Last week I said goodbye to one of my best friends as her and her husband moved to San Francisco to start the next chapter of their lives. I was telling one of my other friends about our farewell to one another and she said "you guys sound like you're romantic". She was joking, but I think there was some truth in what she said.
Let's say that I do not get married. What is my alternative in terms of relationships? Am I restricted to friendships that many people would tell me are the shadow of the glory that a marriage relationship is? I don't think so, as I firmly believe being made in the image of God means that I am created to be in relationship with other people. And those relationships that breathe life into the soul are not exclusive to those fortunate enough to find their life partner and get married.
Marriage is a relational covenant. It is one of deep significance and importance. I had lunch with my friend Anna a couple of weeks ago and I loved hearing her talk about her marriage. She told me she had no secrets from Chris and that he was her best friend. At winter camp the week prior I marveled at the way Sean (the worship leader/speaker) would look at Julie when she was speaking to the group. It was as if hearing her speak and pour out her heart before the students and before God was making him fall in love with her again. There is something sacred about marriage.
But there is also something sacred about finding friends who know you deeply and intimately. My friend who moved to San Francisco wrote me a letter before she left, and the thing I was amazed at as I read it was how evident it was that she knew me. And not just facts about me, but the desires and movements of my heart. It is with these people I feel that a covenantal friendship has been established. Much like David's relationship with Jonathan, there is a fierce protectiveness and responsibility for one another. Just the other day I was having breakfast with my roommate and we began talking about one of our mutual friends. I started crying as we began talking about our love for this person and how wrong it is that others failed to see her for the amazing child of God she was. It was my love and care for this friend that moved me to tears, and a genuine desire to see the best and greatest things for her.
Granted, there are certain aspects of a marriage covenant that do not apply to friendship covenants. I'll let you fill in those blanks. But yes, there is something romantic about my relationship with my friends. There is a quietness and a care that doesn't exist in many of my other relationships, and I think that comes from being truly known.
So, for all those that are married and will be getting married. Good for you! I am so happy you have found someone that you desire to spend the rest of your days with. And as iron sharpens iron, I hope your marriage relationship brings out the best in one another. But for those who may not be getting married, take heart, as you have a lifetime of journeying with your deepest and truest friends. Drown out those messages that tell you that friendship is not good enough. Maybe friendship as it is commonly thought of is not enough, but those friendships that speak a word of truth into who you are, those are certainly enough.
Praise be to God that we are not made to journery alone, but that he provides us with fellow sojourners. What a good and gentle God who cares for us by giving us other people.