Thursday, May 23, 2019

Female Friendship Part 2

Earlier this month I talked about my early history with female friendships. In short, I didn't really have true close friends when I was growing up. Luckily that changed in my 20s and I was fortunate to develop a great group of friends.

In the Midwest, most women get married in their 20s. It's just the way things work out around here. That clearly did not happen for me, so as I moved through my 20s, I relied more and more upon my friendships in the absence of a romantic partner. However, as my friends started to get married, I started to feel a little bit "left behind." This is not a knock against them. I was very, very happy for them when they got married and started families. But I really needed to find women whose lives were more similar to mine.

Luckily, blogging was the answer to this need as I met a group of women with similar interests, values, and lifestyles. My friendships with these women were and are very special because they were developed based on common interests, like running, reading, and traveling. There's also something special and different about a relationship that initially develops through the written word. There's a vulnerability that comes with sharing your life through an exchange of emails.

I also met women whose path - being single in their 20s and early 30s - more similarly resembled mine. There is one woman that stands out. She met her husband in her 30s and they had their son in their mid-30s. It was really encouraging to meet someone whose timeline of milestones was different from all the other married women I knew. I saw her as mentor and someone I could talk to about the frustrations I experienced through dating.

Luckily, I did eventually meet the man who would become my husband and we were married when I was 36. It meant so much to have so many of my friends and their partners present on our special day. These women had seen me through so many challenges - dating ups and downs, job changes, cross country moves, etc. I had several different groups of friends at our wedding - college, book club, work, blogging, etc. It meant so much to have those ladies there to witness my union with Phil. They were part of my past and, God-willing, they will be part of our future.

College friends

URL turned IRL friends
Even though I have less time to dedicate to friendships these days, I still value them. I do need to work on reaching out to my far away friends more often, though. Most of them have children of their own so they understand the stage we are in. But I don't want any of them to think I have taken their friendship for granted so I need to be intentional about checking in over email or text.

In Text Me When You Get Home, the author shares the following observation about  the evolution of marriage:

"Marriage was an economic institution in which you were given a partnership for life in terms of children and social status and succession and companionship. But now we want our partner to still give us all these things, but in addition I want you to be my best friend and my trusted confidant and my passionate lover to boot, and we live twice as long. So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide."

I firmly believe that I can't rely on Phil to meet all of my needs - and I can't meet all of his either. That's what friends (and family) are for. I will always need my girlfriends. I'm forever grateful for the tribe of ladies that have my back.


Charbelle said...

When I did the gratitude posts in November it kept coming back to my friendships. I would be absolutely lost if I didn't have my girlfriends! I love my husband but he definitely is a wonderful addition to my life and not my be all end all. I'm thankful that when life gets really crazy and we go for long periods of time without talking it is like no time has passed when we get together again!

Mandy said...

I love this (and you) so much!!

Amber said...

Oh, Lisa, I love this post so much! I've put that book on hold at the library and I'm very curious about it. You're also reigniting a fire in me to blog or journal again. I'm wondering if I should start something new... I worry I'm going to forget all of these funny things that Elise says and does. Time goes so fast!
Miss you and love you! <3

Travel Spot said...

There was a This American Life (I think that's which one it was!) about that, about how we expect our significant other to be everything! But obviously that's impossible. I'm glad to have you as a friend, and just know that no matter how much time passes between visits, you're always going to be my friend!! Hugs!

Jodie said...

Very great post. this is something i am working on. i dont have many girlfriends and I want that to change :)

Diwakar said...

Hello Lisa. I am a Pastor from Mumbai, India. I am glad to stop by your profile on the blogger and the blog post. I am also blessed and feel privileged and honoured to get connected with you as well as know you and about your interest. It was great to visit your blog post and know more about you as a married woman with the midst of other princesses. I love getting connected with people of God around the globe to be encouraged, strengthened and praying for one another. I have been in the Pastoral ministry for last 40 yrs in this great city of Mumbai a city with a great contrast where richest of rich and the poorest of poor live. We reach out to the poorest of poor with the love of Christ to bring healing to the brokenhearted. We also encourage young and the adults from the west to come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. We would love to have you come to Mumbai to work with us during your vacation time. My email id is: dhwankhede(at)gmail(dot)com and my name is Diwakar Wankhede

Marlys said...

This is a great post, Lisa! Loved it!

Stephany said...

Love this! Female friendships are SO important, no matter if you're married in your 30s or single. It's not healthy to rely on one person to fulfill all your social and emotional needs! I'm so glad to have a solid group of girlfriends and women in their 30s who are single like me. It's SO helpful knowing I'm not alone.

Jeanie said...

I believe we should never allow just one person to meet our needs -- even if they could. Our world is so much wider with a diverse group of wonderful friends. I treasure my woman friends (and man friends, too) greatly. And that in no way reflects on Rick. You will value them forever.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I'm so glad you have a tribe of wonderful women by your side. That is so important. I have a large group of friends, male and female, and we are like one big family. Their kids feel like my nieces and nephews, and they call me and Christopher auntie and uncle, and we adore the time that we spend with them. I truly believe friends are the family you choose <3

Amber said...

I'm really excited to read this book! I bought it when it was on sale on kindle the other day. I totally 110% agree that our significant others cannot - and should not - meet all our needs. Often Eric isn't even the first person I tell about certain things because I have more of that "share everything" relationship with my girlfriends!

So glad we have been able to be beside each other through so many big life events over the years. Love you! <3

San said...

I love that you had so many girlfriends from all over attend your wedding! I definitely have benefited from the friendships that have formed through blogging over the years!