(Celebrating Friendship in Marriage 1)
Yesterday I shared a Facebook status update in which I wanted to say a lot more to encourage couples connected to me but it wasn’t the right forum for it. I envisaged the faces of many people from whom we’ve received words of encouragement and advice over the 18 years of our marriage. It made me think about ‘friendship’ and the value it has in our marriages.
My first thought on friendship was in the context of friends to each other—spouse to spouse. Vince and I were friends before we started dating and that friendship continued to grow as we developed as married couples. It is an added bonus to our relationship. Although that won’t be the same for every married couple, developing and maintaining friendship within our marriage can be the difference between thriving in our marriages, settling for what we’ve become used to or quitting.
On Sunday 11th March we celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. This anniversary was extra special because we gained the courage to actually go to places (conversationally) we have been afraid to go to before. Our son was right when he said, “You should do something special because you’re now officially adults.” Out of the mouths of babes!
Neither of us wanted to deal with anything that could have caused conflict. However, we have found that avoiding conflict is never the answer when there is an important issue to address. So we were particularly interested in that aspect of the Marriage event we attended because we were both brought up with different ways of dealing with conflict and conflict (whether within or outside the marriage) has been found to be a silent destroyer.
At the event, they talked about that ‘creeping separateness’ which some couples mention as they embark on separation by divorce. It wasn’t adultery or abuse in its varying form that they happened to mention, it was that ‘creeping separateness’ that convinced them that they no longer love each other. They say things like, “We just grew apart.”
We’ve seen this ‘creeping separateness’ in some of our other relationships over the years so we know it exists. Our marriage is not immune to it and the fear of it happening to us drove us to take action. We thought it wise to find healthy ways to deal with conflict in our marriage rather than avoid it at the risk of our relationship deteriorating.
To avoid that ‘creeping separateness’ we must learn to ‘collaborate’—do things together so we can be drawn closer to each other and not further apart. Conflict that is not dealt with in a healthy way can tear families apart (see part 5 for more on conflict).
Tip______: Make regular time for each other—be purposeful about it. When you set aside that time, protect it! Then use some of that time to deal with important issues that may have negative effects on your marriage, if left unattended.
More in part 2 ~ The Place of Prayer in Our Marriage
Copyright 2018, Janice S. Ramkissoon
Note____All quotes are from the 'It Takes Two' Marriage event by Care for the Family.
Part 1 ~ Conflict and that 'creeping separateness' | Part 2 ~ The Place of Prayer in Our Marriage | Part 3 ~ To Love and Cherish | Part 4 ~ The Power of Communication and Connection | Part 5 ~ Healthy Conflict - Fighting Fair | Part 6 ~ Commited to the Cause | Part 7 ~ Marriage and Parenting - Transferable Skills