I remember the moment like it was yesterday. I had just started a 3 mile run with my best friend in high school Brian. I told him how a girl I was interested in and had been talking to over the past few weeks had decided to move forward and become my girlfriend. Brian smiles, tells me that’s awesome then says something which even today rocks my world.
“I’ll see you in four months Eric.”
You see Brian knew, along with all my other guy friends. As soon as I got into a relationship and made that commitment to the other person I was done. They would have very little to no contact with me during the course of our relationship which typically lasted 4 months or less for me. I would spend most, not all, but most, of my free time with this girl and her friends etc. I’d still hang with the guys but my mind was always elsewhere and I was always itching to “be with her”.
I’d like to say this was a high school thing, and a direct reflection of my maturity but alias that would be wrong. I continued this trend in college and even in my marriage. When I got involved with someone I lost everyone else.
I would justify it by saying how I needed to invest in her and the relationship in order for it to succeed. I needed to show her how important she was and that she could depend on me to be there, because I was always there. In reality though I was probably doing it more for me, then for her.
The girls of course loved it, at first. They loved the attention, they loved the comfort and security that came from having me around and doing stuff. They loved that they could spend hours talking to me about X, Y and Z.
Why do we do this? Why do we allow ourselves to get so wrapped up in one person that we forget the 5 or 50 people who have been with us up to this point? We believe that our friends will be there forever and we are probably right. What we don’t recognize though is that when we turn our backs on our friends we lose part of the foundation we built with them.
We think our friendships are built on rock and nothing can destroy them. In reality though each time we abandon a friend for a girl friend (GF) or boy friend (BF), we are drilling a hole in that foundation, tossing in a piece of dynamite, lighting the fuse and walking off. The first time we do this nothing happens really. Maybe some small cracks appear but over time the more we do it, the bigger the cracks.
Then one day that foundation crumbles and we are left to pick up the pieces.
Why is it so important for us to not abandon our friends?
Because they are our community. They have been there and will be there for as long as we desire them to be. Hebrews chapter 10 hits this hard:
Hebrews 10:25 – Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
When you abandon your friends your only source of real encouragement and wisdom comes from either the person you are dating or from yourself. I don’t know about you but that opens the door for a lot of selfish and self serving advice to be given.
When we surround ourselves with a community of friends we trust and value and maintain these relationships then we get poured into on a continual basis. Our friends will challenge us in ways our significant others cannot.
When you align yourself with just one person you put a ton of expectations and pressure on that person. The bible talks about us having many friends because God knows that one person cannot fulfill every need and desire we have.
Ecclesiastes 4:10-12 – “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Let’s face the fact also that your GF/BF does not, will not and cannot be expected to like and agree with everything you say or do. They also cannot understand every detail of your life, or why something makes you mad or sad. They don’t know how to handle everything you throw at them.
Our friends can handle everything which we through at them and even more because there are many of them.
Look at any large organization. There are a multitude of jobs, duties, tasks, and positions. You have presidents, sales reps, support teams, marketing, lawyers, janitors etc. Each one of these people is vital to the entire organization in order for it to continue to operate. We are much the same in that we have activities, feelings, thoughts, likes, dislikes etc.
If you took the time to evaluate your friends you would find that not one of them satisfies you 100% of the time. They each play a role in your life and together they can satisfy you but still all of them cannot do it 100%. This is where we need God to fill in the gap and that is why we have a desire to be with someone.
Genesis 2:18 – “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ ”
God never designed us to do life alone. He wants us to have someone, to have community, and most of all to have Him. Remove any of these pieces and I promise you, life will be a lot harder than it has to be.
The bible talks about friendships and gives us so much wisdom on why it’s so important to create and maintain these friendships. Check out these verses and see what stirs in your heart and soul after reading them:
Friends provide wise counsel.
Proverbs 13:20 – He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harms.
Friends strengthen us
Proverbs 27:17 – As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
Friends may hurt us but we can trust their intentions are good
Proverbs 27:6 – Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses
Friends bring us happiness through their loving counsel
Proverbs 27:9 – Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel.
True friends will do anything for us.
John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
So do yourself a favor. Figure out how you can have friends and a relationship and if you can’t, then work with your friends to figure out how this looks and works BEFORE your next relationship.