Monday, March 16, 2009

At the Well - My Husband, My Friend

Amy is hosting At the Well today. She continues from last month's topic on What God Has to Say About the Family Kind of Love. This week, the topic of conversation is how we relate to our husbands.
Amy brought to light three verses about friendship.
"Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." ~ Proverbs 27:17
"His mouth is altogether sweet; he is lovely in every way. Such, O women of Jerusalem, is my lover, my friend." ~ Song of Solomon 5:16
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." ~ John 15:13
Amy also pointed out characteristics that emerge from these verses:
1. God wants to love our husband in a way that sharpens his countenance.

2. A loving wife will challenge her husband without insulting his intellect or character.

3. There is a great intimacy in friendship though the levels and types depend on the friend. Our husband should receive all levels of intimacy (spiritual, physical, emotional) while a girlfriend may only receive emotional intimacy.

4. You will have to die to your selfish ambitions to establish true friendship in your marriage.

Discussion Questions:

What other scriptures did you find pertaining to friendship?
The word friend is found 172 times in the NIV, 99 times in the KJV, and 218 times in the NLT. It's a pretty important word in Scripture.
One verse I love about friendship is this found in the Psalms.
"For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, "Peace be within you." ~ Psalm 122:8 (NIV)
The Hebrew word for friend is rea`, which means:
1) friend, companion, fellow, another person
a) friend, intimate
b) fellow, fellow-citizen, another person (weaker sense)
c) other, another (reciprocal phrase)
This word is also used for husbands/lovers.
Another verse I love is found in Proverbs.
"He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends." ~ Proverbs 17:9 (NIV)
The Hebrew word for friend here is different. It's 'alluwph. It means:
1) tame, docile
2) friend, intimate
3) chief
This word is used for friends in position over us - captain, guide, governor, etc. I love this meaning!
How do those scriptures relate to your marriage?
Both these verses speak to me of the love we are to have for our husbands, our friends. We are to do things for their sake, on their behalf, considering their feelings and promoting peace and trust.
The second verse is very important to me. I learned long ago not to air our dirty laundry in public. When you do or say things to tear down your husband, many are affected. Husband bashing is not acceptable to me. I think if you have an issue that needs to be discussed, it should be with a trusted friend or counselor, not in the presence of 5 other women or your whole family. While you may recover from the issue at hand soon, because you love him with an everlasting love, remembering the good times, too, others may take longer to trust him again and see him as a good person.
We must put our husbands first in our lives. As our best of best friends, they deserve nothing but the best we have to offer, and that includes not only the emotional, physical and spiritual intimacy we have with them, but also our protection and kindness. We should be quick to promote peace and harmony in our marriages.

What are some ways you die to self in your marriage?
Submission is not a dirty four letter word. Submitting to our husbands is called for and is a necessary part of marriage. Check out this post if you want to read more on my views of submission.
On a smaller scale, just dying to our own impulses and desires to place our husband's needs above our own should be an easy task if you love your husband and want to make him happy. Often, prayer is required in this matter. I might have to die to self in respect to wanting a Bible study on DVD because Steve might declare that funds are tight and a doctor bill needs to be paid. I'm thought I was going to have to die to self regarding a visit with friends when my husband told me he was going out of town. I'm getting together with some friends about 2.5 hours away and my husband doesn't like me to travel alone when he's out of town. He wants to be accessible in case something should happen and I need him, and it was going to be a firm "wait" on that until we realized that the dates were okay after all.
I mentioned prayer being required because although it should be easy to die to self in relation to our husbands, it often isn't. By nature we still battle our flesh and are not perfect. 9 times out of 10 we can keel right over on issues, but it's that 10th issue that will get us every time. When that happens instead of going to war, I think we need to go ahead and agree, knowing that we are going to anyway, and then pray about it. We have to trust God to lead us and let us in this area. He is our Strength and will give us the ability and the wisdom to deal with the dying part. And we may be suprised to find out how quickly we are resurrected when we walk in His will. He makes a way when we think there is no way. I've seen Him do it time and again throughout these 17 + years of marriage.
Do you have any ideas as to how we can develop a deeper physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy with our husbands?
Pray together.
Keep confidences.
Dream big and share them out loud with each other.
Be creative - send the kiddos to a trusted friend or relative and truly have some alone time.
Don't withhold any of these intimacies as leverage to prove a point.
Read and study the same passage of Scripture at least once a week or so and talk about it.
After the kids are in bed, grab a can of Off and go sit outside with a blanket and count the stars.
Play with your husband. Pillow fight, tag, you're it, etc.
Speak good words to him and reaffirm to him how much you love him and how glad you are that he's your knight in shining armor. He is more than a husband to you - he's your friend!

How do you sharpen your husbands countenance?
Pray for him as he does his Bible study. If he doesn't study the Bible, pray that he does. Ask him questions that require more than a yes, no or maybe answer. Begin your questions with, "What do you think..." or "What's your favorite..." Send him on a mission through the Bible. For example: ask him what Paul meant when he said such and such.
In Closing
Is your husband your friend? Let him know. Leave him love notes in unexpected places, text him or email him or call him and say, "I love you. Thank you for being my..."
I would encourage you to participate in At the Well this morning. Be sure to visit and read the posts of the other women and link up and share your own.


Tereza Crump aka MyTreasuredCreations said...

hi Laurie Ann, second post in your blog today. :) Thank you for this post. My husband is my best friend. I don't think I ever truly had a friend until I met my husband. When I met him after a couple of hours talking we parted and I actually felt like my best friend was leaving. We had such a spiritual connection and the rest just fell into place. When a man loves his wife like Jesus loves the church, where else can you go??!! thanks again. :) Tereza

Joyfull said...

Wonderful insight on how to be a great friend to our husbands. I love the practical ideas that you shared. Speaking kindly of him, submitting to him etc. Thanks for sharing today.

saleslady371 said...

It is amazing the power of prayer for husbands. And you don't have to say a word. Better for me who likes to have the "last word!" Have a great Monday!

LauraLee Shaw said...

Incredible insights mixed with authenticity as usual, Laurie Ann. I especially like the "NO HUSBAND BASHING ALLOWED" message. This is a huge issue among many Christian women, and one I pray about often for them. :D

Debra said...

Laurie Ann,

First, thank you for the pause this morning for my blessed my heart.

Second, loving this post. I'm in agreement with LauraLee...we should always be edifying our husbands and no husband bashing allowed.

Big big hugs to you today, sweet friend!

Denise said...

Thanks for such a great post my friend, love you.

LAURIE said...

Great words of advice. Next to God, our husbands should be our best friends. Our confidents. -blessings, Laurie

godsown said...

So good and insightful to read your post..and the practical tips.
The choice of verses who lead to PEACE and TRUST in the relationship as fundation for friendship is so true for me
Thxs also for your sweet comments,