When you get married, you may 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 better, there are some things you can do to develop a deep friendship within your marriage.
1. Communication is the 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 entirely invested in your marriage. Instead, you are keeping a part of yourself hidden.
On the other hand, being sincere in communication is only one aspect of a 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. Unfortunately, being aggressive and swearing, yelling out insults, or ignoring a spouse sometimes happens, and those marriages also persevere. Yet, this is a truly unhealthy emotional interaction. Although married people sometimes get by with such treatment, no friend would tolerate it.
If you want to benefit from a friendship within your marriage, you must learn how to be kind and gentle to your spouse, even in difficult times. Of course, 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. Then, 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. Find and share more common interests
Married people often 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 enjoys, 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.
First, 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 in an activity that pumps your serotonin and dopamine levels high, which promotes bonding.
It doesn’t take much to share activities as a couple. Even if you don’t venture out, here are 10 activities that you can do as a couple right at your home:
4. Treat your spouse as equal
Finally, although marriage can last for many years when partners are not equal (and many times this is, unfortunately, an unhealthy relationship to the end), a friendship cannot. A true friend will never put themselves above their best friend but will treat them equally.
Now that you know that your marriage will benefit if 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. Instead, see them as the autonomous adult individual they are, and learn to interact with them.
The bottom line
A friendship is an important foundation for a relationship or marriage. Even if you are married to the love of your life, you may want to consider being friends with them first, to ensure complete honesty about who they are, and what they want in their life. You can try the advice given above to become better friends with your spouse, to keep your marriage healthy and happy, and based on important characteristics such as a friendship.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.