What’s up, friend! I’m so excited to share this Sisters + Friends episode with you! This one features some of mine and Christian’s best friends, Freddie and Parker Amos. I’m sure you already know Freddie, as she’s been on the podcast and is our counselor at Live Original. But her husband Parker joins us in this conversation as well and it is so great!
We talked all things relationships, marriage, friendship and more. Christian and I kicked off the conversation by addressing a little tiff we had earlier that morning. Long story short, it led me to my first piece of marriage advice: Do not start on the defense. Remember you are on the same team working toward the same goal.
I then asked if Freddie or Parker had any relationship advice to give from any of there communication flops. Freddie answered by saying it varies for her and Parker. She said that for her, she has to assume that Parker is going to respond while having her best interest at heart rather than assume the worst in her. She also has to remember that it’s not just about her when they’re trying to resolve something. It’s about their marriage and also what will be best for Parker rather than assuming she knows what’s best.
It truly is so easy to assume what is best instead of bringing it up. It’s also true that we often do wait to address an issue and I have found that the longer you wait, the more the problem multiplies. This could all be resolved by taking time to address the problem even though it might not be fun.
We then began to tell the story of how we all met and became friends. Christian and Parker were kind of the OG’s. Without their friendship, Freddie and Parker wouldn’t even live in Louisiana. Parker said the first time he remembers meeting Christian, they were in high school. Parker lived in Auburn at the time and Christian was still living in Florida. They met at a rush event for a fraternity that they were both considering rushing at the time. He knew Christian as the “cool surfer dude from Florida.” This was so funny to me because when I met Christian, I thought he looked like a hot lifeguard haha.
Christian chimed in and said it took a few months for Parker and him to become good friends because he was still in his crazy phase and Parker was not. But they ultimately became friends through church. They developed such a deep friendship, and I always say that Christian and I probably wouldn’t have started dating without Parker. I asked Christian to take us back to the conversations he had with Parker leading up to when he began pursuing me.
This is a great example because often when people start pursuing someone, they keep quiet about it or it’s not actually much of a pursuit at all. It gets isolating and bad. But Christian had his friends as a part of mine and his relationship before we were even in one.
Christian mentioned that he typically is an indecisive person. So he needed people in his life to speak into this relationship. He and Parker talked through what mine and Christian’s relationship would look like, how Christian would lead, etc. Parker gave Christian plenty of dating advice during this time, and eventually, it became Parker’s turn. He began dating Freddie!
Parker began sharing about the beginning of his and Freddie’s relationship and what that looked like. They met during their freshman year of college at an event called the Oaks Retreat at Auburn. Parker said that when they met, he remembered her by her unique name and her super cool lifted jeep. He quickly found out she had a boyfriend, so he kept his distance. But eventually, when they broke up, she became pretty vocal about the interest she had in Parker. Everyone was so excited when Freddie and Parker started dating. It’s important to note though, that once Freddie broke up with her ex boyfriend, she and Parker didn’t immediately start dating. They took some time and space before jumping into another relationship. It’s also important to be intentional about not bringing baggage from past relationships into a relationship with the person you’re going to marry. Not that some of that won’t come in somehow or need to be addressed, but it is important to still take that time and space before jumping into a new relationship. What I saw with myself is that I kept repeating the same cycles in my relationships. The reason I didn’t fall into the same situation with Christian is because, for one, he led better than anyone else I’d dated. And also, the Lord had truly prepped my heart after my last breakup by reminding me to just slow down.
Freddie went on to share how cool it was that when she met Parker, her heart desired both Parker and time to herself. The Lord was so kind to grant her both. He allotted her the time she needed outside of a relationship, and at the right time, began her relationship with Parker. Parker mentioned how in college, everyone is seemingly trying to find the right person instead of being the right person. If we would just focus on being the right person God’s called us to be instead of looking for that person first, it would all work out much better. He sees their story as a great example of God displaying this concept.
I would say this to people as a practical piece of advice: Listen to the sermons and podcasts on dating. Read the books on dating. Do all the things. I did this before I met Christian, and it truly got my heart posture right. I think it’s great to prep for the relationship way before you ever get into the relationship. I believe this shows God that while you are surrendered to His plan for your life, you’re also preparing for what He has for you.
