Spill It, Sister

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on February 7, 2013

So.

It seems we’re all in agreement that yes, we probably shouldn’t run here and there and everywhere telling every single woman we encounter about the last horrible, inexcusable thing that our rotten, no-good husbands did to us without any provocation whatsoever. (Ahem.)

But.

We also seem to be in agreement that bottling everything up inside is probably a recipe for disaster. I don’t know about you, but if I never get to air my grievances to a trusted friend then they all come out in a rush of overly-carbonated fury hell-bent on taking my husband down once and for all.

I know y’all are all much more composed, compassionate, and caring than me, but I get all Wicked Witch of the West when I’m mad. (With a little less impulse-control.) It’s not pretty.

Those of you who read Style, Sex, and Substance may have noticed an odd tribute in the back in which I gave a little love to my “pressure release valve,” Jen. Here’s what that was all about…

Once upon a time she was on retreat and decided to consult a monk known for his wisdom and faithfulness for this habit she and I had (er, have) where we share our hearts with one another when we’re feeling tested. (Yeah, you can go ahead and read between the lines there.)

God bless that sweet monk because he quickly assured her that our trash talking was absolutely fine and something to be embraced! “Carry on, girls!” said he!

Just kidding.

No, what he said was that she and I are currently in a pretty high-stress phase of life and that we do need a “pressure release valve.” He said that there is absolutely a time for venting as long as you watch out for sin and don’t let it get out of control.

Which was a huge relief. Because I do need that in my life.  And so does my marriage.

After I wrote last week’s post, I started to think about the ways in which my friendship with Jen has blessed my relationship with Dan. For those of you who are still seeking that kindred spirit or have reservations about someone you’re currently confiding in, here’s how she builds up my union and helps me to be a better wife during times of trial:

  1. She believes in my marriage and wants to see it thrive. Every piece of advice she gives is to that end. For example…
  2. She never tears down my husband. Ever. She listens with compassion, she commiserates a little, and then she gently helps me to see what good intentions or stressful situations may be motivating my husband’s behavior. She points out certain personality traits of mine that might be clashing with his so that I can better understand that this is more an issue of our dealing with things differently than of him being a terrible human being (just kidding, love bug). 
  3. She never betrays my trust. She understands that everything I tell her is in the strictest confidence and she respects that.
  4. She makes me laugh. Nothing cuts tension better than that.
  5. She doesn’t covet drama and sincerely desires a return to peace when Dan and I are struggling.
  6. She really likes my husband. She knows that he is a good guy and in some ways I think she gets him better than she gets me given that they both have artistic temperaments.
  7. She never fails to steer me toward forgiveness and contrition. And somehow she does this without ever making me feel judged. It’s really quite something. 

 

I don’t tell her everything about my marriage and she doesn’t tell me everything about hers. But she is always there for me and truly, I would be lost without her friendship. 

All this is to say that we all need support as we try to navigate this wondrous and complicated little thing called marriage. We just need to make sure we pick the right people to invite into our corner.

(Oh, and our friendship is a mere five years old and an answer to fervent prayer so please don’t despair if God hasn’t yet brought someone like this into your life. Just keep pestering him about it. He loves that.)

 

Kisses!

 

 

(Oh, and speaking of Jen, the last episode of her reality show, Minor Revisions, airs tonight! More details here. It’s a must-see!)

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Agnes February 7, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Aww, I’m so jealous that you have such a wonderful, close, sincere friend. I also sometimes feel lonely on my journey of my engagement, wedding planning, and faith in general, and I have been asking God here and there to bless me with a good friend who will share my faith and my values, and won’t judge. I’ve been keeping all of my struggles in a little circle between me, my fiance, and God (which is good), but I think it would be helpful to confide in a another person who would understand my difficulties and who would encourage me and give me faith. I guess I have to just keep praying and bugging God about it and maybe one day I will be blessed with a friend like Jen!
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Lisa Schmidt February 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm

I really enjoyed this post, Hallie! Spiritual friendships has been on my heart and in my prayers so much lately, too. A very long story, but when I “retired” to be an at-home job, through prayer and self-reflection, I discovered the profound loneliness I was experiencing correlated was the lack of a strong spiritual friend. As you, I prayed (begged) God to gift me with just one good friend. Just one … please, God?! Somehow by striving to live a Christian life, by allowing the Holy Spirit to take charge in my life, God smiled on my initiative and has slowly gifted me with a couple really awesome spiritual friendships. Thanks for chiming in on this topic, one that I think may just be a key into the transformation of our culture. (Okay, there’s a lot to unpack in that last statement but I won’t vomit it all up in the comment box here. Can you sense a passion here?) :)

