I must have watched too much Sesame Street when I was a kid. Every time I think about writing, teaching, or list making, words that begin with the same letter flood my brain. I am an alliteration junkie.
As I thought and prayed about the friendship that has developed over the last 18 years between Phil and me, a smile came across my face as I realized that he is my best friend—and that all I have learned about friendship with him begins with the letter L.
1. Love your man, but love God more.
Ladies, you are the one whom God has called to love and befriend your man more than any other. You have a unique and beautiful glimpse into the heart and life of your man and can offer love to him in personal and intimate ways. But that love is finite, and it has an end. The love of Christ for you and in you will fuel love through you. Your husband will be most greatly loved as you secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
2. Look for opportunities to serve and surprise.
C.J. Mahaney makes an important distinction between these two acts. It is a godly blessing to selflessly serve your spouse, carrying out needed tasks that make life run more smoothly. If you have been married for any length of time, these can become a bit stale, albeit necessary. That is where the element of surprise comes in. Do something unexpected. Knock his socks off with an out-of-the-ordinary adventure.
3. Listen for his heart under the facts.
Nudge him beyond “Just the facts, ma’am.” Men often communicate in and feel most comfortable sticking to the quantifiable bottom line of any situation. Become skilled at listening for emotion, fears, thrills, dreams, and disappointments under the facts. These can often be detected in tone of voice, frequency of bringing up a topic or merely hinted at. Listen well to get glimpses into his heart.
4. Don’t lie.
As your friendship develops, if you have been dishonest in any way with him in your dating, engaged or early married life, you will reap the pain. On your first date, you may have gushed about monster trucks when he surprised you with tickets but if you truly hate them, tell him. He can handle it and you may be missing opportunities to find activities that you both enjoy. See #2 for the guiding principle here though – you are called to serve your man. An occasional automotive event won’t kill you but do seek to find similar ground and enjoy activities together that you both love.
5. Laugh with him, at him and for him.
Do not take yourselves too seriously. Laughing together will build trust, create memories and add enjoyment to life. Friendship is built in intimate moments, many of which will involve humor. Never joke at his expense. Bless him with moments of fun-loving levity.
6. Lavish praise, encouragement and truth upon him.
Be your husband’s biggest fan. Speak, write, sing, rent a billboard if you must—continually communicate your love and respect for your man. Be specific about telling him what you appreciate about his character, his body, his mind. Be confident in your knowledge of Scripture to speak truth to him when he needs it.
7. Lounge around together more.
This may not be a problem for some couples but with the frenetic pace of life, Phil and I grow closer as friends when we have plenty of down time together at home. Turn off your TV, pry the smartphones out of each other’s hands and just be together for an hour or better yet, a weekend. Lounge around together to the glory of God!
Friendship with our husbands takes work, but I can assure you, it’s enjoyable work when we realize we are building depth in our marriages that will stand the tests of time and trial.