Remember in middle school how hard it was to find friends? And then there were those cliques- you know the ones that were just so clique-ish? Cliques are bad, right? Too exclusionary? Only interested in each other?
There’s something about a clique that is both appealing and appalling. It’s awesome to see a group of people that are so inextricably connected, who seem to share so much. Yet at the same time it’s disappointing if you’re on the outside.
But the things that cliques do to insulate themselves and keep others out- those same things will build boundaries in your marriage and keep your marriage bond strong. And that’s something to work towards!
So let’s take some marriage tips from that middle school clique:
1. Talk about things that no one else knows about.
It’s what is most annoying about the clique. You know you’re not in the know. What are they talking about and why are they laughing? What am I missing out on? I’m pretty sure I wasn’t there. Yeah, that’s hurtful when they do that right when you’re standing next to them.
What’s great for your marriage: inside jokes.
In your marriage, keep talking about those jokes and stories that only the two of you know about. Build those memories that only the two of you share. When you can share a look from across the room and no one else knows what that look means -but you both know. That builds intimacy. Go ahead and whisper that little secret in your spouse’s ear!
2. Be overly into the BFF.
You know how it goes when that girl has a bff. Big news, whatever new drama it is- you know who she’s telling first. She translates every moment as it happens via text if they’re not together. Really, it’s like they are tied at the hip. When you’re with her, it’s like she’s only thinking of the bff. If she needs a partner, good luck, you know who she finds first.
What’s great for your marriage: your spouse is your #1.
Your spouse should be #1 on the speed dial -well back when speed dial was a thing and you had that little list on your phone with the top ten numbers you call. The only reason you put someone on speed dial is because you call them all. the. time. Talking frequently is a great way to grow communication and intimacy. You learn stuff about each other. You become involved in their lives. Make your spouse the first to know- the first person you need to talk to when something really good or really bad happens.
3. Exclude others ruthlessly.
This is where cliques get their bad rap. Once you’re out, you’re out, and they make a point to let you know that you’re out. Everything they do sends out that vibe that others are just not included. There’s no room for making new friends.
What’s essential for your marriage: forsaking all others.
Your marriage is “closed” and by definition must exclude all others. Leave your father and mother and become one flesh. Sexual intimacy is reserved for that one person. You get just one husband or one wife! Everyone else is out.
How awesome that God created marriage for us- he knew we needed intimacy – the ability to form those tight bonds- but He also knew that it needed to be within boundaries. That intimacy spread to the wind doesn’t help us but hurts us.
Let others know that they are excluded, especially those people and things that want to drive a wedge into your marriage. The easiest way to do this is to talk about your spouse in a way that will let others know that your commitment is strong and your heart is spoken for 🙂
4. You’re a Thing.
When the clique forms, it becomes a thing. It goes from “those people are good friends” to “those people are a Thing.” They name the group something. They have some signature style piece. The way they dress or style their hair or the slang they use. There is some way to identify that they are now their own entity. It’s like the individual gets lost in the group.
When people have a thing, they naturally want others to know they have a thing. Look at me and my bffs! Then others get the idea that they don’t need any new friends. They already have a thing.
What’s great for your marriage: Be a Thing.
Getting married is the ultimate way to make yourself a thing. You can wear the rings. You share a name, a home, a bank account. Marriage is saying that you always want to be a thing. Let the world know how happy you are to have someone in your life that brings you joy.
I was so excited to change my name to Joe’s- it’s like naming the clique 😉 instead we were naming a family. We’re a unit now! But “Joe’s wife” is not my primary identity- I am first and foremost a child of God, loved and chosen by Him first, regardless of my marital status! But once I marry, I take on an identity also based on a relationship. And in doing so we hope that this “thing” we have somehow can point to the the “thing” that the Lord has with us as His people!
Sometimes I want to revert back to my identity of being just me and living for myself. I want to be independent and not be defined by a group– but I can’t translate that attitude to my marriage. Entering marriage is a chance to experience the mystery of God making two into one! Still two people, but one flesh. One Thing!
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24