How to Build Friendships With Other Families

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How to Build Friendships with Other Families

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

With the crazy fast pace of the world these days, having a family of your own–plus keeping up with all life’s demands–can feel very isolating. It takes all you’ve got just to get your family through the day…so you’re not sure how to even begin building intentional friendships with other families.

The good news is, it’s possible! You can build relationships with other families, and have fun doing it. Today, we’re sharing 3 practices you can put into action right away to start getting connected with other families.


Friendships are built on having things in common–whether it’s a sense of humor, shared experiences, or similar life circumstances. Seek opportunities to connect with other couples who have similar interests and values as you have, and with whom you have a strong rapport.

Interest groups, classes, Sunday school, and small groups are all good places to start as you seek other families to befriend. Be patient in the process of getting to know them, and don’t rush into any relationships; instead, take it slow and get to know the people you’re connecting with. Having patience and peace in the process will help you as you explore which friendships are going to be healthy connections for you and your family to cultivate.


Be open to getting to know other families, and project that sense of openness to the new people you meet. If you appear closed off or uninterested, you won’t seem as approachable to others.

Even if you’re nervous, don’t wait to be approached. Find someone you’d like to introduce yourself to, and jump right in. Be friendly, receptive, and show your interest in getting to know them.

It can be easy, once you’ve made a few close friends, to stop making an effort to bring other families into your circle. Be aware of this, and commit to continuing to meet new families and broadening your circle over time.


Work together with your spouse to invite other families into your home, one at a time. Take turns having each of them over at intervals, and spend time getting to know them (and letting your children get to know one another). Do whatever you can to help them feel welcome and comfortable in your home.

Get out your calendar and work together to chart out times to invite people over you’d like to get to know. Once you’ve decided on dates for the month, determine to include someone around your table on each date, no matter what.

If you put these 3 principles into practice, you’ll be able to establish some meaningful, lasting friendships that will be mutually rewarding, both for your family and the other families you get to know. Give it time, and before long, you will have a community of friends who’ll be there through thick and thin.

The Power of Community

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The Power of Community

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

We were designed by God to love and be loved, know and be known, serve and be served. These are some of the greatest gifts we can ever give and receive. Simply put, we are created to live in community with one another. It is in this context that we are propelled to flourish in our relationships and every other area of our lives.

Building a strong, supportive community is arguably never more important than when navigating our marriages. It’s not only a matter of surrounding ourselves with people, but choosing the right people. Here are three ways you can seek out and build healthy community around you.


The best place to find like-minded people is in your local church. If you’re not a part of a church, and frustrated by the lack of quality people in your life, that is the very best place to start. If you’re willing to embrace the process wholeheartedly, it is your best bet to building lasting relationships in your life.

As well as forming great relationships with like-minded people, many Church communities like to take part in fun activities as a form of support for their place of worship. Taking part in church fundraisers, volunteering for charities, and supporting each other in times of need really implements the sense of community and solidifies your friendships.

Each Sunday, churches all around the world open their doors. Everybody is welcome, and the possibilities are endless. Most churches make it easy to narrow your options, finding places you can serve and smaller groups you can join. As programmed as it may sound, it is most often a place where getting plugged in can lead to growing relationships organically within the safe framework of the church.


Wisdom doesn’t always come with experience, but when it does, it is an invaluable resource. Finding people who have been married longer than you, who are godly, and who are open to sharing their successes and failures is worth its weight in gold for your marriage. Look for people whose marriages you would like to model. Ask them if they would be willing to mentor you, or simply spend some time together.

Being married comes with a unique set of challenges. Parts of us are revealed that we never knew existed, and it can be so easy to think we are the only people facing certain challenges. One powerful thing we have realized is that you’re never alone in your challenges. Finding people with more experience will often reveal that. They have worked through the things you are going through, are stronger for it, and may even be able to laugh about it now. They can provide powerful perspective and help you feel less alone. They may just be the most valuable form of community you can find.


The thought of seeking counseling can be a source of shame in our culture. For a minute though, shift your mind from counseling as being a negative, to it being a source of building healthy community around you.

It’s simply never wise to face our problems alone. And if you’re feeling isolated in any area of your life, a good Christian counselor may be the saving grace you have been looking for. There is nothing to be ashamed of in seeking counseling. In fact, your marriage may be going better than it ever has. It could be argued that even in the best of times, counseling is wise. Wouldn’t you rather do damage control than disaster clean-up?

Counselors are trained professionals who have spent time and energy into helping people through the common life issue that we all face. A good counselor can provide a safe, objective view on your unique situation. They are trained to get you to the source of your feelings and equip you to better deal with your relationships. Some of the strongest marriages around have sought or keep regular counseling. It’s a powerful way to build and sustain your marriage and the community around you.

