Thursday, October 11, 2012

Friendship In Marriage

The word "friendship" conjures up thoughts of honesty, vulnerability, companionship, and mutual respect. It also implies a certain outlaying of time and energy. C.S. Lewis said of friendship: "It is when we are doing things together that friendship springs up – painting, sailing ships, praying, philosophizing, and fighting shoulder to shoulder. Friends look in the same direction."

"Marriage without friendship cannot work in our culture," says Bill Hanawalt, who has conducted pre-marital and marital counseling for 30 years as the executive pastor of the Vineyard Christian Church of Evanston, Il. "Friendship has to be nourished and nurtured regularly or it faces the danger of becoming a business relationship. I have seen many distant and business-like marriages where careers have developed and children have come into the picture, and the priority of emotional connection has been left to die on the vine. Couples that don't give attention to developing their friendship often come apart. It also creates an opening for marital infidelity.

Things to Know About Friendship

One, friendship doesn’t just happen. While it may come easily during the early stages of a relationship, after time other responsibilities crowd in and friendship requires greater time and attention. You cannot passively sit back and expect friendship to appear, any more than you would with other relationships.

Two, friendship requires time. We may say that friendship is important to us, but if we don’t give it the time it deserves, it simply won’t happen. Friendship is, after all, a relationship. Friendship is a dynamic, ever-changing relationship. It never stays the same.

Scripture has much to say about friendship, and in fact is filled with stories of friendships. None are perhaps more poignant that Naomi and Ruth who cared for one another in a deep way. What is so touching to me about this caring relationship is the time and energy both invested in each other. They made sacrifices to be with each other and meet emotional and physical needs. We must model our friendship after their patterns of interacting.

Three, friendship can always be cultivated. It is never too late to cultivate, or re-cultivate your marital friendship. Do this by taking an active interest in your mate. Ask questions about their day, anticipating the issues concerning them and the excitements that they carry in their hearts. Care enough to know what your mate is passionate about. Seek to understand them.

Four, friendship requires fun. Break out of your routines and do something spontaneous with your mate. Boredom is the product of doing the same things, in the same ways at the same times. Dare to shake things up a bit. Get away for the weekend, without the kids, to a new location. See some new sights, eat some new foods, and take in some new activities. Have some fun.

Finally, friendship requires that YOU be friendly. As important as the weekends away are to light that spark again, friendship is built upon the small things of everyday life. Don’t forget to smile at your mate, encouraging them at key moments, laughing about the craziness of life. Be a friendly and interesting person and your mate will likely be one back.

Source: Excerpts from Dr. David and Alyson Weasley

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