the helpless marriage: marriage as friendship (part 1)

There are a few things in this world I really enjoy. A good cup of coffee, for instance, has the ability to truly brighten my day. A perfect song at just the right time, too, can lift my spirits. But these are simple pleasures. Sometimes I need something much bolder than coffee. Sometimes I need something more encouraging than a song. Where do I turn for such a thing? My wife.

My wife and I have a great marriage. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t consider ourselves ‘experts’ at marriage. Not a chance. But we do consider ourselves to be best friends. In fact, there are days I’ll call her on my way home from the office, not wanting to wait just ten more minutes to hear her voice. Our love for one another is deep, and our friendship cannot be measured.

Some marriages, however, don’t have the same experience. We know this because outside of our ministry here at SRC, my wife and I write a blog on marriage and intimacy. The comments and emails we receive on occasion indicate that many marriages are hurting. Couples have openly told us they’ve considered giving up rather than try to succeed in their marriage. In short, they’ve told us they often feel helpless.

What leads to these feelings of helplessness? Actually, a lot. Much more than I can write here. But one thing we’ve learned is that couples often marry with certain expectations of what marriage will be like. When those expectations go unmet, difficulties arise. And instead of working through those expectations together, the marriage slowly drifts apart.

Please don’t drift apart.

Instead, take an opportunity to evaluate your current marriage in just one area – your friendship.

Friendship, you see, is THE defining factor of a great marriage. Think about it, how many people do you know who have gotten divorced but can honestly say, “Yeah, we were great friends. It just didn’t work out.” Sorry, but nobody says that. Ever.

Maybe you’re currently feeling helpless in your marriage. Or maybe you and your spouse are getting along quite well! Either way, take an opportunity sometime over the next few days to discuss these questions with your spouse. Don’t just think about them yourself. And don’t write down answers in a journal. Instead, have a nice 15-30 minute dialog with your spouse, and see where your conversation takes you.

Question 1: What is one thing we can do together this month to improve our friendship?

Question 2: If we could talk more about one area of our marriage, what area would it be?

Question 3: Helpless, Helpful, or Hopeful – Which word would you currently use to describe our marriage? If helpless or helpful, what steps can we take so we both see it as hopeful?

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This is part 1 in a 3-part series on the helpless marriage. Read each post in the series at the links below:

Marriage as Friendship Part 1

Marriage as Friendship Part 2

Marriage as Friendship Part 3

Have a question or comment?  Feel free to let me know in the comment section below.

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2 Replies to “the helpless marriage: marriage as friendship (part 1)”

  1. We just had our 31st. Wedding Ann. This past Sunday. My Third Marrage, his second. I was 32 he was 24. I had 3 children, Ages, 3, 11 & 16. We Dated for 6 mo. The odds were Not good having all this. Our first date, we went fishing. We still love to go fishing to this Day. Still love each other to this Day. Easy (NO)!!. Always kiss good night, respect, & I learned not to fight over small thing or most thing, just let it go, tomorrow it will not be important. How due people define Love, that’s a question that is not easy to answer. A Marrage is Work. We have 3 Adult children, good jobs. Two have been divorced, One still not married. 5 Gchildren& Three stepGChildren, love them all. Blessed in the life,& Marrage Today. May add more later. Bev.

  2. We are a newly married couple of just over a year. We struggle daily. Some days I feel like throwing in the towel. I feel alienated with in my own marriage. Things have to go his way or anger appears. We love each other and want it to work desperately. We start out to read a book together on marriage and then the excuses come or other things come in the way and before I know it we are back where we were.

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