We simply weren’t meant to do this life alone. Building a strong community around you may take time, but is well worth the investment into your relationships, and especially your marriage. There is strength in numbers, and power in community! Seek it today if you don’t have it, and work to keep it if you do! It’s the only way to do life the way we were created to.


If you would like help in developing healthy community or working through the hurts of an unhealthy community, please call CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with one of our counselors or coaches.


6 Reasons You Need Godly Friends

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6 Reasons You Need Godly Friends


How many friends do you have? five? twenty? one hundred? How many of them are close friends that you can trust with anything? How many of them consistently encourage you and build you up? While it’s easy to gain a huge number of “friends” on social media, we all need more than just a few passing acquaintances who fill our newsfeed with funny cat pictures or pictures of adorable babies. Here are six reasons why you need close Godly friendships too.


1. They Encourage You


Whether you are having a good day or a bad day, your Godly friends are always there to encourage you. They won’t allow you to wallow in self-pity indefinitely. Instead, they help you remember that God has everything under control and that it WILL be okay, even if it doesn’t seem like it now. They are full of encouraging thoughts, they genuinely care, and they have a wealth of Scripture verses that somehow really do make you feel better.


2. They Ask the Difficult Questions


When you are really struggling and a friend asks you how you are doing, it can be tempting to just say “fine.” Godly friends don’t let you get away this, however. They ask the difficult questions to find out how you REALLY are, how they can help you and how they can pray for you. Whether you are struggling with depression or struggling to stay faithful to your spouse, your closest Godly friends want to know what’s really going on so they can be there for you.


3. They Offer Godly Counsel


Advice is very easy to come by these days. Every time you turn around, you find 100 different opinions, many of which directly oppose the others. Godly friends give you advice you can trust, however. Their advice is based on Scripture and given with your unique circumstances and personality in mind. They won’t just tell you what you want to hear. They’ll help you figure out what God would actually want you to do in your situation.


4. They Keep You Accountable


Being a Godly woman isn’t easy, and we all mess up sometimes. Thankfully, Godly friends keep us accountable. They ask the tough questions to see what you are struggling with, and then they follow up consistently to see how you are doing. They don’t do this to judge or belittle you, but because they truly care about you and helping you be an amazing Godly woman too.


5. They Pray for You


Which of us couldn’t use some additional prayer from time to time? Whether you are sick, you are unsure about a decision, or you just received big news, Godly friends are the perfect people to pray for you and they are always happy to do it. They won’t just say “I’ll pray for you,” and then forget. They will pray WITH you, and then they’ll go home and pray some more.


6. They Have the Resources You Need


None of us has all of the answers. Thankfully, when we band together, we are much stronger together than we are individually. Not only do Godly friends offer the advice, accountability and prayers that you need, but they can connect you with other resources you need as well. Need a ride to church this Sunday? Have a question about the Bible and you don’t know where to find the answer? Need some encouragement for the journey? Godly friends either have just what you need or they can connect you with other people who can help you find it.


Please understand, the point of this article isn’t to say you should dump all of your friends that aren’t Christian and replace them all with Godly friends. There are lots of reasons why you should have non-Christian friends too, but that’s an article for another day. The point of this article is just to say: if you don’t have a few close Christian friendships, you are missing out! Godly friends can offer you so many benefits you simply cannot find anywhere else.


Don’t miss the second half of this article: 6 Reasons Why You Need non-Christian Friends Too!

3 Practices of Friendship

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3 Practices of Friendship

By Darrin Patrick

Most men are not good at friendships. The last thing I thought I would struggle with as a middle-aged man is friendships. But, that is exactly the place I found myself in a couple of years ago. I had to go back to the foundations of how friends are made, invested in, and enjoyed. I offer these 3 practices for dudes who want to have some dudes in their life.

Three skateboarder kids standing together

1. Presence

There is nothing novel about this practice. But there are several layers to intentional presence with other men: availability, routine, and retreat.

For a lot of guys, presence can simply mean making ourselves available to other people and allowing others to enter into our daily rhythms. When I work in my yard, I regularly get into conversations with my neighbor. And when I run errands, I invite young leaders in our organization along with me. It’s odd, but it allows us time together while doing the mundane activities.

Friendship is often found within the ordinary.

A general posture of availability is a good start, but there’s more to it. Men need to gather together routinely. I meet with a group of guys once a week. We gather before we go to work and talk to each other and pray for each other between sips of coffee. We sacrifice a little of our sleep because we know how important it is for us to spend time together.

