For marital friendship to be successful, your friendship needs to go beyond selfish love. You simply can not play the "I’ll give if you give" game. To be willing to lay down one’s life is to let go of game-playing in your marriage and to be willing to give even if you are not being given to.
An Example: Some friends of ours were having a difficult time in their marriage and asked us for help.
After listening to them talk, we thought that writing to each other would be a good beginning. We suggested that they write a small note to one another on a daily basis.
The husband absolutely refused. The wife, who heard us when we mentioned that marriage was a 100/100 proposition, decided to write him a note each day any way.
He refused to read the notes. So, at night, when he was asleep, she would sit on the edge of the bed and read her love notes out loud to him. She did this nightly for six months.
He finally sat up one evening and said, ‘OK...if our relationship means that much to you, I’ll write too.’
Game-playing in your marriage is not just the big games married couples sometimes play with one another. You need to notice the little games such as waiting for the toilet paper to be replaced or measuring how long it takes for the other to take out the trash.
True friends, especially friends married to one anothng. Hopefully you are enriching one another's life. If you don’t know how to do this, ask your spouse.
Friedrich Nietzsche: "It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages."
So ... back to the bottom line. Are you, as a married couple, friends? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What do you need to do to be more "friendly" with one another?
Dialogue Question: How does looking at your marriage in terms of friendship make you feel?