There is no better basis for a successful marriage or relationship than being best friends.
Okay, so I’m one of those fortunate people who married their best friend but you don’t necessarily have to marry your best friend to be married to your best friend. See what I’m saying? If your spouse is not your best friend, how can you become so?
Why Spouses Should Be Best Friends
Friendship is the foundation on which the best relationships grow. When a sense of friendship bonds you and your spouse or partner, there is a meeting of minds that connects you to a powerful feeling. This feeling consists of empathy, energy, tranquillity and joy. This meeting of minds is good for the soul and important for longevity. Dayton (2010) references a study conducted between two universities that evaluated data spanning over three decades. Co-author of the study, Timothy Smith, stated that their findings indicate that people who are better connected socially will live an average of 3.7 years longer than people with a less-connected social life. Therefore, healthy relationships are a contributing factor to long life.
It is worth remembering that a sense of friendship always bonds people further than the relationship by marriage or romantic interest does on its own. When you base your relationships on friendship you are saying, “You mean more to me than merely the romantic feelings we have for one another.”
How Relationships Develop
Anyone can have romantic feelings towards someone they have just met, that doesn’t mean much on its own. What takes that association to the next step is the desire to spend time together and be intimate with one another. What keeps the relationship going is the fact that you begin to build a deeper mental connection with one another. They make you happy, they give you companionship, they understand you, and, over time, they show you they can handle your good and bad sides. However, what really makes that relationship so wonderful that you know you want to, and will, absolutely spend the rest of your life together is the fact that your relationship is based on a deep friendship. A friendship where you are best friends and so care for each other with the tenderness that you care for your friends with, despite the fact that you’ve been married for so many years now that you’ve become a little forgetful about how much this person brings to your life.
The thing is, we spend way more time with our spouse/partner than we do with anyone else. This inevitably results in more arguments, more irritation, and more joint challenges than any other relationship you have. That’s a lot for a relationship to contend with. However much we love our friends, our friendships don’t have to endure so many relationship tests.
When you have to pass the ongoing relationship tests in your marriage with the mindset of best friends, you utilise the qualities of a deep friendship, the qualities some marriages and long-term relationships lose over time. You play together, not just live together. You laugh together, instead of just at the TV. You can remain empathic even when they have royally aggrieved you. They put your needs and desires before their own when absolutely vital for the sake of your relationship. You can have frank conversations as friends about things partners are not traditionally expected to openly discuss, creating peace, understanding and further learning about one another. Most importantly, it’s the best friend status between a married couple or two partners that lays the foundation for a healthy independent existence in an ultimately interdependent relationship, something I believe is absolutely crucial for a supremely happy, well rounded life.
Continually strive to be best friends with your wife, husband or long-term partner, and you’re much more likely to grow together than apart.