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Author Topic: Marriage, Family, and Friends  (Read 5449 times) Average Rating: 0
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GabrieltheCelt
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« on: July 23, 2008, 01:08:27 AM »

Hey y'all,

I've got a few questions that have been on my mind for a long time now, and I was hoping I could get some differing viewpoints; "As iron sharpens iron" says Scripture.  I realize that when a man and woman get married, they become 'one' so to speak, and begin creating a family of their own.  I'm not married yet, but I realize that as husbands, we're to sacrifice our desires or selves for our wives as Christ sacrificed Himself for His Bride the Church (easier said than done. Cheesy).   Yet, I'm of the opinion that married people should have time with their friends from time to time individually, as in a guy's or gal's night out type of thing.  And to just clarify a little, I'm not necessarily talking about going to a club or pub (although I wouldn't necessarily rule that out-).  I could be way wrong on this, and I understand that each family needs to have their own discussion re: this issue, but it seems that 'getting away' just for a few hours could really be healthy for the marriage.

For those of you who are married, I'd like to hear what has worked for you (if you don't mind sharing such details with several hundred strangers Wink.)

As many of y'all know, I was married once about eight years ago (neither of us were Christian at the time) and I'm really anxious to get it 'right' this time around (should that be God's plan for me.)

In Christ,

Gabriel
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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2008, 02:00:55 AM »

It is absolutely essential that men and women have friends of the same sex. But it has to be tempered with some caution. I have seen plenty of men and women that use that reason to dump a great deal of work on their spouse. My brother used to leave his poor wife with the kids so he could have "guy time" but he didn't care if she did so also. I think it needs to be schedules and equal. If you spend 4 hours a week with your friends one night a wee, she needs to also. AND you both need to have at least one date night each week. And that night should be sacred, never to be overruled by a game, a club or a concert unless you enjoy it together.
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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2008, 03:24:09 AM »

Hi everyone

I am married and my wife and I both spend time with our 'same sex' friends. It is great to be able to still be able to go out and converse and have a laugh with your mates. We encourage each other to get out at least once a week with our friends.

I believe going out with mates should be done in moderation and equally I might add by both parties. It is quite healthy and keeps the relationship happy and strong.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with it as long as both parties are in full agreement. Lots of couples I know have issues with this topic and it comes down to security and trust. If these are lacking in the relationship then this issue would be sensitive and problematic, if not then there should be no problem.

I hope this helps

God Bless
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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2008, 08:07:00 PM »

Definitely you should try to keep up with outside friends, especially since all marriages end eventually, whether by death or divorce, and the surviving spouse will need a support system.  I'm a shy person who has trouble making friends, so I can tell you that even in a loving marriage, it gets pretty lonely if you don't have anybody else to hang out with or talk to.
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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2009, 02:36:25 PM »

I just found this thread and it made me think...

Actually, I do not have my own friends other than those whom I became friends with ages ago, long before marriage (and they all are far, far away, either in Ukraine or in other parts of the USA and the world, so I never see them, or, at best, see them once in several years). Somehow, all friends of our family that we made after our marriage were my wife's choice, and they are all closer to her than to me. In fact, with some of them, should it not be for my wife's sake, I would not probably even socialize much.

I never, ever, ever go out anywhere and with anyone without my wife. Moreover, I became sort of "dull" socially; I am not even interested much in any socializing with anyone. For example, this coming April I am going to a science meeting without my wife, and there will be some sort of social party or "mixer" after the talks, but I am not going to stay; I just lost the "affinity" for this sort of things. To relax, I prefer to talk with someone (the one who seems an interesting person to me) online, in the cyber-space; or, otherwise, just to have a couple of glasses or wine (beer during fasts) and read a book or see a movie.

Dunno, is it good or bad, but that's how it is as I am aging... Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2009, 03:49:27 PM »

I just found this thread and it made me think...

