2. Verbal companionship. To experience true friendship and companionship within your marriage you must be able to talk to each other. You must have the freedom to communicate your thoughts and ideas without the fear of ridicule or reprisals.
All close personal relationships are based upon the premise, I can talk to you about anything. Do you have this freedom to exchange ideas and fellowship with your mate on any topic? Can you talk together concerning your daily schedule, your struggles and successes, your hopes and goals? This is true companionship. It produces a relationship with fullness and depth.
The apostle John described the blessing of such fellowship in one of his benedictions: “Having many things to write to you, I did not wish to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, that our joy may be full” (2 John 1:12). Note John’s desire to communicate face to face. He expected to experience a fullness of joy as a result.
How can you develop this kind of verbal companionship? It’s the result of diligent work over time. What kind of hard work am I talking about? You must be diligent on a daily basis to simply spend time communicating. Then you also have to work hard at addressing every weakness in your communication skills. What are some of these problem areas in communication?
a.) Attitudes: Do you have an arrogant or condemning attitude when you talk to your mate? Or, are you indifferent and aloof in the relationship? Does your attitude communicate bitterness or irritation?
b.) Words: Are your words harsh and aggressive? Do you lie or use evasive words to avoid telling the truth? Do you use swear words?
c.) Actions: When you communicate do you interrupt your mate or regularly finish his or her sentences? Do you try and dominate the conversation by your many words, or do you use the silent treatment to control your spouse? Are you good at blame-shifting when your partner brings up one of your faults?
These are just some of the issues that must be addressed in every marriage relationship. If you allow the Lord to remove these faults, you will keep yourself from many troubles, and the fullness of joy that the apostle John described will be yours as well. Remember, Solomon said, “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles” (Prov. 21:23).
3. Emotional companionship. In addition to spiritual and verbal companionship, you must be able to connect emotionally with your loved one. If you re-fuse to come together emotionally it reveals the hardness and distance which has developed in your relationship. Can you share your deepest emotions with your mate, or are you afraid to reveal how you feel to each other? Do you give and receive emotional support when you have a bad day, or do you suffer alone? Can you laugh and cry together? Do you allow and accept your emotional differences or do you criticize one another? These are the issues that will indicate the depth or superficial nature of your relationship.
Paul wasn’t afraid to share his feelings of grief and sorrow, or his hopes with those whom he loved. He revealed his deep emotions as he wrote to the Corinthians.“But I determined this within myself, that I would not come again to you in sorrow… For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you” (2 Cor. 2:1-4). Note that Paul felt comfortable in sharing the anguish and the tears that he shed over their struggles.
How can you get to the place in your relationship where you can share this way? Only as you develop a relationship of loving acceptance and support in your communication will you or your mate have the confidence to open up your heart to each other.
Take one step at a time. You must grow in your individual spiritual walk, which enables you to communicate in a controlled and loving manner. Only in this atmosphere will you have the assurance that you can open up and share your deepest fears, joys, and sorrows. However, as you do, you automatically begin experiencing a depth of companionship you’ve never known before. Open your heart and begin to share in a new way.
4. Recreational companionship. Having fun together is an essential element of good companionship. You’ve probably heard the saying, “The family that prays together stays together.” This is a true statement. However, I would also add, “The family that plays together stays together.” Remember when you first dated, all the fun things you did together? Why does this change?
Dating is obviously totally different from the daily relationship of marriage. In addition, when children arrive in your family they require the majority of your time and attention. However, this does not mean that you should forget to enjoy each other’s company. When you fail to keep those fun recreational times together it’s easy to lose the friendship and closeness you once had. It is clear that Solomon and his wife maintained a romantic relationship by consistently spending time away by themselves. The Bible reveals that Solomon invited his wife to take a walk with him and smell the flowers (Song of Solomon 2:10-14). Solomon’s wife also invited the king to spend time with her traveling through the villages (Song of Solomon 7:11-13).
Why not invite your spouse to spend some time with you this week? Make a date to take a walk after dinner, have lunch alone, or go to a special event together. It will do wonders for your relationship.
Read more marriage advice from Pastor Steven Carr in Part II of this series; What is the Purpose and the Ultimate Goal of Marriage? Part II
If you would like more information on the marriage ministry of Pastor Steve Carr or his book Married and How To Stay That Way, please visit Covenant Keepers
Excerpt republished with permission from Covenant Keepers by Pastor Steve Carr, Copyright 2013