Can women be friends? God answered this question for me during a difficult phase of my life.
MY WORST AND BEST VALENTINE’S DAY
It was Valentine’s Day, but instead of a special dinner, I sat on the couch and watched my husband go up and down the stairs of our split entry home with boxes and luggage. He was moving out to be with another woman.
Can women be friends? Not the right question on this Valentine’s Day. This “other woman” certainly didn’t understand supporting other women let alone authentic friendship.
One year later I sit on the same couch with no plans. Instead, I replay the scene of my husband departing over and over in my mind. Engrossed in my thoughts I jump when the phone rings. At the other end, a familiar voice says, “Just called to invite you to spend Valentines’ Day with our family.”
Embarrassed, I stumble over my words “I don’t want to intrude on your celebration. I will bring everyone down.” The truth is that the memory of one year ago is still raw; and I want to submerge myself in self-pity and ice cream.
My young friend pleads, insists, and finally uses the kids as bait. “I already promised the kids. You can’t disappoint them. They love you. We all do. After all, Valentine’s Day is about love!” Hanging up the phone, my gloomy mood starts to dissipate.
Can women be friends? Well, last year a woman ruined my Valentines’ Day and this year a woman lifts my spirits. I smile to myself, wishing my former counselor had heard that call.
CAN WOMEN BE FRIENDS? A COUNSELOR WEIGHS IN
When my husband indicated he was unhappy and wanted out of the marriage, I had started going to counseling sessions, hoping my husband might come, too. He didn’t. Still, the counselor and I discussed ways to save the marriage—until the session after my husband’s departure. On that day, I told the counselor the marriage was over.
Our discussion took many twists and turns during this session; however, right before I left the office, she looked at me and said, “You’re single now. The women in your church will see you as a threat to their marriage. A support system is important, but you probably need to find it elsewhere.”
Devastated by my husband leaving, I was searching for advice on how to cope and move on. Did this Christian counselor just tell me to prepare for more abandonment?
You see, my female counselor answered the question: Can women be friends with a resounding NO, obviously believing that women are incapable of authentic friendships.
Have you ever heard a woman say (or perhaps it was you), “Women are so catty” or “Females are so manipulative?” Trashing our sex is a favorite pastime and then we wonder why man’s answer is negative when asked: “Can women be friends?”
I don’t believe women are natural enemies, but the counselor’s words put doubts in my mind and heart. The thought of my church family forsaking me was scary. During the ride home, I was uneasy.
On the ride home, my mind was full of questions. Would my sisters in Christ not trust me around their husbands?
WAS MY COUNSELOR RIGHT?
Two days later I walked into my church as I did every Sunday morning; however, that day was different because I was alone. Additionally, my anxiety increased due to my counselor’s words.
The pastor was aware of the situation, and the others in leadership knew.
As the Sunday school superintendent, I opened the service. Could I get through this? How to begin? Some looked away. I saw pity on others’ faces. The awkward silence confused those unaware of the situation.
As the church matriarch talked with one of the deacons I saw her eyes fill with tears, and subsequently, she approached me and gave me a long heartfelt hug. Following her lead, others offered a deluge of comfort and kind words.
During the next few weeks, the church’s sadness was palpable. One of the members told me there is “a time to mourn,” and this was one of those times.
The next months were full of difficulties, sadness, and obstacles to overcome, but my church family (including the women) were there with me every step of the way, pulling me over the wall when I was too weak to climb.
As I made my way through the world of divorce proceedings, there were calls just to talk, offers of financial help, cards with uplifting messages, and of course, prayer.
People’s individual characters and personalities showed in the various acts of kindness and thoughtful words shared during this difficult time.
“By this, all will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another” (John 13:35 NKJV). Not only, doesn’t Jesus want the world to know the church because of our intellect, success, power, or cutting-edge programs, but He also wants the world to know that Christians are different by the way we love one another.
The people of my church exemplified the love Jesus discussed with His disciples. The women, in particular, were there for me throughout it all. Even a year later, this family reached out in love to ease the pain of Valentines’ Day.
BIBLICAL DEFINITION OF FRIENDSHIP
FRIENDSHIPS KEEP US ON COURSE SPIRITUALLY
“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harms” (Proverbs 13:20 NIV).
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
FRIENDSHIPS PROVIDE WISDOM
“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense” (Proverbs 27:9 NLT).
FRIENDSHIPS HELP US DURING TOUGH TIMES
“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
CAN WOMEN BE FRIENDS?
Not only can they be friends, but the Bible tells us we must be friends. Authentic friendships are a gift from God. They provide support, advice, spiritual encouragement, and joy. Friends enjoy time together, laugh often, and cry with and for one another.
COMMENTS AND ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
We can also share and encourage one another by commenting below. Like me did you experience genuine Christian love? More importantly, can you remember a time when you gave this kind love to your sisters in Christ? Please leave your stories in the comment section below. I can’t wait to hear them.
There are many different kinds of friendships, and in our world, it is possible to have online friendships. Check out my community blog. I will be doing more of them in the future, thus it’s my hope we can offer each other friendship through advice, encouragement, spiritual wisdom, and additionally, provide practical things like recipes, organizational skills, parenting help, marriage tips, etc.
Want to learn some biblical principals to become a better friend? Check out this article.
A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity (Proverbs 17:17 KJV).