Actually, I do not have my own friends other than those whom I became friends with ages ago, long before marriage (and they all are far, far away, either in Ukraine or in other parts of the USA and the world, so I never see them, or, at best, see them once in several years). Somehow, all friends of our family that we made after our marriage were my wife's choice, and they are all closer to her than to me. In fact, with some of them, should it not be for my wife's sake, I would not probably even socialize much.

I never, ever, ever go out anywhere and with anyone without my wife. Moreover, I became sort of "dull" socially; I am not even interested much in any socializing with anyone. For example, this coming April I am going to a science meeting without my wife, and there will be some sort of social party or "mixer" after the talks, but I am not going to stay; I just lost the "affinity" for this sort of things. To relax, I prefer to talk with someone (the one who seems an interesting person to me) online, in the cyber-space; or, otherwise, just to have a couple of glasses or wine (beer during fasts) and read a book or see a movie.

Dunno, is it good or bad, but that's how it is as I am aging... Smiley

This is pretty much my life in a nut shell.  Smiley  I do have my own friends and Mr. Y has his,  but with work and Cait it's hard to really do much of anything before bedtime comes around.  I figure our social life is pretty much over until the kids are in school.
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« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2009, 05:32:41 PM »

I just found this thread and it made me think...

Actually, I do not have my own friends other than those whom I became friends with ages ago, long before marriage (and they all are far, far away, either in Ukraine or in other parts of the USA and the world, so I never see them, or, at best, see them once in several years). Somehow, all friends of our family that we made after our marriage were my wife's choice, and they are all closer to her than to me. In fact, with some of them, should it not be for my wife's sake, I would not probably even socialize much.

I never, ever, ever go out anywhere and with anyone without my wife. Moreover, I became sort of "dull" socially; I am not even interested much in any socializing with anyone. For example, this coming April I am going to a science meeting without my wife, and there will be some sort of social party or "mixer" after the talks, but I am not going to stay; I just lost the "affinity" for this sort of things. To relax, I prefer to talk with someone (the one who seems an interesting person to me) online, in the cyber-space; or, otherwise, just to have a couple of glasses or wine (beer during fasts) and read a book or see a movie.

Dunno, is it good or bad, but that's how it is as I am aging... Smiley

This sounds like me and my husband, too.  Our social life isn't brimming with anything other than family, church, and three or four friends.  I think if someone isn't close to their spouse or family they sort of need social events to meet others; but for me, I hate parties and outings and mixers because I feel like I never have anything good to say (especially now that I'm pregnant and forgetting all my words).
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« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2009, 05:38:10 PM »

I just found this thread and it made me think...

Actually, I do not have my own friends other than those whom I became friends with ages ago, long before marriage (and they all are far, far away, either in Ukraine or in other parts of the USA and the world, so I never see them, or, at best, see them once in several years). Somehow, all friends of our family that we made after our marriage were my wife's choice, and they are all closer to her than to me. In fact, with some of them, should it not be for my wife's sake, I would not probably even socialize much.

I never, ever, ever go out anywhere and with anyone without my wife. Moreover, I became sort of "dull" socially; I am not even interested much in any socializing with anyone. For example, this coming April I am going to a science meeting without my wife, and there will be some sort of social party or "mixer" after the talks, but I am not going to stay; I just lost the "affinity" for this sort of things. To relax, I prefer to talk with someone (the one who seems an interesting person to me) online, in the cyber-space; or, otherwise, just to have a couple of glasses or wine (beer during fasts) and read a book or see a movie.

Dunno, is it good or bad, but that's how it is as I am aging... Smiley

This sounds like me and my husband, too.  Our social life isn't brimming with anything other than family, church, and three or four friends.  I think if someone isn't close to their spouse or family they sort of need social events to meet others; but for me, I hate parties and outings and mixers because I feel like I never have anything good to say (especially now that I'm pregnant and forgetting all my words).

