We are created to be in relationship, not only with our spouse but with other couples.
“I think it’s still important for us, especially as a couple, to reach out to other couples and develop some sort of friendship.”
Marriage expert Rick Johnson says building these friendships starts with being intentional.
“Women are very relational, I think it’s important for women to be intentional about developing friendships with other couples where the wife and the husband are good people.”
Wives can encourage their husbands to build friendships.
“I think that will naturally help a man to develop a relationship with another man, as opposed to expecting him to walk up and introduce himself, sit down, have coffee and chat with each other like women do.”
Rick elaborates on the predominant role of male friendships and how they have made a difference in his life.
“I was very fortunate after I became a Christian to develop of a group of friends and we all had kids. What was helpful for me, especially coming from the background that I came from, was that I had a group of men that I respected.”
“Maybe their kids were older than mine, maybe they were younger, but I could talk with them about different stages that their kids were going through; what to expect, how they dealt with it, what worked, what didn’t work, etc.”
Men can also receive wisdom and direction from their male friendships. Rick elaborates,
“They could tell me things that I needed to hear that I probably wouldn’t have received very well from my wife, like, ‘You’re wrong,’ or ‘You’re out of line in this situation.’”
During the middle stages of life, it can be more challenging to meet people and develop friendships. Rick says men and women both need to be proactive about reaching out to people,
“My wife and I made a decision a long time ago that we were just going to try to reach out to as many people as we could and we knew going into it that we would really get rejected, probably a pretty high percentage of the time, not necessarily because people were bad, but they have their own agendas; they have busy lives, they have their own struggles and problems, and maybe they just weren’t right or the timing wasn’t right.”
“Friendships are vastly underrated for men and I think we need them a lot. If for no other reason than we need to be held accountable.”
God created men and women to be in relationship with one another. We are called to pay attention to our friendships and build into them wisely.