Auntie Em's Guide to Life

A guide to all the important things in life- marriage, family, cooking, gardening, reading, travel, Christian living… And whatever else grabs my attention!

He Wasn’t Always My BFF

Where does your husband rank on your BFF scale? Hopefully, he’s at the top. Because love changes as your marriage matures, friendship needs to be constant. Irritations arise; misunderstandings happen; responsibilities will weigh you down; heartbreaks and disappointments will come. But through it all, if you are friends, your marriage has hope!

Today marks the third post in the series Revive Your Marriage, with Sheila, Jennifer, Courtney, and Darlene. (Catch up with Revive Your Prayers and Revive Your Attitude if you missed them!) Today is Revive Your Friendship!

What does “friend” mean to you? It’s different for different people, and understanding that is part of what we have to overcome in marriage. I want a friend with whom I can share the deepest parts of my heart, and that friend will affirm me, feel my pain, encourage me, and then share his or her own heart. In my experience, it’s usually been HER heart! (I’m fortunate to have several really close girlfriends that fit this description!) My bottom line: Share your FEELINGS.

People who are not “into” their emotions, or “touchy-feely” like I’m accused of being, (Could is decribe your husband?) might want a friend who will DO things with them– enjoy the same things that they do. Their bottom line: Share EXPERIENCES. I’ve read that women tend to like relationships to be face-to-face, and men like them shoulder-to-shoulder.

So what’s a wife to do? First, you pray for your husband. Then you check your own attitude! Then you set out to REVIVE YOUR FRIENDSHIP. Don’t wait for him to do it. You do your part, and leave him to God.

I used to be really surprised when couples would divorce after many years of marriage, but now I know what happens: they are busy building a family, building a home, building financial security, building educated children… then suddenly, those “projects” are done. The kids go. The house is paid for. You have enough money. And there is nothing left to work for. You worked on autopilot so long that you forgot why you chose each other in the first place.

As our children were launching out on their own, I spent time worrying about this very thing.  I was afraid that we would have nothing to talk about, nothing in common anymore once they were gone. (I see now that I was guilty of putting my children’s needs ahead of my husband’s, and he sees now that he didn’t give me as much emotional support as he could have. We’ve both improved!) I talked to 2 friends who are a bit older than I, and past my stage of life. (Always have somebody ahead of where you are on your Board of Directors!) Their advice was oh-so-wise, and now I’m passing it on.

  • Remember what attracted you in the first place. What did you like to do then? Do those things again. (Sometimes this is not practical because you were in high school, and now you’re too old!)
  • Do your everyday chores together- plan meals; go to the grocery store; cook and clean up; build a garden project.
  • See if your budget will allow you to do some things you couldn’t do when all those kids were at home! We have traveled quite a bit since our kids left our nest! Mr X also developed an interest in photography, so I’ve gotten him several cameras, and we turn every vacation into a photo op.

And I would add these tidbits:

  • If both of you take God’s word seriously, you can put the needs and desires of the other ahead of yourself. Learn to at least tolerate, if not enjoy, what they do! I talked about engaging more in the football games for Mr X, and ending up enjoying it more. I still don’t love football, but I do love my husband, and he loves football, and he loves my going with him. It shows him that I love him. He has been to lots of musicals and choir concerts that he normally wouldn’t have attended, but has gone with me. He has a Goldwing motorcycle that he loves, and he likes to ride long trips and camp out… I give him my blessing to have guy time on these trips, but I’m happy to ride somewhere for lunch!
  • Make the effort to DO some things. It doesn’t matter what, just do SOMETHING! When you are so comfortable with each other, it’s easy to slip into the rut of doing the same thing every day, not connecting with each other, not challenging each other to grow as people.
  • Develop couple friends– Share new experiences with other people. Don’t wait till your house is perfect; have them over after church one night for sandwiches! (Visit Sandy at The Reluctant Entertainer for some great inspiration!)
  • And finally, as always is always the best advice, see what God’s Word has to say about friendship:

John 15:13 Greater love has no one that this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.

We are seldom asked to die for our spouses (though mine has assured me, and I believe him, that he would take a bullet for me!), but the more important thing is to lay down our lives in servanthood to our spouses. To put their needs and desires about our own.

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times…

(not just when everything is going well and you actually LIKE your spouse! “Like” comes and goes, but “love” is there all the time.)

1 Samuel 18:1 … the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

I love this description of a soul-deep friendship.

Make friendship with your husband your top priority this week. Let Auntie Em know how I can help.

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