Lori of The Generous Wife recently shared about the beauty of having a good friend with whom you can talk and pray.
I’ve also written about the importance of having friends who support your marriage and sexual intimacy. Whether you need information, encouragement, advice, or prayer, godly friends can be a lifeline for your marriage.
So how do you find friends like this? It’s not like you start chatting with a woman one day at church and the next you’re spilling your struggle with sex in your marriage. It takes time and effort and discernment to find women willing to discuss sexuality honestly and respectfully.
My new book, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage, is dedicated to four such ladies in my life — identified only by their initials (C, J, L, M). When I realized I had four women with whom I can chat honestly about sex and marriage, I was amazed. For an introvert like me, that’s kind of a lot. I know some wives would be happy to have one such friend.
I developed these relationships in different ways, so I don’t know the magic formula. One has been my friend since college, and we walked each other through bad-choice boyfriends, cheered when we each found The One, and then shared the hardships and hallelujahs of marriage. Another woman, I met when our children attended preschool together. But it was years of McDonald’s lunches and play dates before we got deep enough in conversation to share openly. A third was a former ministry coworker turned friend. And somehow that friendship has survived us each quitting our jobs at different times, moving churches, and her moving out of town. And the fourth is a recent recruit, so to speak. She’s a fellow marriage blogger, with whom I share a lot in common.
So why am I detailing all of this? Because I want wives to know that it has taken me a while to get to this place, but you can get there too. I don’t have a magic formula, but I have a few tips for finding friends who’ll support your marital intimacy:
Look for godly women. Each of my four friends is clearly seeking God in their own lives and has a spiritual foundation I admire. When we became friends, it wasn’t with the direct purpose of encouraging and praying for one another, but we shared a biblical world view, a desire to grow closer to God, and a commitment to go the distance in our marriages.
Make yourself appealing. There’s a reason why the character “Debbie Downer” gained traction; it’s because we’ve all known someone like that — a constant complainer who squelches happiness wherever they go. That’s an extreme, of course, but take care to be the kind of person you’d want to be around. That doesn’t mean faking it or being dishonest, rather displaying godly virtues in your interactions with others.
Be a good friend. You know how this goes, ladies: One-sided friendships are draining. Yes, of course, we can have mentors who give more to us than we to them, or we can be mentors ourselves. However, lifelong friends tend to have more balanced relationships. If you want someone to invest in your life, invest in hers.
Choose authenticity. When I was a young mom, one of my peeves was getting in a group of church moms who swore that motherhood was a never-ending celebration of cuddles, cute things their kid said or did, and snapshot memories. Meanwhile, I was swimming in sleep-deprivation, spit-up, and self-doubt. I just wanted to say, “That’s not my life; that’s a Hallmark commercial!” But you know what? Years later, I’ve noticed those women aren’t close friends. Or they didn’t become close friends until they shared more deeply, about the wonderful cuddles and the difficult challenges. So be yourself. Don’t pretend to be someone or something else. You don’t have to reveal everything right away, but when the topic comes up and you have an opportunity to get real, be real.
Speak lovingly about your husband. I started to write “speak well about your husband,” but I’m uncomfortable with some of the advice out there that says you can never, ever say anything negative about your husband to someone else. If I’d never said to any of these friends, “My husband is driving me crazy because he’s doing X,” I’d never have received godly counsel on how to deal with X. But what we have always done is make it undoubtedly clear to one another that we love our husbands. We chose these men, stay with these men, plan to make it til’ death do us part with these men. Any concerns we have and calls for advice don’t negate the covenant love we have for our husbands. We all speak lovingly about our husbands, so it’s clear that we’ll be supporting one another’s marriages.
Be willing to step out. Once you have a friendship with some trust, you may need to be the one to speak up first about marriage and sexuality. We often worry about the potential awkwardness of such a conversation, but you’ll discover one of three things: (1) you can converse back and forth with this person about sex; (2) your openness can help the other person with sex, even if they’re not in a position to help you; or (3) you can’t talk to this person about sex. I do have close friends with whom I don’t really talk about sexual intimacy, not because I didn’t try, but because it just didn’t work out. Okay, so now I know. But by being willing to speak up, I deepened other friendships.
I pray that every wife can find at least one friend to be a confidante, a supporter, and an encourager for her marriage and sexual intimacy.
How have you found such a friend? Or how do you struggle to find friends like these?
“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need” (NLT). — Proverbs 17:17
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What does the Bible say about sexual intimacy?
Quite a lot actually. From marriage-specific scriptures to biblical principles, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage guides Christian wives through weekly devotions that shed light on God’s gift of marital sex.
Each week includes a Bible passage, application, questions, and a prayer. These short devotions will deepen your understanding of God’s design of sexuality and encourage you toward a holier, happier, and hotter marriage.