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The #1 Thing We’d Have Changed in Our Marriage

7. Friendship makes a marriage more safeguarded.

My pastoral ministry now extends 18 years since the core group phase at Mars Hill Church. One tragic thing I have seen over and over in churches across the nation and the world is that when a husband and wife are not growing in a godly friendship, they are more susceptible to a dangerous slippery slope.

It starts with an encouraging friendship with someone of the opposite sex, and it grows to become adultery of the heart and eventually adultery of the hands.

This can be a “work spouse” who fills the role of an emotionally supportive partner on the job. Perhaps it could be someone who starts counseling you on your marriage and/or someone you just enjoy hanging out with, and eventually you find yourself preferring their company over the company of your spouse.

A godly, genuine and growing friendship with your spouse helps to safeguard against emotional and/or physical adultery.

How is your best friendship?

The importance of friendship in marriage relates in some way to everyone, whether married or not:

  • Single person who is dating: Are you building a genuine, godly friendship, or are you allowing something like sex get in the way of establishing a firm foundation in your relationship?
  • Engaged couple: Are you truly committed to always seeking to be better friends to one another, and helping one another to do this in encouraging and not criticizing ways?
  • Married couples: Is your friendship growing, or have you allowed bitterness, distractions, duties, chores, tasks, kids, work, responsibilities and/or extended family to contribute weeds that have led to the withering of your friendship?

Grace and I had a friendship while dating, but we neglected our friendship until some years into our marriage. Our friendship in marriage was not what it could have been or should have been. Between working long hours, starting a church, having children and the busyness of life, our friendship was not the priority it should have been.

By God’s grace and some attentive care, I am glad to report things are different now. Grace’s nickname for me is “friend,” so when I get home I hear her say with a laugh, “Hi, friend!” Our kids have noticed this. For example, on a recent trip I was loading up the car and one of our daughters asked, “Where will the suitcase of your best friend go?” Of course, she was talking about her mom.

I’m glad our kids see that we are friends, and I pray they grow up to marry someone who is their friend. Grace and I want the same for you!  

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Pastor Mark Driscoll is the Preaching and Speaking pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. He is one of the world’s most downloaded and quoted pastors. His audience—fans and critics alike—spans the theological and cultural left and right. Follow his updates at twitter.com/pastorMark.