There are many perks to marriage but one I’ve loved the most is the inheritance of new friends. When Aaron and I first met, he quickly introduced me to his best friends, most of which he’d had since he was a waddling toddler. I was amazed how a group of people could stick together as long as they had through all transitions of life, but even more so I was impressed with the mixture of their friendship: some were married newlyweds, some were married with kids, others engaged, a few dating, and… we’ll call him a “single professional” (yes, Zach, I’m talking about you! 😉 ) I grew to love them and trust them all while I was falling head over heels for Aaron.
Since I’ve inherited Aaron’s circle of friends, I’ve learned they played significant roles in sustaining Aaron in his happiness, his faith, and his struggles. As for my own friends, they did the same for me. Our friends made our individual lives remarkable and our relationship a reality. We celebrated with each of them on our wedding day and I experienced a heightened sense of appreciation for them. We literally wouldn’t have been where we were had it not been for their positive influences. In the year and two months since our marriage, however, Aaron and I have realized that we don’t have a high need to socialize. It isn’t much of a priority because our combined interactions at work and the time we enjoy spending together meets most of our social needs. We have also realized that even though socializing isn’t much of a priority, our friends are a priority. None of us have a ton of free time, we’re busy, we’re tired, we want to veg during the spare moments we do have, and we even live in different cities but the trick has been to create traditions that will always ensure we will maintain our lifelong friendship. Here are four of our friendship traditions that have provided unlimited laughter, adventure, encouragement, acceptance, and hilarious inside jokes.
#1. Not everyone does this, but at the same time, many do: Friendsgiving. It’s the celebration of Thanksgiving with your friends. We’ve done it twice now and I must say that feasting among friends to celebrate the fact that we’ve had the opportunity to cross paths in life is wonderfully heartwarming. We take a weekend road trip to Bear Lake, observe the potluck-style meal, roast a massive turkey (or ham), make sitting on the floor seem elegant while using plastic plates and flatware, and assign each person to a part of the clean up crew. Then we stay up way too late munching on junk food and admitting our most embarrassing moments (which are where most of the hilarious inside jokes originate).
#2. Who doesn’t love breakfast at midnight with a late night Denny’s run? Like a Walmart Run, it is often on the spur of the moment, late at night, with multiple people. Denny’s runs have become a constant in our friendship because the purpose is to catch up on each other’s jobs, school classes, and families all while catching up on our appetites with hot cocoa and slices of pie.
#3. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are encouraged to designate one evening per week to spend time together as families in religious instruction, prayer, and other activities. This is known as Family Home Evening. It is meant to invite the spirit, increase love, and teach principles of the gospel. Since each of us are still in new, young, and growing families, we thought what better way to increase our faith and our devotion to God than with our friends? None of us have a ton of free time, like I said, but getting together twice a month to share testimony, play games, and eat treats is free time well-spent. I’ll always appreciate the examples our friends are to us and I hope to do my best making family home evening a priority with my own family one day. None of us are perfect and I know I won’t always pull it off but as long as we magnify who we are not what we do, we will be happy.
#4. Last summer, the wives created a special night for all married couples to invest time in each other — to laugh, to eat, and to dance! We asked our spouses to MARRIED PROM. Haha! Each of us “asked” our husbands, wore prom dresses and fancy hair, and planned a blissful night of photographs, homemade pasta, and fireworks. I’m sure we’ll make it an annual event because it was that fun.
I understand that some friendships only last for a short season — and that’s OK. I’ve experienced it myself. They have been tested by time, by distance, by shifts in priorities, opinions, and life experiences. It’s true that I miss those people but the fact of the matter is that there are friendships worth making and there are friendships worth keeping. They bring us life and energy and even though making new friends can be challenging at any point in our lives, nurture the ones you already have. Marriage has blessed me with my best friends and I’m grateful for the ways we’ve learned to keep each other close.