In October, I hosted an anonymous series called In Their Shoes. We took a month and journeyed deep into the hearts of our friends, “putting on their shoes,” as we learned how to better love and understand them. Many of us found encouragement as we realized how similar we are!
I wanted to share some of that series with your during the holidays because it’s easy to fall into comparison, discontentment, and jealousy when we see our friends posting fun, perfect holiday photos. Over the next few weeks, I want us to step into the different relationship shoes to see the real heart of the matter.
Some of your friends will probably get engaged this season, which could lead you to feel less-than and/or left behind. Let me share some of the feelings your recently-engaged friends will face this holiday season (and any season for that matter!).
“Mutually, we had seen so many broken friendships and hurt come from engagements and marriages that we communicated to each other, ‘We don’t want to lose our friends just because we got married or engaged. That’s not the way it should be.
A marriage should bring two people together and create opportunities for stronger friendships, more friendships, more service options. Marriage shouldn’t be the thing that destroys friendships. Let’s make a conscious effort to preserve old friendships and pursue new ones.‘ And we did.”
Here someone has observed the common unraveling of friendships and has purposed with her significant other to do something about it.
Usually, life changes don’t divide us. We divide ourselves. While this couple worked together to bring about strong friendships, there are other cases in which this doesn’t happen at all.
“I have also found that once friends are in relationships, their significant others don’t seem to want them to have lives outside of them alone. I just feel like that’s extremely unhealthy and that if both are walking with God, that it shouldn’t be an issue. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that separate activities should be a large part of any marriage, but do believe that it is healthy to have activities that can be enjoyed separately.”
A lot of people would agree with these thoughts! There should be a life outside of a dating/engaged/married relationship, but often the scenario illustrated above happens.
Be gentle with your friend who is in that relationship. It is easy to swiftly judge her for neglecting or forgetting you, but remember there is another person who is a big part of her world. They are both likely learning how it all fits together.
It’s easy to blame the happy couples for the friendships that fall to the wayside. While this can be the case, note that friendships don’t just fall apart because of the engaged couple. The single friend may be just as much at fault.
“It seems to me when people get engaged, two things tend to happen. Either the engaged person temporarily ‘forgets‘ her friends (that always frustrates me!) or certain friends of the engaged person close up and become stand-offish. I wish this wasn’t the case. It doesn’t have to be. And it hurts when friends start to close up just because you got engaged!
If both parities stayed open then both parties could maintain a strong friendship despite life changes. It doesn’t have to be difficult at all. We just have to lay aside our pride and pain and talk to one another! On top of this, even if you’re engaged you still have deep life struggles. Sometimes people think an engaged person is just full of butterflies and gumdrops. But it’s not true. Engaged or not, a person is a person and a lot goes on in the heart.”
Weakened and/or forgotten friendships can be the engaged couple’s fault, but it can also be the fault of the individuals on the other side. After reading through these experiences, the solution is alarmingly simple: BE OPEN with one another!
When you get engaged, do what it takes to keep your old friends and treat them the way you would want to be treated. Above all, don’t forget them!
If you’re watching your friends get engaged, do what it takes to keep those old friends and treat at them the way you would want to be treated. Above all, don’t forget them!
Did you notice that? The solution is the same on both sides, because we are all people. We want to be kept. We want to be loved, and we don’t want to be forgotten!
The holidays may look magical and special for the engaged couples, but they are struggling through things just as you are! Keep that in mind as you scroll down your Newsfeed.
In the end it doesn’t matter if you’re wearing the engaged shoes or not, we just need to remember our friends!