Marriage In Three Postures Part 2
Feb 22 9:35 AM

Marriage In Three Postures Part 2

Feb 22 9:35 AM
Feb 22 9:35 AM

Continued from last week...

Side-by-Side Friendship

Couples who seek to behold and pursue something together cultivate side-by-side trust. This side-by-side posture is marriage as friendship.

Friendships form around a mutual beholding of a shared delight. When you discover another who shares your interest in something dear to you, you declare, “You too?! I thought I was the only one!” (C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves, 248). Your friendship may include many mutual pursuits or only just a few, but any side-by-side time fosters the kind of trust that comes from holding something in common beyond your relationship itself.

Many couples’ relationships initially form around something they pursued together. Perhaps you two met because of a love for music, or a shared academic interest, or a business venture. Often, however, the demands and trials of life act over time like a centrifugal force, pushing those once-shared pursuits to the periphery. I’m suggesting that, as much as you can, pursue interests held in common, whether old or new, in the regular rhythms of your life together.

Perhaps you host the annual fall festival in your backyard, or serve on the worship team together, or play Terraforming Mars with those other board-game fanatics. Whatever the common pursuit, invest in it together. And if you object that you do not share the same interests, then find one of your spouse’s interests that you can learn too. Sheldon loved literature; Davy excelled in music. Out of love for the other, they “became at home in both worlds” (A Severe Mercy, 38).

Finding Intimacy on the Way to God

Investing in side-by-side trust is essential because a “creeping separateness,” Sheldon and Davy rightly warn, is frequently a “killer of love” (37). And as they later discovered in their conversion, the greatest resistance to that centrifugal force is no mere common pursuit but the greatest pursuit: beholding God together. So even if shared hobbies and interests feel sparse, seek always to go in a Godward direction together. For Christian marriages are built not around mere eros or philia, but around a shared receiving and giving of agape love for God and one another. Therefore, together as a couple we must prize worshiping God at home and with God’s people.

The beautiful thing about these three postures for cultivating trust is their mutually reinforcing nature. You can’t grow in intimacy if you are not working to protect each other from temptation and sin, disappointment and burnout — or just simply protecting your own time together. The reverse is true as well. You can’t grow in your ability to help each other see your blind spots if you do not grow in face-to-face fellowship. And both face-to-face and back-to-back trust flourish in the consistency of a side-by-side friendship set on God.

DesiringGod. Marriage in Three Postures. January 31, 2023. Zach Howard



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