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Do you need a best friend and spouse, or can they be rolled up into one remarkable package? How can your friendship in marriage be better?
My husband and I met when I was still in high school, and he was nineteen. I knew I wanted to go to college, so when we talked about the future, we recognized early on that we wouldn’t be getting married for quite a while.
Although it didn’t feel like it at the time, it was probably the best decision we made.
We were together for five and a half years before we got married. During those five years, we developed not only a romance but a deep friendship. He was the one I wanted to spend the majority of my time with, (as indicated by the miles I put on my car between college and home every weekend) and that’s still how I feel today.
We never lived together before we got married. Against popular opinion, we still had the opportunity to cultivate our relationship and get to know both the good and the bad. I felt like we went into marriage with expectations that seemed to be a lot more realistic than many other couples.
And although I’ve had other friendships throughout the years, none were more important than mine with him.
To get off on the right foot, build a friendship as you plan a wedding, and then continue to nurture that part of your relationship once the wedding is over.
Biblical Friendship and Your Marriage
There are plenty of verses and stories in the Bible that give us examples of how to treat our friends. I believe these admonitions are kicked up a notch when that friend is also your spouse.
Friendship and marriage both need to be cultivated. Here are some verses about friendship, and how they can apply to marriage.
Follow God’s example of the greatest love.
13 The greatest love a person can show is to die for his friends. John 15:13
Would you be willing to die for your spouse? I definitely would, but lucky for us, this opportunity doesn’t present itself too often! But what about if we look at it as giving up your life, or what you want out of life, for your spouse? Are you willing to give that up in preference of your the other person and what they want and need?
Stick by your spouse no matter what.
Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the LORD has sent me to Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. 2 Kings 2:2
No matter where Elijah wanted to go, or how much he tried to shake Elisha, Elisha would not give up. He knew that Elijah’s time on earth was over, but he wanted to be with Elijah as he faced the end of his life. Are you willing to go through all the seasons of life with your partner, no matter how painful?
Treat your spouse politely and thoughtfully.
Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31
People quote this verse quite often. Probably because it’s so simple to say but difficult to do. If you understand the need to treat others the way you want to be treated, how much better should you be treating your spouse today? Do you really treat them like you want them to treat you? (See some ways to do that in this blog post.)
Give your spouse some grace.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:13-14
No one is perfect. All of our friends have faults. You do too. Are you expecting your spouse to forgive your mistakes in your relationship, yet not forgiving of your spouse’s imperfections?
Be supportive and helpful.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:9
This is one of my favorite verses. I believe that married couples need to operate as a team. Work together in all things. The kids, the housework, the bills…everything! Do you leave your spouse out of any areas of your life, or do you work with them in any way they need to be successful?
Make each other better.
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
This verse tells us that we are to sharpen one another. We do this by holding one another accountable for thoughts and behavior. Sometimes it hurts a little, but the final result is a better you with a more successful marriage. Are you helping your spouse to be better, or are you just nagging?
One way to keep these ideas in the front of your mind is to keep the scripture in front of your eyes. Here are some cute products that do that!
As a final thought, considering your spouse your best friend does not eliminate the need for other friends in your life. However, they should be secondary to your spouse.
So, do you have a best friend and spouse in two different people? If so, what is the difference in how you relate to and treat them both? Strong friendships in marriage statistically result in longer-lasting marriages, so would it be better for you to focus on building a best-friendship with your spouse and improve your overall happiness?
What do you think? Should your spouse be your best friend? Let me know your opinion in the comments.
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