That’s the routine dimension. But it is also helpful to get away together, as friends, and go on retreats. The relationships forged in those concentrated times can be very deep. I know several guys who use an annual retreat to stay connected to their high school or college buddies. Don’t underestimate the value of concentrated, intentional community.

I recently did a two-day retreat with four of my friends. We all work in a non-profit together, so we had some business to attend to. But, the vast majority of the time together was spent reminiscing, laughing, and mocking each other. It was glorious. It happened because we all decided to sacrifice other things and be present with each other.

2. Productivity

There’s something real to a friendship where you’re producing something together. Real friends have a cause; in other words, something deeper than just themselves brings them together. This is one of the reasons the retreat I mentioned was a success. We didn’t just go and play and focus on ourselves. We had some objectives to meet, items to attend to, and decisions to make.

You don’t have to be “working” to have a productive retreat, as friendship itself can be the focus of improvement. Friendship builds character, but only if the parties involved are building the friendship. Hard words from a friend can be like the pruning that goes on in gardening: a rose emerges, but only after a lot of the plant has been cut off in winter. A real friendship isn’t simply oriented toward having a good time together, or even hearing each other’s opinions about barbecue and baseball. It is oriented toward the formation of virtue in the other person and it pursues such formation intentionally.

3. Perseverance

It’s unavoidable that we gravitate to people that look like us, smell like us, root for the same teams, and vote for the same policies. But there’s more to friendship than affinity. When commonality is the only basis for friendship, it’s even easier to drift apart. A lot of times it’s a crisis or disagreement that drives friends away.

Friendship doesn’t mean gathering with guys you always get along with. It means learning to get along with the guys you gather with. It takes perseverance to face hard conversations, poverty and wealth, good times and bad. A good friendship resembles a good marriage in this way. Perseverance means fighting through the hurts and the brokenness of each other’s failures, and enduring the wounds in order to cultivate a relationship.

4 Tips for Choosing Wise Friendships in Your Marriage

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Marriage Friendship

4 Tips for Choosing Wise Friendships in Your Marriage

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

Friendship is a gift. We need our friends, and that need doesn’t come to an end when we get married. Here you’ll find tips for choosing wise friendships that will enrich your marriage, as well as balancing the intimacy in your marriage with the important friendships in your lives.


When you get married, the landscape of your relationships changes. There are many adjustments to make because it becomes impossible to cultivate your marriage while supporting the same time investment you put into past friendships.

While there’s nothing wrong with each of you having individual, separate friends, it’s best to try to make each of your friends a part of your shared life as a married couple. You feel a sense of loyalty, ownership and responsibility for friends you’ve been close to through your single years. You can maintain a healthy sense of continued connection with them as you transition into this new season of your life.

If you’re the first of your circle of friends to get married, they won’t want to “give you up.” Be sure to have empathy for them, as this is a major change in their lives, too. By being the pioneer in your group of friends and striking out into uncharted territory, you’ll have the unique chance to model marriage for them.


Opposite-sex friendships don’t threaten a marriage unless you or your spouse feels uncomfortable. If your spouse is feeling unnerved by your friendship with a member of the opposite sex, then you need to respect his or her feelings and talk about it. Communication is important, you might want to bond with your wife over some sexy videos on sites like young sexer ( to ease the tension before you start talking about a potentially tense topic. Orgasms often reduce stress so it might be easier to talk about after having a few.

Maybe involving your spouse in the friendship will help make him or her more comfortable about your friend, or maybe you could make the relationship a couple friendship with that friend and their significant other. Ultimately, show your spouse that his or her needs are most important to you, and that you respect your commitment to the marriage.

You don’t necessarily have to sever relationships that might be enjoyable to you, but you do have a responsibility to find ways to build up your spouse’s confidence and reassure him or her. Setting healthy boundaries around these friendships will allow you and your spouse to maintain healthy relationships with opposite-sex friends. After all, there will be the unhealthy types – the type of friendship that they’d much rather watch while they get into bed together instead of an innocent movie on the couch.

You might set boundaries around the settings where you interact with your friend; maybe your spouse feels comfortable with certain settings, but uncomfortable with others. Find out what makes your husband or wife relaxed and comfortable about your friendship, versus what makes him or her uncomfortable and anxious.

In your friendship with that member of the opposite sex, always be sure to talk about your spouse in a positive way. If you’re in an office setting or a public place, display pictures of your spouse where they can be seen, to let people know you’re committed to your spouse and prize your relationship above all others.

Decide now to not get involved in situations where you omit discussion about your shared life with your spouse, or where you might feel tempted to talk negatively about him or her to a member of the opposite sex. This will set the tone for a safe, healthy friendship.


