7. Demonstrate trust. In the Old Testament when King David spoke about a friend that had betrayed him, he referred to him as one in whom he had trusted. “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me” (Ps. 41:9).
Friendship and trust are always linked together because trust is an essential key to any friendship. You must have confidence that your friend cares about you and that this individual will always keep your best interests at heart. Trust produces a sense of security and dependence in your mutual commitment.
Yet, when a spouse questions your word, your faithfulness, or your commitment by asking you twenty questions every evening about who you saw and what you did all day, you obviously conclude that your mate doesn’t trust you.
This isn’t a trusting love, but a selfish one by a person demonstrating fear, insecurity, and immaturity. This kind of selfish love will destroy the relationship.
When you sense your spouse is possessive and controlling concerning your other relationships, it quenches the romance and the friendship because you realize your spouse doesn’t trust you and your love.
Paul said that love “believes all things” (1 Cor. 13:7). This trust is a fundamental key to the marital relationship God wants to build in your home. He wants you to love your spouse enough to trust that he or she will be faithful and honor the commitment of your marriage vows.
No amount of coercion could ever enforce faithfulness because faithfulness is an act of love. Love cannot be forced. Control or coercion will only destroy the love. Every time you begin to talk or act as if you don’t trust your spouse you are destroying the friendship between you.
On the other hand, you can introduce legitimate doubt in a trusting mate from past failures or by questionable or unwholesome behavior. Have you been caught in a lie to your spouse? Have you taken some action that appears compromising?
If this is the case, there is a good reason for your mate’s doubt. You must therefore, begin to build your spouse’s trust again. To do this you must humbly acknowledge your past faults and ask your spouse’s forgiveness. Then, stop any doubtful activity you are engaged in.
Trust can be built again if you are willing to be completely honest with your mate and prove your trustworthiness. (There is nothing wrong with your spouse needing some time to see proof that you are trustable again.) Trust is something you build one day at a time. Why not start building today?
Where do you get the ability to be a friend?
To be the friend that I have described you need a power and love that is far beyond yourself. Why? Because it is not our nature to be sacrificial in our giving or to be instantly willing and responsive to the requests of others.
Our nature is to do just the opposite. Yet marriage requires genuine love and self-sacrifice which are contrary to our natural way of relating to others. Therefore, because we are self-oriented by nature, we need God’s help to be the friend He requires us to be.
The ultimate solution to this dilemma of selfishness is to first grow in your friendship with God. As you grow in your friendship with the Father you will naturally grow in friendship with your spouse.
This is always the biblical order for any change in your life. As you grow in your love for the Lord, you can’t help but grow in love for others. His love destroys selfishness. John said, “He who loves God must love his brother also” (1 John 4:21). In other words, you must love your mate because the Holy Spirit is dwelling inside you and naturally seeks to express His love through you to others.
This truth is also seen in the life of Abraham. He is portrayed in Scripture as an example of faith and love. But he wasn’t born that way. He grew in his walk of faith and obedience by growing in his relationship with God. Abraham was called “the friend of God” (James 2:23).
Friendship with God transformed this man day by day, making him a man of faith and love.
If you have turned away from the friendship of God, this is where you need to begin. He doesn’t want to be your enemy; He wants to be your friend. He demonstrated this by sending His Son to die for you.
He has stretched out His hand of friendship to you. If you want to take His hand, bow in prayer right now to ask His forgiveness and surrender yourself to His Lordship. As you reconcile with the Father and become His friend, you will find that this is the first step toward greater friendship with your mate.
Don’t miss the grace and strength He longs to give. He will enable all of the changes needed in your life and marriage. Ask Him to begin the work today.
Discover more of Pastor Steve Carr’s encouragement here: How to Build Friendship in Your Marriage- Part III
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