In many years of counseling people about their marriage, I think there is an important ingredient that is missing in many marriages, it is called friendship. When people come for marriage counseling they are generally not friends. People confuse love, communication, friendship and relationship. How is it that two people who at one time said, “They loved each other” now are strained in their relationship with each other? Many times people get married for what they call love, but it is really lust.
I tell people all the time that love and lust are two different things. When lust wears off they are left with not a lot to hang on to. They build walls rather than break down walls. As they build walls eventually they can no longer see over the wall.
One of the things married people will need to do is develop a friendship with each other. I consider my wife, Kim, to be my best friend. Yes, I love her, but proper communication and kindness develop a great life of real friendship. There are going to be many difficulties in life you will face as a couple. How you respond to them will determine what happens in your marriage. Do we respond to these difficulties as friends, indifferent, or enemies? Most people start out getting irritated and frustrated with their mate over natural differences, Without being able to deal with them Biblically, friendship and love get killed in that process.
What do you think about when you think of friends? I have heard many people who have developed friendships say, “Tom is my friend, I love him.” Or, “Susan is my friend I love here.” How did this friendship love happen?
The Bible talks about “friendship” love and “agape” love which is a supernatural love empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Good friends communicate freely with each other. They pick each other’s minds. In essence, what do you think? They listen to each other. They spend time with each other. They care for each other. A marriage should be built on agape love, but there also must be friendship love as well.
I grew up in a family living on the poor side of town. I was an only child. My mother was an only child and my grandmother was an only child. My parents were not Christians and really not nice people. They did the best they could from their background, but life was very difficult. I came to know Christ as my Saviour 19 days before my twentieth birthday. So, growing up I did not know about the Lord. However, God gave me the opportunity to lead my parents and grandmother to the Lord for which I am so thankful. They are in heaven now.
As a child I made friends with some of the boys in our neighborhood and all through elementary school, Jr high and into high school, we were inseparable. We were brothers per say. Our friendship was strong. We played sports together. In fact, in the 8th grade five boys who came from the poor side of town, who all lived within a few blocks of each other, banded together to play basketball and we finished 2nd in the state that year in basketball. We were so close that we knew what each other would do on the basketball floor before we did it. I am thankful I have had the opportunity to share the gospel with some of them. Don’t get me wrong, I have some definite thoughts about sports now that I did not have back then, but my purpose here is to talk about the elements of friendship. I do know something about sports and the toll it can take in people’s lives. Prior to my salvation, in 1973, I was the 78th player taken in the Major League Baseball draft as a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. When I got saved I stopped playing baseball.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, (5) Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; (6) Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; (7) Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Love and friendship go together. Kim and I have made it a priority to be friends. We also love each other very much, but we are best friends as well. We even complete each other’s sentences some times because of our thoughts being joined together.
Proverbs 18:24, A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
Proverbs 17:17, A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Proverbs 27:17, Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
Let me give you some helpful thoughts about making each other your friend.
- Focus on communicating in a godly fashion. Make time to talk to each other. Ask what the other one is thinking. Be a good listener! Listen with a friendship and loving heart.
- Share what is on your heart with each other. Share special things and thoughts. Thank each other for the little things you do for each other.
- Spend time in God’s Word together. One of the greatest bonding (friendship and love) experiences Kim and I have had is to study together all the passages of Scripture that deal with marriage, home, and children in the Bible. Kim’s mother went to be with the Lord in 2016. We had led her to the Lord several years ago. She had cancer and lived in another state. Kim went up to help out and I would fly back and forth. When we were states apart both of our hearts ached. Each morning we called each other to talk. Without fail my dear wife would say, “Honey can I share with you what God showed me from His Word today?” My response, “Absolutely,” and I shared with her what I learned each day. It bonded us together as we both went through a difficulty of life. You will face difficult things for which you have to go through it together. You will be surprised at the strength you have together to face challenges in life.
- Be kind to each other! The first element of love and friendship is kindness. 1 Corinthians 13:4, Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind;
Many times I ask couples who come for Biblical counseling a question. “If you had had something you could do for each other what would you do?” Almost always one of them says, “I would be kinder.” My answer, “Then go do it.” Godly communication and being kind leads to love in the marriage and the ability to be loving and kind friends. I tell people to try doing one kind thing for each other a day. You would be amazed what that will do for your relationship. Also, when we talk about love making it is not lust but the kindness that you do for each other that will lead to giving yourself to each other.
Ephesians 4:32, And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
- Be tenderhearted. Don’t focus on your own way. Be selfless. The old nature does not want to be tenderhearted. The old nature wants its own way. Friends care about each other. Do so with a tender heart for your spouse.
- Be forgiving. It is never right to have bitterness and be a grudge holder. Have a forgiving spirit.
James 5:9, Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.
Ephesians 4:31, Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
Bitterness is a root sin and causes many wicked problems in our marriage. This verse says to put it away from you. How do you do that? First of all ask God if there is any bitterness in your heart toward your spouse? If He shows you there is bitterness ask for God’s forgiveness. Then repent from it. Turn from it. Out of bitterness comes wrath (anger with a strong desire to avenge, a grudge) and all the other things in this verse, anger, clamour (public quarreling) evil speaking, and malice. All of these have to be put away.
The way to do this is to get emotionally free by turning it over to God. “Lord, I want to turn this over to you.” When the devil brings back up this thought, “Lord I want to turn this over to you. What do you want me to praise you for and thank you for?” Wait on Him to show you and this is mind changing. You are now controlling your thoughts by the power of the Spirit rather than letting the devil and your old nature control you. One of the things we try to teach couples and children is to not be led by your emotions but be Spirit led. Our goal is spiritual and emotional maturity. If not you will lose the heart of your spouse and substitute “things” for the Holy Spirit and His work in your life.
Hebrews 13:15-16, By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (16) But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
- Learn to be a Spirit controlled person. Without this your marriage will be an anger war zone. You will be living together, but not friends and not loving one another.
Ephesians 5:17-18, Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (18) And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
If you do not understand what this means please click on the following link.
We want to encourage you today to be strong friends and have a deep and abiding love for each other! It will help your marriage be what God wants it to be.