The world teaches you to look our for yourself, Look out for #1—take selfies that make you look good, choose friends who make you happy, drive cars that make you feel successful—that’s the world’s way.

But marriage was designed to specialise friendship. Marriage is designed to overcome the self-seeking, self-esteem, selfishness of looking out only for yourself, and show to what extent we are able to deny ourselves in order to love another. As the popular vows even affirm, marriage is a friendship that is for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health. Marriage is not about me, but about us.

Deuteronomy 24:5 commands a husband to make his wife happy. Literally it is very emphatic when it says that a new husband is to “make his wife intensely happy”.

Ecclesiastes 9:9 says enjoy life, not by looking out for your own personal interests, but by being with your spouse.

1 Peter 3:7 commands husbands to live with their wives in a very thoughtful and understanding way.

1 Peter 3:1-2 encourages wives to win their husbands through godly behaviour.

Proverbs 31 shows how a wife seeks the best of her family, and how a husband elevates and extols his wife.

If you want God’s purpose for your marriage, then work on your friendship with each other more than you work on any other relationship. It is not longer one person, but two, and only two, not three, not four, not two plus ten friends or family members, just husband-and-wife excelling in their friendship. Marriage is designed to specialise friendship.

Marriage is designed to overcome the self-seeking, self-esteem, selfishness of looking out only for yourself, and show to what extent we are able to deny ourselves in order to love another.