Dear girls,

This morning I sit on the deck of my parent's home high in the Sierra's. It is beautiful here, so peaceful. Last week this place was brimming with Comers- 15 of us in all was we gathered to just enjoy being a family. What fun we had! And so many memories... Now I am relishing some rare time alone to write and ponder and read.

I've asked my friend, Danita Newell, to explain to us how she has cultivated her unique and enviable friendship with her husband, Todd. I've watched them now, for more than a decade- and what I see is friendship. Lots of laughter, Instagrams of road trips, Friday breakfasts out and about Portland, and a family that laughs a lot! You'll want to listen well here, girls, whether you're married or hope to be someday. This is what we all want and Danita is full of practiced wisdom about how to get there.

From my heart,



For better, for worse – for richer, for poorer – in sickness and in health.

We’ve all heard these words spoken at various weddings over the years.  But do you ever wonder if the bride and groom are hearing what is really being said?  After all, they are the “stars of the show,” the “main characters,” the “cake topper look alikes.”  Could it be they are distracted by their audience? The paparazzi? Or even their very own stage presence?  Maybe all they hear is... for better, for richer, in health.

Marriage is so much more than the fairy tale ending we dream of.

Actually the only perfect ending is a NEVER ending in eternity spent with the ultimate groom, Jesus Christ.  That is for those who believe in Him……”For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).  We give up our old ways to live as a new creation…..”If any man/woman be in Christ, he/she is a new creature. Old things are passed away. All things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

In relationships, including marriage, we take the ups with the downs.  Friendships often start with a common ground – attending the same school, enjoying similar movies, laughing at the same thing even at the same time.  These were the small things that later came to matter in my marriage.  After 32 years of marriage, I’ve come to realize the value of friendship and the strength that comes with marrying your best friend.

You might ask, what does marrying your best friend look like?  It is the constant effort toward putting their needs above your own.  It is working together to solve problems, making decisions together, not giving up, willingness to do whatever it take to NOT repeat mistakes, having fun together, talking regularly, going places together, forgiving one another and moving forward.  Marriage should look like friendship.

My husband and I met at college.  We never knew the other existed until we were 19 years old.  A mutual friend introduced us and wanted us to play in his band.  We both loved music.  I played the piano, he played the trumpet.  This was the beginning of our common ground.  Since we both had different career paths, we never had classes together.  Therefore, band practice turned into a weekly rendezvous.

As friends, we enjoyed our time together.  We talked and talked and discovered we both laughed at the same things.  We began to watch for each other in the auditorium at the weekly chapel gatherings.  This became another common ground in our relationship…..the importance of our faith.  When you spend time with your friends you learn who you are and what is most important to you.  This was a strong friendship that was becoming more focused on the  potential of a lifetime together.

If you are not married but hope to be one day, I would encourage you to take the time to develop a friendship before romance.  Allow yourself to get to know someone in all area while you are getting know who YOU are when you are with them.

Those of you who are married and feeling you’ve lost that friendship, or maybe never had it to begin with, it is not too late.

There is a familiar saying that mom’s repeat to their young children….”to have a friend you have to be a friend.”

There is truth to that.  Are you treating your husband like you would your friends?  Do you look forward to spending time with him? Do you get yourself “ready” to go out with him?  Do you talk with him, get excited to hear his stories about his day?  Are you able to be real, to cry, to laugh, to admit your failures?

If not, then it is time to start.

I have the privilege of partnering with my husband in ministry in pre marital and marital counseling.  We have had training in biblical counseling and cling to the truth spoken in 2 Timothy 3:16 & 17…..”All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”  In our hours spent with couples we repeatedly counsel the importance of spending time together.  What does that look like practically?

Eat together without watching television, go to bed at the same time, talk to each other regularly, take vacation together.  Learn from each other about each other.  We see couples drift apart and realize the friendship aspect of their marriage has become secondary.  They love each other but don’t like each other.  We need to guard that. Protect that. Ensure it won’t happen.  Then purposefully put forth effort in becoming friends and maintaining that friendship.

It is with words of encouragement that I remind you your hope of becoming the friend you need to be lies in your relationship with Jesus Christ.  He has given us a helper, the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to do what we are called to do and that is to live a life that is pleasing to God.

“Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”  (Hebrews 11:6)

Your friend,