Really, thanks for writing about an important topic.
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Andrea February 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Beautiful post, Hallie.
What a blessing you must be to one another.
Female friendships have never been my forte. I am a much better listener and muller-overer than talker, which I think leads to me almost never being vulnerable. Vulnerability is so important for building relationships, I realize.
My closest girl friend is just so wonderful, but she is also single. There are many things I feel aren’t appropriate to share with her about my married life, especially since she is also good friends with my husband.
I pray God will bless me with one of these precious friendships too, someday.
Thank you for a wonderful post!
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Jodi February 7, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Those really are a sign of good and holy friendship. Lucky ladies! :)
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Jenna@CallHerHappy February 7, 2013 at 3:40 pm

This was great! God has been in the business of blessing me greatly lately (well, He always does, I’m just noticing it more, I’m sure!), so I’m going to start praying for my Jen :)
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BettyDuffy February 7, 2013 at 5:00 pm

My friend Pedge is very much this person to me. I don’t know what I’d do without her.

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Kaitlin @ More Like Mary February 7, 2013 at 8:26 pm

This is beautiful! I shared it with my husband and he agreed that she is exactly the type of person he would want me to confide in when it came to marital issues. Great perspective!
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Sara February 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm

I love this! I was writing about friendship today, too.

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bobbi @ revolution of love February 8, 2013 at 4:17 pm

So true!! I think sometimes we forget how much we as women need a sisterly confidant.
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Kris February 9, 2013 at 3:44 pm

I am blessed with not one, but TWO of these people in my life. I have a dear friend from college who has always been there for me. But we don’t live close and often go weeks or months without talking. So 10 years ago, God blessed me with another close friend who is all you have described and more. She is truly my sister of the heart.

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Gabriela February 9, 2013 at 4:45 pm

I have the same friend you are describing Hallie! It is such a blessing and I know I don’t tell her often enough. Boy, has she been there for me through a lot, and never once gave up on me or got tired of listening to my venting. Like your friend’s, her advice is born out of friendship and love, with my best interests at heart. I don’t know what I would do without her!

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Cat Ames February 9, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Awesome!! I so desperately need what you have with Jen. I don’t have anyone to confide in. Friendship has been somewhat of a letdown, to say the least, in my life. I have 5 kids, 1 saint & 4 in training. And all our family lives 2 1/2 hours away. So, no breaks for me…EVER. I recently met a couple girls in a Catholic mothers church group. But, they already have close friends and don’t think they have room for more. Not to mention they live in a different city 30-45 min away. I feel so overwhelmed most of the time. I guess partly because I just had a baby 7 weeks ago. But, theres’s more to it than that. So if you could, I would appreciate your prayers as I pray for you.

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Melissa J. February 9, 2013 at 8:19 pm

I agree – having a “pressure release valve” can be very helpful when the times get tough. God blessed me with a sister who’s close in age and at a similar stage in life – married with baby #4 on the way! ;) Thanks for reminding me of how fortunate I am to have her in my life.

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Jennifer February 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I know this is a bit off topic but I thought you might like to know that yesterday on a mini-break in Belfast, Ireland, a dear friend and I wandered into a tiny out of the way Catholic bookshop to escape the rain…Lo and Behold…there in a prominent position was propped Style, Sex & Substance!! My friend bought it, I cannot wait to hear her feedback! You literally are reaching the nooks and crannies of this world.
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Kim February 10, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Oh, thank you, thank you for this post! I have been praying for just such a friend for such a long time. That the Lord has not yet seen fit to answer this prayer has led me to conclude many other much harder-to-swallow possibilities as to why. Jen sounds wonderful. I am encouraged to keep on praying for someone like that. Because I am just like you. If I don’t let off steam gradually, eventually I will burst and it won’t be pretty!

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Kelly @ In the Sheepfold February 12, 2013 at 10:47 am

I have a small prayer group that is a trusted place to spill stuff. When I have shared aspects of my marriage, these friends have prayed with me and for me. I have sometimes vented with other friends or in other circles and felt I left the other parties thinking less of my husband. When I (and they) vent in the context of prayer, I think all of us grow in love for the person(s) involved.

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Jeannine February 16, 2013 at 6:25 am

Thank you for these guidelines. I must say, close friendships are a gift from God. I have an inner circle, and then just a circle, and an outer circle, and that is fine with me. Some friends are fine to have lighthearted fun with or help us shuttle our kids here or there or to bring dinner to in an emergency, but very few fit the criteria above and you are very wise to have distilled these qualities.

There have been seasons where such a supply of friends has been lean, and I will pray for any ladies in a lean season now.

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