I knew I was grown-up and married when I started using the word “the” to talk about my friends: “Honey, let’s see if ‘the Boudreauxs’ are free for dinner on Thursday night?”
Finding a friend is difficult.
Finding friends as a married couple is twice as hard.
Finding friends as a couple with kids can seem near impossible. But it’s not.
Healthy families have friends, and not just the kind of friends who help facilitate play dates for their kids. Authentic friendships make life full. Living in community with other families is good for your family and theirs. We were created to love and be loved.
What should we look for in good friends?
- Good friends bring out the best in your family. We all become like the people we hang out with, so avoid friendships that bring out the worst in you, or rejects your true self.
- Good friends bring health to a marriage and family. Being a healthy family is a tough gig. Avoid friendships that cause problems between you and your spouse or you and your kids.
- Good friends are life giving. Healthy families work hard and play hard. Most families are overwhelmed by the responsibilities of just being a family, and, yes, friends can help us cope. But, friendship isn’t just about coping. Make room for fun and laughter in your relationships. Avoid friendships that are overly negative or life draining.
- Good friends are forgiving. No family is perfect. You and your family are going to make mistakes and so is theirs. Avoid friendships demanding perfection.
- Good friends are supportive. Marriage, parenting and friendship are relationships, not contests. Avoid friendships that want to compete with you and your family.
Where can my spouse and I find friends whose names starts with the word “the?”
- Get to know the other parents at your kids’ activities or school.
- Get involved in a co-ed sports league.
- Invite your neighbors over for dinner.
- Church is a great place to make friends. However, you’re probably not going to make friends just by attending a Sunday morning service. The easiest way to meet people within a church community is to get involved in a small group or volunteer to serve.
- Say “Yes!” to the family who keeps inviting you over for dinner.
There is no risk-free way to live in community. Relationships are messy, but they are beautiful messes.
The beginning of anything is always a little scary and awkward, but the reward of bravely opening your heart to new friends can last a lifetime.
So be brave. Take a risk. Be a good friend. Let someone in.
Tasha Levert, Ph.D., is a licensed professional counselor in New Orleans who provides face-to-face and online care. She is a conference speaker, worship leader and the author of “Stories of Hope for the Sleep Deprived.” Tasha and her husband Tim (Pastor with Students at the Vineyard Church of New Orleans) have three beautiful daughters and a lazy schnauzer named Gumbo.For more about Tasha or her practice go totashalevert.comorbroomtreecounseling.com.