When my wife Grace and I started to write our book Real Marriage, we read all or part of 187 marriage books. One thing missing in nearly all of them was any reference to friendship with your spouse.
The word “friend” has been used and abused by social media. The truth is, it’s easier to click a box to be a friend than live life together as a friend. All friendships are relationships, but not all relationships are friendships. Friendship is crucial to marriage and Proverbs gives us three aspects of real friendship.
1) Real friends are rare
Proverbs 18:24 [ESV] – A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
On social media, the focus is on the quantity of people connected to you. In life, what matters most is the quality of your relationships. We should be friendly toward all, but only have time and energy to be friends with a few.
2) Wise friends are a gift
Proverbs 13:20 [ESV] – Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Throughout Proverbs, there are three kinds of people – wise, foolish, and evil. If we want to grow in wisdom, we need to walk away from evil and folly and find some wise folks to walk with as friends. We can minister to the foolish, but not walk the same path as them. In marriage, seeking to be a wise friend to your spouse and helping one another pick wise friends, including other couples, is crucial. One rule that Grace and I have is that we agree on one another’s friends who we confide in and seek wise counsel from. Of course, your walk with Jesus is the key to all wisdom as He is one whose wisdom is “greater than Solomon” (Matthew 12:42).
3) Hard times reveal real friends
Proverbs 17:17 [ESV] – A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
When times are the worst, real friends are the best. Hard times do not change our friendships as much as they reveal who our friends truly are. In marriage, this kind of friendship means you can depend on one another, which guards against one person domineering over one another.
Are you a wise friend? Do you seek wise friends?