When two people are in love romantically, you picture them staring at each other, looking into each other’s eyes while everything else fades away. A picture of two friends is different: two people side by side, eyes ahead, following the same path. I will go with you. Come with me!
No one wants to be alone. God made us for relationship, and the first relationship he gives us outside of Himself is that between man and wife. Way back to the Garden of Eden, when God said it was not good for man to be alone. An important part of the marriage relationship is having someone by your side, a brother or sister in Christ, to accomplish together what God wants us to do.
Go back to the basics in your marriage. Be a good friend. Be a best friend!
1. Spend time with him.
All friendships need time investment. Remember that old friend you used to have. What happened? Well you didn’t see each other as often anymore, you talked less and less frequently. Time went by, things changed. The only way to rekindle that friendship is to pick up the phone: hey, let’s spend some time together! What do you want to do? Oh, I don’t know, just want to see ya!
One of the top needs of both men and women is that of companionship. Someone to have by your side. Bonus Latin lesson: the Latin roots of companion translate to “with” or “together” and “bread”. A companion is someone to break bread with. Eat with me!
That’s one simple way to grow your marital friendship: Go together and stick together, just like you did with your BFF in middle school.
2. Find a similar interest or a project to work on together.
Many of my friends I have made because we ended up working together on a project. Volunteering and serving together is a great way to make friends. It also works for your marriage. Find something that you both are passionate about that you can work on together. And yes, this isn’t always easy. But learning to work as a team and accomplish a goal even when it’s difficult will make your friendship stronger!
Joe and I don’t have any immediately similar interests, we fall along some of those gender-typical lines. So that’s something we’ve had to be intentional about throughout our marriage. What is it that we both enjoy doing together? That’s not just “me” doing this for “you”, although that’s nice too.
Joe and I have enjoyed reading together for many years now and many of our fondest memories are that of sharing a riveting novel together. I do the the reading aloud, Joe does the listening, then we stop often to chat about what we think along the way. And just like my kiddos, Joe is always asking for one more chapter!
3. Support each other in the hard times.
The friends that you treasure most are the ones that walk with you through the really difficult times. They love you when you’re unlovable and stay by your side even when you can’t give back. That’s part of the promise you made when you married your husband or wife! To love in good times and in bad. Love always hopes, always believes, always perseveres. Be a friend for them when they are struggling.
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
4. Share stuff.
Many of your best friendships start when you find someone who you can talk to about a personal stuff. It’s such a blessing to have a friend who cares and offers encouragement. If you have a friend that you just do stuff with but you never really share anything personal, it is considered a shallow friendship. But we all need friends we can be vulnerable with. Go deep with. Look for ways to share more of yourself with your spouse. When something big is happening in your life, have your spouse be the very first one you tell!