/ / 8 Ways to Maintain Your Friendship In Marriage

8 Ways to Maintain Your Friendship In Marriage

In a time when couples fall apart and marriages fail so easily, here are eight examples from my parents' lives to maintain friendship in marriage.  #marriagegoals #womenlivingwell  #marriage

Growing up in a Christian home was a blessing.  I had the privilege of watching my  father and mother live as best friends in our home.

There was never another person my father preferred over my mother.

And there was never another person my mother preferred over my father.

Mom and Dad

They both have good – life long friendships with multiple couples – but those are bonuses in life.  My father – a very friendly outgoing man – is not the type that goes out with the guys on a regular basis and my mother, who is a little more private, is not the type to attend conferences with the girls – like I do. Lol!  At the end of the day, they prefer each other’s company over everyone else’s.

The two are truly inseparable. I don’t mean that my parents are always together – my father traveled for business all of my teen years and he loves sports. So he has his own interests but their hearts are 100% on each other.  My mom knows that all commitments or choices she makes, affect my father and my father knows the same vice versa.

Here are 8 ways I’ve watched my parents maintain their friendship in marriage.

1.  Great Communication

I grew up in a very open home. There were very few secrets amongst any of the siblings or my parents and us kids. We ate dinner around the dinner table every night – without any distractions and talked and talked and talked.  Even now as adults, we sit for hours around dinner tables and talk. It’s our family’s favorite past time!

Here we are hustling and bustling in the kitchen before our Sunday lunch this weekend as an extended family.

mom and dad Sunday lunch

2. Great Listening

Since we are a family of talkers – we are also a family of listeners!  Dad and Mom listen to each other.  We all tell looooooong stories – but we listen attentively, ask questions and care.  We learned this from our parents role modeling this in their marriage.

Here we are after lunch this Sunday looking at photos of my parents recent vacation on my father’s laptop.

{Pictured below – my 2 sisters, my father’s brother, my father, mother and nephew}

mom and dad at table

3. Loyalty

My parents are always on each other’s side.  If someone is treating one of them poorly – the other one is always loyal to counsel them well and support them.

4.  Reliability

My parents are predictable.  They can count on each other. What they say they will do for each other, they follow through and do.

5.  Memory Builders

My parents make memories together. They plan special vacations, outings with the grandkids, and fun holidays. My father takes a lot of pictures and my mom makes albums out of them for the kids so the memories are captured forever.  They value making special memories for each other.

Here they are at Steak and Shake with all the grandchildren {and a family friend} – following this lunch, they took us to see the movie “God’s Not Dead”.

lunch at steak and shake

6. Shared Values and Faith

While their opinions on some things differ their shared values and faith unite them on the big decisions in life.

7. Support Of Each Other’s Ministries

My parents worship together.  This is a blessing to me and my husband as we have sat in the same pew with them for over a decade worshipping along side them every Sunday.

Here we are in church together this week:

mom and dad in church

My father leads an adult Sunday School class and my mother is there supporting him and giving him feedback. My mother leads a women’s Bible Study and my father has watched the children of the moms in her study, for many years on end. They support each other so well.

8.  They keep short accounts

Truth be told – my parents argue – *gasp*.  Lol!

You may read the above list of qualities in their marriage and think they have a perfect marriage. And yes – it is very strong but they are human! And like all couples – they banter back and forth but they keep short accounts.  I remember watching my mom walk out of the room to end discussions that were not getting resolved and then  –  *wham-o* – a few minutes later she waltzed back into the room as if nothing ever happened and all was well and happy again in our world.  My parents keep really short accounts and forgive easily. This is a blessing!

I know that having parents who are best friends is a gift and I want to give this same gift to my children. But I recognize that it is harder to achieve than it looks.  It takes compromise, sacrifice and self-denial to maintain a deep friendship through out the different seasons of marriage.

