“There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
Over the summer, my husband and I did a couples study called “Five Dates” by Mike and Jennifer Foster. It was phenomenal for our marriage. Recommended to us by our lead pastor’s wife. Very little work involved for my husband or I. It took about 10 minutes to read through some information individually. Then you would go on a date and answer a few seemingly insignificant questions together. We had the best conversations from these “dates” we’ve ever had. It was and is amazing how it has impacted our marriage.
For instance, one date the objective was to learn more about each other’s past. When you’ve been alive 49 years, only married six of them, there is a lot of past behind you to share. The question which started the whole thing went something like, “Name two events growing up that impacted your life?”
My husband’s were both sports related. Mine revolved around my Dad’s death when I was 16. This conversation evolved from there to my husband telling me I had a chip on my shoulder. He said it was unfair of me to think because he hadn’t gone through what I had he couldn’t understand my pain. Also, and more importantly, it did not make me queen of suffering. Other people suffer too. It may not be the same way I have suffered, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t suffering.
It’s easy to assign points to suffering. We do it based on our own life experience. My Dad dying versus running the wrong way up the field in a football game. Obviously, my Dad dying gets a 10, where his is a 2 if I was using a scale from 1-10. 10 obviously being hardest to go through, 1 being easiest. That was his point. It’s not up to us to determine who has suffered more or less. We don’t actually know. We have no idea how much someone has suffered and we shouldn’t assume we do.
This was not the most amicable conversation my husband and I ever had. It took days for us to work through this together. It was a very hard truth for me to learn about myself. Definitely not something to be proud of having done to someone. Especially if that someone was my husband who I love more than anyone else in the world.
My husband illuminated a blind spot in my life for me that evening. We all have them in our lives. Areas that are blatantly obvious to someone else but we can’t see at all. In my car, I actually have “Blind Spot Monitors” on my mirrors. It starts blinking when someone is beside me in the one particular spot where I can’t see them if I look in the mirror. A blind spot.
I depend on my Blind Spot Monitors (BSM) so much, a couple of weeks ago I didn’t realize it had been accidentally turned off. I was on I-64 in rush hour traffic. I checked my mirrors, didn’t see the BSM going off and started to move into the next lane, right in front of a jeep I couldn’t see in my mirror. Gratefully it was being driven by a young guy with quick reflexes who maneuvered around me. That incident made me realize my BSM’s were off AND how much I had come to depend on them.
The conversation with my husband was a BSM going off in my life. He was alerting me to something I couldn’t see in myself. I needed someone to tell me what I can not see. I needed them to do it in love. No one has spoken truth in love into my life as well as my husband has. He has helped me see things about myself I just could not see.
Before him, it was my friends who helped me identify my blind spots. They were and still are active BSM’s in my life. I depend on them to help me see what I cannot see. I depend on them to keep me in the right lane. To help me keep my path straight. I can’t do life without them. I am heavily dependent on them.
Everyone needs BSM’s in their lives. They need to be someone who loves you. Who is looking out for what is best for you. Who can see things you can’t see. People you trust and love. I developed mine in my life. My BSM’s at this point are all people I’ve known for 10 years or longer, with the exception of my husband. Trust me when I say, all of my BSM’s approved of him when we met. I’m thankful they steered me towards him. They could see how perfect he was for me, even before I did.
There are friends who stick closer than a brother. You know exactly who they are. If you don’t have BSM’s in your life, you know where to start.