When Dave and I were newlyweds, we prayed and asked God to bless us with Christian friends. God answered beyond our wildest expectations and He continues blessing us with new friends. As one friend recently exclaimed, “You sure do have allot of friends!”
Ours was a second marriage for both of us. I had been single for 17 years, so my friends were mostly single and Dave, single only several years, had focused on work and his kids. We knew it would be important for us to have a social life comprised of couples who shared our values and beliefs, so we said an intentional prayer that God would bring those couples into our lives that He wanted us to have as friends.
Making Friends Outside the Box!
Dave and I met in a small group Bible study he was co-leading through Saddleback Church, where we were both members. This group was for people in the business world, but there were several couples in the group, so we had a head start on our quest for “couple friends.”
We were willing to look outside our church home of Saddleback Church, so when I heard about a course called Marriage Builders offered at another local church; we decided this was perfect preparation for our upcoming marriage. And you guessed it . . . we made another group of friends, had a great time socializing with the couples group at this church, and the pastor who taught Marriage Builders officiated at our wedding. A couple in the group we became very close with videotaped our ceremony.
While considering where to go on our honeymoon, I heard an advertisement on the radio for a cruise to the Caribbean with Calvary Pastors Chuck Smith, Jon Courson, and David Hawking. I thought: What a great way to spend our honeymoon on a cruise with hundreds of Christian couples. It didn’t matter what church they attended—we were all in the family of God. It was great fun being the “newlyweds” on the cruise and we came home with a new group of friends.
Come Join Our Small Group or We’ll Form One
Dave and I were intentional about asking other couples we met at the gym, at church, in the grocery store, friends of friends . . . if they would like to join our small group Bible study. Soon the focus of the group changed from business-oriented to topical and everyone was welcome to join. As the group expanded, so did our circle of friends.
Several years into our marriage, Gary Smalley came to Saddleback with his Making Love Last Forever conference. Dave and I took a training to lead Making Love Last Forever couples groups and found ourselves leading a group of much younger couples, who had all been married longer than we had, but were newer in their faith. The couple who hosted that group in their home refers to Dave and me as, “The most influential couple in their faith journey.” That’s humbling.
We’re Moving—Opportunity for New Friends
We bought a “writing” cabin in the mountains and immediately started making new friends, even though we were “weekenders.” We attended the local church, invited neighbors to walk, come over for dinner, play games . . . and soon people were saying I should run for mayor because I knew so many people.
Then two years ago, we made the major move from California to the mountains of Idaho where we knew no one except our daughter’s family, who live over an hour away. I wondered how we would make new friends, but I didn’t wonder for long. Again, we joined the local community church where the members embraced and welcomed us. Soon we had invitations to potlucks, football parties, game nights, and a neighbor reached out to me and we’re best friends and walking buddies—even though we our theology differs, we both love the Lord. Another group of friends surrounded us.
Vacationing with the Family of God—A Glimpse of Heaven
In my blog post “Love Song Couples Getaway,” I shared the story of Dave and me deciding to celebrate our 20th anniversary . . . just as we did on our honeymoon . . . with a group of Christian couples we didn’t know. It was the best vacation of our married life, and in just one week, we made friends with couples who have become near and dear to us. They live in Southern California, where we just moved from, but we still have our mountain cabin and grandkids in So Cal and recently joined these couples for a reunion.
Staying in Touch
The friend I mentioned in the opening paragraph who exclaimed, “You sure do have allot of friends,” was reacting to the recap of our trip to Southern California. We told him about:
Lunch with the wife of that host couple of the Making Love Last Forever group, whom we hadn’t seen in 10 years after they moved out of So Cal. We picked up the conversation like we had never been apart. I discovered they would be in So Cal the same time as us on Facebook—a great way to keep in touch with friends.
We had a reunion with three couples we met on our Love Song Couples Getaway vacation in May.
Enjoyed a lovely sunset dinner with couples from that original small group Bible study where Dave and I met, and we’re always welcome to stay with them when we return to Orange County.
We then spent a week at our So Cal mountain cabin socializing and visiting with our friends and neighbors, including my author friend Joanne Bischof and her husband Noah
Friendships Are Our Witness
In Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, I tell the story of my daughter Kim contemplating becoming a Christian and worrying that she might not have any friends. But then, she said, “Well you and Dave have so many friends and you’re always having a good time. And I guess I don’t need those friends who won’t accept me.” When she made that comment, Dave and I had only been married five years …we were just getting started on making friends.
As Christians, we need to remember that someone is always watching us to see how we interact with others and are we open to fellowshipping.
We must also befriend nonbelievers or how else will they learn about the blessings and joys of knowing Christ. But those we “hang with”, and share our lives with, should share our morals and values, and we should be a support system for each other.
A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.
Let’s be friends on Facebook!
I would love to hear how you make treasured friends.