“I married my best friend.” How many times have you read that in a sweet anniversary message between spouses on Facebook? You’ve probably even heard a bride or groom call their beloved his or her best friend during their wedding vows. This cultural catchphrase grates on my nerves.
A husband and a best friend are not the same thing. A husband is someone you were created to help, to support, and to relieve from the strife of this world. It is a woman’s God-given role to help our husbands be their best. We have made this solemn vow in front of God and family, and it is to last our entire lives.
When is the last time you’ve taken a friendship that seriously? In contrast to someone with whom you see, touch, and speak everyday, we must make effort to be with our friends, especially when our daily or weekly routine no longer brings us into contact with one another. There is no physical connection that binds friends together. You have to dig deeply with your conversation and seek ways to serve and encourage one another.
So do we need friends? Can’t we just be friendly with whoever we work or study with, and wait around for a spouse with whom we can truly be best friends? Besides, isn’t Jesus the only friend we need?
The answer to all of the above is yes. We do need friends, but we should always be open to new friendships, and Jesus is the only friend we need.
Look at Jesus’ friendship with Mary, Martha and Lazarus: when Lazarus died, that’s the only record in the Bible of Jesus crying (John 11:35). And there is one disciple that was special to him above the rest—not because that man served Him the best or won the most souls to Him, but because Jesus loved him (See these verses in John). Their relationship was close.
Jesus didn’t seclude himself with the disciple that He loved, or even neglect His other duties when he heard Lazarus was sick. Serving God and teaching others were His priorities, but the friendships were necessary, too.
Ultimately, our deep human desire for understanding can only be satisfied in Jesus, who knows all our faults, bore the punishment for them, and still loves us. Neither a spouse nor a best friend has done that for us. But as humans, we desire human companionship. When God made man, He said, “It is not good for man to be alone.”
We need human friends, but they’re not built-in, like siblings, cousins, classmates or later, a spouse. You young ladies will discover when you do marry that any relationships beyond your household take work and risks. Even relationships that were once automatic, like those with siblings and cousins, will require effort, and especially those with friends you don’t see regularly at family gatherings or church events.
How did Jesus build His friendships? By spending time in his friends’ home (Mary, Martha, and Lazarus), and by serving together (with the disciple whom He loved—probably John).
A boyfriend or a husband is not all you need when it comes to friendship. Placing all your emotional needs for intimacy on one human person will only lead to disappointment. But solid female friendships also require making yourself vulnerable and sacrificing your own time to serve and encourage someone else.