Growing up, we spent weeks of our summers with family in upstate NY, and it always fascinated me how at every gathering, my mother, grandmother and aunts naturally ended up around the big kitchen table, laughing and talking about everything. I was drawn to them as a group. The men were outside or in the garage, smoking cigars and talking loudly. When Scott and I married and bought a house, it seemed the same thing would happen- the women at any gathering were drawn to the kitchen table to laugh, cry and share.
Titus 2 Women
Fast forward to one of the most challenging times in my life: the discovery of my husband's adultery and the years that followed. It was the love and friendship of two women who listened, spoke life, laughed and cried with me, that kept me taking each step in obedience to God. God didn't design us to walk through life alone, He designed us for community, to walk out life with others.
And here’s what I want you to teach the older women: Be respectful. Steer clear of gossip or drinking too much so that you can teach what is good to young women. Be a positive example, showing them what it is to love their husbands and children, and teaching them to control themselves in every way and to be pure. Train them to manage the household, to be kind, and to be submissive to their husbands, all of which honor the word of God. ~Titus 2:3-4
Part of taking time to take care of yourself so you don't get crazy resentful over your husband's past times is having good girlfriends. In Chapter 8 Foster Friendships with Women of The Surrendered Wife, author Laura Doyle outlines three reasons she encourages women to establish nurturing relationships with women for the purpose of gathering support for your surrendering journey:
- #1 Encouragement
- #2 Inspiration and Motivation
- #3 Meeting a Need
Women crave encouragement from other women. We need girlfriends. We've all been there- whether it was a disagreement with your husband or the off handed remark from someone in our sphere of influence, we've all been reduced to that place of discouragement, where the weight of someone's words were too heavy to bear. Until you share the words and experience with a girlfriend, who seemingly magically lifts the crushing weight of what was said by sharing a truth that combats the lies, or encouraging words that chase the despair away.
Do you have close girlfriends?
Reach out. Get some. How did I get those two close girlfriends who loved me through the many changes in my marriage and life back in 2004-2006? One of them invited the others to study Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life with her. How can you find friends like this?
- Be a friend. Get into a group. Or start one. Some great women's books to study: Captivating by Stasi Eldredge, Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn, Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O'Martian or any Beth Moore study.
- Be available. Ask a women in your sphere of influence to meet for coffee. Or accept an invitation for coffee. When you see a woman asking for help with something, go help. Take advantage of opportunities such as MOPS groups to meet and get to know other women.
- Be fun.Find things you didn't know you liked to do together with other women. Get together for coffee, cooking, book discussion, bowling, beachcombing, running, shopping, shooting (yes, girls like guns, too), swimming, crocheting, scrapbooking, painting...the ideas are endless!
- Be real. I'm done with fake, aren't you? I don't have time to play pretend games and neither do you. You are intentionally and wonderfully made, you are beautiful beyond compare, the daughter of the King. Embrace your strengths. And get real when you share with other women...you give them permission to do the same when you share yourself.
- Be kind. I love that Beverly is my true blue cellulite friend, and I'm grateful for the kind way she tells me what I need to hear. I need her to help me accessorize an outfit, tell me when my words/thoughts/actions are out of line, if my attitude with my husband was disrespectful, or when I need to put the chocolate down. And I need to hear her heart when she tells me those things to receive them as she intended- for my good. Don't forget to give your friends a lot of grace and the benefit of the doubt, too. Ask good questions to clarify something she's said that might have hurt your feelings or offended you.
- Be intentional. Who are the women already in your sphere of influence? Who are women you admire, who inspire you? Think of women in your life who you inspire, too. The Titus 2 principle works best when you've got women in your life who inspire you and others whom you inspire.
- Be discerning. It is important to find women who will encourage you in your surrendering and your walk with God. Set boundaries in your friendships, making it clear that you will discuss only your own lives, that you will pray with and for each other, and that you will not gossip. With my girlfriends, we've got an understand that for as long as you talk about a situation, you've got to pray about it, too. Good godly girlfriends will encourage you in healthy ways to support your marriage and won't allow you to bash your husband, redirecting you to God's Word and plan for your life as a woman, wife and mother.
So own up to your sins to one another and pray for one another. In the end, you may be healed. Your prayers are powerful when they are rooted in a righteous life. ~James 5:16 NIV
A true friend loves regardless of the situation, and a real brother exists to share the tough times. ~Proverbs 17:17
So take inventory. Pray, asking God to show you women in your sphere of influence who inspire you or whom you inspire, to give you the holy boldness to step out in faith and be the friend you need to another woman.
Caution: Wives, you need female friends, but no one should come before your husband. We encourage you to be intentional in respecting him as you bring women into your life for encouragement, accountability and inspiration. And just in case it needs to be said, friends of the opposite gender are off limits without your hubby around...keep your hedges strong!
Yes, this is part of a series journeying through The Surrendered Wife, read what you missed so far here:
Intentionally Yours is a 501(c)3 organization committed to sharing God's truth, hope and vision for marriage until every home is a godly home. Your donation is more than a tax deduction- it’s a tool to empower us to continue changing lives, marriages, and legacies. Will you partner with us in this mission? Thank you for your support!