“This is my beloved and this is my friend.”Song of Solomon 5:16
When I married my husband he was more friend than lover. At twenty-one, I hardly knew true love. I knew selfish love, abusive love, conditional love, but true love? Not really. So when I walked down that aisle on my wedding day it wasn’t for love, but for friendship.
In all seriousness (and in total honesty) I wasn’t even sure I wanted to marry him, but he was my friend and he had stood by me through so much. I know there were some who wondered if we would last. I had a son so we would be an instant family. We were young with very little money, very little life experience. But Keith’s love was deep and strong. He loved me and he loved my son.
I think about those early years of being a wife and mother. I was clueless. Totally clueless about life, love, marriage, family, and God. I was a total mess…and still am at times!
I look back in amazement at what God has done. His mercy and grace can be seen in my marriage, in my life, and in my heart. I mean really, God sent a man into my life that would love me deeply, without reservation. And his love has been constant. His friendship a gift. His leadership comforting. If it weren’t for this man beside me pointing me to Jesus I don’t know where I would be today.
Today, almost 32 years later, I love my friend deeply. He is my best friend, lover, confidant, and cheerleader. He strengthens me in my weakness and lets me shine in my strengths. He confronts and admonishes me when I need it. He leads, not ahead of me, but walking beside me. Oh, how I love this man!
Our marriage hasn’t always been easy. Being married to me has its challenges I am sure! I can be moody, selfish, and down right cantankerous! ( Oh how I am in need of the Spirit’s work daily in my life!!) But as I sit today and reflect back I can see clearly that there are two things that have helped to hold our marriage together, even at our worst moments.
The first is understanding that it’s a commitment. A covenant between God and one another. It means we will work together through the hard times. It means we will fight for each other and for us. It means he will be my priority, my beloved above all others. It means I will not ever give up on him or our relationship.
Being in a covenant is realizing that we are not alone in the relationship. It’s understanding that we have the power of God the Spirit working along side us.
The second is friendship. From the beginning we were friends. We laughed, played, and had fun together. He is my best friend. I have poured out my heart to him and with gentleness and understanding, he has held it. We share our hurts and brokenness. Our hopes and dreams. We keep no secrets.
We still hold hands. Take long walks and just enjoy each other. But it’s something we have had to work at and we tried not to take each other for granted. We knew that it wouldn’t just happen. We’ve had to make it happen. We had to set aside time for building a friendship.
As I think about all of the friendships I have had I realize that my husband is my best friend. He is always there when I need him and points me to Christ when I am tempted to rely too much on him alone.
I do not want to waste this time with my friend arguing over things that do not really matter. I don’t want to wake up one day to find him gone from this earth and have regrets. I want to enjoy each and every day making memories, and enjoying my friend, and my lover.