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A Friend is …

You have probably seen the cute cartoons that say “Love is …”. But how would you end the sentence, “A friend is …”?

Successful life partners are also great friends, and being great friends is one of the most important roles you have as a marriage partner. So what does it mean to be a friend?

A great definition I once heard (sorry I don’t remember where) is: A friend is someone that has no immediate plans to change you or improve you.

With our friend we accept and encourage, we support and advise. With our spouses the dangerous trap so many of us fall into is trying to force change through criticism, nagging and complaining. A friend is someone that stands next to you and enjoys the journey with you, a friend is not pushing you down a path that you don’t want to travel.

Think about how you talk and behave differently with your spouse compared to your friends. Often there is a lot more openness and comfort with friends, because we are not trying to change them. I know there are many many differences in the relationship with a friend compared to the relationship with a spouse. There is no pressure to get anything done with friends and as soon as they leave you finished for the day. But it we model ourselves on that kind of supporting relationship, we will help our marriages too.

To support you have to be involved, your job as a husband or wife is to know what is going on in their lives. If you are married to software engineer you might not be so interested in knowing what line of code he is writing today, but you do need to know if he has a deadline coming up or someone at work is driving him crazy. If they have something important going on today and you don’t know about it, then how can you be there for them? You have to find out so that you can wish them luck in the morning, call during the day and say I am thinking about you or ask at the end of the day how did it go.

I would love to hear how you would end the sentence, “A friend is …”

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