His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my lover, this my friend, o daughters of jerusalem. Song of Songs 5:16
Marriage includes many dimensions of love. One of the most important is friendship. What does friendship love entail?
It is an unselfish dedication to your partner’s happiness. It is when fulfilling your partner’s needs becomes one of your needs.
It is learning to enjoy what your partner enjoys, not just to convince him or her that you are the right person, but to develop the enjoyment yourself as you share the enjoyment together.
Your friendship will mean you can enjoy some aspects of life together, but you are also comfortable having your own individual interests.
You don’t resent your partner’s enjoyment, although it is the last thing you would ever want to do! Be sure you encourage each other in separate endeavors.
It is important to maintain a balance between togetherness and separateness.
Be willing to try the activities your partner enjoys, but understanding that you have the freedom to enjoy them or not to enjoy them, to continue or to discontinue them.
If you want the other person to learn your own enjoyable activity, it may help to cut back the time and intensity of your involvement in it when introducing it.
This helps to make it more comfortable for the other person to experience it. After all, it is difficult for an amateur to keep up with a pro!
Friendship love also involves a certain level of intimacy in which there is openness, vulnerability and emotional connection.
Be sure to share your goals, plans and dreams, and work together on them. Never become a stranger to your partner in any area of life.
Remember, marriages that last are marriages in which a husband and wife are friends.
As your friendship develops through the years, you will discover that you chose each other for just the joy of the other person’s company. You just like being together.
Be sure to practice your friendship. Friendship is part of God’s intention for marriage and should include a vow of trust. Don’t become selfishly competitive, but wish your partner the best.
You should share each other’s happiness and rejoice in it almost as much as the other person does.
A friend does not automatically approve of everything we do or say, and that’s all right.
True friends don’t attempt to control each other because they respect each other too much. Friends try to understand the other person’s preferences.
They learn to say, “What do you think?” and, “What do you want to do?” Becoming a friend necessitates changing old habits and beliefs; and that too is all right.
Friendship causes you to become a more balanced and mature person.
God will use your partner to reshape you. Learn to enjoy the improvements; they will benefit both of you.
H. Norman Wright is a licensed Family Counselor and child therapist and has taught in the Grad. Department of Biola University. He is the author of more than seventy books