You spend your entire adult life with your spouse, you experience joys and sorrows of life together. Your spouse is like your best friend who gives you a fulfilling married life. When married couples are friends, their marriage is less vulnerable to separation and divorce, common in most modern marriages. Friendship creates a strong bond between couples that makes them want to stay together.
When you get married, you might be getting a best friend for life in addition to a husband or a wife. Ideally, your spouse will also be your greatest supporter, a confidant, someone who knows and loves you through and through. Whether you married someone who is your best friend already, or you got hitched swiftly and are just getting to know your life partner, there are some things you can do to develop a deep friendship within your marriage.
1. Communication is a key
Every successful marriage is similar in one aspect – good communication. The same applies to friendships. In essence, without honest and direct communication, there can’t be any prospect of a deep and lasting relationship of any kind. If you don’t speak frankly about what is on your mind, what is bothering you or what needs you feel should be met, you are not being entirely invested in your marriage. You are keeping a part of yourself hidden.
On the other hand, being sincere in communication is only one aspect of what makes a person good communicator. Apart from speaking directly (no mind-games), you should also learn how to express yourself assertively. Yes, many marriages are sustained even with passive or aggressive communication. But if you want your spouse to be your best friend, not just tolerate your ways, you need to learn to be assertive in your communication.
2. Be kind and caring
What comes naturally as a continuation of the previous advice is the need to be kind and caring to your life partner to form a lasting friendship as well. Being aggressive and swearing, yelling out insults or ignoring a spouse does sometimes happen, and those marriages also persevere. Yet, this is truly unhealthy emotional interaction, and although married people sometimes get by with such treatment, no friend would tolerate it.
Therefore, if you want to benefit from a friendship within your marriage, it is essential that you learn how to be kind and gentle to your spouse, even in difficult times. The easiest thing in the world is to get angry and pout. But a true friend will learn to understand the other and love them for who they are.
Be caring for your spouse and it will get back to you. Show affection, tell them how much they mean to you often, ask if there is anything you can help with. Be there when they need you. When you go through the rough times together, you will be left with that much more energy and time to spend it laughing and having fun, and that is something friends often do.
3. Sharing interests is a foundation to every relationship
Married people often times share little to no interest. Or at least they believe it is so You can even hear a married couple being proud of how little they have in common, but their marriages blossom. Although this can be true, in practice, it is rather rare that two close individuals, friends or spouses, can have a meaningful relationship if they don’t share interests and values.
If you want to promote friendship in your marriage, you can build on the previous advice and find common interests with your husband or wife. It can be anything, something one of you enjoy, or a completely new thing you heard about in the news. Just venture on and explore what it is that you could both enjoy.
Sharing an interest (or quite a few) will deepen your relationship in two ways. You will learn more about your life partner, what makes them smile, what motivates them, what they believe in. And then, you will also share time together in an activity that pumps your serotonin and dopamine levels high, which promotes bonding.
4. Treat your spouse as equal
Finally, although a marriage can last for many years when partners are not equal (and many times this is, unfortunately, an unhealthy condition of a relationship to last), a friendship cannot. A true friend will never put him/herself above their best friend but will treat them as equal.
So, if you believe your marriage will benefit from the two of you become best friends, start by making minor (or big) changes in the way you treat your spouse. Don’t offend them, don’t tell them they’re stupid, incompetent, lazy, or whatever such unflattering words slip your mouth in anger. Don’t patronize your life partner either. Don’t treat your husband or wife as a child. See them as an autonomous adult individual that they are, and learn to interact with them as such
The commitment of married couples to stay in a marriage enhances friendship through contentment, companionship, shared concern and thought.
Here is why marital friendship is important:
1) Strengthens the physical and the emotional bond:
Although the physical bond fades after sometime, friendship keeps the emotional connection strong in any marriage union. It is this bond that makes you miss your spouse when you are out for a work trip or prompts you to find out how he or she is doing while at work.
