Lately, I’ve begun to realize just how important it is to have friends besides your significant other. Okay, so it hasn’t really taken me this long to see that. But it has taken me this long to finally discover that finding friends is not only possible, but completely worth the trouble.
My struggle with friendships started after I met Cory. Part of the reason was that we were in high school at the time, and I suppose that none of my friends really understood what it was like to truly be in love. As a result, we were essentially ousted from our group of otherwise single friends. Being intentionally excluded from activities and events with our friends was very hard on me. I did not understand why I should have been punished for finding the love of my life. Now, looking back, it is much easier to at least understand how my friends might have felt, even if I still believe that what they did was wrong.
Either way though, being pushed out of our group of friends only pushed me closer to Cory. He went from being one of my best friends and my boyfriend to my only close friend. Sure, I still kept in touch with my high school friends and hung out with them at school, but none of them really knew me or got any quality time with me. I didn’t think that I needed friends. Plus, nobody really wanted to be friends with me anyway, so what was the use? That was what I thought at the time, at least.
In my senior year, things changed a little. Cory had graduated the year before, as well as most of our friends. It was just me and the only other girl in our group, Sarah, left at school. So naturally we grew closer and tried to repair the damage from the past two years. It was an up and down friendship for me, but at the very least we knew each other well again. I could say I had a female friend, and I knew that was good for me. When the time came for graduation and moving on to college, we were pretty close and I was determined to keep our friendship alive even as I moved to my new dorm and met tons of new people from my university. For a while, all was well. We went to church together every week, and often spent time just sitting and talking for hours afterward. It felt good to have a friend, and I was mostly happy.
A few months ago though, everything changed again. I realized that my friendship with this girl wasn’t healthy for me, and that I couldn’t trust her or even be myself around her. A lot of other drama happened at the same time, and I finally decided that it was time to move on. I ended our friendship after six and a half years, and with it I lost the ease of hanging out with the other people from our high school gang. If I want to hang out with them now, I have to make sure that my ex- best friend won’t be there. We will probably never hang out as a group again like we used to, and seeing my circle of friends crumble so quickly like that was painful. I was left with no real friends, and I had to start over.
That’s when two amazing girls from my old high school small group popped back into my life. For those of you who do not know what a “small group” is, it is a church-organized group of about five to ten people who get together weekly to study the Bible, pray, and support each other through life. My high school small group was not perfect by any means, but I can say that I got two of my best friends out of it. Halston and Taylor randomly came back into my life at the moment I needed friends the most. Not only are they godly women who can help keep me on the right track with my relationship with God, but they’ve also known me for two years now and they are two of the most caring girls I’ve ever met. They also were more than happy to step in as bridesmaids and take over where my old friend left off, which has been a huge blessing. Sharing friendships with these girls has brightened my life tremendously.
That being said, they are only two people. Even with them in my life, I’ve often felt alone at times when Cory was my only companion because they’ve had to work or were otherwise busy. I’ve also sometimes felt like a third wheel when I did hang out with them, because they both know each other so well and are really close. In my loneliness, I started to fear that something was wrong with me. I worried that nobody would want to be my friend, that I would never truly belong, and that I would never have a best friend (or at least not a best girl friend) again. I clung to the support that Cory gave me as my only best friend, and tried to stay strong with the knowledge that God is all I really need anyway, but inside I felt alone and unloved.
Throughout this time, I was fortunately blessed to have my amazing stepmom, Kim, by my side. She is more of a friend to me than a mother (I already have one of those! Love you mom!), and she has been a precious friend to me through all of this. She is a constant source of support, encouragement, and godly wisdom. Despite losing my other best friend, I can gladly say that Kim was always there for me and always will be. Even when I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere, I always had the ease of my friendship with Kim to keep me afloat.
It was in this time of uncertainty that something crazy happened; that crazy thing is also known as April, Flo, Morgan, and Shanna. These are the girls who dove headfirst into my heart when I met them by joining a new college small group. Since I’ve met them, we’ve slowly gotten to know one another and spent some time hanging out. Recently, things have just been clicking and I feel like I have best friends again. Whenever I hang out with these chicas, I have so much fun. We get goofy and have a ton of laughs, but the best part is that behind it all, we are united as a sisterhood of girls who love Jesus with all of our hearts. Being part of this group has made me feel whole in a way that I haven’t felt in a very long time. It is a huge blessing! I finally understand what friendship is supposed to feel like, and why it’s so important.
Having good friends in your life is vital. As a Christian, having a group of close friends who can push you in your relationship with God is mandatory. It helps you grow closer to God and makes you accountable to somebody. Most of all, it fills your heart with the kind of joy that God had in mind for you. Experiencing the love of other Christian girls has made me stronger in my faith and has given me a new dimension of happiness that I can then bring into my relationship with Cory.
As far as Christian marriages go, I think it is utterly important for both the husband and the wife to have close Christian friends of the same sex. For one thing, it gives you some time away from each other so that you appreciate the time you do have together more. Another benefit is that it gives you time to be girly or masculine in a way that you can’t always be with your spouse. It also builds up a support system for when you go through hard times. Even though your spouse should be your second biggest source of support after God, having friends to help you through is important too. That’s because you cannot depend on only one person for everything. Nobody is perfect, and your spouse is no exception. Friends are there to fill in the gaps.
The last reason that I feel that this is so important is that I believe God designed us to be social creatures. I feel that part of His plan for us is to experience community and friendship with other believers. These kinds of friendships make us more well-rounded as individuals, and they make us whole. Since a marriage is made up of two individuals, it only makes sense that a healthy, happy marriage is made up of two healthy, happy individuals. And having good friends is a huge part of being healthy and happy, simply because God designed us that way.
I hope that your friendships are encouraging and godly, and that they bring you joy. If they aren’t, then I strongly encourage you to keep looking. I didn’t think that I would fit in anywhere, but here I am surrounded by seven amazing, God-loving women who love me and understand me like good friends should.