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Read Letter

Love Is Friendship

Dear Jack, it’s not enough to love someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, you must like her as well. Liking is the basis of friendship – the loving to spend time with that someone who makes you happy.

It’s about fun and play and happiness and jokes and joy and banter, and going out and spending time together. You must enjoy being with someone you want to marry, look forward to seeing her, or what’s the point! Why would you want to go into marriage with someone you’re not happy with, or who doesn’t make you happy?

The friendship gap is a common mistake in many marriages. Soon husband and wife have nothing in common. It doesn’t mean you must have the exact same interests. Many happy couples don’t have exact same interests. But they love being with each, love playing together, making fun of each other, are accepting of each other’s differences. A marriage is not meant to be a joyless experience. It cannot be! You will go into depression. A marriage is a place you can totally be yourself, a place of comfort. Marriage is a place of accommodation, where you’re respected, and your views matter.

I keep warning you about depression. Without happiness you’ll go into depression. Depression is serious stuff. Nothing is as depressive as being locked up for eternity in a marriage with someone you don’t like. Being stuck in marriage with someone you can’t stand, or can’t relate to beyond dutifulness is depressive. Marry your friend. Someone who makes you happy – who cares about you, wants to spend time with you. There’s a couple I know who’ve been married for 38 years. You can tell they’re friends. They so love being together. They chat late into the night. They’re the best of friends – soul mates. And their kids wonder what they find to talk about. They just enjoy gisting with each other, being together. May God prolong our lives, but imagine being stuck in a marriage for 38 years with someone you don’t like. If that doesn’t scare you, nothing ever will. It’s a frightful proposition to contemplate.

When you marry a woman you love and who loves you, someone you like, the years will never be enough. That’s the perfect analogy for the theory of relativism according to Einstein. When asked to explain his unimaginable theory of lack of absolute time, he used love as analogy. According to him, if you touch a very hot kettle, time would seem like forever. But when you spend time with a woman you love, time will seem so short. I’m sure you can relate to this. Friends don’t tire of each other. Friends enjoy each other’s company. Friends want to be together, always.

Friends respect each other; avoid a hard stance on topics that divide. They don’t push such topics. They don’t necessarily have the same viewpoint on everything but they find accommodation for each other’s views. They don’t need to impose views on each other. Their friendship is bigger than that. It’s respectful. Friendship is a dynamic negotiation of accommodation. Friends respect what the other person stands for; support each other as a matter of fact and in so many quiet ways. You know your friend will be there for you. She doesn’t do things to be thanked. It’s naturally expected of her, even when it’s not expected. That’s what friends do. They’re just there for each other. And friends accept imperfections in each other. They don’t seek to convert points of view. They just accept.

Friends are loyal. They quietly defend their friends, act as PR agents, mitigate and dilute bile. You know where they stand on issues. And it’s not so much about the issue; it’s where their friend’s at. Friends don’t pass judgment on each other. They just seek to understand, and find accommodation. If you can have friendship in your marriage, it will solve many of the issues people grapple with. Given the intimate potency of marriage it should come as a surprise that some people marry total strangers. And they do so for a variety of reasons. Some out of desperation. They just want to settle down with someone, anyone. If you marry a stranger, you will live with a stranger. Love of course is a very deep concept, but love is expressed in friendship. I think that total acceptance of the other person is key to a successful marriage. And because you care for each other you will make accommodations for each other. People won’t understand your relationship, or why she’s so accepting of your frailties and peculiarities. But that’s the beauty of a happy marriage. The ability to just love someone, to be identified with someone, to rejoice in someone, find rest in someone, find peace in someone.

Love is a destination. And there’s no truth in the assertion that a marriage must be full of quarrels in order to succeed. The more mature the parties are, the less the quarrel in a relationship or marriage. But there has to be that commitment to the relationship that is unquestionable and unexaminable. It’s just what it is. And that’s why I said love is a destination. It’s not a transit. In marriage, there has to be that knowing on the inside of you that someone loves you – a witness inside of you. And the things someone does and says will show you the person loves you. You really can’t hide love.

When there’s love in a marriage the parties feel biologically inseparable, like they’re spiritually one with each other. And that’s why you’re not afraid in love. There’s so much assurance, so much witness of heart. Perfect love casts out fear. But if you’re trying to hold on to a relationship which can’t work, you’ll know. If it won’t work, don’t force it to work. It doesn’t mean you don’t put in effort into your relationship. You must. But some things just won’t work. It’s so, so wonderful to be married to a caring heart, to a selfless, loving and giving person. To be married to a friend. Make sure you’re that person.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

Tags : Friendship

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