2) Creates openness
The friend in your spouse enhances openness and further trust between the two of you. You have nothing to hide from your partner; you talk over everything and anything without any fear of judgment. This is the ideal definition of marriage, despite the lack of physical attraction you still have many things that bring you together enhancing the marital bond- a key element for success in marriage.
3) Maintains a sense of marital security:
A friend by your side makes you secure, no one competes with you for attention. Marital security allows you to explore your opportunities since you know you have all the support. Furthermore, it gives you a shoulder to lean on, no matter the outcomes of your decisions. Friendship in marriage makes you open up to your spouse, since he or she will give genuine advice with no selfish interest- you are not in any competition with your spouse.
4) Gives you marital peace
Nothing gives you the peace of mind than the thought that your spouse is your friend. Both of you prioritizes your each other’s needs in every decision you take. You have the liberty to share your thoughts and depend on each other.
5) You can enjoy each other’s company
Painting, washing the car, playing a game or taking a nature walk are some of the activities you might enjoy doing together as a couple. These activities enhance the bond you have as you also get to explore some of the character traits of your spouse that you don’t get to see in day to day life. Marriage experts admit that couples who indulge in activities doing together are less vulnerable to divorce and separation.
6) Provides marital satisfaction
Satisfaction in marriage can be achieved by efforts of both partners. Friendship is one attribute that enhances it. Friendship helps to solve conflicts between you and your partner with love. It makes marriages more meaningful.
The person who you marry should be your best friend, and there is no need to tiptoe around this. Infatuation is what often inspires us to think about ourselves as someone’s spouse forever after. It is this feeling of passion, desire, and raging emotions that we want to feel for the rest of our lives. But the fact of life is that, if there is no true friendship between partners, many relationships tend to crumble under pressure.
Passion vs. Friendship
Romantic crush is a wonderful feeling, one that makes teenagers and elderly look alike. And it has a way of making us want to spend all our time with the person we are in love with. For some, this fascination that is so emblematic of the start of a new relationship leads into a proposal of marriage. And for some, on the other hand, the same passionate feeling slowly develops into a steady long-term relationship which sometimes lasts for years before the partners say their “I do”. These couples usually experience many changes and crossover many hurdles prior to getting married.
The difference between these two kinds of newlyweds is often in one crucial aspect, and that is friendship between the spouses. Although both couples can develop deep bond and companionship, those who enter marriage swiftly might be surprised after the infatuation fades. On the other hand, there are also couples who spent years together and still aren’t each other’s best friends. In essence, practice shows that both sexual attraction and romance, and friendship and partnership, contribute to a happy marriage. As we will discuss in the following paragraphs, it’s a lucky combination of both that makes a relationship endure many hardships and downs that are inevitable in any marriage. Yet, research suggests that marrying your best friend could be the key to a happy and fulfilled life.
What is important is also this – not only does marriage promote greater wellbeing in general, but the participants in this study who said their spouses were also their best friends were twice as satisfied with their lives as those who separated these roles. In other words, having your husband or wife as your best friend seems to directly cause greater life happiness.
What makes friendship in marriage such potent benefit is the fact that, when life gets tough, you will need to have someone you can talk to and fight alongside with. And, the ideal combination is having both a husband or a wife with whom you share your life plans with and the best friend all in one. Best friends talk about everything together, consolidate each other, support one another, and help find solutions.
Yet, if you prefer to separate marriage and friendship, there is also good news for you. Although for the majority of people the above may apply, not everyone will necessarily benefit from having the best friend and a spouse in one person. For some, having a best friend apart from the husband or wife, and sharing different kinds of bonds with different people, appears to work much better.
Marriage can get stressful and experience problems, even for those who are very good friends. And although every successful marriage is founded on good communication and teamwork, it is at those times of hardships that many find that having a best friend to talk to contributes to solving the marriage issues. In essence, you should never feel pressure to conform to any set form of human relationships. Whether it is having your best friend and your spouse separate or in one person, both of these relationships should primarily feel natural and come with ease. Whatever works for you and your partner is the best way to go. Afterall a happy marriage is about two people who are determined to be together.