Becoming Best Friends in Marriage
- Dr. Barry R. Leventhal Two Becoming One
- 2003 6 Nov
“We’ve been married for 15 years, and my husband and I are best friends.” “I can’t imagine being married to anyone else. My wife and I are best friends.” These kinds of statements touch a deep chord in our hearts. Somewhere in the silent recesses of our hearts, a song begins to form. It is often a song that we have long ago ignored or abandoned. It is the forgotten melody of “best friends.” The melody takes us back to our best friends, the boys and girls that we hung out with--innocent times, free times, fun times. These were the times of shared secrets and shared dreams.
When a married couple declares their allegiance to each other as best friends, suddenly we hear our hearts singing, “I wish that my spouse and I were best friends. Once we were best friends, when we first fell in love. But somehow we’ve lost it. I really want it back!” It is at this point that God begins to rewrite the song on our hearts, a song created after His own image. For God is a Trinity--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--in which the perfect and abiding Friendship exists from all eternity.
What is a best friendship marriage like? How does God develop it? If we really want to become best friends in our marriage, we must first embrace God’s lyrics of friendship and then let the Holy Spirit fill in the melody of friendship. The first divine lyric of friendship is that we must commit ourselves to becoming best friends in our marriage, no matter the cost--we really have to want it.
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24).
Becoming best friends in marriage means that we must become sticky friends. The word used in Proverbs 18:24 for “sticks” is the same word used in Genesis 2:24 for “cleaving”: “For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” “Cleaving” or “sticking” is a commitment to permanency in marriage, to be glued together for life. Without such a permanent bond, best friendships in marriage will eventually disintegrate. Superficial companionships are the best for which we can hope.
The second divine lyric of friendship is a commitment to helping our mate when he or she is in pain.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother [or sister] is born for adversity (Prov. 17:17).
Oil and perfume make the heart glad, so a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend (Prov. 27:9).
When adversity comes into a marriage, as it will from time to time, the “sticky friend” is there--really there. It’s almost like our best friend was born for such a critical moment. Whatever the adversity, the “sticky friend” rushes headlong into the crisis and brings the sweet counsel of friendship. You see, a “sticky friendship” marriage is not merely formed with the best of intentions. It is forged in the fires of adversity.
The third divine lyric of friendship is a commitment to hurting our mate when he or she is in sin.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy (Prov. 27:6).
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another (Prov. 27:17).
Developing a best friendship marriage is not only based on love, but also on speaking the truth (see Eph. 4:15). All forms of deceit and lying must be abandoned. Best friends do not ignore sin. The wounds of a “sticky friend” create a healing as well as a sharpening.
At this point, a few cautions are in order. The “faithful wounds of a friend” are normally the words we share with our mates. So the following notes must temper them or marital friendships will disintegrate into marital disputes.
An anxious heart weighs a person down, but a kind word cheers him up (Prov. 12:25).
A wise person’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote persuasiveness. Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones (Prov. 16:23-24).
The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things (Prov. 15:28).
Not only must our words be tempered, but also the timing of our words.
A person finds joy in a fitting answer, and how delightful is a timely word (Prov. 15:23).
Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances (Prov. 25: 11).
The one who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be reckoned a curse to him (Prov. 27:14).
Added to all of this, there are also some sour notes that seek to rush in and destroy the sweet song of marital friendship:
A perverse person stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates intimate friends (Prov. 16:28).
The one who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates intimate friends (Prov. 17:9).
So if you want to become best friends in your marriage, try adding the following sweet notes to God’s lyrics:
- First and foremost, embrace Jesus Christ who is our ultimate Sticky Friend--love and obey Him as one of His disciples. Ask Him to make you best friends with your mate.
- Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves. For the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you (John 15:13-15).
- Go back and replay your falling-in-love days, when you and your mate first became best friends. Schedule a date. Talk to each other. Listen to each other. Play, laugh, and dream again. Read the Bible and pray together.
- Always ask God to give you the right wording and timing when you need to “speak the truth in love” with your mate. “Wounding” is always remedial, never punitive.
- Link up with another couple who are also trying to develop into “sticky friends.” Spend time together. Share ideas. Encourage each other. Read the Bible and pray together.
© 2003 Christian Family Life
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