Growing in Friendship
It’s how are society trains us, Disney preaches it, VH1 promotes it, MTVII glorifies it. Everyday young people are bombarded with the message that you can’t just be friends with someone that you’re attracted to. We’re told “if you like her, pursue her.” Rarely anymore do you hear the wise words of my mother “You should marry your best friend.” No, more often than not we marry someone we don’t really know or can’t communicate with or both and issues arise and problems don’t get fixed and a rift is created and what we thought was love turns into extreme dislike.
In Christian circles these days the single Christian is often looked down upon. For whatever reason, once you get to my age you are expected to be with someone, be ready for marriage, ready to fulfill God’s command to the married couple. Or we are told to be “Content in our singleness, God will bring about the right one after all.”
And He will bring about the right one in His timing. But as Mark Driscoll pointed out in a sermon, if we are content with being single then we are probably content to let God’s chosen man or woman pass right through our lives. If we are content nowadays it seems to mean that we stop waiting and watching.
When we finally do meet the person that we believe God has for us another problem arises. So many times we want to dive right into a relationship, we may get to know the person for a couple of weeks and go “hey I like her, I want to court her.” Then a week later we’ll ask her out and face the possibility of a rocky beginning because we didn’t take the time to get to know her a little better when we had the opportunity.
Now I’m not saying God won’t support a quickly formed relationship, I know many people who knew each other for a short time before they decided to begin a courtship. But if you have the opportunity to, learn to grow and guard in friendship before you dive into a relationship you should be patient and take that time. If you have the time to build a great friendship with someone, for them to become your best friend before you begin courting it may be wise to take it.
Why? Because you learn that persons boundaries, you learn their likes and dislikes, you learn the best way to serve them. Most importantly you both learn how to communicate and you both learn how to trust one another. Working to build a strong friendship will also strengthen your relationship when you get to the point where you decide if it’s God’s will to move forward. Also a God centered friendship can very easily become a God centered Courtship, you already have built a foundation in friendship, that foundation can keep you grounded in courtship.
Now, men this comes with a very responsibility for us. One initiation, initiating friendship first, and two learning to lead her within the context of friendship, this will help you initiate and lead in a relationship. Yes friends walk together, but so do married couples, the purpose of learning to lead in friendship is so you can lead her in spiritually if you decide to step into a relationship. Men also seek out the wisdom of older males, men who are either single or who have gone through the process with their wives or significant others.
Women, encourage men to initiate friendship, then encourage him to lead you and learn to lead you. To seek out older men who are still single to spend time with or married men to gain wisdom from, men who have been through the experience. You yourself should seek out the wisdom of older women, both single and married. Encourage him to spend time with his male friends and you spend time with your female friends.
Growing in Friendship is very rewarding despite what Hollywood tells us. It helps us build a foundation for the possibility of a future relationship. It allows to learn how to communicate and trust and when done with patience gives us the chance to really marry our best friend. Be patient and wait on the Lord, for He knows what’s best for us.