"Love is of all the passions the strongest…"
~ Voltaire, French philosopher
Were we destined to simply be friends or could there be more?
I couldn't help it, but first impressions in dating were hard to shake. For better or worse, God knew how important this first date was to me.
I first met him at a church gathering. He sent me an email. What started as a trickle began a steady current of daily emails for a month, with each delivery growing longer, delving deeper.
Never has someone written me so many letters. Never had I felt so enamored.
Still, there was the question of chemistry.
The First Date
When my penpal finally asked me out on a date, I was a bit perplexed. He invited me out for a movie and dinner.
Hmm… this was to be our first date? I was expecting something a little more "romantic".
Nope. The date was set for the local AMC theatres. Later that night, he drove me to a pizzeria.
With mugs of root beer in hand, we sat at a red and white checkered, plastic covered table. It was between bites of pepperoni cheese pizza with black olives and pineapple, conversation tumbled and ebbed.
We talked and talked. I didn't want it to end. I know now, what I didn't know then.
I was falling in love.
That night was the most romantic date. Ever.
We are best friends.
Heart of Romance
There is a lot to be said about romance. We each want it, hunger and feel it in different ways. Little did I suspect that friendship held the key.
Not to say we didn't love candlelit dinners and cozy walks on the beach. But, the romance grew out of a growing knowing. When I was all tangled up with relational fears, it was my best friend who said, "Just let me love you."
Dr. John Gottman, cofounder of The Gottman Institute, wrote a New York Times best seller, The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work. He studied and followed over 600 newlywed couples since 1972 to find common ingredients in the successful marriages that avoided divorce.
You'd think things like "common interests" or "absence of conflict and arguments" topped the list. They didn't even make the list.
"The determining factor in whether wives and husbands feel satisfied with the sex, romance, and passion in their marriage is, by 70 percent (for both men and women), the couple's friendship."
~ Dr. John Gottman in The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work
Fanning the Flames Of Friendship
Today, the daily backdrop of marriage includes kids that wake-up during the night, days seasoned with sleep deprivation, doing the dishes and taking out the trash.
How do we keep romance alive?
We do whatever we can to steal away moments as friends.
The cups of coffee we pour in the morning, to talk about what's ahead in the day. The Netflix we manage to watch now and then in hourly batches, barraging the TV with comments as the peanut gallery.
Before we turn out the lights, we draw close and talk.
A Reflection Of God's Love
"A true friend is the person in whose light we shine the brightest." Keely Chace
I realize that this earth-bound relationship is a reflection of God's love relationship with us.
Spiritual conversation doesn't always have to be about
big things. Sometimes I draw close to Him in a small moment — something as ordinary as a quiet shower in the morning. It can trigger a current of conversation throughout the day.
Those microsecond flashes of God's friendship come can pop up when I drive, journal, cry, or feel exhausted. It's quick. But, I feel Him with me.
I want fireworks exploding and excitement. But, God builds friendship in lackluster days.
God could work a miracle every day in my life, I guess. But, then I'd be looking for signs, instead of a friend.
Sometimes it's hard to remember that friendship isn't just a human affection.
It's a sacred devotion.
How do we cultivate chemistry and friendship with God — rather than studying Him like a graduate course in theology?
We do whatever we can to steal away moments as friends.
~ Jesus (John 15:13)
One day, we won't have to struggle so hard to feel Jesus' touch or hear His voice. We will be reunited, face to face, as the true bride with the One who holds our hands and passionately loves us in every way.
"Let his left hand be under my head
And his right hand embrace me."
~ Song of Solomon 2:6
How do you fan the flame of friendship in everyday life with Jesus?
With your loved ones?
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Photo courtesy of Photobucket.Leave a Comment
Wow…I needed to read this. I have struggled with not having the “fireworks exploding” in my relationship with God. I have felt like maybe my faith isn’t as strong as I think it is because of it. But, my relationship with God is a lot like what you described. I start a conversation with him in the early morning hours while in the shower or while making coffee. I have bits and pieces of time throughout the day where we reconnect. And I talk to him again a night before drifting off to sleep.
Thank you for reminding me that having a relationship with God isn’t about fireworks and miracles every day. But about cultivating and growing a friendship with the One who knows me intimately and loves me infinitely.
What a beautiful and thought-provoking post. Thank you, you have given me something to think (and pray) about!
“God could work a miracle every day in my life, I guess. But, then I’d be looking for signs, instead of a friend.”