Elisabeth Elliot writes:

A Christian marriage is built on sacrifice–each for the other. It is a lifelong NO to myself and YES to the other–a sublime and intimate union, a call to “spousal” love as defined by Christ and the Church. The husband represents Christ, the wife represents the Bride of Christ. What an awesome privilege for each of us! But it will cost.

Having a strong friendship in marriage costs both spouses something.

It costs us our pride, our time, our attention, and our desires.

It’s about seeking to honor God within the four walls of our home.

It’s about walking intimately with God and allowing Him to make us the wife He has called us to be.

It’s about extending the same forgiveness and grace we’ve received at a the cross to our husband.

**Chime In:

Which of the “8 ways” do you need to work on in your marriage?

The “Embracing Your Marriage” series has come to an end. How have you seen God working in your marriage during this series?

Join me back here tomorrow when I announce my new “Monday Series” for October…if you’ve been around this ministry for a few years – you know what’s coming 😉

Walk with the King,

Courtney

**This post is a part of the…

Embrace[3]

This week’s group challenge is:

Embrace Your Friendship – Carve out some time to spend together. Do something that takes your minds off of screen time. Then make it a habit.

Today my friends pictured above are also writing on
Embracing Friendship in Your Marriage.

Please visit them!

Darlene Schacht at TimeWarpWife.com
Jennifer Smith at UnveiledWife.com
Sheila Gregoire at ToLoveHonorandVacuum.com
Ashleigh Slater at AshleighSlater.com
Lisa Jacobson at Club31Women.com

24 Comments

  1. I love this post! I just blogged about 18 years with my husband but should explain way why we work so should go into more details some time! Bottom line…Christ is the center!

    I think I need to be a better listener. My husband seems to always have new “ideas of the week” as we call them that & sometimes they annoy me. But I should listen and ask questions and give him more of a listening ear. Thanks for a great post. Love that your parents have given u such a great example!!

    (And I know what is coming next on your blog… Fallish posts – without saying too much!! See… I’ve been around a long time! * wink*)

  2. Err..how about ALL of them :/ It’s been hard these last few weeks with my having been out of town for training at my new job. I started the new job at the very beginning of the month. Funny how that managed to play out. Lol!

    I know what’s coming too…and I’m PREPARED!!!

  3. This is so beautiful. In one of your previous posts you talked of forgiveness in marriage and that day I was holding on to some hurt/unforgiveness on my part. It’s amazing how God works in our lives. I needed that message that day to let it go. This post just put another layer to keep on forgiving.
    And it is all about honoring God in our home.
    Thank you Courtney for all your posts, God has used you greatly in my walk with God.

  4. Is it a sign of denial if I say at this moment I’m actually doing well at all of them? I definitely have moments where I fail but my parents gave me the same great example and I’m proud to say they have been married for more than 30 years. My husband and I have struggles but I think we do pretty well at having short accounts. As I’m writing this I’m remembering after picking him up from the airport yesterday and though I put in a huge amount of effort Saturday to clean the house for him it was a disaster when he walked in. I felt like a failure but he just sent the kids to play outside and beckoned me to cuddle with him on the couch for a few wonderful minutes.
    Now as our schedules return to normal I will have a better chance to clean and make it count but I’m glad he is not one to care as much about a clean floor or washed dishes as he cares about spending time with me.
    He really is my best friend.

  5. Fabulous post! So many great reminders! I’m looking forward to making more memories! We’ve been essentially carrying two houses for the last 9 months and money has been tight. Not that money makes a memory, but at times it can feel like it keeps us from exploring the sites in our new city.

    Your post is also a great reminder to be intentional. It’s so easy to let everyone plug into their devices – we need to put them down and do something together! Going to make sure we do ‘smores around the fire pit soon!

  6. Great post! You and your family are beautiful! Thank you for sharing so much of you….it’s so encouraging and helpful! 🙂
    God Bless!

