King Solomon and his Shulamite wife had a relationship that many married couples would probably like to have (if you haven't read Song of Solomon, go read it). What was at the heart of their relationship? The Shulamite revealed one of the key characteristics. Speaking of her husband, she declared, "This is my beloved, and this is my friend" (Song 5:16). Friendship was clearly at the foundation of their marital relationship and probably had to do a lot with their romance and intimacy.
Whether you've been married for 30 years or 30 weeks, this is an important question to consider: Why do some married couples stop being friends?
I've made an inventory from my own experience and from observing couples around us. Here's a short list:
1) He/She/Both stopped meeting with God regularly
2) Something or someone else got them more excited and 'stole' their attention
3) They stopped doing things together
4) The husband settled for the low bar of simply being a provider (such a misused and misinterpreted term)
5) The wife settled for the low bar of simply being, well, a wife (she is so much more, not to get cliche or anything but read Proverbs 31)
6) Children became more important (sometimes even used as an excuse not to spend time together; a huge No-No!)
7) They stopped surprising each other (Remember how you'd do things for each other? Unplanned, spontaneous things...)
8) They stopped praying together
9) They wanted some 'space' (whatever that means); They started living independently, like a single person
10) They talked and listened to each other less and less (with their eyes, ears, and heart)
How can a husband and wife be friends again?
1) Meet with God individually and together, daily. In other words, build an altar! Hearing each other pray is a powerful tool God uses to shape us.
2) Ask each other questions that lead to discussions that reveal feelings and emotions (What's on your mind? What are you worried about? What can I help with? What are you feeling? What can I do? Etc.)
3) Identify priorities in life and adjust your daily schedule to match; review it at least monthly (remember: 'things' and possessions are not priorities). To help, use this Covenant Planner.
4) Husband: Realize that you are called to much more than just 'providing.' If you bring food on the physical table, great, make sure you're bringing food on the spiritual table. To help, read THIS.
5) Wife: Your words can literally change your husband, for better or worse. Be a steward of empowering and righteous speech, that draws him near.
6) Put children in proper perspective. They will not be with you forever. Cultivating your marriage is the healthiest thing for them. For some insight and steps we're taking, read this POST.
7) Make time for talking and listening to each other. Do a weekly touchpoint or outing where the two of you simply come together just to be together.
8) Stop the blame game. Take responsibility; be accountable for the areas you failed in and prayerfully move in a different direction. Have you taken The Marriage Tension Test? It will help.
9) Rekindle the flame. Talk about how your relationship started and what the two of you used to do; maybe even bust out some old photos and videos. Repeat some of the activities you used to do together. For example, recently we started using a gratitude jar that we used years ago. We put short notes in it throughout the week/month, about things we're thankful for.
10) REPENT (This kind of sums everything up).
Keep the fire burning,
Short, Biblical lessons and free resources on all things love & marriage. A pocket-guide for married couples and for single adults who want Gods best for their life.