A husband and wife should be many things to one another—lover, helper, companion, confidant, and advisor. A true and lasting friend should be added to that list as well.
Consider these five essentials for any good friendship, and how well they are established between you and your spouse. Good friends:
1. Team up.
You and your spouse may assume different roles and responsibilities depending on your unique strengths and weaknesses, but if you’re not careful it’s easy to end up living parallel rather than connected lives. Be sure to take on some things together, whether that’s projects around the home or serving others at church, in your neighborhood, or in the community. Take some time to consider Are You and Your Spouse on the Same Team?
2. Take turns.
Shared interests are an important part of any friendship, of course, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the two people are identical in their likes and passions. While couples don’t need to do everything together, neither is it a good thing if they develop completely separate tracks. Agree that he gets to choose what you do on your next date night, even if it’s something she doesn’t enjoy (like fishing), and, next time, it will be her turn to choose a quiet dinner and a walk by the lake even though that may not be his cup of tea.
3. Treasure trust.
Friends talk openly, share secrets, and don’t keep secrets from one another. They are completely honest. Deepening your trust level is one of the keys to Unlocking the Door to Intimacy in Marriage.
4. Tread carefully.
Being given access to someone’s innermost life comes with responsibility. It’s easy to think just because we know our spouses well that we can say anything we want in any tone we want, whenever we want. But a careless word can wound deeply, so think twice before you speak. If there’s a hard thing you need to deal with, remember to follow The Right Way to Prepare for a Difficult Conversation.
5. Try things.
Friends like to do things together and try new things together. Sit down with your spouse and brainstorm something new and fun that you’d both like to do together. It might be a painting or cooking class. Perhaps you’d like to take tennis lessons with your spouse. Or maybe go hiking. Susan and I recently decided we will take dance classes together.
Friendships are a two-way thing, but it usually takes one person to make the first move. I remember my mom telling me when I was a teenager, “You have to be a friend to have a friend.” So be a friend to your spouse.
Which of these five areas do you think you most need to work on, and why? And what steps could you start to take to do that? Share your thoughts and experiences here.