As an adolescent, working my way through the minefield residing under the heading “Girls--Junior High School/High School,” I was the kind of guy with whom the popular, top-tier girls always wanted to be “just friends.” For most teen guys, this is the kiss of death, damnation by faint praise. I had plenty of perfectly good GUY friends, and was interested in something, um, different from female companionship. Being told I was unlikely to rise above the stature of “friend” by a member of the “cheerleader class” was usually a serious blow to the fragile ego of a teenager. (Generally, I suspected the fact that they even wanted to be friends with me at all was because I was good at math.)
Heading into the 40th year of my marriage, I understand that couples must be friends before they can be spouses. John Gottman goes into this at some length in his book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. One of the fundamental qualities of friendship is the habit of ascribing good intentions to our friends. In her blog post entitled Secrets of Happily Married Couples, writer Shaunti Feldhahn discusses this truth very thoughtfully. Please follow the link to her blog site at Proverbs 31 Ministries.