Communication Raising Kids Spiritual Growth

Married People Still Need Their Friends

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I just drove back from four days in Las Vegas. While, I was in Vegas gambling a bit, eating, watching and betting on sports and sleeping by the pool my wife was dealing with one sick child, getting the house ready for guests, a broken gate that would not allow our car to get into our driveway and I am sure a few other things beyond the normal running the kids around to dance and soccer and auditions.I was in Vegas with my buddy David Dean. We have been friends going on 17 years. We met on the road speaking at a youth event. He lives in Indiana and I live in Los Angeles. His kids are now out of the house and mine live with me. He is turning 50 this year and I am turning 40. We wrote a book last year called Touchy Subjects and actually recorded a video series that will be out soon.

We were sitting by the pool on Wednesday and I said this was our 5th year doing this trip and he said Nope. He reminded me on our first trip he got a phone call from the principal of his son’s school when he was a senior. His son Alex is now 24. So, call it our 8th year. Time flies.

A friend of mine asked about our trip and said, “I’ve never gone somewhere without my wife for vacation”.  “Is it kind of weird?” He asked.

We both said No.

Both our wives don’t complain but allow us to take this trip each year and support it. My wife supports it more this year than David’s since I came home with more money.

We see each other throughout the year. I am at David’s house at least once a year. He is at my house at least that. We are on the road speaking 4-8 times a year together and at 2 football games a year minimum together.  Despite all that, we have an annual trip to Vegas that we do every May. We haven’t missed this one and our wives tell us it gets longer each year they seem to think.

Create some traditions with your friends and with your family. I think I wrote about that before here.

I got on Facebook the other day. That happens less and less since I don’t play Candy Crush. I saw a notification and it was “People You Might Know”. Funny how that works. I knew most of them but we were not “friends”. One of my oldest friends was listed on there. I clicked on it and realized it was a new profile. We used to have 100 “friends” in common and now we had zero. He has new friends I have never met. I did’t send him an invite but I was sad. Sad because that friendship is all but over.  He was tired of being challenged.  He hit some hard times and has moved on to new friends instead of leaning into old friends. It’s easier to do that than actually go deep with the friends you have or in his case just be honest with the friends you once had.

So, some thoughts on finding friends and keep friends.

You need friends. I am lucky to be able to work with some of my friends. I get to work alongside some of my closest friends. Whether, that is on our staff, board or on the road speaking. They are involved in the things I am involved with so even if we didn’t work on being friends we get time together around work. Some of you have no friends at work and no friends in life. I would challenge you to find some friends. Find some good people and spend time investing in those relationships. I am not talking about joining a small group that rotates every 8 weeks and then getting new friends. Building long lasting friendships.

My wife is my best friend. I have heard this statement a lot. That is great. Iwould agree but your spouse can’t be your only friend. I think my parent’s generation was guilty of a lot of this. They put everything they had into each other and at the end of their life realized they missed out on other relationships. I meet very few older couples who talk about their friends still. The few grey hair people I know who do have friends, I ask them a lot of questions and want to be with them. I was in Mammoth this winter with some of these kind of people. Some grey hair men who plan an annual ski trip to Mammoth for the past 30 years. That is rare and I so wish it wasn’t.

Keep Up With Your Friends. Go to their house. Invite them to a football game. Go see their new kid or their 5th kid. Go see their kids graduate or get married. Be together. Create traditions with those friends. Call instead of texting and when possible get face to face. Call them out on their junk because you are their friend and support them when they are going through hell. Plan vacations with your friends.

Have Your Friends and Have Family Friends and Have Both.  I don’t have any friends that my wife doesn’t know. Neither does she. We do have friends that we have separately and then we have friends that have hang out with as couples. We also have some friends that we have met through our kids. It might not be your favorite thing to go to your spouses friends house for some get together but do it for your spouse but also let your spouse go be with their friends. Friends speak life into your life.. at least good friends do and that should be something everyone desires. I am really interested in making sure my kids know the people that are the closest to us and my desire is they see the value in those friendships as they grow older. We are trying to find more and more opportunities to find times together with these family friends as our family grow older and expands overtime.

Find Some Older Friends and Younger Friends. I think it is key for men and women to have some people in their lives that have gone through some of the experiences you are going through now and have lived a bit longer. I think it is equally important to have some friends that you can play that same role in their lives. One of my friends has just bought a house, having his first kid and a few years into marriage. I  don’t know it all but have been in and out of a few houses, married for 16 years and have two kids. It is also great to have friends that are involved in the same stages you are in life with kids, work and family.

Don’t Let Your Kids Stop You From Having Friends. It sucks when people I know get married or have kids and then everything stops. Just because you grew up together or were friends in high school, if you put nothing into the relationship don’t assume you will just remain best friends.  Your kids and your spouse need you and should be your first priorities but don’t isolate yourself and if you are a mom don’t let your new kid be your only friend and forget about everyone including your husband. Side note – kick that kid out of your bed and get back to some sex.

Friendship  Should Be A Two Way Street Not One Way.  Friends that drain you. Friends that just suck the life out of you rather than speak life into you. Lets just be honest, those are not friends. That is just work. Sure, they need you and you are helping them but the best relationships are where you can go both ways. You might have days or a whole year where you feel like you are draining the other person but that following year when you are out of your slump you return the favor for your friend in need. If you are that person that just picks up the phone to talk about your situation and you invest nothing into the relationship, just know that is exhausting to keep up and maintain that friendship.

Facebook Friends Don’t Matter. Period. If your friends are only online and you have no real connections in real life than you really are not friends. I have 15k followers on twitter and 6k fans on Facebook and 2k people who follow me on Instagram. I would trade that in a second for one of my real friends. That stuff doesn’t matter. At all. That world is shallow, fake and not real. Make sure your kids know that. My son said to be the other day “Dad, I will have more follower than you on instagram soon”. I said “Nolan, that won’t matter at all. You know that doesn’t mean anything right?”  A few days later David Beckham’s kid made an instagram video thanking his fans he made it to 1 million followers. Google the video… His dad David pops up in the background and says “That is nothing I have 50 Million on Facebook”. Days later David joined Instagram and is crushing his kids 1 million. That is the world we live in and kids are getting the wrong messages from their peers and from most of their parents that this stuff matters. It doesn’t. Make real friends and connect in real time with your friends.

Encourage and Support Your Spouse to Build Their Friendships.  I said earlier Betsy and Jeanette allow David and I to do this trip in addition to other things throughout the year. I hate the term “let me see if my wife will let me?” If I had loser friends that were dragging me down then I get that statement but if you see that your spouses friends make your spouse a better person or heck just even an easier person to be around then encourage that. Husbands, return the favor. Come home from work early. Send your wife on a trip with her friends. Take the kids to Michigan and fly your wife’s best friend to visit her. ( That’s me.. this weekend. I am writing this on the plane with my 2 kids on our way to Michigan. I am speaking this weekend but also going to stay with our family friends who just had their 5th baby). It’s easy to be selfish but make sure you support each other.


*One disclaimer – If you have neglected your spouse than work on that friendship before you work on any of your other friendships. If you have never taken time to do things with your spouse do that before planning a trip to Vegas with your buddy. That’s just stupid. I know some people that hadn’t spent one night together for the first 10 years of their marriage ALONE. Yes.. they are headed for divorce because of an affair. So, work on that relationship first.

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