In March of 2013 our family made a big move across the country, from suburban Oregon to rural northern Michigan. We left family, friends, church, job, and schools we loved to pursue the next step in our extraordinary life journey. One of my biggest struggles was finding girlfriends. I honestly didn't realize how much I needed them or missed them until Joe and I attended Ultimate Leadership, a seminar in California earlier this year. At that seminar I came face to face with my resistance to and need for deep and serious -- as well as fun and silly -- girlfriend relationships. Lesson #1: I need girlfriends.
It is easy for me to be the Lone Ranger. I am strong and able to figure things out on my own. Making friends in the area we now live was not particularly easy, so staying strong on my own seemed a good enough solution. However, I have come to realize the great need in my soul for connection. My connection with my husband is awesome and I am grateful for such a strong relationship, but I also need girlfriends. Finding girlfriends wasn't as easy as I thought it should be, but avoiding those relationships didn't make life any easier either.
Lesson #2: Finding girlfriends requires personal initiative.
It has been a number of years since I have been "the new girl" in town. No one in the area (kids' school, church, etc.) was waiting with open arms to welcome me into their 20-years-in-the-making circle of friends. I actually had to take the initiative over and over again. I chose (most of the time) to let go of my care for what others think of me, be courageous, and invite myself into friendship with others. It was difficult and even painful at times, yet so worth it!
Lesson #3: Girlfriends understand you in ways that men cannot.
Joe and I faced a challenging situation recently. It was a private matter in our home and it was emotionally draining for both of us. There were many decisions to be made and challenges to be faced each day. Joe and I leaned on God and each other during this time. I also need the connection and care that can only come from a girlfriend. I am thankful that I took time to work on some of these girlfriend relationships so that I had a friend to call. We, women are very . . complicated . . and there are some ways that our souls can only be fed by another female.
Women: How are your girlfriend relationships? Are your girlfriends encouraging you to live an extraordinary life and have an extraordinary marriage? Are you contributing positively to the lives of other women?
Are you encouraging your husband to enjoy friendships, man nights, and man-cave time with his friends too? I am so grateful for the close guy friends that invest in my husband on a regular basis. It actually enhances our marriage in big ways.
Men: How about your man-relationships? Are you investing in and learning from other men in your life? Are you spending your man time building each other up and motivating each other to live extraordinary lives? Are you encouraging your wife to have girlfriends and invest in those relationships too?
The extraordinary life is not lived alone, but in the company of great friends.