It’s been nearly 20 years since we stood at the altar and said “for better or for worse” and there have definitely been some of both throughout the years. However, another phrase that stands out clearly in my mind from my wedding day is our motto: “Today I will marry my best friend.” I was already best friends with the woman about to become my spouse. We stood there as best friends, but we’ve only increased in our understanding of what that truly means the longer we’ve been together.
I recently saw an interview of a married couple celebrating over 80 years of marriage, and they said this: “Don’t ever stop being friends. And always be kind.” So, what would it take for you to become best friends with your spouse (or to become best friends again)? Here are 5 ways I’m still learning to become best friends with my wife.
Share life’s most important and intimate moments together.Your wife desires to truly know you and to be truly known by you.
You would think this would come naturally for most couples, but let’s be real. After the first few years, it often takes some intentional work to prioritize your wife with your attention, your words, and your heart. Your wife desires to truly know you and to be truly known by you. That’s why trust and transparency are cornerstones to lasting friendship in a marriage, both inside and outside the bedroom.
Prioritize spending quality time together.
Whether or not you or your wife’s love language is quality time, spending time together is very healthy for strengthening your relationship. The fact that your spouse knows you, unlike any other person in the world, and still loves you unconditionally, is a beautiful thing. Spend a lifetime getting to know the person you married better and your friendship will never stop growing.
In his book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Dr. John Gottman said, “The simple truth is that happy marriages are based on a deep friendship. By this, I mean a mutual respect for and enjoyment of each other’s company.”
Go deeper together.
We recently started fostering two children. My wife also recently went through two important surgeries—heart surgery and cancer surgery. Both these things have taken our relationship to even deeper levels of closeness and intimacy than before. Every marriage faces challenges and difficulties, and they have the potential to uproot you or to cause your roots to dig deeper. For some guys, going deeper may look like being more transparent with their wives about their feelings or their needs during a difficult season. For me personally, I find that praying for and with my wife is a great way to go deeper together. Firm roots can enhance any lasting friendship, and especially in marriage.
Have fun together intentionally.
This shouldn’t be hard to believe, but couples that have fun together actually enjoy their marriage more than those who don’t. Go figure! However, many couples aren’t experiencing regular fun in their relationship, and it takes its toll. The biggest killers of fun in any marriage are busyness, boredom, and complacency. So what can you do to mix things up and add the element of fun back into your marriage?
Pursue your dreams together.
In reality, your personal dreams might differ. But learning to pursue your wife’s happiness by prioritizing things that you know are important to her is a sign of true friendship. Also, find some things you can specifically enjoy together (hobbies, TV shows, favorite restaurants) and set some goals of things you can dream of accomplishing together.
Sound off: What other ideas do you have for how to be best friends with your spouse?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Who is your best friend and why?”