Twenty five years ago I stood and promised to love Peter and live in marriage together. We had no idea what life for us would be like but we knew we wanted to do life together. On our wedding programme we had printed:
This day I married my friend, the one I laugh with, cry with, dream with, the one I love.
The most significant repercussion of our marriage is our children: Joshua, Jessica, Naomi and Daniel. They have shaped our lives as much as we have shaped theirs. When the children were young we would celebrate our wedding anniversary by watching our wedding video or flipping through our wedding album. We did this because our marriage was the beginning of our family, we did it because we want our kids to understand that marriage is important – but the photos and wedding stories are only one day – our wedding anniversary also gave us the opportunity to talk about living our life together.
I want my children to find a friend to love and decide to live life together. I want them to enjoy that love, but I also want them to know that living life together isn’t a romance movie. It’s life.
In a sense this poem sums up marriage: there will be laughter, and tears, there will be dreams and hard work, there will be love.
- I married my Friend – a friend likes you for who you are, respects and trusts you. We are still friends, and I believe this to be an important part of marriage.
- We became Partners – partners for life – a partner is committed to the same ‘project’ as you are – you are in it together
- We are lovers – God made us to have intimacy – emotional and physical (in the security of marriage)
What makes for a good friend?
I am challenged today, as I reflect on this idea of marrying my friend – what is a friend and am I still his friend? Is he still my friend? I hope I am but a little self-reflection doesn’t hurt!
- A friend knows you – good and bad – and still likes you
- A friend respects you – and tells you when that respect is on shaky ground
- A friend trusts you – not blindly, but because you are trustworthy – because you have history
- A friend encourages you when life is hard and your shoulders droop
- A friend comforts you when things go bad
- A friend gives hope, reminding you of what is true (regardless of circumstances)
- A friend knows your dreams and helps you walk towards them
- A friend forgives when you make a mistake
- A friend does little things that would make you smile
- A friend listens and is willing to spend time hearing you talk
- A friend allows you to be you, doesn’t expects conformity
- A friend likes spending time with you
We think we can throw anything at our friend and they will still love us – we say that familiarity breeds contempt, that we take our friends for granted and they’ll still love us. All that may be true – but each of those actions comes from the human heart’s propensity to be self-centered. If we truly want a good friendship – with anyone – we reign in our selfishness, and focus on being a good friend to our friend. The same goes for our spouse – to be a friend, a good friend, a true friend we need to not let complacency creep in, not let sloppiness or selfishness creep in. We don’t want to be that kind of friend.
We can get distracted with all the marriage stuff out there – and it is good stuff, don’t get me wrong – but if we just go back to the basics – and be a good friend to the one we love – then our marriage would be that little bit stronger.
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