrimp cocktail, and even some sushi.  Great food.

I went to sleep last night thinking about how much fun the past few days have been, especially when it comes to hanging out with friends.  We have a good group of friends here, and that’s something I often take for granted.  I think a lot about the book of Acts where it describes people that broke bread together daily (we almost do that) and had “everything in common.”  Basically, they invested their lives in one another in a real way.  I’d like to think that’s what’s happening with our friendships here.

When Stacey and I were in graduate school, we were both too busy with schoolwork and traveling (back and forth between Birmingham and Atlanta) to really make a lot of solid friends.  In hindsight, that was a very rough period of our lives.  And we vowed from day one of our marriage to make sure that we developed and maintained real friendships with people rather than retreat into the “solitary confinement” of marriage where couples seem to isolate themselves from others as soon as they get hitched.

I don’t understand why people do this.  I’ve had close friends, who – when they get married – suddenly become distant ‘acquaintances’ you simply never see anymore.  Stacey’s seen this happen with her friends, too, over the years.  But I think this is bad decision:

– Maybe they have this false presupposition that’s simply what you’re supposed to do (yes, I’ve heard people literally say, “I’m getting married, so don’t expect to see me around much anymore,” and they were dead serious because they viewed marriage as a death toll for friendships….yikes). 

– Maybe for others its an issue of trust – as in not trusting their spouse around friends.  In a world where marriages fall apart every day, I understand how trust can be an issue, but to isolate your spouse (or yourself) from friends is not a way to develop trust, either.

– Related to trust… Maybe it’s an issue of ‘control.’  People have a mindset that “what you can control can’t hurt you.”  I’ve known husbands (and wives) who won’t let their spouse go anywhere/do anything because they fear not being ‘in charge’ of the situation.

– Maybe one spouse dislikes their spouse’s friends.  This one frightens me the most, because I absolutely hate it when someone is forced to “choose” whom to care about and spend time with.  I watched a friend of mine from high school throw away a 15-year friendship with someone because his girlfiend of 6 months (who would become his future wife) didn’t like that friendship.  Feeling forced to choose between the girl he loved and his friend(s), he chose her.  My thinking is…if you care about someone, then you ought to care about the people/friends who’ve been a part of their lives.

… 

Sure, ‘couples’ (married or otherwise) are wise to invest in each other’s time, but it’s unwise to not develop friendships.  And it’s more than just about having fun.  Were it not for my friends, there are areas in my life that would be sorely lacking in areas of accountability and counsel.  At times when I thought my marriage was falling apart, my friends were there for me to guide me or even kick my butt if I was the problem. 

Iron does indeed sharpen iron.

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