Marriage is for better or for worse. Better is easy. We’ve got that down pat. But “worse,” when you’re confronted with it – and you will be, sooner or later – is best handled with your closest friend, your confidant. If that best friend happens to be your spouse, and your relationship is centered on faith, you can face anything.
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock —Matthew 7:25
You’ve got to work at it constantly, making a conscious effort to be there for one another and to have fun together. We can be so easily consumed by the daily tasks of living together that we neglect to enjoy living – together.
In her Focus on the Family article “Twelve Steps to a Deeper Friendship with your Spouse,” Alyson Weasley outlines important steps to nurturing the friendship you share with the one you married.
Recognize that you need to work at building your friendship, and that it takes time, Weasley says. Then make that time. “Cut the fat out of your day,” she says, to allot more time to your relationship. Claim time together in advance. Put it on the calendar, make it happen weekly and don’t let anything short of a true emergency keep you from your time together. Do things together, and do things that you love doing. Find out what your spouse is passionate about and share that passion. Share your passions with your spouse and find common ground – things you both love doing.
You needn’t agree on everything, Weasley explains, rather look upon conflict as a way to strengthen and clarify your friendship, but always be kind and gentle to one another. Respect and accountability must go hand in hand, she adds, with the areas of finances, intimacy, and relationships priorities in the marriage.
Make it a habit to pray together, eat together, and work together around the home. Acknowledge your spouse on a daily basis and outwardly show your appreciation for one another. Be honest and open. Regular communication, Weasley says, is key.
We come into marriage individuals and continue on as partners. We still have our individual wants, needs and desires, but we now balance those with our spouse’s. It’s what best friends do, after all, right?
Love is patient and is kind; love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with. —1 Corinthians 13:4-8