I was in Sainsbury’s earlier today and I saw an old couple hobbling up the moving walkway towards the store entrance, and a big smile formed on my face.
Firstly because the old man looked like he was slyly trying to race the old woman, and beat her to the top.
Secondly, because I imagined my wife and I being that age… and me doing the same thing!
They looked like they were still having fun, despite them probably having spent the best part of 50 years together. 50 years!!!! Wow! Take a second and think about how long that is…
There are many important aspects to a relationship – love, friendship, spirituality, trust – the list goes on, but the scene on the moving walkway this morning highlighted to me the importance of FRIENDSHIP.
One of the things that really attracted me to the beautiful woman that I made my wife is how well we got on. I found her fun to be around, great to talk to and very funny, and I still do today.
The reality is that we live in a very shallow and materialistic world, where we are driven by materialism and vanity. This transpires into our decision making, and we often choose partners based heavily on looks and their physical attributes and overlook so many other issues and character flaws.
1 Peter 1v24 – As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades.”
Beauty will fade, and looks will change, and all that will be left is what’s on the inside.
Please don’t misinterpret my point, you should definitely marry somebody you are attracted to, but there are many beautiful and attractive people in the world, so that alone cannot be the grounds on which you decide to build a solid relationship.
My wife and I can have fun anywhere, anytime, whether that be a shared joke, playground teasing, a play fight (which she sometimes takes too far lol), a random innocent role play (I have a tendency to spontaneously turn into an Indian shop owner, an American motivational speaker or an African uncle… please don’t ask), or a trip down memory lane, and we can do this because we are FRIENDS.
Now, I know many people who meet new partners, fall in love, and use some of the following expressions/ phrases:
“We are best friends”, “I’ve never met anyone like them”, “We get on better than I have ever got on with anyone else”, “I can’t get enough of them”, “Every minute with them is magical”, and a personal favourite of mine… “When they leave, I cry”. (LOL – that one always cracks me up!!!!)
All the above are common phrases used during the infatuation stage.
This phase can last as long as two years! Tread carefully at this stage. This is when basic mistakes are made; sound judgment and common sense are having a timeout. It is easy to overlook and justify warning signs that may pop up concerning your partner. Therefore make sure you take a step back to evaluate the relationship, pray about it, and importantly, seek counsel.
Proverbs 11v14 – Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory.
It’s what’s left after this stage that will determine what your relationship truly consists of. So work on developing your friendship. Do things that build trust, and strengthen your bond, focus on creating memories and moments together, all these things will help lay a foundation of a true friendship.
If not, you will be swept along by infatuation and lust only to wake up one morning, married, and to realise you actually don’t have a friend in your partner.
There are four types of love, Storge (Affection – usually used to describe family bonds), Phileo (Friendship), Eros (Romantic) and Agape (Unconditional). All are important and are needed, I will discuss these in a later post.
One of the things that has really helped my wife and I is the fact we have that friendship (Phileo love), and it’s an area we continually try to develop. With anything in this life, if you don’t make a conscious effort to improve it, it’ll naturally die – law of degeneration.
When I first got married I had to adjust to the amount of time I actually spent with my wife. She was there when I woke up, she was there when I came home from work, there when I went to sleep; she was with me ALL the time. I know for many singletons or people on the road to marriage, this can seem like a dream come true… I too was in your boat. The realities are somewhat more challenging, as you will find out. Many couples have gotten married, believing they are head over heels in love only to realise they actually can’t stand the person they’ve married.
Believe me it happens, emotions can be funny things, haven’t you wondered why so many people get married and just 6 months later they are pursuing a divorce.
Jeremiah 17v9 – The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?
So, my advice is simple, check your heart and truly identify what is driving you towards your partner. Are you infatuated? Driven by lust? Or do you truly have a friendship underneath all the butterflies and excitement. Feelings are fickle, and are not enough to sustain a relationship over the long run; a friendship however… is vital.