The Concept of Friendship in Marriage
Friends are forever. Even if we move out of town or take up residence overseas, we maintain our friendships.
We certainly don’t divorce our friends just because of a misunderstanding, so if we treated our spouse as a dear friend, we probably won’t ever need a divorce lawyer and go through the painful exercise of property division – a course of action that can spell financial ruin for many.
Since love is less permanent (we fall in and out of love a few times in our lifetime) and friendship more durable, every attempt must be made to make our spouse not only a lover and a partner, but also a friend.
Friendship is evident manifestation of maturity. Marriage is a responsibility larger than life, and can be a source of annoyance or profound joy. Only when we turn those annoyances and joys into building blocks for an enduring friendship can we say that we’ve taken the unwavering path to a marriage made in heaven.
Friendship is EVERYTHING!
If there is true friendship between husband and wife, the marriage avoids landing on the rocks. Instead it becomes a rock-hard marriage where no individual or circumstance can put it asunder.
In fact, it is the genuine friendship between two people that put more meaning in the words, “for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse, till death do us part” – what Mary Pipher calls “the shelter of each other.”
Friendship in a marriage means that the marriage will be pregnant with memories of laughter and humour, for didn’t we choose those friends who made us laugh the most? Didn’t our mothers always tell us, “when choosing a husband, count the times he made you laugh.”
Friendship also means open and honest communication; a no holds barred type of union where our comfort level with our spouse goes beyond 100%, assured that what we say and how we say it will not be judged or taken in a negative light.
If you talk to married people, a wish they frequently express is that they remain the best of friends and the closest of companions. Surveys in fact reveal that if there is one component that will enable a couple to weather the tough times, it is friendship.
As a famous poet once said, “No man is an island.” Kinder and Cowan agree that friendship is the antidote to loneliness. Getting married does not mean that people will never experience loneliness, “but it does diminish our sense of separateness.”
Friendship between couples generates wholesome feelings of goodwill and fidelity. Our spouse – our friend – has our interests at heart, will not betray us and will be our staunchest supporter. Friendship also makes spouses stronger; this strength is reinforced by the joy of shared history, of nostalgia and plans for the future.
Romance is a good thing, and we could use heaps of it when our relationships get rocky. But mature friends are aware that romance can be a barrier to friendship. Why? Because romance obliterates the darker side of our existence – our fears, anxieties, and insecurities. Yet, it is those fears, anxieties and insecurities that naturally draw us to our friend.
Friendship in a marriage brings about the recognition that flux, de-stabilization and disruption are what Dr. Rhodes calls the “first steps in the dynamic process of repair, rebuilding and renewal.”
Familiarity does NOT breed contempt. It breeds content. A sense of contentment equates with satisfaction, warmth, and unwavering assurance. Sharing a life together in love and friendship makes for a book that is deeper and thicker in shared histories, in content.
If you were to ask a happy bachelor and a happily married man to each write their stories, you’d get a positive narration from both. The single person’s perspective would however be I, me and myself – and possibly a string of blind dates and Saturday nights alone. The married man will talk about “us”, of mutual interests – a story definitely made richer because there are two stories, not one.