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I knew I was grown-up and married when I started using the word “the” to talk about my friends: “Honey, let’s see if ‘the Boudreauxs’ are free for dinner on Thursday night?”

Finding a friend is difficult.

Finding friends as a married couple is twice as hard.

Finding friends as a couple with kids can seem near impossible. But it’s not.

Healthy families have friends, and not just the kind of friends who help facilitate play dates for their kids. Authentic friendships make life full. Living in community with other families is good for your family and theirs. We were created to love and be loved.

What should we look for in good friends?

Where can my spouse and I find friends whose names starts with the word “the?”

There is no risk-free way to live in community. Relationships are messy, but they are beautiful messes.

The beginning of anything is always a little scary and awkward, but the reward of bravely opening your heart to new friends can last a lifetime.

So be brave. Take a risk. Be a good friend. Let someone in.

Tasha Levert, Ph.D., is a licensed professional counselor in New Orleans who provides face-to-face and online care. She is a conference speaker, worship leader and the author of “Stories of Hope for the Sleep Deprived.” Tasha and her husband Tim (Pastor with Students at the Vineyard Church of New Orleans) have three beautiful daughters and a lazy schnauzer named Gumbo.For more about Tasha or her practice go

Which friends – starting with the word, “the” – do you need to invite over this week?