This weekend I was sitting on the beach with my family, enjoying the Florida sunshine and waves, and it crossed my mind that if I ever write a book about marriage I'll title it: Friends With Benefits: Five Steps To A Happy Marriage.
As a counselor I come into contact with unhappy couples a lot and I've noticed that what marriage researcher John Gottman says is true. Couples who focus on and foster friendship tend to be happy.
Although important, sex does not hold faltering relationships together. I talk to couples all the time who report great sex (with each other no less) but otherwise cannot stand to be in the same room. Far more important than bedroom delectation is the ability to do life together.
Four hundred years ago, when marriage was more or less a property contract, people were too busy trying to stay alive to be burdened with emotions like romantic love. Romantic love existed for sure, Shakespeare assures us of that, but in a purer form. Love was first something one did. It was defined by behavior. Now, if couples don’t feel like giddy teenagers into the third year of marriage they often start a slow downward spiral and divorce somewhere down the road. Sad and unnecessary.
If we cannot rely on duty, the antidote for the modern couple is friendship. It works, it is fun, and best of all it usually includes sex. Cool. Thus the title of the book, Friends With Benefits.
At the end of our day on the beach we packed up our towels and sunscreen, and walked back to the truck, side by side. Friendship, and love, and commitment have gotten our marriage through some difficult times. I’m lucky. My wife truly is my best friend. And there is more than one benefit to that.
Father, thank You for life. Thank You for the gift of friendship, that we can be friends with the one we love intimately. Father we ask for Your blessing and that You bless the marriages of those who read this. In Jesus name we cry out to You.