I’m going to take a stab in the dark and assume that since you’ve been married, your friends list has dramatically dwindled. I’m not talking about your Facebook friends, I’m talking real flesh and blood. If you’re married and also have kids, you may have even forgotten what humans your size look like. You can’t remember the last time you hung out with a group of people and had an uninterrupted conversation. You wake up, work hard, pay bills, change diapers, and try to somehow find the time to be more of a quality spouse, and less of a tolerable roommate.
So what does friendship look like once you get married and have kids? Will you ever get back to the days of late-night laughs with old-friends while enjoying good drinks and even better conversation?
Probably not anytime soon. Sorry.
But before you curl up into a fetal position and start to weep, hang tight because next week I'll be posting a totally contradictory Part 2 that will share some practical thoughts on how to re-fuel your 'adult' tank. For now, though, let's take a look at three thoughts regarding friendship as a married person.
Look For Quality, Not Quantity
As Westerners, we are obsessed with quantity. We want more of everything. Don’t believe me? Grab a hotdog at your local Costco and watch the shopping carts of people exiting the store. I challenge you to come up with a reasonable argument as to why on earth someone would need 45 gallons of mayonnaise and 300 pairs of socks. But it doesn’t stop there; we want more followers, likes, views, money, square feet, gadgets, clothes, and anything else we can quantify. We are consumed with consuming more.
This is a dangerous addiction when it comes to our friendships. We can easily start to view the quality of our life by the quantity of our friends. But this is one category where “more” does not lead to better.
If you are married, and especially if you are a parent with young children, it is time for you to grieve what friendships used to look like. You likely do not have the amount of friends that you used to, and that’s ok! It’s supposed to be like that. You have 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week; most of those should be spent seeking God, pursuing the heart of your spouse, engaging with your kids, and working hard. You shouldn’t have much time for anything else.
The goal is not to find more friends, but better ones. Jesus was a single dude, he had no kids and no stable job, and instead of investing into hundreds of shallow friendships, he went deep with a few. Seek people who are broken, but honest. Jacked up, but authentic. Look for people who are more consumed with Jesus than they are with gossip. When it comes to friendships, you’re looking for depth, not breadth.
Trim The Fat
Men, we no longer have time for childish things. If you are a husband or a father, God is calling us to grow up. It’s time to stop playing video games and painting our faces while we cheer for some boys playing a game on a field. Hear me loud and clear, I love sports as much as the next guy, but there comes a time when we have to choose very wisely how we spend our limited hours. There are kids, spouses, and eternity at stake; we must make every moment count. If your ‘bro-time’ involves you getting drunk, playing video games, or just mindlessly watching sports, it’s time to find new friends. Ain’t no body got time for that when we’re seeking to lead and point our families toward Jesus. Trim the fat, pursue things that matter with people who are taking life as serious as you are.
Ditch The Coffee Shop
If you are a guy who is hoping to build more solid friendships, I am about to give you a tremendous gift… you do not need to sit at a coffee shop in order to connect deeply with other dudes. There is a weird movement in the Christian culture where everyone is asking each other to meet for coffee. Let me reiterate that you should not be wasting your bro-time time with mindless activities, but let’s also not forget that we are men. And unlike most women who naturally bond through face-to-face interaction, men typically bond shoulder-to-shoulder. So be dudes and go do something together; shoot hoops, shoot guns, hit a bucket of balls, fix a car, take a hike. We were meant to be outside exploring things, not staring at each other while we sip our tea. I’m being a little dramatic here, but my point is that having meaningful relationships doesn’t have to mean sitting at a coffee shop. The key is to be intentional in conversation. You are free to share your deepest struggles while climbing a mounting, not just while sipping a fat-free latte*.
A word to my lady readers: Most of what I wrote in this post can apply to you whether you are a man or woman. I would, however, like to add one thing. In my experience, women generally seem to have a propensity to gravitate toward gossip more than us guys do. I urge you from the bottom of my heart not to fall into that black-hole. Sisters, as you get together with your girlfriends, please remember to meditate on whatever is good, pure, lovely, kind, and excellent (Philippians 4:8). In the Kingdom, we talk about Kingdom things.
*Please know that I am only being dramatic to make a point. If quality friendships for you happen at the coffeeshop, then by all means, hang at the coffee shop. Just know that isn’t your only option.
Want Jerrad to speak at your next event?