God created marriage to be a relationship of companionship. God designed husband and wife in such a way that they meet the needs of each other. The foundation of this companionship is living faithfully before God, and this companionship is enriched by doing things together.

Source: Faith in Focus, 2011. 2 pages.

Companionship in Marriage

An elderly, widowed neighbour came to us at our wedding and earnestly told us to make the most of the time we had together. Her husband had died several years before and she still missed his com­panionship. As a neighbour and a child, my memory of their companionship is limited to seeing them tend their colour­ful flower garden together. (I liked to pop their pink snapdragons when I walked past.) What is it about companionship that makes it so special even after many years of marriage?

God created us to need companion­ship. When God created Adam, He said it was not good for man to be alone. So He created Eve, a woman, to be a helper suitable for the man – to com­plete and complement the man. A wife’s loving companionship was designed by God to meet her husband’s need.

Walking Before the Lord🔗

In Christian marriage there is not just husband and wife. The Lord has joined us together and it is He who will hold us together. Our common bond is in Him. It is only when we are in a right relationship with God that we can relate to one another as God intended. It is out of the love we receive from God that we are able to love one another. Only out of a personal experience of God’s grace are we able to forgive one another. His Word is the light which guides us on the questions, challenges and opportunities of each day. In daily prayerful dependence on Him we are strengthened to live before Him. When I reflect on the ups and downs of our marriage, I realise that it is when one or both of us is not walking right before the Lord that we have our “down times”. Our relationship with God is reflected in our relationship with one another. And that is where marriage is such a blessing; we have the help of one another. Two are better than one. When one is weak and struggling with a particular sin, the other can give support and the needed encouragement to repent, get up and press on. Humility and honesty are re­quired to acknowledge the struggles we are going through, but the needed help is a blessing and our union is strength­ened.

Sharing one’s life with another person day in and day out through thick and thin, rain and sunshine – this is what companionship involves. It means living and working together towards common goals and experiencing common inter­ests together, sharing the joys of victory and the grief of failure. Mixed in with all this is the fact that in marriage husband and wife have different personalities, different roles, different schedules and engage in different activities each day. Being good companions doesn’t mean we need to be constantly in each other’s hair all day; in fact the differences add to the richness of the relationship. I have no aptitude in engineering, but I’ve heard enough from listening to my husband telling me about his work as a steam engineer to be able to share his amusement when he came home from a training seminar he and a female junior colleague had conducted for a group of engineers. He laughingly told me that when giving advice on trouble shooting scenarios, his colleague told the group what to do when there are kinks in the pipes and when you have squishy steam! Even I could see the funny side of that! (In engineer’s language, ‘bends’ in pipes and ‘pressurised’ steam is the correct terminology.)

Doing Things Together🔗

For many years Derek and I have enjoyed walking in the bush. When the children were younger, we would all go walking, and we enjoyed chatting and exploring the sights and sounds on the track. As the children got older and decided that Mum and Dad walked too slowly, they preferred to run; and we found our­selves more often than not walking on our own. It has become our way of unwinding at the end of the week, getting away from the telephone, enjoying one another’s company and keeping fit. For us there is something about being out in the open air that helps us to clear our heads and look at problems from a different perspective. I have found that when I talk through a problem it no longer seems the big monster I thought it was. A problem shared is a problem halved. In listening to my husband talk about the challenges in his work I don’t always have a solution, but listening does give me a better understanding of the challenges he is facing and a sympathis­ing ear shares his load.

Last year we set aside Saturday morn­ings for this. Some Saturday mornings it was the last thing I felt like doing. The thought of getting out in the cold and the wet was not very enthralling, but on one of these cold mornings I did it for the sake of Derek and I didn’t say anything. It was only on the way home that I told him how little I felt like it only to be told he had felt exactly the same! Once out on the track though, it was different. Some of these times, the times we least felt like it, have turned out to be such lovely times. We have returned physically invigorated, mental­ly and spiritually stimulated by our dis­cussions, and this has strengthened the bonds between us. One particular Sat­urday morning, it was snowing in the Tararuas, and after we had walked up a steep slope, we turned a corner on the path and there below, was the river. It traced its way through the bush with a white ribbon on its bars. It was a sight to behold and we stood in awe of the fact that we were alone with God.

Companionship is not just about sharing the things we both enjoy. Over the years I have learned to like things I never thought would appeal to me. When we first got married I did not share my husband’s passion for poetry, partly because I never understood figura­tive language as a child. Over the years, though, his love of poetry has rubbed off on me. To be enjoyed, a poem has to be recited and I have grown to apprec­iate and share in this love of his which has enriched both our lives. Conversely, Derek was never very good at detail, but my attention to accuracy and grammar has rubbed off on him to the degree that he can now write his own emails without me having to check them first!

When our children were very young, life was very busy caring for them. We had to depend on one another; which was good for us. We learned to work together as a team rather than being just two individuals doing their own thing. Running the household for a week or so after the births of some of our chil­dren gave Derek a greater appreciation of the role of a mother; and made him thankful for the calling he has. He was better able to empathise with me, and to understand the many and varied tasks I had to manage in a day. During the day life was busy, but young children go to bed early and so we had evenings to talk. His objective opinion when I couldn’t see a way forward; and when I felt inadequate to deal wisely with the children day after day was a blessing and reinforced my confidence in his leader­ship. God uses the rough edges of each of us to help conform the other to the image of Christ.

Relationships Need Cultivation🔗

Just like a garden which needs regular tending and watering, so our relation­ship with our spouse needs to be tended and cultivated in order to grow. This re­quires time, effort and energy. It doesn’t just happen. The pressures of life, be it the children, work, responsibilities in the church, all which are important, can easily crowd out spending time with one another. Thinking tomorrow, when ... or next week, or next year ...  there will always be something else if a priority is not made of nurturing one’s relationship.

When there is much to do at home, doing tasks together is one way of getting the work done and spending time togeth­er. Undesirable menial jobs like weeding oxalis in the vegetable garden or sanding wooden window frames can be enjoy­able with pleasant company.

As the seasons of life pass by, and circumstances in our lives change, con­tinuing in friendship through a mutual commitment to God and His Word, and through prayerful dependence on Him, will provide the foundation for a growing relationship. One day failing health may mean we can no longer enjoy walking in the bush or engaging in shared ac­tivities. But instead, we will be able to reflect on pleasant memories, knowing we made the most of the time God gave us, and all the while looking forward to the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.