At The Well: It's good to befriend

8:20 AM

This is so amazing! Today, At The Well, Amy has opened a discussion on what Titus 2:4 means when it says, "love their husbands and children." You have to go read what she wrote. In short, she reveals that the word "love" there is not the word agape, which describes God's love as shown in Christ towards us and which Christ commanded us in John 13:34 to exhibit towards others. But rather the word translated love in Titus 2 is the word for being friendly. Literally it would sound like this:

"be a husband-friend and be a child-friend"

Why is this so amazing to me? Cause I'm telling you, just yesterday I was sitting in the passenger's seat of my car, my husband driving, kids in the back seat, and I was looking out the window thinking about Titus 2. "Love your husband and children Sheila...." I was saying to myself. And I'm telling you right then a revelation! I suddenly remembered a Titus 2 Bible study I had been to a long time ago where the teacher talked about this very word to wives and moms about befriending their husbands and kids. I've been really listening to God teach me about agape love, especially in regards to my husband, but towards others too (I'm doing the Love Dare... you gotta do this book!), but it was as though in that moment in the car yesterday the Spirit was saying to me, "Sheila, I want you to love EVERYONE with agape! But I also want you to befriend your husband and kids. It's okay to be their friend too!" It was as though He was giving me permission to be a friend to my husband and kids. It was a real revelation for me.

I know you might be thinking, "Duh Sheila!" What can I say, I'm slow to learn!

So anyway, I was like totally shocked and confirmed when I read Amy's post At The Well today!

Okay, onto the discussion:

Discussion Questions:

  • 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?

My definition of friendship? Being loyal and honest to a person. Liking them. Having mutual interests. Enjoying each others company. Being a confidant.

Did I follow the belief that I shouldn't be friends with my children, and has that changed? You know, I think I subconsciously believed that line. I mean, I do agree that parents have the greater responsibility of doing what's best for their kids whether their kids view them as their friend or not. But I don't think that means a parent isn't a friend to their child when they choose to do what's best for them even if the child is angry or has a problem with what the parent has chosen. In fact, in my mind, a real friend will rebuke the one they befriend in love, even if that person is offended or angry at them for a time. Real friends do what's best for each other not just what the other wants to hear. So in that sense I think parents should be friends with their kids. In fact, they should be the most dependable, transparent, trustworthy friend a child has!

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. - Proverbs 27:6 NKJV

In what ways can we befriend our husbands and children? First thing that comes to mind is that we have to choose to be friendly.

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. - Proverbs 18:24

Sometimes it's easy to befriend our husbands and kids. When they are being friendly to us, well it's just enjoyable and so it's easy to respond in a friendly way. But in everyday life our husbands and kids aren't always friendly or easy to befriend. We have to make a choice to be friendly ourselves if we want to foster friendship with our spouses and kiddos.

This means I need to purposefully plan and carry out friendliness towards my kids and husband. Some ways I'm seeking to do that now are:

  • 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.

  • Pray!

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!

At the Well Blog Button


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!

Redeeming the time

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