When reading about marriage, you’ll most likely hear a unanimous stand about the importance of friendship in building a life with your spouse. But what is it about friendship that makes it vital to building a strong and happy marriage?
In Tom Rath’s “Vital Friends The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without” the author and social researcher shares that 70 percent of marriage satisfaction has to do with a couple’s intent to build the friendship they share. It trumps things like physical intimacy, parenting, structures, and even sex by a landslide.
According to Alyson Weasley of Focus On The Family, friendships have to do with building a relationship that conjures honesty, vulnerability, companionship, and mutual respect. Friendship is what motivates us to build intentionality and oneness in the midst of conflict, differences and imperfections. While a strong and healthy friendship will demand very little, it will empower us to give our best at all times.
Friendships Bring Out the Best and Worst in Us
Friendships in marriages matter because they bring out the best in two people while at the same time making something like familiarity enjoyable and not just bearable. Marriage without a strong foundation of friendship is more likely to fail or fall apart on the edges.
And as a friendship brings out the best in a married couple, paradoxically it also brings out the worst in people in that it exposes all and makes us vulnerable. Intimacy in marriage has to do with making all about you known to your partner, holding no secrets. Just as 1 Corinthians 13:5-6 says, “It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.”
God Designed Marriage to Be Built on Friendship
Genesis 2:24 gives us a blueprint of a God-designed marriage: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Being one flesh has very little to do with simply living under the same roof for the rest of your life. It has everything to do with following God’s design of creating a strong and growing relationship between you and your spouse.
Probably the most important reason why friendship matters to a marriage is because God designed it to be that way. A marriage isn’t just for physical companionship, for show, or for pleasure. It’s to build a genuine relationship with someone who will partner with you and stand with you through thick and thin.
Is your marriage built on a solid foundation of friendship today? What can you do to build not just physical intimacy or domestic peace, but true and lasting friendship with your spouse as well?