The importance of developing friendship in your marriage helps make your marriage healthy and sustainable.
Over 29 million Americans watched the recent wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The God-honoring ceremony held in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle uplifted marriage, reminding viewers of the joy and commitment at the heart of the relationship.
More than one commentator noted the love and genuine friendship between the prince and the bride.
The Importance of Friendship in the Bible
The Bible underscores the value of friendship in your marriage:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12a).
Naturally, this is one of the reasons that God has created marriage: so that we could have a lifelong friend to help us! But we sometimes underestimate the benefits that God can bring to us and to our marriage through other friends as well. Consider the following two:.
1) Learning from Our Friends' Life Experiences
“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again,” we read in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “there is nothing new under the sun.”
Yet we tend to forget this when facing challenges as a couple, or as individuals. Friendships with other married people are important for this reason.
We need to be able to have straight up talk about the things that the Lord is teaching us about being a godly husband or wife.
At times this means that we simply share our success (or failure!) stories with people we trust.
At other times we might need to talk about a situation in our marriage that we do not how to approach and ask for a friend’s wisdom.
Sometimes this will be a wife talking with other wives she enjoys. Other times you might share as a couple over dinner with another couple you know will give you insights and who will be discreet.
A husband struggling to fulfill his role might spend time with a wiser, more experienced friend who can share how he handled a similar situation in his marriage.
The wisdom that we gain from hearing each other is immeasurable. This wisdom is the first benefit that God can bring to our marriage through friends.
2) Receiving Truth from Our Friends
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but an enemy multiplies kisses” (Proverbs 27:6).
The overall meaning of this verse is fairly clear: those who love us truly will tell us the difficult things, while others will gloss over such things and flatter us instead.
Naturally, our spouses often do tell us the difficult things (whether we want them to or not!). But other friends can also be a great aid in giving us “faithful wounds”, especially in regards to our marriages.
This is because friends–if they are wise friends–have the potential to provide an objective look at how we are treating our spouse and to help us to see ways in which we can love our spouse better.
It is a faithful friend who will tell us straight up if we are being selfish in a certain situation, or if we are being insensitive as a husband or wife. We have to be open to receiving such faithful wounds, but if we are open then we have very much to gain and nothing except our pride to lose.
Choose Friendship in Your Marriage Carefully!
“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20).
You will become like those whom you surround yourself with.
If you are constantly spending time with friends who are negative, and who have a negative view of marriage, and who are constantly critical of their spouse or complaining about the kids, it will not be long before these same negative and critical views begin to affect you.
Conversely, if you spend time with those who have a positive view of marriage and who seek to love and honor their spouses as much as possible, it will not be long before you are also doing the same.
Naturally, we do not always have control over the people that we interact with throughout the day. Nor should we refuse to be friends with those who are negative and critical.
But we do need to be very intentional about seeking out and pursuing friendships with people that will encourage us towards godliness and love of our spouses and families.
Developing Friendship in Your Marriage
So how is it going for you in terms of your friendships? If you do have godly friends in your life that can encourage you in your marriage relationship, then give thanks to God and ask Him to deepen these friendships.
If you do not have such friends, or if the friends you do have pull you down more than they build you up, then pray to the Lord earnestly for some good friends.
From a practical perspective this might mean taking some initiative and getting involved in a Bible study or prayer group or other fellowship group at your church.
This is one of the benefits of the Two Becoming One small group study. However you can do it, as you share your successes and challenges with other couples, you will be blessed and encouraged.
It might also mean simply calling up a person whose walk with God you respect and asking if they would like to pray together once a week or once every other week.
Whatever the case may be, seek to surround yourself with the type of people that will encourage you to be a godlier husband or wife.
Friendship in Your Marriage is Vital for Long-term Success
What are many of us thinking when we attend a wedding, or for that matter, watch a royal wedding on television? Excitement and joy, for sure. Few events in life are more upbeat and optimistic than a wedding. Also, deep inside us is hope.
We hope—even with a couple we don’t know like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle—that their marriage will last.
For their sake, of course, but also for our own relationships. Being married is an amazing blessing. Walking through life with another imperfect person, like ourselves, can also be a challenge at times.
Developing friends who will encourage you along this wonderful and sometimes overwhelming journey is vitally important to your marriage.