Most of the couples that come into my office are in major conflict with one another. They tell me that they fight about everything. One couple even told me that they fight 24/7; that there was no peace in their lives at all. I questioned the truth of that statement, yet I knew that they really believed what they were saying. When couples get to the point that they feel that they fight all the time, they have forgotten how to be friends. Friendship is another area of intimacy that is important to the strength of marriage.
Friendship is a level of intimacy that many people neglect in their marriage. They allow the stresses of finances, work, children, and other issues to crowd out the need to relate with one another as friends. They forget to have fun together.
Here are some questions that you need to ask about your marriage.
- What do you have in common? This element is very important in developing your friendship. Remember when you were in grade school when you were learning to how make friends? You would want to be around the kids that like the same things that you liked. You would want to play with whomever wanted to play the same games you did. You would talk about the same TV shows or music, etc. When you learned that you had things in common, you would be friends. That same principle worked when you were dating your spouse. You had to develop a friendship based on what you had in common. Remember talking on the phone for hours? Remember always having something to say to one another? As a couple, you have to return to those days.
- What do you do to have fun? (not that kind of fun) Seriously, what do you like to do together? Do you go to the movies together? Do you dance? Maybe you work in the yard for fun. Having fun together is very important. I realize that you might have hobbies that do not include your spouse. Everyone needs to have friends. But do those friends take the place of your spouse? Do you have time to spend with just your husband or wife to have fun together away from the stresses of life.
- When was your last date? A few weeks ago, I wrote on dating as a couple. You can find it here. Remember before you were married and the fun you would have on dates? My wife and I used to just go to the park and swing at times. (We were in college without a lot of money.) We looked for things to do that made us laugh together and relax. You probably did things like that as well. When was the last time you just went out to enjoy yourselves?
- Do you laugh together? Laughing is very therapeutic. Laughing connects you together. Do you find the same things funny? Do you enjoy the same types of comedy?
- Do you put aside your likes for your spouse’s? I know that as a couple we do not have everything in common. I would eat steak and potatoes every night, while my wife likes sushi and different pastas. I do not like a lot of slap stick comedy, but my wife does. I would watch football no matter who’s playing, but she only likes to watch it when she likes one of the teams. As a couple we must put aside our likes some of the time for the benefit of our friendship.
As you answered these questions, the level of your friendship should be evident to you. It is important that you work on your friendship by looking for things that will build your friendship. Friendship builds intimacy in your marriage.
What are some ways you build your friendship with your spouse?
Bradley D. Watson, BCBT Directed Path Ministries
After spending more than 25 years on church staffs, God has allowed me to take the experiences and knowledge that I gained to develop a Biblical Counseling ministry. The basis of this ministry is to allow God’s Word to shine on the main issues in peoples’ lives in order to bring His resolutions to problems.