One of the most frequent complaints I hear from most ladies is the fact that their spouses are no longer their friends . Well after listening to some people, it becomes quite clear that there was not really any genuine friendship in the first place as most times, the relationship started out with the goal of getting married. This often translates to every one being at their best behaviour as well as managing to show some signs of friendship. Unfortunately, someone gets deceived that there is some friendship which would progress to besties after the marriage.
Don’t get me wrong here. I am not saying that you cannot meet someone and decide immediately that they are the “ones”.For some people this knowing is usually ascribed to some spiritual inkling (the more mysterious, the better) and for some others, the physical attraction played a significant factor .
While I cannot question the means by which people arrive at the decision of who they choose to spend the rest of their lives with, my concern is not taking the time to build a much needed friendship that would make such a life commitment enjoyable,
I still remember being in class as a year 4 dental undergraduate, waiting for my lectures and approached by a young man who simply asked a question following which he informed me that God said I was his wife to be .What did he ask ?He just confirmed if my name was Grace and that was it, I was his wife.
Ridiculous but so many times, people just get off the tangent of life partners and do not take the time to cultivate the friendship before their marriage expecting that their spouses will automatically fit into the role of soul mate and best friend once the priest pronounces “You are now man and wife” .
It does not really matter now whether your relationship started out as friends and ended up in marriage or whether your relationship was almost like a courtship marriage and you have now ended up as husband and wife, feeling like you hardly know each other. One thing we would all agree on is that for any marriage to work, spouses must be friends and being married to each other does not negate the need to use the rules of engagement .
So just in case you are wondering what those rules are, let me ask you to pull back the curtain and look behind the scenes of those whom you consider as friends right now, what made them your friends and why are they still your friends? Has the fact that these are people who have been courteous to you, listened to you, lent a helping hand, gone the extra mile while keeping you in the loop not contributed to their selection as friends?
How do some of these traits compare with that between you and your spouse? Do you take the time to talk to them and find out about their day, hopes and desires or are you so out of touch with them that they are now better described as strangers or polite roommates?
Sometimes, we erroneously think that marriage automatically upgrades our friendship but no upgrade comes without a cost. When it comes to friendship, there is always a prize to pay but the rewards make the labour rewarding.
It is friendship that makes a guy assist with the housework so his wife is not slaving away and exhausted most times. It is friendship that would cause spouses to offer financial help without being asked and it is also friendship that makes conversation carry on from the kitchen to the bedroom.
Several men have been accused of no conversation with their wives all day only to expect intimacy spontaneously at night! While I am not endorsing sex as a reward for good communication and behaviour, we all know how we feel about some friends who only call us when they need something . Somehow , we unconsciously resent their use of us, and sadly, that is how some spouses feel.
I had originally written an article about passing on the values of the importance of friendship to our children but it dawned on me that perhaps the best way to do this, is for our children to see their parents being friends. Friends in the purest sense can talk, play and laugh and they can also disagree while respecting each other’s opinions.
No matter the present level of friendship we have with our spouses, it can be improved upon. It may take us returning to those things we used to do before life became busy or we started taking each other for granted. Rather than complaining about how the pandemic has sort of locked us in, maybe it is time for us to actually start making the season work for our relationships.
Like oil, friendship can make different parts to glide more smoothly over each other. Keep cultivating friendship in your marriage, It is the one place where the oil of friendship should never run out. You cannot but remain friends.