When two people decide to be in a relationship, they don’t become involved with just one other person. Spouses come with a constellation of families and friends. We can choice to ignore those relationships. We can view them as a threat to our relationship with our spouse and fight them. Or we can lovingly insert ourselves into those relationships and help grow them.
Many years after his friend Jonathan died, King David reached out to Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth. David restored to Mephibosheth the land that had belonged to his grandfather, King Saul, and David welcomed Mephibosheth to his royal table. Why? Because David loved Jonathan and wanted to do something kind to a member of Saul’s household “for Jonathan’s sake” (2 Samuel 9:1).
Sometimes, I don’t want to extend myself on behalf of anyone else. But when we entered into a relationship, we committed not just to love each other but also to behave lovingly toward the people we each love. This doesn’t mean we necessarily have to like everyone our spouse likes. The Bible, after all, doesn’t say whether or not David liked Mephibosheth. What it says is that David and Jonathan had a special love for each other (see 1 Samuel 18:1–4; 20:17; 2 Samuel 1:26); and because David loved Jonathan, he extended kindness to Mephibosheth.
We don’t have to develop intimate friendships with all of our spouse’s relatives and close friends. But, as David understood, we can best honor, love and serve our spouse by making loving overtures to the people they love.