Speaking as a bachelor who’s taking his first reluctant steps into the big “30”, I’ve discovered there are certain aspects of adult life I need to accept. For starters, man cannot live on bread alone (Matthew 4:4), and neither can he live on Chinese takeout. Adults should really know how to cook. Secondly, it’s a good idea to schedule regular medical checkups, especially when that mole on your back keeps moving. Finally, and I suppose this goes without saying, all of your married friends will have babies and you will never see them again.
Obviously I’m being a little facetious when I write this, but its true children are a big game-changer for most friendships. Suddenly your friend’s entire life revolves around a single human being, and it’s understandable when they don’t have time to grab coffee like they used to. While this can be difficult for Christian singles, it’s important we learn to adjust with the change, and love our friends as they start their journey into parenthood. Rebecca Jo, of Relevant Magazine, has given her readers some advice on how to maintain friendships once children enter the picture. Below are just a few of her recommendations, as well as some thoughts of my own.
Remember they're still the same person.
“The friend you shared sleepovers with or played basketball with every Tuesday is still the same person. Their new identity as a mom or dad doesn't cancel out their identity as your friend. They still want to be remembered when you invite a group to the movies or lunch. And not inviting them would be rude. It may take a little more calendar guesswork and you might have a little guest joining you from time to time but don't forget to make the effort.”
“It may sometimes feel like your friend is caught in a loophole of parent talk but it may also surprise both of you how easy it is to swing back to bonding over rumors about season two of Stranger Thingsor sharing new jokes about diaper-changing disasters. Don't underestimate the depth of your friendship by feeling like you have to shift your expectation for new experiences together. These experiences are going to be different, but different can be good.”
Remember to lend them a hand.
Being a parent is exhausting work. You don’t get to take sick days, and you’re pretty much on duty 24/7. While your friends may not have the time to socialize the way they used to, you can still grow your relationship by lending them a hand. Offer to cook them dinner one night. Volunteer to babysit sometime so they can take a nap or read a book. Maybe surprise them with a box of new diapers.
There’s a reason the Bible encourages Christians to carry each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). By helping each other through life, we grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and strengthen our bonds of community. For a pair of fledgling parents, this time is when they need the Church the most!
Remember their life has changed.
“The more you can do to help your friends adjust to their new role, the better. Notes of encouragement can help, more frequent phone calls, anything that communicates, ‘I'm here and I'm not going anywhere.’”
“Your friends are probably experiencing a high wave of emotion that comes in the postpartum stage and transitioning into a new domestic lifestyle. Remember to be proactive in your approach as passivity may leave room for time and space to make you grow apart. Your presence in their life may just be the constant they need.”
Life is all about change, and while children can certainly bring a new element to friendships, it doesn’t mean those friendships have to end. Single Christians are wonderfully positioned to help their neighbors as they begin the process of building a family. It may be difficult at times, but just as the body of Christ is made up of many parts (Romans 12:4-5), so too are there many faces of a friendship.
What about you? What are your thoughts on maintain friendships with friends who are expecting? Be sure to leave a comment in the space below!
**Ryan Duncan is an Editor for Crosswalk.com