This post was inspired by My Kids and I are Friends, written by long-time friend Amy Dale. The part that matters here is this:
“I think my issue with this whole “you can’t be friends with your kids” is more about our concept of friendship than about parenting. I think we have become friends who don’t tell each other the hard things and don’t want to hear other people tell us those things.”
Amy goes on to talk about her community of friends, who love each other enough to say the hard things when necessary. A couple of weeks ago I got to spend a bit of time with the Dales, their kids, and a chunk of their community. They have a great thing going. If we all had the same, we’d have better behaved and happier kids, healthier happier marriages, and a whole lot less divorce.
While marriage is between one man and one woman, a good marriage requires the input of a strong loving community. Without such a community, your marriage is in trouble. Even if it’s okay, it’s vulnerable. There is no one to warn you when they see problems on your horizon and no one to tell you to stop being stupid when necessary.
Let me be clear here, this is not just about having “friends”. It’s increasingly common for friendship to be about “supporting” someone regardless of what they do. This kind of “friendship” not about good or bad, right or wrong, sane or crazy, it’s about standing by someone and agreeing with them – even if they are destroying their life and harming everyone they claim to love. Unconditional love doesn’t mean agreeing with everything, it means loving even when someone is wrong. Real love requires us to speak up when we see friends doing self-destructive things.
Do you have friends who would get in your face if you were doing something wrong? Would they fight for your marriage even if you had given up? You need such friends, and your husband needs such friends.
~ Paul – I’m XY and I have friends who tell me when I’m being stupid!