Friendship is truly a foundation to any great marriage. That almost goes without saying. And it is significant that both husbands and wives rated companionship in their top five love needs. Husbands rated it as their number three love need; wives rated it as their number five love need in the survey we did of more than 700 couples for our book, The 5 Love Needs of Men and Women.
The fact is, you and your wife may see friendship in marriage a bit differently. When you hear the word friendship, what picture goes through your mind? Gary and I sometimes have different perspectives about friendship. Maybe you and your wife see friendship a bit differently too, but all of us can agree on one thing: Friendship involves togetherness.
Genesis 2 tells us, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion who will help him’” (Gen. 2:18). God’s solution to Adam’s aloneness was the togetherness, the oneness of having a spouse.
What Does Friendship In Marriage Look Like?
Friendship with your wife isn’t really that hard. When a husband is emotionally joined to his wife, he wants to listen. Friendship with your wife is an enjoyable process and a threshold to discovering new aspects of her. It reinforces what is already there and strengthens the marriage bond. A good friendship with your spouse lays the foundation to support other areas of your marriage relationship. Other areas of marriage may fluctuate over the years, but the friendship factor is lasting.
What Are Your Wife’s Friendship Needs?
Let’s take a look at what some of your wife’s specific friendship needs may be. The best way to find out what she needs, of course, is to ask her. In addition to talking with her about your friendship, read the next few paragraphs to get a better understanding of what most wives’ friendship needs are.
She Needs You to Be Her Best Friend
Your wife probably has several close female friends. She might even consider one or two of them to be her best friends. Those friends meet some of your wife’s deep friendship needs. And, if you think about it, you probably are the beneficiary of those friendships because they strengthen your wife and make her a better spouse. Your wife needs these friendships, and you are a wise husband if you encourage her to maintain them.
But your wife’s friendship with you is different. You are her best best friend. You are her lifelong companion, the one who will be with her to the end. Her female friends may move away or move into a different phase of life that may diminish their friendship, but you are there for the long haul.
A best best friend outclasses all the others, and she looks to you to meet her needs in ways that surpass her other friends’ capabilities. Your wife needs someone with whom she can share absolutely everything: her ups and downs, her struggles and joys. She looks to you as the best friend who will celebrate her joys and victories without competition or jealousy.
She Needs a Safe Place to Be Herself
Your wife needs your friendship to be a safe place, a relationship in which she can completely be herself. Each day that Gary and I spend time together in friendship, our marriage becomes more comfortable. Because we have shared so many of our thoughts and feelings with each other over the years, we can almost sense what the other is thinking. And Gary is my friend not only in his words, but also in his presence.
She Needs Your Integrity
Your wife wants to know that your yes is yes and your no is no. In other words, she wants to trust you. And it is your integrity that will help build her ability to trust you.
Your wife needs to know that when you say you will be home, you either will be home or will call to inform her of a change of plans. She needs to trust that when you get on the Internet, you are not giving in to the temptation of pornography but are honoring the Lord and your family. She needs to know that your public and private selves are one and the same as you mature and grow in the Lord. These are all issues of integrity.
She Needs You to Honor Her
One of the most valuable gifts Gary gives to me is honor. Most mornings, if you were to eavesdrop on our conversation, you would hear him affirming me for the littlest of things. He expresses his appreciation for me with an attitude of honor from the time he rises each morning.
Your wife needs you to honor her. That means you speak to her kindly and respectfully, not berating or belittling her if she does something that frustrates you. Honoring her means that you put her needs before your own. It means that you speak positively about her to others. It means that you tell her whenever you see in her a virtue or quality that speaks of God’s character.
As a result of your honor and respect, your wife will blossom with confidence and poise. She will also be very eager to repay you with the same respect and honor.
I encourage you to give your wife a sense of deep security in your friendship. Build your friendship with such stability that when you face the tough times, you will find comfort and peace in your relationship with each other.