Habits of Best Friends in Marriage

1. Friends stay in touch with each other. Friendship implies a continuing relationship in which both parties involved make consistent efforts to maintain. To neglect these special efforts is to risk allowing the relationship to wither and possibly disappear entirely. We verbally communicate with each other in a way that says, “I am interested in you as a person.” We ask about the day’s events; inquire about what has been read; anything that transcends talk about career and parental roles. We let each other know where we are as a courtesy.

2. Friends share themselves and their experiences. Without this level of sharing you may have an acquaintance, but you do not have a friend. Sharing thoughts, feelings, and experiences creates an openness that deepens the bond. Andre Maurois defined a happy marriage as “a long conversation that always seems too short.” Spouses who have grown apart share only negative emotions and cynical or critical thoughts which focus only on problems and frustrations.

3. Friends are supportive during troubles times.Friends must always be there for one another, not only during the good times, but also during times of emotional turmoil or personal crisis. To have such a friend in times of need is a wonderful source of strength. What helps me get through my troubled times is when Cindy gives me a hug and tells me she is confident that God will help us get through this.

How have you and your spouse supported each other through difficult times?
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4. Friends consistently affirm one another. Good friends communicate a very simple message: “I like you, and being with you makes me feel good.” The base of such a relationship is a deep acceptance of one another along with encouragement as life circumstances evolve. Love and acceptance should never be conditional. Such a conditional acceptance drives a wedge in the relationship that tends to deepen with the years. We seek to communicate regularly in words and deeds, in small acts of kindness and loving words, the value we find in each other. On one of our wedding anniversaries, Cindy gave me a card with the following statement: “It’s one thing to be in love. It’s another to be good friends. And it’s a wonderful thing to be madly in love with my best friend!” That’s affirming!

What are some creative ways that you have affirmed your spouse?
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5. Deep trust always exists between friends. As friendship deepens, a corresponding openness about experiences and feelings develops. The price of friendship is personal vulnerability – letting your spouse know about personal doubts & sensitivities. Such information must always be respected and the vulnerability must never be violated. To deepen our trust we seek to never use a personal sensitivity to hurt each other when we are angry. We do not gossip about each other. It’s a betrayal of marital trust.

6. Friends let go and have fun together. Good friendships do not focus exclusively on problems or emotionally intimate discussion. Time is spent just having fun together. Good friends can let go to enjoy good times spent together knowing that they are deeply accepted and that they will be there for one another when tough times come. As married life becomes busier, humor often fades, and no time remains for fun. Stressed and tired, couples feel overwhelmed with responsibilities. They forget how to relax and enjoy lighthearted times together. Fun is a powerful tool in relieving stress.

What do you and your spouse do to keep the fun in your relationship?
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A special friendship is what a marriage relationship is all about. At its root, marriage is not sex, romance, emotional highs, or pleasure. All these are part of the total relationship, but the core of marriage is a partnership built on emotional closeness, acceptance of one another, and fulfilling companionship. You can strengthen your marriage friendship. It will take commitment, work, and time. Why just be married when you can be married to your best friend?


Dancing in the Minefields

When it comes to living out our marriage vows in a chronic illness marriage (or any marriage for that matter), this song from Andrew Peterson says it all. I’m really impressed with the quality of the lyrics and the simplicity of the music. It is a great reminder to all of us married folks. Enjoy and celebrate!