Wednesday, September 11

Advice for Married People from a Widow

Invest in your friendships!

Top two reasons?

1. Your life will be richer.  Even your marriage will be richer.

One relationship is not meant to provide all you need.

I loved talking with Ben.  But it also nourishes and rejuvenates my soul to receive visible enthusiasm, and that was usually antithetical to Ben's personality.  So for a time I was disappointed by that missing piece.  Then, I learned to not expect it.  Instead, I had my girlfriends and sisters to turn to when I needed to hear "!!!".  Having good conversations with different people relieved my marriage of the pressure of supplying All.  And just made life a lot better.

Ben and I also didn't completely share all of our interests, and that's normal.  Most of the time, neither of us was frustrated by the other's light involvement because he had his friends to "geek out" with him about new technology and Dr Who, and I had my friends to go hiking and shopping with.   Importantly, we did have many common interests and activities, but our separate activities with our friends enriched those friendships.

My advice is to encourage your spouse to spend time with friends, and cover for them when they make plans with those friends.

2. When one of you dies, the other one won't be alone.

Seriously.  I've been hearing and reading the stories of other widows and widowers lately.  It seems like some of the people who have the hardest time are those whose only close friend is their spouse.  It's fantastic when your spouse is your best friend.  Really. But probably, one of you will die before the other.  Will the remaining partner have other meaningful and active relationships with people who really know them?  Or will they truly be alone?

I'm not alone.  By the grace of God (because I don't deserve it), I'm in wonderful community.  Many married friends, by the way, are fantastic friends.  This advice is given because I know it can be too easy to just depend on your default friend (eg spouse), because our culture encourages us to think our spouse should be everything to us, and because of the stories of isolated widows and widowers.

Married people, take your friendships seriously. 


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