Befriending Many, Marrying One, Part 2

We’re in the middle of a topic spurred by Kate Shellnutt’s article in Christianity Today entitled, “I Didn’t Marry My Best Friend.”  Like Kate, I did not marry my best friend. What if I would have waited for “my type”? Where would I be now?     Good questions. I’ll get to that.  I did date a number of men; all but one were good Christian guys. And I waited. Until I was 26. Then, Paul followed me to Ohio, and we married there.

Karen and Paul

Karen and Paul

Recently, I’ve explored the use and meaning of “friend” and “friendship” in the Bible. We could start a whole series of posts on this. Would you like that? What most caught my attention was that at the heart of the definition of both the Hebrew and Greek words translated friend/friendship is love. Love can be cultivated by any two willing people enabled by the Holy Spirit to seek the best for the other and enabled to enjoy each other.  Paul and I have nurtured a unique friendship that has become a kind of best friendship while cultivating many meaningful friendships that enrich life.

If I were to give advise to singles, I’d offer my story as a paradigm for consideration. Comparing marriage to a Venn diagram of circles, Paul’s and my Venn diagram is two circles overlapping probably 50%. Our separate lives probably equal our together lives, but we converse about and pray over the separate parts to various degrees. I can handle only so much of Paul’s technical details. He seems to handle and enjoy my descriptive details better than I handle his, although I don’t bother him with many of the nuances of my studies.  We stretch ourselves for each other, but we understand we can only stretch so far. We love each other’s dreams and cheer lead each other, even when we can’t quite grasp the other’s makeup and drive. Love is intentional involvement with acceptance of limitations and joy in what is.

Any decision is a risk with consequences both rewarding and challenging. Non-decision is both a choice and a risk. If I would have waited for “my kind of man”– a literary, philosophical historian or theologian, I might have never married. Or I might have married later in life. Maybe I wouldn’t have two beautiful girls, a son-in-law, and two delightful grandsons. Or, I might have married someone who couldn’t handle my health issues. Truly, Paul provides for me and cares for me in a most touching and humbling manner.

It must be providential. I don’t deserve Paul, and maybe there’s something in me he doesn’t deserve. Deserving is not the issue. We open our arms and hearts to God’s grace. Thank You, very much!

Friends are essential. Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants but friends….”   Even Jesus does not have just one best friend. By encompassing my friendships — with my husband, with close friends, and with casual acquaintances — around my most intimate friendship with Christ, I can relax in my marriage.  Our friendship grows, just as expressed by the Shulammite bride: “This is my beloved and this is my friend” (Song of Songs 5:16).



Categories: Spiritual Growth | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Befriending Many, Marrying One, Part 2

  1. debra

    beautiful 🙂

  2. Anonymous

    Wow, What a great description of marriage and its friendships!

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