We Need Community
We've had several friends get married in the past few months, and lots of well wishes have been given, lots of blessings said, and lots of prayers offered up.
I haven't given very much advice, though. I mean, we've only got two years of marriage under our belts (only two years? I can't imagine life without Trevor... it feels like we've been married much, much longer.)
But if I did have advice to give- I'd say this: You need community.
Community is kind of built in to the majority of our youth. If you're a public school kid, you've got automatic friends in your grade or your classroom. Homeschooling kids have co-ops and groups. And of course, if you're fortunate (and I was), you have neighbors who are close to your own age and siblings running around everywhere. The same is true in higher education- I lived in a dorm during college- an insta-community!
Of course, all of that changed drastically when I graduated and got married. It's hard to make friendships as an adult.
In my case, I moved to a new town, my friends were scattered throughout the country (and the world!) and while I was pretty well wrapped up in my brand new (and very hunky) hubby, I became lonely. I wasn't expecting that.
We need community. We've been designed for interactions with other human beings- and human beings other than our spouses, too. We need friends! But when you're in a new place, a new situation, a new phase of life... well, that community is hard to come by.
Of course, if you're working outside the home, you will probably be able to make some friendships in your workplace, and that will certainly help. But really (and I don't know about you, but I feel this way), if you've spent all day with someone at work, you may not want to spend all of your evenings with them. We love our Camp family. Working and living at Camp makes for an incredible kind of community that I've never experienced anywhere else. But even that can be kind of limiting. It's nice to get away sometimes, see other smiling faces, get to know someone new, you know?
And if you're not working outside the home- all the more opportunity for you to feel isolated. So where are you to find community?
One of the very first things I would suggest a newly married couple to do is this- find a church.
Find a church where you feel welcome, a church where you can be yourselves. A church where you can find a group of friends.
And then, get involved. Volunteer to bring cookies, shake hands, introduce yourself, go to potlucks and picnics and fundraisers. Invite people to join you for lunch after the service. Go to adult Sunday school classes, join a small group.
Join a small group.
The biggest mistake of our first several months of marriage was thinking that we didn't need to find a church family. Going to services at our Camp on Sundays in the summer was convenient and inspiring, and who could really ask for more?
And we missed out, for months, on building new friendships. We knew our Camp family- but besides that... we were pretty isolated. We didn't get out much.
It wasn't until Trevor and I found our church home that we finally began to build true friendships, to form a community outside of Camp and outside of our new little family. It really made such a difference.
So you- you newlywed or you who just moved into a new town- go find a great church. Trust me, you need it. You need that community.