Friendship First: When I asked John what he thought the basis of our marriage was, he responded “We were friends first, and it grew from there.”
In Genesis 2:18-24
Marriage is Gods idea
From the beginning of time, God saw the need for man to have a “helper”. It is by no accident that man named his helper woman-meaning ”taken out of man.”
God’s creative work was not complete until he created woman. He could have made her from the dust of the earth as he made man. God chose, however, to make her from the man’s flesh and bone. In so doing, he illustrated for us that in marriage, man and woman symbolically become one flesh. This is a mystical union of the couples hearts and lives. Throughout the bible, God treats this special partnership seriously- the goal of marriage should be more than friendship- it should be oneness.
To be a friend to your spouse takes several key ingredients. As we review these, please think about the one you would consider your strength and the one you may think is a weakness.
Commitment: we all have relationships we have simply walked away from. The marriage commitment is just that- a commitment that is taken not only physically but mentally and spiritually.
· One definition of commitment is “an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action”.
¨ Obligation….restricts freedom of action
Trust: completely, wholly trusting your spouse in every situation.
· Trusting another human being with your life, heart, soul is a true risk. I had two children go through pre-marital counseling last year and not one time did either of the Christian curriculums even mention trusting your spouse. Just as God expects us to trust Him, we must trust our husbands to have our best interests at heart.
· We also must give our husband every reason to trust us. This can be done with a little effort, and sometimes means leaving some old baggage and people behind.
· Trust is directly connected to Commitment.
Patience: this one is a virtue that has been thrown around in a carefree manner. Regardless of your belief, patience is the number one taught reflection in all of the faiths in all of the world.
· Patience is something that you do not wake up with one day, it is a gift learned and sometimes earned through a relationship with Christ.
· In my personal experience, I had to learn patience with myself and my own growth before I could understand the need for true patience with my husband. It was then that God opened my eyes to what I needed to do to understand his quirks, and to explain to my hubby how to be patient with me.
· Patience comes with trust and commitment.
Communication: Constant and unfiltered about everything.
· It’s not a secret that bad communication can be a problem in any relationship. No communication, however, is a marriage killer.
¨ Communicate about: kids, family, finances, work, other relationships and do it all under the umbrella of Gods plan for your marriage.
¨ Communication is one ingredient of trust, patience and commitment.
¨ Understand in your communications with one another, keeping your friendship maintained in your marriage relationship does not involve anyone else.
· There are things in every marriage that you naturally wouldn’t share with anyone else. Let’s name some “taboo” topics that we would never (or rarely) discuss with our girlfriends:
¨ Health concerns
¨ Family issues
The challenge in building and defining our marriage friendships is to add to this list of taboo subjects and making our marriage friendship more personal, more meaningful and more important to us as wives. Let’s change our “public” conversations into “private” ones:
· Dinner conversation
· Prayer/worship time
· Social media postings
Once we are in a place where we understand personal accountability for ourselves within our marriage, how can we relate this in our marital relationships without involving an outside person?
In wrapping up, let me issue a reminder and maybe even a warning to all of us who are married or are going to be married:
Marriage is hard.
It’s unlike any other relationship you will ever have
As a woman and a wife, you can only do half the work in a two person relationship, regardless of what your hubby believes.
God mandates marriage as a commitment to Him, not just to each other. If He has provided you a marriage, then he will also provide a way.
I am by no means an expert- I am only still learning after 22 years of wedded bliss. I do know that God has a plan, and if this session has upset you, made you angry or made you question your motives in your marriage- then I encourage you to call your husband and work on it. Eventually every marriage hits some kind of wall. You just have to keep climbing over it.
Being your husband’s friend is amazing- being his best friend is life changing.