Juice dates, sunset walks, munching on ripe bananas at Uhuru park, going for church camps together, serving in ministry, sitting on the city benches talking, munching on pieces of sugarcane while taking long walks on the rail tracks, window shopping in expensive malls, peeing in the bush when nature calls while the other looks out for you. . .are some of our hallmarks of our friendship when we were in courtship.
Our friendship was a gold mine. It was so easy to share out our lives uninhibitedly. Vulnerability and openness characterized our friendship. We had such an infectious company that we couldn’t afford to miss each other out on a day. That would have made both of us very unsettled.
That friendship engraved itself deep into our hearts. We carried it into marriage.
We love our friendship and value it’s longevity in our marriage.
It’s carried us through some of our lowest ebbs, and kept our hearts bent in a posture of humility in plenty and in merriment.
I love how we stay up late talking about everything, then scurry along the corridors when the little ones need attention, then tumble back to bed, groggy, wondering why we couldn’t sleep when they slept.
I love how we munch mangoes in the dark having our funny conversations.
Me: “Oh well! We should have slept, but anyway, where did we leave the story off?”
Me: “It’s 12:30”
Johnny: “Goodmorning sugar! Let me get a mango!”
Me: “Make it double . .”
Two minutes he jumps back to bed with a bowl of mango, and picks up the story from the pause.
Johnny: “Now what that guy did. . .”
Trust me on this conversation. My eyes, however sore, always remain unglued. He always has a tenderized story!
I love how we run around the house playing like two preschoolers, tickling each other, playing hide and seek. It’s too amusing to our children. Once they are tucked in, we can sit side by side, each reading a book.
A marriage needs friendship. A marriage without friendship feels like a drudgery. Drudgery is dangerous for any marriage.
If your spouse makes you feel like you are walking on egg shells, then the motivation to keep going is fear.
Fear breeds a performance based relationship vis a vis a relationship. A deep intimacy.
Fear, births bondage.
Twice in Songs 1, Solomon calls the Shulammite his “darling”.
The Hebrew word rayah is the female form of a noun that means “companion” and is translated “darling” in the NIV, “dearest” or “love”.
The two weren’t just lovers, but also intimate friends. Great companions. Without friendship, you cannot share your deepest longings, or fears, vision, dreams, even struggles. You will be struggling to keep up a performance, yet deep down you are both cognizant of the undeniable truth, that your hearts aren’t meshed into one.
See after this person intrigues you, facinates you and now are sharing a life together, it’s important to remember that you are now sharing everything. Every, thing.
Now, don’t get me wrong, your uniqueness is of utmost importance in marriage and you shouldn’t drown or strangle it in the name of love, but so is the togetherness that’s created by sharing your lives together.
Johnny and I share this principle, if one of us likes anything, there must be something to like in it—and the other one must find it. Every single thing that either of us likes.
If I like shopping, he will accompany me and find something in it to like. He will either snooze on the couch while I try out a thousand dresses or accompany me in the changing room to help me zip up. He prefers the latter. Of course!
If he loves to catch on a game, I should find something to like in those 90 plus minutes. I love just sitting there with him, lying on his lap. I still pick one or two commentaries.
That way we shall create a thousand strands, great and small, that will interweave us together. Then we shall be so close that it would be impossible—unthinkable—for either of us to suppose that we could ever recreate such closeness with anyone else.
Do you get me?
Solomon and his Shunammite had such a friendship was deeply engrained that 4 chapters later, they both agree that their friendship has made their vineyards bloom, and their marriage bed to blossom. Song of Solomon 5:16 says,
This is my beloved, this is my friend.
Their friendship fueled romance. Friendship fuels the flames of romance because it offers the best and secure bedrock against feeling adversarial towards your spouse.
If you are yet to get married, in that waiting room, make the best out of it. Look beyond the butterflies. Look beyond the superficiality of romance.
Ask yourselves, do you share your lives out without pretence or beguiling? Do you have to change your personality around this person? Do you genuinely enjoy each other’s company? Do you have deep conversations that are thought provoking?
Do you laugh around each other? Yes laugh. Does either of you trivialize each other’s hobbies, likes and excude an aura of superiority around each other?
That tells you so much about your friendship. It’s either not there at all, or it’s already haemorrhaged to a point of indifference and apathy.
Do not ignore that red flag. It’s waving up high.
TRUE intimacy involves much more than a physical union. It is the intertwining of two hearts through mutual sharing and passing years.
It is often after a married couple has experienced a fun time as friends that they experience the most passionate romance as lovers.
Your trust in each other will not only be based on love and loyalty, but on the fact of a thousand “sharings”—a thousand strands twisted into something unbreakable.