The day I first met my husband, we spent three hours so totally absorbed in conversation that we were oblivious to all else. A casual observer might have assumed we were just talking, but Doug was actually and actively sweeping me off my feet at the time.
“So… I heard you don’t date,” he said to me on our second meeting.
He’d heard right, although this was more a statement of fact than a matter of principle. At our small Christian college, everyone who knew me knew that I wanted to get married, have a lot of children, and homeschool them all — and there wasn’t exactly a glut of guys vying for the chance to make that dream come true. The few who had ventured to ask me out had been summarily turned down (or scared off) once it became apparent that we didn’t share the same vision or values.
But this guy was different. My life goals neither deterred nor intimidated him, but seemed rather to pique his interest.
“I don’t date either,” he continued. (By this he meant that he’d given up dating the minute he met me.) “So… how will we spend time together?”
He then proceeded to offer a slew of suggestions: Could we eat together in the cafeteria? Yes. Could we study together at the library? Yes. Could we go to church together on Sundays? Yes. Could we attend concerts, banquets, and other campus events together? Yes. Yes. And yes, again.
We’ve been virtually inseparable ever since. While we never did call it dating, we spent as many of our waking hours together as possible, then married a year later, so we could spend our resting hours together, as well.
Whether a couple is just starting out or has been married for years, togetherness is of vital importance for the nurture and health of their friendship. How can you truly know another person unless you spend time in his presence?
Written letters, phone calls, texts, Skype, Twitter, Facebook — these are all great ways to stay connected when separation is unavoidable, but they can’t hold a candle to communicating face to face with your beloved in the living, breathing flesh.
Some couples assume togetherness will be the status quo after marriage. They expect that if two people live under the same roof, they’ll no longer have to work at coordinating schedules and carving out time for one another. That sort of thing just happens automatically, doesn’t it?
Or does it?
That might be true for the time a couple is on their honeymoon trip, but as soon as they get back home and return to school or work, life’s other obligations and responsibilities will begin conspiring to distract their attention, steal their time, and dampen their intimacy. Unless husband and wife are both careful to protect, preserve, and cherish their time together, it will slowly be eroded away and their friendship will suffer as a result.
To keep that from happening, you must be intentional about the time you spend with your spouse. Don’t let outside activities infringe upon your time together as a couple. You may have no choice but to be apart during working hours, but limit extra-curricular activities that segregate you from one another too frequently.
Need some practical ways to foster friendship with your beloved?
Set time aside daily to connect with your husband.
This might be over coffee in the morning before children are up and work duties call, or maybe over a warm bath before you turn in at night. Either way, use the time as an opportunity to discuss the day’s events and your thoughts concerning them, to relate funny or interesting things that happened while your were apart, to summarize the day’s accomplishments, to share any concerns, needs, or prayer requests, and to pray about them together.
Jealously guard your family time in the evenings.
As much as possible, say no to evening activities that take you and your husband in separate directions. An occasional board meeting or girls night out may be fine, but if your family if fragmented every night of the week for months on end, it will completely undermine all sense of togetherness.
Make the master bedroom a private retreat.
If you haven’t installed a pick-proof lock on your bedroom door, please do not wait another day to do so. This will afford you and your husband instant privacy whenever you want or need it, which is especially important once children join the family.
Take an active interest in your husband’s hobbies.
Learn what you can about his favorite sports and pastimes, then join him as a fan and cheerleader or an active participant.
Life really is better when you’re married to your best friend, but any friendship flounders when you fail to invest adequate time and energy in it. What are your favorite ways to foster friendship with your husband?