In my case, I guess, it's also my old-fashioned Eastern Slavic idea about what a good party really is. It's very un-American... I grew up in a family where parties meant gatherings of a close circle of real friends, people whom we know extremely well and love truly with all our hearts. These parties were always sit-down dinners in one small room, never "buffet" and never wandering around a big house with a glass and plastic dish in hands, bumping across dozens of people whom you do not know and do not really care to know...
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2009, 06:50:20 PM »

It will vary from person to person and couple to couple but I do think that it is important that spouse's maintain some interests that are not necessarily shared.  It isn't a bad thing if you don't have a full social calendar and spend most of your time with your spouse.  It isn't even necessarily a bad thing to have separate interests that are solitary interests.  Neither is it a bad thing for spouses to have friends of the same sex with whom they socialize on a regular basis (like my monthly "mom's night out" that a group of home schooling moms have organized or my husband's occasional poker games with the guys).

I wills say though that if there is a guys' or girls' night out it needs to be a reciprocal arrangement.  I have a friend whose husband regularly goes out with the guys (ball games, poker nights, dinners, etc.) and yet she has to ask for "permission" to go out to dinner with her friends.  And as always, moderation is key.  The marital relationship and family responsibilities have to be the primary relationship.

But yes, in general, I think it is healthy for married couples to have separate interests and occasionally spend time socializing with people other than their spouse and children.
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« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2009, 07:43:48 PM »

I agree; I like small gatherings of close friends and family.  Maintaining some separate time for spouses is important, but mostly what I'm not into are parties and events where the main purpose is just meeting new people (unless it's through church or family) or networking.  I have a friend who is very into networking for its own sake, and I just can't do it.   
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« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2009, 09:25:06 AM »

I agree; I like small gatherings of close friends and family.  Maintaining some separate time for spouses is important, but mostly what I'm not into are parties and events where the main purpose is just meeting new people (unless it's through church or family) or networking.  I have a friend who is very into networking for its own sake, and I just can't do it.   

Almost all parties I attended here in the US are exactly this - mixing, chatting, socializing, "networking..." I never understood it, never had any desire to participate in it. The saddest moments in my life are those when I am standing with a plastic dish in the room filled with people whom I do not know, chatting insessantly about things that I could not care less about...

We do have our own old-fashioned sit-down dinners sometimes, but the people whom we invite (or, atually, Lesya invites) are all very militant anti-Christians. The conversation at the dinner table is usually about how stupid these religious people are. Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2009, 03:43:44 PM »

There is are men's prayer/study meetings and women's fellowship nights at my parish (although due to childcare issues I have yet to make one). I think that is an excellent idea for a parish personally.
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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2009, 08:33:23 PM »

There is are men's prayer/study meetings and women's fellowship nights at my parish (although due to childcare issues I have yet to make one). I think that is an excellent idea for a parish personally.

I imagine telling my wife that I am going to a men's prayer/study meeting. Something VERY HEAVY will immediately fly toward my poor head, and she won't miss.  Shocked Shocked Shocked
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« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2009, 07:25:21 PM »

Yay - report cards are completed, I am now recovering on Spring Break, and so have an opportunity to post my pointless musings/stories for y'all to read or ignore.

I am married, working about 40-50 hours per week (that's on a 70% contract) and have 2 very young boys. My husband also works quite a bit. I'm like a few others who have posted here; a social life is something to look forward to about 15+ years from now (although I'm usually so tired I don't care much anymore).

I see my best girlfriends about 2x per year. We talk about 4-5x per year on the phone. We're all working moms (well, except one of my best friends, who is single and childless, but always insists we socialize in her little apartment downtown as she doesn't want to drive to my place; no concept of how trying to find parking and keep 2 wee ones away from her breakables or from falling out of her 10th floor window is a tad challenging). Anyway, we're all way too busy to catch up with one another, even though we do live in the same city.

