Best Friends Forever

Series: Improving Companionship In Your Marriage #4

 

INTRODUCTION

 

What does it mean to be a friend?

 

I remember the very first time I started to think hard about what it meant to be a friend. It was in Greek class in seminary. Dr. M (as I’ll call him) was one of those stuffy, but likeable professors. 

 

As students, we felt a bit of distance and stand-offishness from him, but nothing to be greatly concerned about. Of more concern was the Greek quizzes that he would give! 

 

One day, he started talking about what it meant to be friend. Dr. M complained that most people use the word “friend” too loosely. Some people would declare a person a friend after just meeting them. 

 

Facebook wasn’t around then, but I imagine he would have a fit about “friending” people on Facebook. He’d say, “Those aren’t friends!”

 

Dr. M said that he made a very clear distinction between who was a friend and who was an acquaintance. 

 

While he knew a lot of people, and was acquainted with many, he had very few actual friends. He said that a friend was someone that…well, I don’t remember what he said!

 

But that’s what we’re going to explore in this lesson. What does it mean to be a friend? And how does that help us improve our companionship in our marriages? 

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The Good Fight

Series: Improving Companionship In Your Marriage #3

 

INTRODUCTION 

 

Lee and Annie Gleason had a disagreement about how much money she had spent on buying sugar. The year was 1931, and the Great Depression had just begun.

 

In an angry fit because of the disagreement, Annie saddled the old mule and rode into the town Anahuac, Texas. She bought—in the days of the Great Depression, remember—a fifty pound bag of sugar. It could have used up all the money they had!

 

When she got back, she rode straight to the barn where her husband Lee and his brother were shoeing a quarter horse. She took a jackknife out of her apron pocket and jammed it into the bag of sugar, which flowed out onto the barn floor.

 

Lee looked at Annie and said three final words—“You silly…” and one more I won’t repeat. That was it. They stopped talking to each other that day. They still lived in the same house. They still slept in the same bed. They still ate at the same table. They just stopped talking to each other—period.

 

This went on for ten years. If they had to communicate something—a grocery list, for instance—they left a note. Later, they sort of start to anticipate each other. If Annie needed lard for the kitchen, Lee had already somehow bought a jar for her at the store.

 

One Sunday—Annie had gone to church for some sort of all-day event—a nephew showed up on the farm. Lee immediately recruited him for a project on the house, on which they worked all day. In the late afternoon, Annie came driving up in their old Jeep just in time to see them pulling her half of the house away with the tractor. 

 

They had sawed right through the house—roof to floor—and split it, clean as a whistle, down the middle. Then they nailed rough-cut planks over the open sides and that’s how they lived (with some pine trees in-between them) for the next thirty years until Lee died. (Mary Carr, The Liar’s Club [New York: Penguin, 1995], 35ff.)

 

We’ve been looking at how to improve the companionship aspect of our marriages. Lee and Annie Gleason missed out on the companionship they could have had. Why? Because of a conflict that arose. If we want to have good companionship in our marriages, we’ll have to know how to deal with conflicts when they arise.

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Mr. and Mrs. Talks-A-Lot

Series: Improving Companionship In Your Marriage #2

 

INTRODUCTION 

 

As we look at improving our companionship in our marriages, we’ll come across several topics. We’ve looked at understanding one another’s needs. In the next lesson, we’ll look at conflict. 

 

Another important topic—perhaps one of the most important—for companionship is the topic of communication. Couples must communicate in order to be companions. The better the communication, the better the companionship. Let’s look and see what the Bible can teach us about communication.

 

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation [behaviors] the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 

 

When a person is saved, they become a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). But that doesn’t mean that all our behaviors change instantly. We need to spend our lives constantly renewing our minds so that the old habits are replaced by the new ones.

 

Paul goes on to list areas where this should happen—notice how many of them have to do with our tongue—our communication.

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Dying To Meet Your Spouse’s Needs

 

Series: Improving Companionship In Your Marriage #1

 

INTRODUCTION 

 

Let’s look at Genesis 2. After God had created Adam, he saw a problem:

 

18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. (Genesis 2:18)

 

A lot of Christians think of “help meet” as one word—as a title or a job description. But that’s not what it means—it’s two words. “Meet” is an old word that means “suitable” or “fit.” The Hebrew phrase literally means, “a helper like his opposite.” 

 

In other words, Eve was to be a companion to Adam that filled in the gaps in his abilities and character. She was his opposite. They were to fit together like puzzle pieces—and not just in the physical sense, but also in a emotional sense, and in terms of roles and responsibilities. 

 

From this verse, we can see a fundamental purpose of marriage: to provide companionship. There are other purposes of marriage, raising children, for instance. But companionship is a fundamental purpose of marriage that should be true in every marriage. 

 

It’s improving that purpose in our marriage that will be our goal in this series of lessons. It is a very limited series in that sense. We won’t be talking much about children and parenting, for example—only focusing on improving the aspect of companionship in our marriages.

 

Let me say a word to those of you who are not currently married—why should this interest you? Two reasons: First, you might be married or married again one day. 

 

Second, the principles that we uncover will be useful in any relationship that you have, not just the marriage relationship. Please don’t shut down because you are unmarried—there will be something for you.

 

In this lesson, we want to talk about meeting our spouse’s needs. I’ve titled it “Dying to Meet Your Spouse’s Needs.” What do I mean by “dying”? Well, I’m not going to tell you yet! I want you to think about what that might mean and entail.

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