Another topic I wanted to address was community. We’ve talked about community in dating, singleness, and other seasons, but I wanted to talk about community in marriage. Often, when people get married, they begin to isolate themselves, which is a very dangerous place to be because you definitely need couple friends in that season. I remember at Freddie and Parker’s rehearsal dinner, the amount of friends who stood up and spoke so much life over them and blessed them was such a beautiful thing. Many of those same friends are still walking through life with them. For Christian and me too, all the people who spoke life over us and encouraged us are still walking through life with us. It’s so important to hang on to those relationships.
So, I asked Freddie and Parker what it looks like for them to be in community in marriage. Parker talked about how they both prioritize each other having individual friendships too. For example, Parker having a friend like Christian to encourage him and hold him accountable will allow Parker to be a better husband for Freddie. When he is in community, he is healthy as a husband. He mentioned the importance of prioritizing this, because isolation leads you to believe that you are the only one walking through a situation. Community will help you pick up on the things that might seem a little off in your relationships. They’ll call you out and hold you accountable, even when you aren’t willing to be honest about what’s going on in your life.
Also, when you’re dating someone, you don’t want to say anything negative about that person and lead your friends to think poorly of them. Even though you might love your person, we’ve gotta be real … your friends can turn on a dime, am I right? They can think your person is the best one minute and the worst the next. So, when you’re married, it’s important that you don’t throw your spouse under the bus or talk bad about them. But instead, bring your friends in to speak life into your relationship. At that point in your life, you should have friends that trust and love both you and your person enough, to where if you say one thing, they won’t automatically think of you as a bad person who talks negatively about their person. They’ll actually be more concerned about how to fix the problem at hand in the best way.
Christian then reiterated the idea that you can be in community, but not actually be open and transparent. For example, that same morning, Christian and I had a little argument, and we told Freddie and Parker about it. As it turned out, they had actually had an argument of their own that morning too. They could’ve kept it to themselves when we were sharing about ours, but they didn’t. They let us in to what they were walking through. And that is what true community should look like. Your struggles actually help each other.
Christian and I used to get really bummed about not having community with other couples. In fact, we would get our feelings hurt when we weren’t invited to other people’s small groups. For those looking for community and feeling like they just can’t find the right group, I would encourage you to start your own! Christian and I recently started a Wednesday night Bible study at our house that has been so fruitful. Sometimes we have to look at the things we’re complaining about and think, “Actually, can I fix that problem?” This was certainly a situation that Christian and I could fix.
Next, I addressed a big topic in relationships: comparison. This is so important to talk about because it is so prevalent. The minute you get discontent with who you’re with because you compare them to another person, it will mess up your entire relationship. There have even been times in mine and Christian’s relationship when this topic surfaced. When we had Honey, I remember saying things like, “Oh, other people’s husbands are so helpful.” Looking back, I was comparing Christian, in a sense, to how helpful other husbands were, even though I would never want to be married to any of those people. I love Christian and I’m so attracted to him. Even more than just that, I love everything that he is and how he serves our family. But because I compared him to someone else’s husband based on one thing, all of a sudden I started getting mad at him for little things that he wasn’t doing. I’ve just seen the potential for this topic in our marriage to be such a destructive thing. It wasn’t that I was comparing him in a physical appearance, but I was comparing him in terms of helpfulness. Typically, when we think of comparison in relationships, we think of females comparing themselves to others. And while that does lead to discontentment in who we are, we don’t think about comparison affecting an entire relationship, especially in a marriage.
Freddie chimed in by mentioning how important it is to avoid comparison in relationships. Instead of allowing ourselves to make excuses, we should remind ourselves, “Actually, my relationship is so important to me and I’m going to prevent myself from letting my eyes wander.” Like Freddie said, things don’t change when you’re even in a serious relationship with the person you do love. You still have to protect yourself in the same ways.
Christian and I had just been listening to Ben Stuart’s message on David and Bathsheba, which I highly recommend if you’ve never heard it before. One thing Ben talks about is the fact that God gave us curiosity. But he reminded us to make sure we’re using our curiosity in healthy and beautiful ways because it leads to innovation. He said that if we are lazy with our curiosity, it can lead to sin.