Rarely, we do get together with my hubby's eastern European buddies. They're fun. And it's the typical sit down dinner Heorhij spoke of. But this is why we do it so rarely - noone has the time to cook for that (it's quite stressful when someone is very time stressed!).

I did go out this last Friday after work with some colleagues for a little bit, but talking with them is a tad painful; they don't have kids and don't on any level relate to the challenges involved. I'm not saying I was blathering on about them (believe it or not!). But, for instance, I was talking about the fact that I'm applying to do a MAsters of Education in Teacher-Librarianship (it's insane at this point in my life, but otherwise I'm trapped into being in my current situation, and I cannot stomach the thought of that...). I'm doing it entirely online via a university in another province. So another girl there, who already has her Masters of Library Science, and is currently doing a diploma in teacher-librarianship at a local university, starts going off about how doing a degree entirely online is pedagogically unsound (maybe, but driving 3 hours in total every time I want to attend a 1.5 hour class, and finding babysitting for that, etc., is crazy) AND more importantly, a big discussion starts up amongst my colleagues about how so many teachers only do their Masters to earn more money, when it should be entirely about the intellectual pursuit etc. What they don't realize is that when you have kids and little money, you have to be quite pragmatic. Intellectual pursuit (especially the kind requiring lots of time and money) are a LUXURY folks!

I don't think I'm be socializing much with them again (time aside, I'm sick of having to defend myself and them still not getting it).

As for the once a week date concept - how on earth does one find time? We manage about once a month (a rented movie and a bottle of wine once the kids are asleep). Although it doesn't help that my husband absolutely refuses to set a date night. He is offended by the concept that he has to set a date ahead of time with his wife. So I've told him, "okay, but you might be waiting a long time before we can miraculously have couple time together." Actually, I find it stressful too if we do manage to find a little time at the last minute. I cannot turn off my work/kids responsibilities brain, and I keep thinking that there is something that I need to be doing. If I knew ahead of time, then maybe I could program my brain to  turn off that portion of my thinking.

Things to think about. So, being able to plan ahead, note that these are often obstacles and see if you can organize your life in such a way so that it is not an issue. It's not just me - my friends and the 3 female colleagues (the few guys who have kids don't seem to find this AS big an issue) I have that do have little one (one each and also working at 70% - ie. 40-50 hours per week) have similar issues. None are happy about it. The easiest way is not to have kids, but that would be a rather unfortunate choice, IMHO. Kids are worth not having a social life. I really hate work about 75% of the time, but when I get home and see my kids, my mood usually lifts (until I put them to bed and keep working on whatever it was I needed to do for work). Honestly, I'd recommend too that once you have kids, your wife (or you) not have to work a lot, if you can swing it. Seems backward, but all these moms I know working lots are really unhappy with their situations, and wouldn't do it (at least they wouldn't work so much) if they didn't have to. They'd probably all work, but either in far less stressful jobs, or for far fewer hours than they currently do.




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« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2009, 08:54:30 PM »

There is are men's prayer/study meetings and women's fellowship nights at my parish (although due to childcare issues I have yet to make one). I think that is an excellent idea for a parish personally.

I imagine telling my wife that I am going to a men's prayer/study meeting. Something VERY HEAVY will immediately fly toward my poor head, and she won't miss.  Shocked Shocked Shocked

Quality.

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« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2010, 01:29:37 PM »

A bit late in my response, but thanks for the replies!

If I may push the envelope a bit, what about going out with friends of the opposite sex?  My views are that unless it's absolutely necessary, such as a work related commitment (and even these are to be a group oriented outings, rather than just two people), they're to be avoided.  But I was surprised to hear from both men and women, whom wondered aloud, why they should "give up" their opposite sex friends simply because of marriage.  I explained that, from a Christian POV (which all participants identified with, though of the Protestant variation), neither the husband, nor wife, should put themselves in a situation where it might even just "look" wrong.  I also explained that we should all avoid any situation where we might be tempted, if even in thought.  I don't know, brothers and sisters, maybe I'm old fashioned...  I came away from the discussion with a heavy heart and a horrible thought that the sanctity of marriage is an outdated way of life. 

