By Nyle Kardatzke, PhD
“God is love.” 1 John 4:16
“All things were made through him.” John 1-3
“In Him, all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17
“Two are better than one.” Ecclesiastes 4:9
Love is one of the most powerful words in the English vocabulary or any other language. The first three scriptures above tell of God’s work through love. The fourth verse tells us of our need for companionship.
Some of the same urges that led us to marry may lead us to seek love and companionship again. We were created to be loving beings, and we are social beings, even if we sometimes want to be alone. The word love is so overworked that it can become trite, even boring. But the concept of love attempts to grasp perhaps the greatest reality about life.
It is important to distinguish between true love and the state of “being in love.” Thanks to Hollywood, we need to be clear that love is not the same thing as sex or falling in love, though they are intertwined. We widow-men may feel sexual desire, and we might even “fall in love” again, but I believe the love we seek is something more profound than sex or romance.
Love, it seems to me, is a magnetic or gravitational force that arose from God at the creation. The Bible says, “God is love,” and concerning Jesus, “All things were made through him” . . . and “in him, all things hold together.” So I think love permeates the cosmos, holding galaxies and solar systems together, wrapping our planet in life-giving oxygen, and binding men, women, and children together in families and societies. We shouldn’t be surprised that we continue to feel a pull toward other people, especially toward some with whom we could share years of life.
Companionship is talked of less than love, yet it’s closely related. I have heard men speak of their wives as their “best friend.” That idea was foreign to me. Marriage for me was more binding and all-encompassing than any friendship I could imagine, and marriage came with more accountability. Friendships, in contrast, create strong and delightful bonds, but they are more easily started and stopped than marriages. Not all friendships are intended to last a lifetime.
After my wife died, I began to think of our love and companionship and the natural flow of activity between us. It was only then that I realized my wife had, in fact, been my best friend.
What memories cause you to think of your wife as your best friend? What kind of friendship do you now seek in others, perhaps especially in women?
More than three years after my wife died, I awoke one morning with a feeling of loneliness. I need a companion, but I don’t know how to have a constant companion now. Then I thought, The Lord is my companion. I went on to another thought: “The Lord is my shepherd” (Psalm 23:1). I hadn’t made up that last thought, so I was reminded that I had companionship beyond what I might find with another human being, even beyond what I had known in marriage.
I believe that God’s companionship is available to us if we ask, and it can help prepare us for human companionship when the opportunities arise.