Attributes of a Healthy Marriage: Friendship

This post is a part of a series from our friends at The Romantic Vineyard. Check out all the great resources they offer here.

This one may seem like a given, but it isn’t. We have encountered far too many couples who after years of marriage have nothing in common. This is a dangerous place to be. We become vulnerable to the wiles of the enemy whispering, “Is this all there is?”

If you find yourself in this place it is not too late to make changes, but it won’t be easy. Healthy marriages are never easy to build or maintain. It takes constant effort. Marriage is like one rowing on a fast flowing stream. To stop rowing guarantees you will drift going where you don’t want to go. Don’t do it!

It helps to remember where you started.

It may have been years ago, but it is worth the effort. Take out old photos of things you did and places you visited. Reminisce the good old days and allow your friendship to spark again.

Psalm 9:1 says: “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.”

Friends enjoy doing things together. Even if you have little in common do the unselfish thing and take an interest in what your spouse enjoys.

Philippians 2:3-4 says: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

A few years ago I got to thinking about what our life would look like with grown children who no longer live with us. I knew Tom loved to play golf, and I had only ever played Putt-Putt– hardly the comparison. So I took golf lessons. My goal was to become good enough to keep up with him on the course without causing him dread when I asked to play. It took three years, but now we enjoy spending a day together doing something he loves. (A side note: I love golf now too, and I’m pretty good at it–so Tom says.)

It’s easy to excuse ourselves because that’s just not who we are. But a healthy marriage requires us to consider our spouse’s interest above our own. I know that has a sting to it, but better for us to put a sting on ourselves than to be stung by the pain of a drifting marriage.

What’s the practical application to cultivating friendship in marriage?

  • Study your spouse. Even if you are years away from having an “empty nest”. Keep up with what they love and find interesting.
  • Cultivate your friendship. Friends are friends because they make a priority of being together.
  • Find ways to laugh together. The Bible says laughter is good for the soul like a medicine.
  • Make love often–this is the one aspect of your friendship that no one else can satisfy for your spouse. Connecting skin-to-skin goes a long way in building intimacy.
  • Don’t cultivate any other friendship more than you do that with your spouse. We all need friends of the same sex. They are gifts from God to us. It is important to talk with your husband before you mention it to your girlfriends. Make his friendship and advice the one you seek first.
  • Husbands, this goes for you as well. Don’t make your man cave a higher priority than you do date nights with your spouse. The unspoken words communicated by doing so speaks volumes to her.

If I were to observe you and your spouse on a dinner date, would I see a couple who enjoy quality time together? I pray so.

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