What say all y'all?  Why should a husband/wife avoid, if possible, having lunch or dinner or just an outing with the opposite sex (even if they're just "good friends")?
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« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2010, 01:33:58 PM »

If I may push the envelope a bit, what about going out with friends of the opposite sex?  My views are that unless it's absolutely necessary, such as a work related commitment (and even these are to be a group oriented outings, rather than just two people), they're to be avoided.  But I was surprised to hear from both men and women, whom wondered aloud, why they should "give up" their opposite sex friends simply because of marriage.  I explained that, from a Christian POV (which all participants identified with, though of the Protestant variation), neither the husband, nor wife, should put themselves in a situation where it might even just "look" wrong.  I also explained that we should all avoid any situation where we might be tempted, if even in thought.  I don't know, brothers and sisters, maybe I'm old fashioned...  I came away from the discussion with a heavy heart and a horrible thought that the sanctity of marriage is an outdated way of life. 

What say all y'all?  Why should a husband/wife avoid, if possible, having lunch or dinner or just an outing with the opposite sex (even if they're just "good friends")?

I completely agree with you. The only time I have ever gone out with a woman since I got married was with one of my coworkers last fall to discuss faith and religion, and that's how I justified it, but a few drinks into it, it was a very tempting situation and I just headed home.  Next time, I'll just recommend at book!
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« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2010, 01:36:51 PM »

I don't know Gabriel. I too grew up with this old-fashioned notion that once I was married, I would consecrate my entire life to my husband and would always try to conduct myself with modesty and reserve towards other members of the opposite sex-speaking with them as seldom as possible, etc., so as to abstain "from all appearance of evil" and so as to be an example to the world around us, which is so full of broken marriages, etc. I would have wanted such devotion from my husband, and so I would have deemed it my duty to behave likewise towards him. However, as it turns out, not at all having dreams come true and not experiencing love and marriage, there are times when I am tempted to chat with men, even married men, simply to fill that void a person feels for associating, if only on rare occasions, with the opposite sex. But I try to do so as seldom as possible, and have found some good single brothers with whom I can socialize without needing to be a source of temptation or threat to married people.
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« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2010, 05:22:58 PM »

A bit late in my response, but thanks for the replies!

If I may push the envelope a bit, what about going out with friends of the opposite sex?  My views are that unless it's absolutely necessary, such as a work related commitment (and even these are to be a group oriented outings, rather than just two people), they're to be avoided.  But I was surprised to hear from both men and women, whom wondered aloud, why they should "give up" their opposite sex friends simply because of marriage.  I explained that, from a Christian POV (which all participants identified with, though of the Protestant variation), neither the husband, nor wife, should put themselves in a situation where it might even just "look" wrong.  I also explained that we should all avoid any situation where we might be tempted, if even in thought.  I don't know, brothers and sisters, maybe I'm old fashioned...  I came away from the discussion with a heavy heart and a horrible thought that the sanctity of marriage is an outdated way of life. 

What say all y'all?  Why should a husband/wife avoid, if possible, having lunch or dinner or just an outing with the opposite sex (even if they're just "good friends")?

Yeah, I agree with you. Anyone who still wants to spend separate time with friends of the opposite sex after they get married should not get married. It may be ok to maintain lose friendships with members of the opposite sex as long as the time you spend with them involves your spouse as well. That's just my opinion.

As for the OP: First I think it is imperative that married couples set aside ample time to enjoy each other apart from the stress of work, domestic duties, etc. And this is also very important - and more difficult to achieve - after you have children. Even something as simple as watching tv together for a few hours without being disturbed can be really beneficial to the marriage.

