Real Friends Give Their Friends Time to Grow
At times, I really love the Internet. I’ve become a big fan of memes. While some may think that they are corny- and perhaps sometimes passive aggressive I find they often say in a picture and a very short caption what it would have taken me 1000 words to say. I, therefore, have taken to sharing them more often and allowing the meme to speak for itself. A few days ago, I ran across a very interesting discussion about the following photo.
This is not a topic that is new. I see it quite frequently come through my timeline, however, it struck a chord with me this time because of some of the comments to the post. It was the first time where a number of people did not fall to the lazy conclusion that just because a person has boundaries in his/her relationship, it has something to do with insecurity.
First, let me start by highlighting the fact this meme says personal reasons. So, before anyone says anything about ministry or business, please re-read what it says. Second, I don’t entirely agree with this as a blanket statement. I think it depends upon the type of communication it is. Note, I did not say the type of relationship, nor the amount of time you have known a person, but what is said during the exchange. Being friends with someone for 30 years does not mean that your conversations are beneficial nor appropriate. Finally, setting boundaries around your personal communication with the opposite sex cuts both ways. Men, too, should think about their behavior. The basic guidelines I set for myself in terms of virtual or text interactions are,
“If I won’t say it on my social media feed or wall, or insist on only texting it to you and refuse to call your house where your spouse or partner may answer, it’s not something that needs to be said.”
As I have gotten older, I see more and more that no one is entitled to a married person’s time. While I do not think that married people should go around dumping their friends, I also think it is nonsensical to believe that your relationship with a married man or woman will stay exactly the same after he or she is married. At best, that is ignorance and immaturity. If it isn’t that, then you are being selfish at the least and skanky at the most.
Friendships and familial relationships are very important, however, so is a marriage. It takes time for a people in a relationship to grow and bond. It is extremely self-centered if you believe that your friend will give you the exact amount of time and attention you were given before the relationship. I am sure this is something that my male friends with wives and girlfriends appreciate about me, because I know it is something that I appreciate about them. Not one of my male friends expected, demanded, nor requested that our relationship remain as it was pre-marriage, and not one of them stepped out-of-pocket and pursued the matter. If they had no respect for my husband, or me, they at least had respect enough for themselves to know that they did not have a right to things staying exactly the same.
When a person marries, or has kids, they have other priorities that they must address. That does not mean that it is okay for them to kick their friends and family to the curb. It does mean, though, that real friends and family can love them enough to give them the space to figure out what works for their family in terms of time. Time is the one thing that you can never get back, and if a healthy home is important to you, it is vital that time with the immediate family unit is at the top of the list. That time has to come from somewhere. It is a little ridiculous to think that it will not come from some of that which was initially carved out catering to your previous relationships.
The bottom-line, if you think that things are suppose to stay exactly the same whether you are single or married, you don’t need to get married, because you are in for a rude awakening. Depending upon how you choose to conduct yourself, you can either make your home a place of peace or a place of war. Do you really want your husband or wife thinking you are trifling? If you are the unmarried person in this situation, give your friend some breathing room. You can start to harm your friendship by demanding what is not yours. Moreover, it makes you look sleazy. Setting-up and protecting your house is not a sign of insecurity. If you think that insecurity is an issue, instead of talking to other people behind your partner’s back, you need to talk to him or her about that.