For a good marriage, you must be very careful about friends – both yours and hers. Our attitudes and actions move to line up with those of our closest friends. We all want to think we are stronger than that, but we are not. Sure, a very few individuals can go the opposite direction of all those around them, but those individuals stand out because they are the exception. If we hang with those who think marriage is a prison, we start to feel that way. If your wife hangs with those who think all men are dangerous, she will start to believe that. If you spend time with men who think they should love and protect their wife, you will start to share that value. If your wife spends time with women who enjoy sex, she will start to see sex more positively.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” ~ Jim Rohn
My bride saw this quote recently, and I think there is great wisdom in those words. Is it exaggerated or too simplistic? Maybe, but for the most part I think it is true. A growing body of research says we are influenced not only by our friends, but also by our friend’s friends, and our friend’s, friend’s friends. This “three degrees of influence” has been proven to affect smoking, obesity, voting, happiness and more. Certainly, our attitudes about marriage would be just as given to influence.
How your friends, and her friends, affect your marriage today is a concern. Another concern is how those friends would influence your marriage if you were facing serious difficulties. Would those friends point out your spouse’s good traits, or her bad ones? Would they urge you to fight for your marriage, or would they tell you to get out? If you started to lose hope, would they stand with you, or tell you your marriage is doomed? If you gave into fear, would your friends love you enough to tell you you’re wrong?
I have seen many marriages at the brink of divorce, and one of the most important factors is the attitude of the couple’s friends and family. If either spouse hears “get out” from even a strong minority of their friends, the marriage is unlikely to survive. If both husband and wife hear “stay with it, keep working at it, fight for it” from the vast majority of their friends, the marriage has an excellent change not only of continuing, but also of becoming better.
Bottom Line: Choose your friends wisely, and encourage your wife to do the same: your marriage may depend on it!
Summer Slump: Ministries typically see lower levels of giving during the summer. If could help us with our summer slump we would be most grateful. By the way, your church is no doubt in the same place – the bills continue even when you are on vacation.