“True friendship is never serene.”
~Marquise de Sevigne
As we are rarely at unison with ourselves, and as we are often even slightly at odds with one another in marriage, true friendship is no bed of roses.
Proverbs speaks a lot about this rare ability for friendship to extract the best out of us. Iron sharpens iron (27:17); and, wounds from a friend can be trusted (27:6).
True friends are not bashful in telling us how it is; they do speak the truth in love. If we are safe within ourselves, beyond feeling vulnerable initially, we’ll appreciate the risks-of-intimacy they take; the candour of their care. They would not speak so candidly if they didn’t care.
TRUE FRIENDSHIP – A RELATIONSHIP THAT WITHSTANDS THE YEARS
As a weather-beaten fence attests to the quality of a decent whitewash, our friendships also attest to their ability to withstand conflict and move on beyond it.
A friendship that lasts and lasts, enduring decades, till death does it part, is not only a blessing to both, but also it’s a testimony to the maturity in both individuals; to their tenacity to get through conflict; to their commitment to follow-up; to their energy in investing in the relationship.
True friendship can withstand more than other more tenuous relationships. True friendships reward courage and they give good value for honesty. We can afford to sow in integrity, and when integrity is important to us, it’s fantastic to be free to be our authentic selves. Friendship like this is an extension of the comfort we can have in being with ourselves.
BEING PATIENT THROUGH THE TOUGH TIMES
Friendships are a joy when they are going swimmingly, but when two are opposed, understanding fractures, and trust is at jeopardy. All the more important at those times is respect to not burn our bridges.
All friendships will be tested. And the test will be the test of the strength of the relationship. If the friendship is truly important we’ll find ways of making concessions or we’ll find ways to negotiate our way out of trouble. We won’t give up. Yet we won’t also sacrifice our sensible needs with a friend who won’t respect the mutuality of needs – what the relationship deserves. Friendship runs both ways in general equality.
A good friendship is God’s blessing. But true friendships test our maturity and resolve, because true friends are not afraid to speak the truth in love.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.