33 Years and Still Dating. This Valentine’s Day, Janet and I plan to go on a date for the evening. This will be our 33rd Valentine’s date and for us it is always a little extra special because it is also the anniversary of our first date. Although we do not plan to go to the drive-in movies like we did that night way back then, we do plan to do something that is just for the two of us.
But the truth is, we don’t just date on Valentine’s Day, our birthdays, or our wedding anniversary. No, we try to make dating a regular part of our life. We don’t get to go out to dinner once a week like some of our friends do, but we do go as often as we can.
Every marriage should have a good balance of partnership and friendship. It is difficult and there are many couples who fail at it everyday, but it is possible.
Marriage is the only relationship where we should have both partnership and friendship. Ordinarily in any other relationship it is considered unwise to mix the two. A business partnership that starts from friendship will usually hurt the friendship and a partnership that develops into friendship can hurt the partnership. Unless everyone understands the difference and they are able to balance the two properly.
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 real 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.
On our last post How Are You Two Related, I started talking about how in every marriage we have different and unique ways of connecting with our spouse. And that the important thing was to find your connection points and work from your place of strength as you work to improve other ways to connect with each other.
On this post I want to start taking a look at how we relate to our spouse in three major categories; friendship, partnership, and lovers. As far as I can tell, any connection we have with our spouse will always fit into one or more of these areas. But the challenge we face is understanding how to move in and out of each area and how to find good balance of all three ways of connection.
At the very core of any relationship is the idea that we relate to one another through some sort of connection. It is through our connections that we create bonds that hold us together. The bond can be as simple as a distant relative that you still feel connected to because you share the same family. Or it can be as complex as two elderly sisters who have been best friends since childhood.
But of course not all relationships are the same. We can have relationships with family members that look the same as far as our position in the family, but we are some how more connected to certain family members than we are others. It’s not that we love one family member more than the other, it’s just that there is a greater connection we have with certain people based on the things we share in common.
“Do you Jack, take Janet to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
“Do you Janet, take Jack to be your lawfully wedded Husband?”
“I now pronounce you husband and wife.”
I remember the day we spoke those words like it was yesterday. I was a wide eyed Nineteen year old who thought he knew everything there was to know about being a husband. After all, my only dream in life for the previous six years was to one day be called a husband.
Now looking back at that day thirty years later, I see a young man and a young woman who had no clue to what it really meant to be called “husband and wife.” We had the titles; by name, we did become husband and wife with those few words that were spoken. But we had no idea how much we would have to grow into the shoes we just put on. Read more
How did we go from having a really bad marriage for twenty years to a marriage that has become everything we had hoped for? Well first of all, it took God’s grace, some counseling, and a lot of work. But along the way we discovered something very powerful, something we had lost through all of the fighting and communication breakdowns, we discovered how to be friends again. And the truth is we discovered how to be friends in a way we had never been before.
A funny thing happened along the way as we were making plans to split up for the last time. It was the night before Thanksgiving when we had our last big argument that ended with “we will just get a divorce.” But by the next day as we worked on the details of what we would do, we made a plan to wait until after Christmas and our son’s birthday in late December. It was then that we started behaving like mature adults. We were both hurting and we were sad, but we started to cherish our last remaining days together.