I think that real friendship is one of the greatest blessings in life after family. So, I don't think a loving person should ever begrudge the healthy friendships in their spouse's life. But, if those friends are a negative influence or if the friends are being prioritized over and above the mariage, then they are not healthy friendships.

The older I have grown, the longer I have been married, and the more children we have, the less I have seen my friends. And although I still love and cherish my friends, I really don't miss hanging out with them all the time. Most of them are now married and have children themselves, so none of us are really able to hang like we used to. But I have a couple of close friends who usually come by the house and hang out with me here. I enjoy and need the fellowship. And my wife spends a lot of time with her sister, with whom she is very close. And occasionally she will go out to eat with some friends who are co-workers (all female.)

Early in our marriage, I was very immature and still wanted to live the social lifestyle I was living before I got married. I would have parties at our apartment, band practice, etc. It drove my wife nuts (understandably.) But when our first son was born a year after we were married, I started to come to my senses. All I wanted to do was stay home and be with my son. And if I went out, I took him with me.

I really give my wife a lot of credit. She is an incredibly wise woman. She never nagged me about my friends. But she would put her foot down if I ever drank too much to the point where it effected my behaviour. I think that if she had nagged me about my friends and tried to stop me from hanging out with them, then I would not have responded to that at all. But she had the wisdom to realize that. And she chose her battles wisely. I think she also knew that my friends were not bad people. No drug use, promiscuity, or anything like that. They were Christian guys who liked good music and good drink, sometimes a little bit too much- like me.

One of my best friends got married a few years ago, and his wife immediately began trying to stop him from spending any time with his friends. Every time I would go over to his house to spend time with him, she would be very rude and unhospitable to me. I had no idea what I had done to offend her. It made me very uncomfortable, and I couldn't stand going over there anymore. Long story short, they got divorced about a year ago.

So, I think the most important thing to do is carve out time to enjoy being with your spouse. Also, try to discern if your social life is an "escape" from your marriage or simply the healthy Christian fellowship that God intends for us to enjoy.


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« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2010, 06:12:47 PM »

My story is somewhat similar to Gebre's. I, too, lacked maturity when I was just married, and I, too, drove my wife nuts. But with years, I lost interest in social life outside of my home. Even now, when it's just the two of us - our daughter is grown, married, gone... - I am not really happy in the company of people when my wife is not with me. I don't look forward to any social gathering without her. And I believe she is much like me.

Most of all, we like to just be together at home, or traveling. As a "second best," we like to have someone at our home, or to go to close friends for a party.

I sometimes correspond by e-mail, or talk on the phone, with my old Ukrainian friends who knew me before my marriage, but that does not happen very often and, sincerely, it becomes less and less interesting, less and less important for me.
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« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2010, 03:56:23 PM »

I agree; I like small gatherings of close friends and family.  Maintaining some separate time for spouses is important, but mostly what I'm not into are parties and events where the main purpose is just meeting new people (unless it's through church or family) or networking.  I have a friend who is very into networking for its own sake, and I just can't do it.   

Almost all parties I attended here in the US are exactly this - mixing, chatting, socializing, "networking..." I never understood it, never had any desire to participate in it. The saddest moments in my life are those when I am standing with a plastic dish in the room filled with people whom I do not know, chatting insessantly about things that I could not care less about...


I agree with Carole that this socializing thing is an individual matter. Personally I'm more like Heorhij and could care less about it. Surely I'm not getting old!??!! I didn't much care for that kind of thing when I was younger (when dinosaurs roamed the earth). I enjoy socializing much more with my husband along - hope he feels the same way! Wink Although we don't exactly cling to each other and gravitate to different kinds of people.
Heorhij, you're welcome to come to our annual post-Pascha Party. We get together with our closest friends Sunday evening and eat meat and cheese and ice cream and talk.
This year the weather was lovely so we all sat out on the porch and watched the sun go down while discussing Life and God and Truth and eating Fat Boy ice cream sandwiches.
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