The month of February has a wonderful tradition in the middle of it, Valentine’s Day. With that in mind, I thought I would set aside this month for marriage topics, or perhaps more than this month – who knows.
John Gottman of the University of Washington has said, “Happy marriages are based on a deep friendship.” Good friends are not easy to come by; really great and close friends are even more difficult to find or maintain. While there are volumes of books written on romance and sexual issues, finances and budgets, there seems to be too few mentioning friendship and how to maintain it while married. Is friendship really that far down on the necessities of marriage priorities scale? I don’t think so.
In 1977 when Mary and I were married for only two years, we loaded up our moving truck to travel from southern Virginia to northern Pennsylvania. We were going to begin a faith-based ministry to teenagers. It was during those eight years of service that we became best friends. Everyday life depended on the two of us walking together in unity, in faith and prayerful agreement. We could not afford to fight each other as the spiritual atmosphere we lived in on a daily basis was enough to fight through. We found emotional closeness, we found spiritual oneness and we found advocacy within the arms of one another. Being friends caused our home to be more welcoming and friendly. What else did we discover in those years to build a friendship relationship?
Time off and being away together
Talking, sharing, relating, praying (simply being nice to one another)
Protecting one another
Becoming consistently loyal to one another (one heart)
Refusing to put ourselves or our spouse down (we are one)
Believing the best in one another (good will)
Defending one another
Building Christ in one another (Colossians 1:28)
Praising in public; confronting in private
Smiling at one another for no particular reason
Kissing and saying “I love you” in different ways daily
Holding hands, always holding hands