Being lovers is great — but it's even more important to be best friends.
If you asked me who my very best friend is, I would, without any hesitation, shout my husband's name. On our very first date, I not only started falling for Dave immediately, but I knew that I had found my best friend. Though we've never been "just friends," being best friends only enhances our romance and marriage.
When I read the Bible, I find that many of the verses used to describe a true friend could also be used to describe a devoted husband or wife. In the most romantic book of the Bible, Song of Solomon, the wife calls her husband "my lover, my friend."
With the busyness of life — raising kids, working hard, and checking off our long "to-do" list — we can forget that God not only gave us a partner for life in our spouse, but he also gave us a lifelong best friend, BFF, or bestie, as the cool kids say.
If we find ourselves in a rut with the connection we feel with our spouse, maybe it's time we start working on our friendship. In order to do just that, we need to understand how the Bible describes a friend and how this relates to the relationship between a husband and wife.
Here are six ways to be your spouse's bestie:
1. Stand by their side through thick and thin.
As spouses, we should be the ones to come to each other's defense the fastest. We need to protect their reputation by watching how we talk about them. We know our spouse better than anyone else, and that means the good AND the bad.
This means we promote the good we see in them, and we don't tear them down in public or on social media to let everyone know their shortcomings. We should be the most loyal person in our spouse's life.
2. Be willing to share your heart and be their best listener.
We need to be open and intimate in our conversations with our spouses. Let's give them our eyes and ears; no mindless nods or empty "yes, dear's." We need to put our cell phones, remotes, laptops, and other devices down and actually engage in fruitful conversations with our spouses. This will only increase our friendship and greatly improve the marriage.
3. Be their biggest fan and motivator.
We want our spouses to be at their best, so why not be their biggest motivators? If your spouse has a goal in mind, help them to achieve it. We need to walk alongside them and join them in pursing their dreams. Help them find time to study for school if that's the goal. Go to the gym with them and keep them motivated if they're trying to get healthier or lose weight.
Friends support each other and should do this even more as their spouse.
4. Serve them before yourself.
This can be a hard one because we're selfish by nature. However, this point might be the most important one of all. We must love our spouse so much that we are willing to "lay down our life" for them.
Husbands, you may be familiar with Ephesians 5:25: "For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her..." This is often quoted at weddings along with Ephesians 5:24: "As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything."
Although the word "submission" often leaves wives with a bad taste in their mouths, to "submit" and to "give up your life" are different ways of laying down your life for your spouse. It's about serving your spouse before yourself. When both spouses do this consistently, their friendship and marriage will remain strong.
5. Foster their strength and health in mind, body and spirit.
As best friends and spouses, we want to bring out the very best each other. In order to be at our very best, we must be strong and healthy in mind, body and spirit. This means that we should encourage one another to eat right, exercise, learn something new everyday, read more, go to church, pray, read our Bibles, and the list goes on.
We aim to help and not hinder our spouse's well-being.
6. Pray for them every day.
There will be days that we're upset with our spouses, and sometimes we may not be "feeling it" for them. These are the very times we need to lean on prayer the most. Pray that God will bless your spouse, touch their heart, and strengthen your marriage.
It's amazing how God will soften our hearts toward our spouses when we're praying specifically for them. I would encourage you to pray with your spouse as well. If praying every day seems overwhelming, try to pray weekly.
Don't be consumed by the specifics. Just. Start. Praying. You will be amazed at how God blesses you and your spouse when you both foster a deep and lasting friendship as part of the foundation of your marriage.
This article was originally published at patheos.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.