Apr 152015 4 Responses

How to Create Friendship in Marriage

Friendship is the foundation of a healthy marriage.

I’ve written on the topic on several occasions. See:

Three People You Should Marry

How Marriage Changes Friendships

My Best Friend, Not My Only Friend

Anytime I write on the topic, the most asked question I receive is “How can we create a friendship within our marriage?”

Sometimes it has been lost. This is a real threat for those who are in the middle of having or raising children. The demands of parenting, career, and life become so overwhelming that the friendship aspect of a marriage is ignored. It’s not pushed to the side intentionally. It is simply easier to delay doing something with your spouse over the more pressing demands of feeding your children, getting their homework done, or sneaking in an extra hour of work.

At other times, friendship was never part of the marriage. When two people too quickly jump into a romantic relationship, they never develop a true friendship. The early years of their marriage is built more upon lust than love. By the time the euphoria of the new relationship wears off they start having kids, and the next thing they know, ten years has passed and they are married to someone they have never been friends with.

In either scenario the question is the same—how do you create friendship in marriage when it currently does not exist?

Five Steps to Develop Friendship in Marriage

1. Confess to one another that you want more.

Telling your spouse that you want a better friendship with them is a tremendous compliment. While some receive it as a criticism—as though they are not doing something right–it should be viewed as a compliment—”I love you so much I want to be closer to you.” By sharing your desire to develop a deeper friendship, it assists each partner to hear new invitations (to activities, thoughts, or ideas) in the context of friendship and not on the surface level of the individual issue. (For example: if I tell my spouse I want to develop our friendship and then later invite her to a walk, she will look past the surface issue of the walk and understand this is an activity in which we can deepen our friendship.)

2. Prioritize time to devote to one another.

Friendship in marriage often gets pushed to the side because it isn’t a pressing priority. Be an hour late for work tomorrow and you might get fired. Skip your morning walk with your wife and she probably won’t divorce you. Because there aren’t immediate consequences when we push friendship aside, it is easy to ignore. In order to rebuild or create a friendship in marriage, time must be given to the process. By looking at the big picture goal of a healthy marriage to your best friend, a couple can better determine what is truly important regarding their time. Tonight’s ballgame, the latest TV show, or a hit movie is not as important as becoming true companions with one another. Take the time to accomplish the goal. (See: The Number One Cause of Divorce)

3. Find activities which cause you to connect.

Friendship often occurs when two people engage in the same experience or activity. Consider your current friends. Chances are you met them while doing something—attending 1st grade, watching your kids play on the same team, or playing against one another in tennis. The activity or experience is the focus, but relationships form from the activity. The fastest way to connect with your spouse on a friendship level is to share an activity or experience. A walk is the most effective activity I’m aware of. It costs nothing, is doable for nearly every person, and requires very little planning. But as you walk, you talk. Other activities are possible—finding a new restaurant, trying a new sport, or going to a concert. (A few suggestions: Choose an activity other than one which one spouse already does and the other spouse does not. By trying his sport or doing her thing, it creates an inequality which often doesn’t lead to friendship. Also, try to make the activity something that is new or something that is not in your normal routine. A new experience will help prevent you from falling into old routines of communication or thinking.)

4. Lower your expectations.

Creating a friendship in marriage is not a magical process. One experience won’t forever change your relationship. If your goal is a healthy marriage which includes a significant friendship, it will take time. Like any thing worth achieving, it won’t necessarily be easy. Too many couples try to become friends, but after one or two experiences they give up on the process. Intention plus time will result in friendship (Intention + Time = Friendship). Take your time. Keep working. Expect success and failure. But don’t expect one walk or one book to radically change your marriage.

5. Commit to do whatever it takes.

Show me a couple committed to becoming friends and they will become friends. If you and your spouse are not close friends, it is because one or both of you have chosen not to be friends. You have placed your time and attention in other places. The good news is you can choose differently. Friendship is essential to a healthy marriage. Every investment you make in becoming friends with your spouse will pay off in a variety of other areas. Commit to the process of becoming friends and you will become friends.

 

4 Responses to How to Create Friendship in Marriage
  1. […] A few hundred people were in the room for a three-hour conference on marriage. The primary focus of ... kevinathompson.com/its-all-foreplay
  2. […] 4- How To Create Friendship In Marriage […]... strippeddownlovers.com/blog/romantic-ideas-for-her
  3. […] Separate Friends. A couple is supposed to walk hand-in-hand through life. Friendship is born of equ... kevinathompson.com/avoiding-power-struggles-marriage
  4. Widad Reply

    I loved it. I am in a relationship now I’m engaged and me and my fiance
    Are in romantic relationship since starting, I felt some void in our relationship,and I discovered it might be friendship. And to my surprise i was right. V helpful article. I’ll be implying this ASAP in my relationship so that it gets healthy and Better. I just don’t know how to start coz I’m the who realised it not my fiance. Too tricky for me.

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