That statement hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m not even sure how to respond. Beautiful thoughts.
He’s my best friend!
FaithBarista Bonnie says
Thanks for keeping me company here on Valentine’s Day weekend! It’s nice to warm up here with your thoughts of real life & love. Appreciate you taking time to share.
@Jami: Sounds like you have a beautiful real, relationship with the “One who knows you intimately and love you indefinitely”! Those bits and piece you described are delectably the mark of a daily walk with an eternal love. Thnx for sharing a peek into that friendship!
@Claire: Thank you, Claire!
@Jennifer: Hit me the same way, too. 🙂 Hugs.
Hope Renewed says
God has impressed upon my heart to read Psalm 139 this year-to keep it ever close.One part whispers to my Soul over & over– “When I awake, I am still with You. ” It quiets the thoughts that won’t seem to stop in the night and I know that it’s ok–just rest…He has it all in control. And I am not alone.
Kelly Langner Sauer says
Stealing the friendship moments. We so need this right now…
sarah (GenMom) says
Very well said. Thank you for sharing.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
FaithBarista Bonnie says
@HopeRenewed: Keeping His words close, next to your daily thoughts is beautiful. I like how you took a phrase that spoke to you and made it a love note your read over and again.
@Kelly: *Stealing* those moments… it is an apt word choice, ‘cuz there are a lot of other time thieves… esp. for us mommies with babies. Hugs.
@Sarah(GenMom): Thanks, Sarah! Thanks for keeping me company here. Happy love Vday! 🙂
This is excellent work. My husband and I, above all else, are best friends. How beautifully you have described this important element of our relationship. Thank you.
This is beautiful! What a great reminder of what the foundation of a good marriage is. I loved your comment that “God builds friendship in the lackluster days.”
After 9 years of marriage and 3.5 kids (#4 due in June) it has become difficult for my husband and I to create moments of romance. For him, it’s when I stop what I’m doing to greet him when he gets home from work and to update him by text message during the day on what’s going on. The little gestures are the ones that mean the most now because we have learned better how to show each other love. It makes me excited for all that we’ll know about each other in another 9 years!
Thank you for this post. I think I needed this and to know about John Gottman’s work.
Faith Barista Bonnie says
@Christen: Thank you, Christen! Blessings to you & best friend honey. Enjoy your Vday!
@Melissa: Congratulations to #4 this June! I LOVE how you describe the little moments you’re stealing with your Hubby. It’s the reality of a secret love life, underneath the stress and chaos of little children. 9 years – yeah!
@Casey: John Gottman’s book has been a great go-to for bringing our marriage back to basics time and again.
Wonderful and thoughtful post. It reminded me of how hubby and I try to touch base throught the little things like notes left in my lunch or a quick call to see how his day is. I so appreciated how you related friendship with God..that just touched my heart.
Kristen@Moms Sharpening Moms says
I LOVED these sweet and sacred words. I feel like you’ve helped set my heart in just the right place for tomorrow, Celebrate Love Day! My favorite: Sometimes it’s hard to remember that friendship isn’t just a human affection. It’s a sacred devotion.
Just popping in to say Happy Valentine’s Day!
Suzann (The Olive Cottage)
Faith Barista Bonnie says
@Kristen: Aw, how sweet of you to share Valentine’s Day weekend here together ;). Yeah!
@Suzann: Thanks for popping in, Suzann – it’s nice to have comp’ny! I hope your VDay is the best and the blessed!
Natalie @ Naddy's Blog says
Interesting. I guess this post totally resonates in one way (the human relationship aspect) but in another way really doesn’t, because I don’t see the Creator/creature relationship as being the same paradigm.
I see the relationship within the Trinity as our example and basis for meaningful friendship- divine example of the type of knowing, fellowship, and love that makes a strong friendship.
Cassandra Frear says
I married my best friend. We were friends for a while before we became more than that. We’ve been married for years now, raised our children, and begun to turn gray. Still, it is our friendship that charges our marriage. We simply love spending time together.
Larry Who says
For me, it has always been about seeking His presence, to feel His comfort and peace cloaking me for a period of time each day. If my day is such that I don’t have time to spend alone in His presence, I’m bummed out. I may even be a little grumpy.
Oh yes! There’s grace to cover these times, but I am a selfish child of a King who loves me and is my best friend.
What a lovely article to share with friends – especially those single girls I know who struggle over relationships. Great images.