If your spouse’s friends are not your top choice (or vice versa), be open to allowing them into your life anyway. Shared history is a big deal, so honor that shared history as you get to know your spouse’s friends. Sometimes the hardest individuals to build a relationship with at first become your best friends later.

On the other hand, it’s important to use careful discernment when it comes to incorporating past friendships into your marriage. Is this friend someone who is dishonoring or disrespectful of you or your spouse? Is this person toxic and destructive? Does he or she negatively affect you as a couple? Does this person bring turmoil into your relationship? If you answered yes to any of the these questions, it’s time for a serious discussion with your spouse about whether to allow this person to remain part of your life.

When you approach your spouse to discuss a friendship that is making you uncomfortable, be honest, but be tactful and genuine. Don’t pass judgment, and don’t accuse your spouse of having an unwise relationship; simply let him or her know how vulnerable you feel about it.

In the case of an opposite-sex friendship that is making you uncomfortable, approach your spouse carefully. Often, he or she doesn’t realize that the friendship is making you feel unnerved. One way to approach your spouse might be to say, “You might not realize this, but when I see you interact with your friend, they seem more drawn to or interested in your than I’m used to. It raises concerns in me and makes me feel threatened.”

You don’t want to seem paranoid or suspicious, but you also want to open an honest dialog about your fears and hesitations regarding this relationship. Be patient with your spouse as he or she tries to process the discussion; there may be initial hesitance to change the tone of the friendship, set boundaries around it, or (in severe cases) end it.

Your energy and your focus should first be on your marriage; the most precious thing to protect is your marriage relationship. Maintaining friendships that are detrimental to your marriage, or that cause your focus to be shifted away from your marriage relationship, is counterproductive to this goal.


Having a shared circle of friends is a source of happiness for married couples. You can expand the social horizon of your marriage by building intentional friendships with other God-honoring couples. Mentoring occurs when you watch another marriage play out in front of you.

Friendships are built on having things in common, so connect yourself with groups that include peers who are walking through similar life circumstances to yours–maybe they’re in same season of life as you are, or maybe you have shared interests.

Don’t limit yourself, however, to only having friends whose ages and lives are similar to yours. Maybe you’ve met an older married couple who can mentor you as your grow in your own marriage. Or maybe you and your spouse can model marriage for a couple younger than you are.

When you’ve identified couples you’d like to get to know better, invite them into your home. Be intentional about cultivating that friendship as you get to know each other better.

It takes work to combine friends and to bring other couples into your relationship, but it heightens the level of enjoyment of the activities you share together. You might share one another’s dinner table, go on outings, or even share vacations together.


As you wisely choose friendships as a married couple, remember, above all else, to cherish and protect your marriage. You need a solid footing, great confidence, and commitment to ensure longevity. Build a hedge around your marriage and care enough about it to protect it at all costs.

Study Finds More Reasons to Get and Stay Married

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Old Couple

The following are excerpts from the New York Times article:

Study Finds More Reasons to Get and Stay Married

By Claire Cain Miller

A new economics paper has some old-fashioned advice for people navigating the stresses of life: Find a spouse who is also your best friend.

Social scientists have long known that married people tend to be happier, but they debate whether that is because marriage causes happiness or simply because happier people are more likely to get married. The new paper, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, controlled for pre-marriage happiness levels.

It concluded that being married makes people happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who remain single – particularly during the most stressful periods, like midlife crises…

Those whose lives are most difficult could benefit most from marriage, according to the economists who wrote the new paper, John Helliwell of the Vancouver School of Economics and Shawn Grover of the Canadian Department of Finance. “Marriage may be most important when there is that stress in life and when things are going wrong,” Mr. Grover said…

Intriguingly, marital happiness long outlasted the honeymoon period. Though some social scientists have argued that happiness levels are innate, so people return to their natural level of well-being after joyful or upsetting events, the researchers found that the benefits of marriage persist.

One reason for that might be the role of friendship within marriage. Those who consider their spouse or partner to be their best friend get about twice as much life satisfaction from marriage as others, the study found…

“What immediately intrigued me about the results was to rethink marriage as a whole,” Mr. Helliwell said. “Maybe what is really important is friendship, and to never forget that in the push and pull of daily life”…

The benefits of marital friendship are most vivid during middle age, when people tend to experience a dip in life satisfaction, largely because career and family demands apply the most stress then. Those who are married, the new paper found, have much shallower dips – even in regions where marriage does not have an overall positive effect.

“The biggest benefits come in high-stress environments, and people who are married can handle midlife stress better than those who aren’t because they have a shared load and shared friendship,” Mr. Helliwell said.

Overall, the research comes to a largely optimistic conclusion. People have the capacity to increase their happiness levels and avoid falling deep into midlife crisis by finding support in long-term relationships…