As a fairly new wife, married for about six years, I understand the monumental role I play within my union as I do everything in my power to keep my marriage strong and sound, yet something many may not realize is the part they play in other people’s marriages, too. You, me, we—each of us plays an important part in our friends’ marriages, not in a meddling sense but in a rather influential way if we so choose to truly focus on encouraging, listening, leading, and loving our newlywed friends on their marital journey.
Here are three thoughts as to how we can support newlywed friends as they walk down a new path as lifelong partners:
1. Do not give fleshly advice
When a friend confides in us and shares a hurtful moment from her relationships, perhaps a disagreement that went awry, do not give advice based on emotion. Instead, take a moment to relax and gather your thoughts. Then, root for your friend to communicate through their issues. As fleshly individuals, I understand the feeling of jumping off the handles, especially when your friend is upset, but it’s extremely important to advise your friends from the heart and Word rather than from a place of anger, confusion, or frustration. Create a community that cherishes communication, relationships, and love.
“The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8).
2. Give them space
Life changes when two people get married, especially as those folks enter the newlywed stage. They need time to shift from engagement to marriage. Rather than taking this space personally, check in on your friends to see how life is going, and rather than guilt them for the lack of time you’ve recently spent, encourage your friends to truly enjoy their partner. Plus, you should want your friends to focus on their marriage. Since love is an intentional, deliberate act, we know that love requires time and dedication. So, applaud your friend for their dedication and commitment to their spouse and kindly share that you look forward to spending time together, but do not guilt or overwhelm them merely because their schedule has changed. Encourage their adventures, milestones and feelings in a genuine way.
3. Honor God and His Word
While friendships are most certainly important, we must encourage our newlywed friends to build a home with love and faith as the foundation. As believers, ignoring Biblical principals cannot lead to a stable home. Encourage your friends to go to church, read the Word, pray, and turn to God, first and foremost, for marital guidance. You may give stellar advice. In fact, I give pretty solid advice, if I do say so myself, but there is no better listener, counselor and advisor than the Lord, and you should encourage your friends to seek His Word, first, above all.
You, me, we – each of us plays an important part in our friends’ marriages, not in a meddling sense but in a rather influential way if we so choose to truly focus on encouraging, listening, leading, and loving our newlywed friends on their marital journey.
You may be one of the strongest links in your friends’ marriage merely by being a wonderful friend and confidant. That’s a true blessing! When other couples have someone in their community to call on in times of trouble or everyday stress, people tend to feel less alone, better supported, and adequately equipped to face new, unfamiliar stages in marriage. I can’t help but to think back to the times I utilized my sister’s ear or ran ideas by my aunt regarding my marriage, and I felt an additional level of support that I would not have received had I not turned to them. When you share your perspective and lend your support, you help others feel less alone and more empowered to create a healthy marriage.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”(Hebrews 10:24)