Sunday, August 26, 2012

"On Fire": Is Your Boyfriend...Your FRIEND?






OK...

This has been an unexpectedly tripped out weekend because there has been *a lot* of what I call "married words" used by *single women* in their relationships with *single men*. I can detect it because I used to be pretty guilty of abusing the verbiage myself...*redundantly* when it came to words like:

Cheated
Faithful
Covenant
Sleeping only with me
Not seeing anyone else
Vowed
Shouldn't be talking to other women
Spends the night
In love with me
Forever

And not to get on my "boyfriend soapbox" (again), but this is one of the main reasons why I don't plan on ever having another one. It seems to blur *way too many lines*. So, we're not at a place where we're ready to get married, but we're going to do things to *pretend* like we are? Married people make vows of covenant that last forever. Married people *earn* the right to spend the night with one another and not sleep with anyone else. Married people are who are supposed to be *faithful* to the point that if there is a physical/emotional breach in the relationship, they can say that someone actually *cheated*.

Honestly, if I were a guy, I won't be too big on marriage either if every single "girlfriend" treated me like a husband and acted like they were my wife anyway. I mean, if two people are doing all of the "marriage stuff" while they're single, yes....*why get married?*

And so, since a few women wrote me over the weekend with ultimatums for their boyfriends (threats usually only irritate if not anger men, by the way!), I thought that we should deconstruct a few things over the next couple of weeks/blog entries.

First, starting with the fact that "boyfriend" actually has the word *friend* in it. It seems that some women are so busy trying to make a guy their husband, that the friend part almost seems completely irrelevant to them. Honestly, I discern that's a *huge part* of the reason why there are so many dissatisfied unions: *people didn't marry their friends*. So, if you have a boyfriend, here's some signs of he is a good *friend* that's a *boy* (hopefully, he's more like a *man-friend* if you're reading *this blog*, though!-LOL-I Corinthians 13:11):

Recognize what constitutes a healthy friendship. 

It is important to look at things in the positive light as well as the negative situation, to help you balance your feelings and the interpretation of the situation. A good, healthy friendship involves feeling like you are supporting one another, acting as a sounding board for each other. Good friends don't compete negatively; if there is competition, it is openly acknowledged and each other's achievements are lauded and appreciated equally. Good friends care for one another, and keep secrets between each other. Good friends spend time helping each other overcome adversity rather than creating it and maintaining it. Good friendships are relationships that make both people feel good about themselves and feel natural. Even though a friendship needs to be worked on as much as any relationship, a good friendship doesn't feel like work; it feels like building foundations, and growing a garden; pleasant, worthwhile, rewarding, and filled with give-and-take in equal measure. (Ecclesiasties 4:9-10 ~"Two are better than one,because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!") 


What are the benefits of friendships?

Good friends are good for your health. Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friends prevent loneliness and give you a chance to offer needed companionship, too. Friends can also:

    Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
    Boost your happiness
    Reduce stress
    Improve your self-worth
    Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one
    Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise


 A Healthy Friend:

Guards my positive perception of another
Doesn’t assume motives—either mine or another’s
Holds me accountable to my own values and God’s workings in me
Refuses to sabotage any of my other relationships through gossip or criticism
Doesn’t believe it is his or her call in life to “fix” me—the “fixing” is left to Jesus
Knows how to laugh and have fun
Expects all of the above from me


Being Real and Honest

Good friends keep it real. Honesty doesn't have to be brutal. It is only brutal if you don't want to hear what is being said. When you can rely on your friend being honest with you then they are truthful about any situation. Be aware that they are expressing their view from their own perspective of the world. This personal perspective will differ from your own.

Arguing in a Healthy Way

Friends don't always agree and being able to argue in a healthy is good communication. Friends argue because it of them feels strongly about a subject and try to explain it in such a way that the other person is convinced. Respecting that your friend has a different view does not make either of you right or wrong, just different.

Encourage Other Friendships

Friendships with other people help keep a friendship fresh. Interaction with others brings new perspectives into your life. Healthy friendships are not jealous of new friends spending time together. Each friendship has its own strands of common understanding. It is possible to share different interests with different friends. For instance one friend might like playing sport and the other friend prefers the movies. Healthy friendships do not make you choose but are all embracing.

Trust

One of the most important components of healthy friendships is trust. Trust that intimate conversations will remain confidential and not be used as gossip. When we share intimate details of ourselves with another there is an implied trust. The keeping of this trust without having to be asked is a healthy sign of friendship.

Respect Boundaries

Respecting personal boundaries is so important. Sometimes we are not aware that we have crossed someone else's personal boundary on an issue until it has happened. Healthy friendships acknowledge that a boundary has been crossed and the boundary explained so that the friend can understand what it is that has caused the distress.

Nurture Each Other

People in healthy friendships care about each other and nurture each other. Allowing each other to grow as individuals and share the happy times and the sad without hurting each other.



Six Traits of an Unhealthy Friendship 

Jealousy
Destructive Feedback and Communication
Selfishness
Lack of Reciprocation
Incessant Negativity
Judgment: Friends should let you be true to yourself. Each of you are individuals and although you may be friends, what might be right for your friend may not be right for you.
 

So, in thinking about your relationship with your boyfriend, after reviewing all of this information, *be honest with yourself:* Are you your boyfriend's friend? Is he yours?

I'll be back with more in a few days.

Here's to the *foundation* being right before building on it. ;-)

tmm,

SRW







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