It does not work out every Friday night, but when it does, Eric and I enjoy taking a salad, dessert, and games over to our friends’ house. They make homemade pizza and we enjoy dessert and coffee, and Eric or I (or both) usually take part in a rousing round of hide-and-seek or some other active game with their super adorable children (and I am not just saying that – they are crazy cute).
Once the pizza and play portion of the evening is passed (i.e., the kids are in bed), the adults flop onto comfortable furniture and decompress. Sometimes the conversations start shallow, but it does not take long for us to catapult into some serious topics. Whether it is the lateness of the hour or how much I trust the company, I tend to lose my inhibitions and unveil parts of my heart which I would not normally share with a group.
Without necessarily planning it this way, we all seem to have a chance to sit in the “hot seat.”
- Are you happy?
- What needs to change?
- Do you feel attacked?
- Why do you think that scares you?
Sometimes our conversations even move me to tears. The slight embarrassment aside, it is quite cathartic. Having known this couple for over ten years and seeing that they are real with us, I do not worry about my personal fears or thoughts being broadcast. Since I am the one with the blog, if my personal business gets circulated, I am probably the culprit!
It took us years – YEARS – to start this tradition. Now that it is here, I wish we had thought of it much sooner. Though sicknesses, other commitments, and holidays occasionally derail our standing plans, we always look forward to getting back on track. We end up staying awake half the night until we are all walking zombies, but it takes willpower and energy to drag ourselves away from a meaningful conversation and fireplace!
He Was Right (I Do Get Tired of Saying That)
In the early years of our blissful union, Eric told me repeatedly that he wanted us to make couple friends. He said it so much that my body tensed up every time he mentioned it. I had friends. I was happy with my friends. The small talk which eventually leads to friendship is like the sour covering I must endure before getting to the sweet candy underneath… and I did not want to deal with the sour.
To make couple friends meant I had to be a couple friend and I did not know how to be a couple friend… because I was so used to being single (even once I was married) – even all of my friends were still single (I was the first [and only, still] to marry from our group). For whatever reason, I was intimidated by the idea of putting myself out there to make friends with other couples.
Not only that, but Eric and I being so different, we rarely attract the same types of people for friend-making. As is often my escape mechanism, I chose to simply put off making couple friends. Work and school took up a lot of our time and the “Can we please make couple friends?” conversations waned a bit – but they always resurfaced.
Now, with a decade of marriage in my rearview mirror, I wish I had enjoyed more pizza and therapy sessions with other couple friends throughout our marriage. I am beyond thankful for them now, but as newlyweds, especially working newlyweds in graduate school, Eric and I could have really used the blessing of another godly couple encouraging us, admonishing us, and laughing us through some tough times (I was just unwilling – but, I would change it in the past if I could).
You may not need to regret wasted time. If you are at the beginning of this relationship highway, do not neglect the friendship exits. You will have some uncomfortable moments, but what you gain is worth enduring the sour shell on the outside of the candy.
Do Not Let Fear Cheat You Out of Some Incredible Relationships
If you already have couple friends who build you up and encourage you in the Lord, thank God for them. If you are lacking in this area, ask God to supply your friendship needs. And, this may go without saying, but to have good friends… you need to be a good friend – something that can be surprisingly difficult during insanely busy and stressful seasons. (Difficult, but still doable if you prioritize.)
Exams will pass. Business opportunities will come and go. What is stressing you out today probably will be a distant memory in six months – if you even remember it at all. But, properly maintained friendships will still be there. They are worth the investment from the beginning awkward silences to the card games on the deck of your retirement beach home.
Not every couple you talk to will become your best friends, but there is a good chance one or two of them will! Some friends may end up hurting you, but pushing everyone away and building a wall around your hearts only hurts you even more. Put yourselves out there and do not regret any wasted years.
Do not regret all the years you wasted being afraid. (Hmm, that seems to be my mantra lately.) Wishing you and your sweetie many years of pizza and therapy with your friends!
Do you and your sweetheart already have a couple or two with whom you deeply connect? [Comment below!]