It is so important for married couples to surround themselves with other couples who have functional marriages. Isaac Kubvoruno stated that marriage is like a plant; if you surround it with weeds it will eventually get chocked, wither and die. Therefore plant your marriage among other well-maintained, well nurtured and functional marriages. Marriage flourishes in a community of other strong marriages. Pray that your spouse will choose to surround himself/self with marriage-minded people; people who will encourage him/her to be a better spouse; people who will build and not destroy your marriage. “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33.
A couple of recent posts from Psychology Today’s Facebook feed inspired this advice. (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/healthy-connections/201006/7-signs-youre-in-toxic-friendship and http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-it/201311/the-best-kept-secret-highly-successful-couples)
Whether your relationships is platonic or romantic, keep these rules in mind:
1. Be a giver, but don’t get taken advantage of. The best relationships consist of two givers. But if you find yourself in a relationship with a taker or a matcher (someone who is always keeping a ledger), stop giving before they wear you out. Look for relationships with other givers.
2. Support your friends’ success and expect them to support yours. If someone leaves you feeling bad or worthless, don’t be in a relationship with them.
3. Use social media that makes you feel good, not bad. That may sound obvious, but many people leave facebook comparing their real selves to others’ public selves. Delete or hide friends that make you feel small or that focus on negative things. Make your facebook a happy place.
4. Be trustworthy. Expect trust from your closest confidantes.
5. Be a friend who inspires the best in others. Hang around friends who bring out the best in you. If you are trying to quit smoking, it may not be helpful to have lunch with your smoking friends.
6. Support your friends’ family. Expect them to support yours. It’s not enough for your husband to say “I love you but your family drives me nuts.” He needs to show respect to your family as well.
7. Start a positive trend. You have the power to make someone else smile. Do it. They might just pass the smile along.