If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! (Ecclesiastes 4:10)
It’s Marriage Monday over at Chrysalis and e-Mom has asked us to share our thoughts on Friendship in Christian Marriage.
Most of us recognize that true friendship is a wonderful blessing. I love having such fun and sweet gal pals to chat and hang out with. After all, I can’t really expect JT to be terribly interested in conversing about the flattering new shade of lipstick I recently discovered, the pretty paisley fabric I’ve selected for curtains I plan to make, or whether or not I should add layers to my new haircut. Likewise JT appreciates spending time with the guys. Though I will listen when JT wants to talk about the upcoming NFL draft, the latest action hero movie coming to the theaters, and the newest computer gadgets, the conversations will be much more enjoyable for JT if he has them with male friends who share interest.
Though it is beneficial and necessary for husbands and wives to maintain friendships outside of marriage, we must remember that God intends for our spouses to be our best friends. A strong friendship is part of a good marital foundation and helps couples remain close. We’ve been married for nearly seven years, but JT and I are still best friends. He is the first person I want to talk to when I’m excited, upset, confused, angry, or worried and I’m the first to know about the issues, triumphs, and failures he faces.
Before we married, JT and I spent two and a half years getting to know one another and cultivated a strong friendship in the process. Throughout that time, we enjoyed great conversations, developed inside jokes, told interesting stories, shed tears with one another, laughed with each other, and learned about each other. We’re very thankful we took the time to establish a true friendship before marriage, because we were able to bring this sincere friendship right into our marriage. Years of “experiencing Andrea” have taught JT how he can best console, encourage, and calm me and the time I’ve spent “journeying with JT” has shown me how I can support, strengthen, and love him in the way he needs.
We certainly do not understand one another perfectly and our relationship is not always warm and fuzzy. We’ve been together for ten years, but there are still times when JT is baffled by one of my emotions and there are times when I don’t respond to him in way he’d like me to. We know that we must continue to nurture our friendship and grow together, so we can learn more about one another and respond to one another appropriately.
In today’s fast paced times, many couples find themselves immersed in the daily grind and sometimes fail to take time to feed their friendship. JT and I have discovered that the time and energy it takes to raise young children makes nurturing our friendship more challenging, but still working to maintain a solid friendship. When I don’t think we have time to go out for a date night, JT is usually the one who makes it happen by securing a babysitter and making the dinner reservations. We’ve trimmed back our television time so that we can spend more time talking and simply being with one another.
If you’re interested in learning more about the friendship factor, consider using a Bible study from The Homebuilder Series by Family Life Today (one of our favorite organizations), try perusing the Relationships and Marriage section at Focus on the Family (another favorite ministry), or reading Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages (see my previous post about the book and a link to a Love Languages test here). And of course, be sure to visit e-Mom over at Chrysalis for more information about this month’s Marriage Monday topic.
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