  7. What a beautiful heritage God has blessed you with. I did not come from such a rich (not talking money here), loving family. However, I have been blessed with a beautiful marriage so hopefully my children will be the second generation of good marriages with more to follow. What an inspiration you guys are.

  8. This was so inspiring and encouraging! Thank you for sharing. I really like #4 – to be predictable. It’s easy to start out with a plan on marriage and motherhood, but when exhaustion and hard times hit it becomes harder to persevere and stay in God’s Word, praying, and basically not become lazy! I want to persevere as a faithful woman of God, in marriage, and in motherhood and stay predictable.

    You have been such a mentor to me in staying strong and faithful. I recently switched all my blog posts to use the SOAP method and I’m gaining so much more understanding and insight when blogging this way. (Blogging keeps me accountable and in God’s Word even more. :)) I’ve read your book and loaned it out to neighbors and friends. Thank you so much for your ministry – it has truly impacted me!!
    Cooking Up Faith
    http://www.cookingupfaith.org

  9. Looks like the first thing we need to work on is communication. My husband is extremely introverted and hates talking, or being asked questions. He was 28 when we married and I was the only girl he ever dated (or even talked to). His family is very private and non communicative. My family communicates a lot but not in a healthy way so neither of us have a good background for it.

  10. Here’s a story. I attended your first (and I HOPE not last ) WLW conference last year at your home church. Anyway, I saw your husband and children as I was leaving and SO wanted to go up and say hi to them both to thank them for letting you share you with all of us. I didn’t want to appear as a creepy stalker so I just walked on by. 🙁 I know your husband is more private than you and maybe your kids would think, we don’t know this woman so how does she know who we are? LOL.

    During my training last week, we did two classes on communication skills. It was taught by a 6 ft 9 in Seargant. He did a VERY good job in how to communicate with the inmates and a lot of the techinques can be used in our personal relationships as well. 🙂

  11. What a lovely model you had growing up! You know a sore spot for us has been me keeping an account of what my husband is not doing. But you inspired quite a bit in your book “women living well,” and something changed in me. It’s not loving of me at all to keep a record like that, so I’ve dropped the mental list of all He isn’t doing as a leader, and have been so blessed in the process and have a better marriage for it. We don’t have a perfect marriage, but the more we grow and learn to love and respect, the stronger it’s become. Thank you for your wisdom and guidance,
    Amanda.

  12. Oh, how I need to work on #8 keep short accounts!!! My husband does this fairly well, and I’m constantly thinking “how can he act as if nothing happened?!” But lately I realized that’s probably the way to go, unless it’s a very, very serious hurt or wrong, but the little stuff, like fighting over how much I’m willing to pay for decent ice cream and how my husband is not willing to pay that much in the middle of the grocery store and then it ruining the rest of our evening because I can’t get over a few choice words is silly, and not building a strong marriage. The good Lord knows I need to work on this one!!

  13. Amazing message here, I also believe your parents are spirit filled ,which makes it easier to have a Christ centered marriage , am a single but
    also encouraged to pray and wait on Gods best ,when it comes to marriage ,not asking for perfection but believing God for a Holy Spirit inspired marriage . God blesss you this post.

  14. It is a great list and it is always great to hear the testimony of a great marriage but I feel like rule #1 communication can be damaging if taken as “share every irritation , and insecurity of your heart” which is not what you meant, I am sure. However too many women think they must share everything to have great communication. I can’t remember the exact ratios but it takes many good interactions of the same emotional intensity to make up for a negative one to maintain a healthy relationship. I think like 4 to 1. Think of how emotional a fight can get. You have to have sex 4 times or do something pretty special to make up for that fight. If you bite your tongue and avoid an unnecessary negative interaction it can keep your ratios in the black. It isn’t the conventional wisdom but many marriage councilors would concur. My source is “How to Improve Your Marriage Without Having to Talk About it.” by Patricia Love and my mother who told me she figured this out on her own because it frightened her when her parents argued. She was determined to hold her tongue and discuss the problem later in private but often she said when later came she no longer felt the need to discuss anything. She was over it and had forgiven my Dad. In this “let it all hang out” communication overload culture the idea of holding your tongue can seem counterintuitive. There are dozens of bible verses urging us to hold our tongues and avoid quarreling.

