Staying Best Friends After Marriage
To stay best friends with your spouse after marriage presumes you are already best friends. Not all couples would define their relationship as such. And strictly speaking, your spouse doesn’t have to be your very best friend. That role is often legitimately filled by another close pal—a longtime friend or even a sibling.
While your spouse doesn’t have to be your best friend, he or she should be at least one of your closest friends. Your marriage is your most intimate relationship. Ideally, your spouse will be your best ally, your closest confident and your biggest champion. Whether or not this is currently the case in your relationship, the tips below can help you develop a strong friendship with your spouse.
Strengthening Friendship in Your Marriage
Pick someone with potential
If you are not already married, be sure whoever you have in mind has real friendship potential. Finding someone you truly like as person—not merely someone you are attracted to—makes marriage a pleasure, not a pain.
Protect your other friendships
Having your spouse for your best friend doesn’t mean your spouse should be your only friend. When other friendships are neglected, a couple can quickly become co-dependent. While you may need to set boundaries for your “guys/girls nights,” be sure they stay a priority.
Don’t just be friends
Friendship is a solid foundation for marriage. But marriage is more than just a sturdy societal construct; it is a platform for emotional intimacy and passion. Continually cultivating romance is essential to making your marriage a place you really want to come home to every night.
Talk often, listen more
It’s easy to let whole days go by without any meaningful communication with your spouse. But friends value each other’s insights and look forward to discussing them. Friends don’t always agree, but they do acknowledge that what the other person is saying is valid. Try to suspend your judgment (and your comments) until your partner is finished speaking. If you are bothered by something your spouse says, ask questions to clarify if you are understanding him/her correctly.
Respect each other
If you cussed out a buddy, would he or she be apt to stay for dinner? If you hit a friend, would he or she still hang around your house? Most people know that if they blatantly disrespect a friend, that friend won’t be around for long. But some people assume their spouse will tolerate any disrespect they throw out. But abuse—whether verbal, emotional, physical or sexual—erodes the very foundation of both marriage and friendship: trust.
Make peace with change
All long-term friendships go through cycles; don’t be alarmed if your marriage goes through similar seasons of relative closeness and distance. Even during hard times in your marriage, stay focused on good communication, love and intimacy. By doing so, you can help keep your marriage from going the way of your 7th grade BFF … never to be seen or heard from again.
In a marriage, it’s not enough to share your house; you have to share yourself. For a marriage to thrive, you have to master the fear of being emotionally vulnerable with another person. One caveat: even in marriage, sharing doesn’t mean you divulge everything to your partner. Think carefully before you speak about how your words will impact your partner—and if those particular words are really necessary.
Build common interests
No need to become your spouse’s clone. Football may never be your thing and you don’t have to feign enthusiasm for scrapbooking. But sharing at least one interest with your spouse means you always have something to talk about (and do) together. Whether it’s a hobby, a board game or a workout routine, everything is better when shared with a friend. Most of all, marriage itself is a pursuit best enjoyed in the company of your dearest friend, your spouse.