At The Well: It's good to befriend8:20 AM
- What is your definition of friendship?
- Did you follow the belief that we should not be friends with our children?
- Has that changed?
- In what ways can we befriend our husbands and children?
- What can we do to teach those skills to someone else?
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. - Proverbs 27:6 NKJV
A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. - Proverbs 18:24
- Joining them in the things they enjoy.
My husband and I went for a mountain bike trail ride on Valentine's day. It was a stretch for me cause I'm outta shape! But just joining him in that activity which he loves was so fun! I really enjoyed just being his friend on the mountain out there in the desert!
When it comes to my kids I admit it's harder for me. I truly get a headache playing the Diego 1,2,3 counting board game with my 4 year old! But HE LOVES IT! It's what he enjoys and if I want him to count me one of his dearest friends then I need to spend time doing thing with him that he likes. Same goes with my dare-devil, competitive 5 year old. I'll tell ya, all that precious boy of mine wants to do is "play chase with me mom!" My 34 year old body feels like a cast of concrete when I play chase with my 5 year old. But again, I want him to count me a treasured friend... and it's so worth it. I just join 'em and then thank God for Ben Gay and Tylenol :)
I heard someone say awhile back that the amount of time you invest listening to and befriending your young children is the amount of time they'll desire to spend with you when they're teenagers. I like that! I want that! And when they're gone I want a good friendship with my man, despite our differences!
- Listen to them.
My husband has a very stressful job. Many times he comes home, and counting me a confidant, shares with me things quite honestly I'd rather not hear. They're hard to hear. But if I didn't avail myself to stop what I'm doing and listen, whether they are things I want to hear or not, my husband wouldn't be able to confide in me. Sometimes listening is easy. Sometimes it's hard. But always it's creating a safe place for our spouse and kids in us!
Now as far as my boys are concerned the things they tell me right now at ages 4 and 5 aren't stressful, but nevertheless I can easily fall into the trap of not listening to them because generally what they talk to me about involves stuff I'm not really interested in personally. But I AM interested in them! And if I want them to feel valued and befriended I'll stop what I'm doing if I can and get on their level and listen to them tell me about how Darth Vader died in the end but became a good guy in the end, or about how they just made a ice cream making machine with the toy gun they tore apart and which is now strewn in a "pattern" only they can recognize all over their room. But when the things they want to talk to me about are more critical, I want them to know they've got a confidant in me.
The more I listen and spend time with my husband and kids doing what they enjoy, the more my life and friendship is bound up in theirs. Therefore I often leave our conversations and times together truly burdened with concerns, fears, desires and rejoicings for them. I'm learning to run straight to the throne of grace with those burdens. I could shrink away from spending time with them or listening to them because of the burden it carries, but then they would not have a friend in me. So rather than shying away from them, I'm learning to run to the Father with what burdens my heart. I'm learning to cast all the cares I have from being my husband and kids' friend on the only One who can make a difference and who truly cares for me!
What can we do to teach those skills to someone else? I think we're doing it right now! I think teaching what I'm learning about loving my husband and kids (being their friend) requires a willingness to open my life up to others, whether it be online in what I write or in person with my neighbor.
Wow! This really invigorated me! Thanks ladies for sharing your life with me. Let us invest in our husbands and kids as friends and carry all our burdens to Christ! Be sure to visit the Well yourself... you'll be blessed for sure!
JUST AN UPDATE:
I've been thinking about this all day, and I just wanted to add in here real quick this confession: I tend to teach more than I listen! As I was writing this out this morning I was really stirred by the Spirit, remembering and willing in me to do these things. I see how He's begun to move me towards building friendship with both my husband and kids, and I also see how the very gift of teaching He's given me (which I say with trembling) is undermined with my husband and kids when I go right into my "insight" or "advice" or "lesson", although they may consist of truths, rather than just shutting the trap and LISTENING! EYES, EARS, FACE ATTENTIVE, NOT BUSY WITH SOMETHING ELSE OR DISTRACTED WITH THE THOUGHT I'M SO ANXIOUS TO TEACH... JUST LISTENING!
So I've been praying today for listening ears and body language towards my kids. I'm sure my advice or "teaching" will be much more readily received if I'm just a friend first!
Thank you Jesus for teaching me the way!