I am a regular reader of Michael Hyatt’s blog. I recommend it. This morning he has a guest post from a therapist friend, John Marshall. The Title of the post is “What Really Keeps a Marriage Together“.
Marshall writes that even though agape (unconditional spiritual love), and eros (sexual love) are important to the success of a marriage, philia (friendship) love may be the most important.
When I counsel a couple who is not having a good marriage I usually hear the guy complain about the lack of sexual love and the woman say “Well you are supposed to love me unconditionally.” The underlying problem you usually hear, after listening, especially to her, is a lack of friendship love. They are not what friends are supposed to be.
Marshal writes that he believes friendship is the most important piece of the “successful marriage” puzzle. In my humble but professional opinion, I agree.
Are you a friend to your spouse?
Marshal writes that in order to be friends there are certain relational components that need to be present.
- You respect her.
- You treat her like your equal when your upbringing and your own selfish ways try to convince you otherwise.
- You talk about how you feel and think about the good and bad of your life together.
- You even risk conflict by being more honest than you are comfortable with because it builds intimacy into your marriage.
- You plan and dream together because life is too complicated to just wing it.
In other words, you treat your partner like your “best” friend.
He is addressing a young male in the article but these principles are important on both sides of the relationship.
If the attraction is a healthy one, when two people fall in love with each other, or when they really start liking each other, this friendship love is really what it’s all about. You can’t wait to be with each other because you know that she makes you feel good about yourself like no one else does. She is becoming your best friend.
Is your spouse your best friend? If not, she should be. What do you need to do to get the friendship back? Do it now, before she or he finds another friend. It happens.