    For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. Proverb 26:20

    More than anything else holding your tongue takes trust in your spouse, that he loves you. It is a kind of “pre-forgivess” based on trust of what you KNOW to be true of your spouse- that he does love, value and appreciate you. Instead of asking for reassurance you reassure yourself. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask for what you want. Women fear deprivation and men fear humiliation and failure. If you don’t trust him, he can begin to feel like a failure. For our 30+ year marriage my list would be, 1. love, 2 Trust, 3. pre-forgiveness/let it pass, 4. shared values, 5 gratitude and 6 mutual submission/surrender which starts with one person- let it be you. A book could be written on each one especially submission/surrender which isn’t what some women fear it will be. Thank you for your list. Your parents sound like they had a great marriage.

  15. Love this ~ thanks for sharing. I’ve been married for 28 years and we’ve grown so much and prayerfully we exhibit many of these same qualities for our children. I do need to work on that step for ending arguments by walking out of the room. I do return like your mom, unfortunately it is not with an all is forgotten attitude, it is usually to add a few more comments. I’ll keep working on that. 🙂

  16. There are ministries that couples can do together. My husband and I present and contribute to Marriage Encounter weekends. Its a couples thing. 🙂

  17. I loved this post. As an adult woman who was raised in anything BUT a peaceful home, it is odd to listen to others describe their parents so fondly. You, Courtney, speak of your parents as if they are part of your ‘best friends’ circle. You also speak about your family in a way that makes it obvious that you know and are thankful that you have been blessed with such a strong family unit! I hope to model that for my children. We are waiting on the arrival of our first baby, a son, Mason! My husband and I are so excited!! Sometimes the excitement just overtakes us and we grin like fools! I want my home to be a haven for both my husband and my son (and any other children that God may bless us with) and to anyone who comes for a visit.
    I am solitary by nature and a bit reserved around people I’ve just met but once I am use to that person, I want them to be at ease with me in my home. My husband and I have been best friends since day 1. It was just an instant connection between us and we have only gotten stronger through our struggles as a couple. My husband’s name is Angel, (he is from Mexico), and so I love to say that God sent me a real live angel to make my life the best it could be.
    I feel like that, if any area of our marriage needs work, it is communication. I’m an editor and spend a lot of my time on the computer and he works outside the home. When he comes home, we eat together and talk some, but after that, we are pretty much distracted by our own activities. He watches videos on his tablet and I am usually reading for pleasure. Setting aside some time to just talk about nothing in particular is something I think we will start to do at our house. Thank you for this post!

  18. What a wonderful way to end such a powerful series. I have only been married for three months but I can already see some of these traits culminating in our relationship. Friendship is so important! Thank you for your wise words!

  19. These are great reminders! My husband and I are big believers that communication is key. We make sure we get to eat dinner every day together so that we can catch up about the day, discuss ideas and projects. Which leads me to your point about supporting each others ministry. I personally feel really close to my husband when we get to spend quality time together discussing our dreams and goals. I always want to have a friendship with my husband!

  20. I love your posts! And thank you. Being married a mear 3 years, I love to look at ways to build a strong marriage. Unfortunately my parents are still together, but for all the wrong reasons (no love), but with their strong catholic values they will be together til death. As for me my husband, he is my best friend. We have married for love and nothing less. Now that we have grown together we have thought about bringing a blessed child into our harmonious world. I dare ask what advice do you have for us? Your blog has had a true effect on me and my husband and has made us better spouses. This was the post that got me started. Please know your opinion matters. I am not worried about having children, only worried about misplacing my friendship.
    Thank you,
    Zarlar702@gmail.com

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