“I’m marrying my best friend.”
You’ve probably heard that phrase a time or two…or 20. Why do so many couples say this in their wedding vows and share it when telling their love story?
It’s probably because many of the most lasting relationships begin with friendship. This doesn’t happen by chance; there are some solid reasons why good relationships spring up from two people who start as friends. Here are three reasons why friendship often blooms into a love story of a lifetime.
1. Friendship builds a foundation of trust.
All good relationships must have a foundation of trust. When we don’t trust people, we don’t bring them into our inner circle. Love itself cannot exist without trust. Through friendship, we have the opportunity to build this foundation. Slowly but surely, we discover the inner workings of another person—their thoughts, emotions, values and dreams. The more we discover about a person in the friendship stage, the more we know about their character. It is the character of a person that gives us a reason to build a foundation of trust.
Building a foundation takes time. Friendship is not rushed; it has no expectations or demands. With time, a godly relationship is built little by little through experience and communication. As trust becomes more sure with each passing day, love has fertile soil in which to grow.
2. Friendship reveals the real you.
Because friendship starts with no expectation, couples who start as friends know one another very well. Neither one came to the relationship trying to prove something; they didn’t present themselves as someone they weren’t. Because there was no pressure to perform, the relationship starts out with two people who can be fully themselves.
When we pursue relationships without a friendship foundation, we tend to put our “best foot forward.” There’s nothing wrong with presenting your prettiest, best self, but it often hides parts of yourself that come out later in a relationship. That’s why building a friendship first allows you to get to know another person with less pressure and expectation.
When you’re the real you in a relationship, there’s a greater level of trust and confidence. Choosing someone whose quirks are fully known to you leads to a relationship built on complete openness. Nothing is hidden or secretive because you were you the entire time.
3. Friendship is based on honesty.
A good friend doesn’t lie or withhold information, and the same goes for a partner in a lasting relationship. It takes a time to build trust, and it takes honesty to maintain it. A godly relationship cannot be maintained if a couple refuses to be open with one another about their goals, dreams, temptations and weaknesses. If you are accustomed to being honest with your friends, honesty will come much more easily in marriage.
Honesty certainly has levels. We should be discreet about what and when we share. But the heart of honesty is to maintain trust and keep peace. Two peace-seekers will naturally have a relationship that blossoms and grows, because God loves unity!
Not every relationship begins with friendship, but there are many that do, and these reasons prove why God so often leads couples from friendship to marriage. The beautiful thing about friendship prior to dating is that marriage, in essence, is the commitment to love one friend above all others for the rest of your life. Whether or not you’re currently dating, the kind of friend you are equips you for future relationships—so live and love well right where God has you.