Latter-day Saint Life

I thought I only wanted friends my age—then older couples invited us into their lives

Miriam and Fred Kitchen pictured with Eme and Chris Martin.jpg
Miriam and Fred Kitchen with Eme and Chris Martin. Unknown to me, the love and support of my older friends was exactly what I needed.

Several years ago, a few months after my husband and I were married, we moved from Provo, Utah, where I had just completed my undergraduate studies, to St. Louis, Missouri for the completion of his bachelor’s degree.

Similar to the situation we enjoyed in Utah of syncing souls with other college-aged couples, I looked forward to making acquaintances with other sisters in Missouri from our faith family who were in similar ages and stages of life. To my joy, shortly after our relocation, we observed that several newlywed couples had recently relocated to the area within our new ward boundaries. Excitedly, I began coordinating calendars with the wives of these young couples for double dates.

Interestingly enough, our calendars had competing invitations with families of larger sizes, including couples who had completed raising their children. Admittedly, I was slightly surprised by these invitations because we seemingly had little in common with this crowd.

We were merely months into our marriage without children and in some cases younger than or the same age as the children the “empty nesters.” It baffled me that these seasoned adults even wanted us in their orbit, much less in their homes. Further, I craved more connections with those in similar stages and ages as my husband and I. After all, what would a seasoned sister know about balancing a tight budget, coordinating calendars with one car, or missing family that lived far away?

As it turned out, these women knew almost exactly what we were going through as they had previously navigated newlywed challenges. While their time and season differed from our own, soul to soul, these couples understood many of the struggles we were going through as we balanced school, church service, and competing work schedules. When I found myself in a pinch, it was one of my seasoned sister-friends who I first felt to call upon or send a text for advice.

I came to treasure our time together and adopt several of them as “other mothers,” per their wisdom, wit, and compassion. Unknown to me, their love and support was exactly what I needed at that time in my life. And I find that in my maturity, I continue to call upon their kindness and knowledge, even decades later.

Tamara Martin with Eme Martin.jpg
Eme with her dear friend, Tamara Martin.

I learned then what Elder Christophe Giruad-Carrier meant when he said:

“We belong to a group of people who all try to place the Savior and their covenants at the center of their lives and to live the gospel joyfully. Hence, rather than seeing each other through the distorted lens of mortality, the gospel raises our sights and allows us to see each other through the flawless, unchanging lens of our sacred covenants. In so doing, we begin to eliminate our natural prejudices and biases toward others, which in turn helps them minimize their prejudices and biases toward us, in a wonderful virtuous cycle.”

These fantastic friendships laid a faithful foundation in teaching me the importance of building bridges between diverse communities. Not only is this key in my professional activities, but it is the heart and soul of being a Christian disciple. Regardless of age, race, ethnicity, language, geography, or gender, we are all children of a loving Father in Heaven. Knowing and understanding this principle of divine commonality makes it possible and enjoyable to build connections with anyone with whom we come in contact.

Choosing to love more than we judge prompts each of us to see with eyes of eternity the potential of who we may each become eventually. Holding such a spiritual perspective in our minds draws us closer to the divine in ourselves and each other. Such compassion and consideration are lessons for life that I strive to apply daily in my interactions with God’s children.

▶ You may also like: No one fits ‘the mold.’ Bringing our whole personalities to church is one of the best things we can do

Stay in the loop!
Enter your email to receive updates on our LDS Living content