When Christian and I are watching a show and it looks like things might be about to get inappropriate, Christian gets on his phone and won’t watch whatever is happening on the screen. I appreciate this so much because it shows that Christian isn’t concerned with being curious about the screen. But instead, he only has eyes for me. I think many people believe that we don’t have control in an instance like that. And we do, but we have to fight for it.
At Christian and Parker’s Bible study in Auburn, week after week, guys would talk about how they were trying to quit porn. One week, they finally put their foot down and asked the question, “Are we actually going to quit?” So, I asked the guys what that looks like for a man who admits he struggles with porn to actually take hold of something like that? Christian said that a lot of it starts by finding the common denominator. For someone, it could be late at night before bed, making the effort to not be on their phone. For someone else, it might be not taking their phone when they go to the bathroom. Covenant eyes is also a good idea. It’s a locked down browser that only allows you to search certain things. You have to be aware of which situations you struggle with the most. You have to go much further than just “Yes, I struggle with it.” You have to ask yourself, “Why am I struggling with it?” and “What situations do I let myself go there?”
Parker made the point that your fight with lust does not end once you get married. If anything, it increases, because the enemy wants your eyes to be anywhere except your spouse, especially when you’re having conflict and things get hard. He said that with any sin, you have to ask yourself, “Is this better or is Jesus better?” It’s definitely a fight, but that’s why it’s vital to have people who can hold you accountable.
Everyone talks about how everything changes when you get married, but we wanted to talk about some of the things that don’t change. When I was pregnant with Honey, everyone told me that my whole life was about to change. Well, there were actually a lot of things in mine and Christian’s lives that didn’t change once we had Honey. We’re still who we were before. We still have friends over. We still travel. So, that’s not necessarily always true that everything changes when you get married or have a baby. A lot changes, but not everything. I think some people have this idea that all their problems will change when they get married. Freddie mentioned that getting engaged, married, or having a baby will not solve your problems. Those things will actually challenge you a lot in your relationship.
I asked Freddie and Parker to mention some things they thought might change when they got married, but that have actually stayed the same. Freddie began sharing about struggles, whether it be sin or body issues. Marriage does not come in and make all those things better. It actually makes them harder, because it’s no longer secret to you. Parker sees those struggles all the time. But you have the option to either stay in your sin, or change something.
This led us to talk a bit more about the struggle of comparison. When my parents first got married, my dad used to get really jealous for my mom if other guys would look at her. A lot of people might have thought that he wouldn’t be jealous anymore once she had a ring on her finger. But when you have a deep lie inside of you, a ring doesn’t just change that. It changes when you decide to let the Lord heal that in your own heart. If you think anything other than God is going to heal a sin in your life, it’s not going to happen. Only God can take a sin and redeem you.
Parker said that when he got married to Freddie, he didn’t think he’d have time to do all the fun things he loves. But he still gets to hunt, fish, have time for music and all the things. It’s even better now because he gets to share all those things with Freddie. He said it’s important to find someone who’s going to encourage you in the things you love, as that’s what Freddie does for him.
Marriage is a serious thing. It takes intentionality and God being at the center of it. Then you will be able to be the best version of yourself for your spouse. It’s such a beautiful and fun thing, doing life with your best friend. For a culture that doesn’t value marriage, it’s very sad to see. Marriage is one of the greatest gifts that God has given us, as well as having children. A lot of people think that when you have kids, your life is over. But in some ways I think that our life began once we had Honey. And in so many ways it made Christian and me who we are.
These things that God designed and gave us in life, like marriage and family, are such beautiful things and the enemy will 100% be after your heart in them. But if you just follow the Lord’s leading on those things and are intentional about following His voice, you will find so much fruit in it all. At the same time, if you’re single and just don’t desire that yet, rest in the place God has you. God has you there for a reason. Singleness is a beautiful thing too. Paul actually said it’s better that you stay single. There’s beauty in all things that God creates. Being able to be content where you’re at brings so much fruit and blessing.
If you want to hear our full conversation, be sure to listen HERE!