A few weeks ago I wrote a post, How Are You Two Related? where I started talking about how in order to have a good relationship we have to look at how well we relate to each other. Then on our last post, How Do You Relate? As Friends, Partners, Lovers, or All Three? I talked about how there are three major ways for us to relate to our spouse and the three types of love that go along with those ways of relating to each other.
Now on this post, I wanted to dig deeper on the subject of relating to each other as friends. But as I looked back at a previous post I did last year, Becoming Best Friends for Life, I felt there is really not that much I would say differently than I did then. So I thought the best thing to do here is to share an edited excerpt from that post.
Friendship in marriage is really important. It’s that place in marriage where two people are joined together in a way that they not only love each other, they really like each other.
When you like your spouse you will want to spend time with him/her. As friends, you look forward to every chance you get to be together.
Friendship in marriage also creates a place of intimacy where two hearts can share their deepest thoughts and feelings. You feel accepted and approval from your friend, so you know it is okay to open up and be vulnerable. And you are interested in your spouse in such a way that you want to know how they feel and what they think, what makes them tick.
And when you have friendship in your marriage your activities and interest become enriched because you have your favorite person to share them with. You get more out of the things you do and the interest you have because of the connection it creates for you and your best friend. You find ways to spend time together by doing things together. You begin to find new ways to do things together so that you can share even more experiences with your spouse.
So how do you build a great friendship in your marriage?
You treat each other the way you would treat a friend.
Here are 7 ways friends treat each other.
- Gentle: Friends are typically gentle and kind to each other. I mean they are not rude or harsh with their words and always critical of what each other is doing. They may pick at each other and give each other a hard time, but it is in fun with no intention to hurt or be cruel.
- Considerate: Friends consider how each other feels and thinks. They’re not always insisting on their own way.
- Serving: Friends do things to help each other. When they see a need, they step in and give a hand.
- Honest: A good friend will always tell you the truth. They may look for the most gentle way of saying it, but they are motivated to always be upfront with you.
- Forgiving: Friends do hurt each other sometimes, but their need for continuing the relationship causes them to freely forgive offenses.
- Loyal: A good friend will stick by you through thick and thin. And even when they are away from you, they will not let others speak badly of you
- Trustworthy: When you know you have a really good friend you know you can trust them to never do you any harm.
How do you build a friendship that lasts a lifetime?
- Time: A lasting friendship has to start with quality time spent together. All of us have maintained some friendships even when our time together is not what it use to be. But we never would have built those relationships if we had not spent some quality time together. And the truth is, most friendships will fade if quality time is not kept as a priority.
- Communication: Good friendships are built when hearts are shared. We don’t just exchange words that are full of information, we open ourselves up to each other. We show each other the real person that lives inside our skin.
- Shared interest: It is important that friends share some common interests. Things they like to do, places they like to go, and other people they like to be with are some ways to share common interests.
- Shared beliefs: Friendship in marriage must share some common beliefs. They may differ on some things, but overall they will agree on their basic philosophies of life.
- Shared life rhythm: Friendship in marriage is about the dance and the rhythm you dance to. It’s about doing life together in a way that creates a partnership.
- Shared goals: Moving in a certain direction toward certain goals you are reaching for will build unity in your relationship.
Finally, one last thing I would add to this post is the importance of prayer. If your marriage is struggling with a lack of friendship then the place to start is with prayer.
- Pray privately for yourself asking God to show you what you can do to improve this in your marriage. Every marriage is unique and what God gives you to do may be different than what He gives someone else to do.
- Pray together as much as you can. Praying together has a way of joining your hearts and deepening your intimacy with each other.