If I'd known how tough the first few years of our marriage would be and how often I'd need to hear a voice of wisdom on the other end of the line, I'd have doubled—even tripled—my bridesmaids. My husband and I were not one of those newlywed couples comprised of two self-confident and spiritually healthy individuals. Instead, we entered marriage scarred from previous relationships. We each had buttons which, when pressed, short-circuited tempers. We struggled with security in each other and insecurities within ourselves. Our identities had not yet fully matured and co-dependence played a large factor in our hasty engagement. We drove each other crazy, but we were both crazy enough to endure. Even more insane is that our friends stuck by our side during the growth process. It turns out that we live in community with one another for a reason and that even our marriages benefit from the body of Christ. While we all recognize the vital importance of marrying our best friend, we don’t immediately recognize how important it is to continue to cultivate friendships outside of our marriage.
In fact, quite the opposite can happen. As marriage spans the years, children are more apt to overflow the apartment and spill into a mortgage. Careers are more likely to stretch the hands of the work clock wide in an attempt to consume more than their share. Stressors appear larger as the risk of loss increases at an equal rate with life’s acquisition and possessions. Unless we carve out space for healthy friendships, life won’t appear to have room for even one. more. person.
Truly, there is a reason we surround ourselves with family and friends on our wedding day, and we must resist the temptation to isolate ourselves after the event. Other than our relationship with Jesus, our marriage is the only other relationship on earth rooted in covenant love. Why would we imagine we can live out this covenant alone? Why would we try to do this without the body of Christ refining us?
[Read the rest of the article at Start Marriage Right.]