This weekend, three of my very dearest friends are coming out to the desert from Texas. What makes them some of my dearest friends? They KNOW me. Really know me. They listen well. They care. They empathize. And they pray for me.
Just as importantly, we have FUN! So much fun! We do life together. We celebrate together. We sometimes laugh until we cry! Few experiences in life are as satisfying as time spent with a close friend. (Especially when you get to spend time together after you've moved half way across the country!)
Best friends are simply a God thing. Even more so when that bestie is your husband! If Tom were not my best friend, this past year would have been a painful and lonely one after relocating to California. I'm so glad we worked on our friendship BEFORE this potentially difficult year arrived. It's our friendship that has sustained me and encouraged me month after month. Just like my dearest gal pals, Tom knows me, cares, listens, empathizes and prays for me. He knows my deepest fears and insecurities, and he works to build me up and encourage me. And I do those very same things for him!
A life-long commitment is a treasured gift. One way to make that gift more than a commitment but the kind of marriage God intended for you, is to work on being a friend to your husband. Be that person who encourages him in his moments of weakness and cheers him on in victory. The one who laughs with him, shares his dreams and makes him feel loved.
5 Ways to Strengthen Friendship in Your Marriage
1. Plan times to just have fun together
Make sure to spend time doing something you enjoy together every single weekend. Even if it's only for an hour or so! Take a hike. Dine at your favorite restaurant or go to the movies. Attend a concert or go on a bike ride. The list could go on and on! What's important is to find the things you enjoy together. If you don't have many common interests and can't decide what that would be, then take a baby step. Go on a walk and talk about what you could do together as a couple. A project in the house? A picnic in the park? Find out what would interest him and join him there.
2. Communicate daily
It's so easy to get in the routine of having dinner in front of the television. And really, that's fine, occasionally. But if it becomes a nightly habit, nip it in the bud. Spend time chatting about your day, the kids or the upcoming weekend. Really LISTEN to him. That will encourage him to share his feelings.
One of the things I love most about my husband is that, from the beginning, he has always extended grace when I mess up. Even when I mess up BIG! His example has taught me a lot about being a "grace extender." And this has been a huge factor in our friendship. Friends know they will disappoint and make mistakes. Friends are grace extending and forgiving. Offering these things to your husband strengthens your friendship.
4. Get physical
This goes way beyond the obvious, though that is important, too! But beyond sexual intimacy, make sure to demonstrate affection to your husband. Hold hands. Hug. Kiss him goodbye when he leaves for work. Showing affection is a sure way to make your husband feel loved!
When you know he faces a challenging day at work, pray for him throughout the day. You may need to put a note on your desk or your kitchen counter as a reminder, and that's fine! God will surely bless your friendship with your husband if you pray for him each day. It takes the focus off yourself and onto your mate. Praying together is equally important in strengthening your marital friendship. Pray together often. And never underestimate the power of prayer in your marriage!
Editor's note: This article was originally pubished on Tabler Party of Two. It has been republished here with permission.
Andrea Tabler a young-at-heart, empty nest blogger writing about my empty-nester adventures, faith stories, and creative endeavors! I love creating recipes and crafty projects, sharing how I approach entertaining and style and using my 25+ years in marketing and graphic design to instruct and encourage other bloggers in social media and blog marketing.