My husband and I are best friends. I know it seems like everyone says that, but I don’t say that phrase flippantly or take it lightly. Here’s the story:
Bjorn knew from a young age that he wanted to marry his best friend. He knew that he wanted to find a woman who would start as his best friend, and then marry her! And that’s exactly what happened. 🙂 We met in college, started eating lunch together a couple times a week because of our class schedules, and over time became each other’s closest companion! (And then he pulled me into his arms and kissed me one cold December night, which really got the inevitable ball rolling because until then, we each knew we liked each other but hadn’t done anything about it! You can read more details in our love story.)
Growing up, I always loved the song “Lucky” by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat (“Lucky I’m in love with my best friend…”) and knew I wanted that to be my first dance at my wedding. (And it was ours!)
I think part of what has made our friendship run deep in our marriage is the fact that both Bjorn and I started with a commitment and desire to be our spouse’s best friend. We always knew we wanted that; therefore, we’re just continuing with that priority in mind!
But I do think that whether or not a marriage started out with a true solid friendship first, there are always ways to foster a deep friendship now!
How my husband and I stay best friends:
We’re silly together. Bjorn and I just LOVE being goofy together! What a blessing to discover more each day just how perfectly our senses of humor match. 🙂 In marriage, you get to see all sides of a person — their serious side, their silly side… and it is just so much darn fun to “play” sometimes. It seems like in dating relationships, some people have their “best impression” self on. But when you really get to know and love another person so deeply, you should feel safe enough to just be silly with them! This keeps a relationship fun and authentic.
We listen to each other. When you meet up with a good friend, much of what you end up doing involves conversation and therefore, listening! Think of your marriage this way, too. I try to really listen to Bjorn when he wants to talk about something, whether it’s about his day or something about history 🙂 or even something more weighty. It’s really, really hard to build a relationship or maintain a friendship when the other person doesn’t feel listened to! Listening is a way to give in marriage or a friendship, not just take.
Another important aspect of this that I’ve realized is listening as a friend and not just as a wife — meaning, I shouldn’t be listening to Bjorn just waiting to ask him about logistical things we deal with as a married couple. I shouldn’t be just always asking him to do tasks around the house or with the cars. If I’m always looking at him as my husband-who-does-tasks and not as a friend, then I’m discounting a deep, meaningful aspect of our relationship.
We hang out. It’s kind of hard to foster a healthy friendship when you never are together! Being physically present with each other is really important. Whether it’s conversing or simply sitting in comfortable silence, Bjorn and I just enjoy being together. However, I would consider other things like chatting on the phone or Facetime as “hanging out” as well. When Bjorn drives off for a weekend of army training, we actually often spend time on the phone with each other as he settles in for the longer drive. Even though we just saw each other. Why? Because we’re friends. We’re not sick of each other. Rather, we crave some quality chat time! We love to chat about anything and everything, and we care about each other’s opinions and insight.
We don’t just live parallel lives; we live intertwined lives. I have heard about couples who hardly see each other even when they’re both at home! Sometimes we can get in the habit of living our parallel lives next to each other, but hardly crossing paths…and that can’t be good for a friendship in marriage. I do agree that sometimes we just need to get things done, separately, or we need our own quiet time, but aside from that, Bjorn and I really do want our daily lives to always overlap!
We participate in the things our spouse likes to do. We all have our different hobbies or favorite activities, but sometimes it’s good to participate in ones that aren’t our favorites, if they are indeed important to our spouse! Even if you don’t personally find enjoyment in that activity your spouse loves, like attending a sports game together, take the time to do it every now and then because of the enjoyment they’ll receive from just knowing you are there and doing it with them! This especially means a lot to a spouse whose love language is quality time.
We prioritize each other. This is huge. So many other things in life want to tug at our attention, claiming that they are more important than our family or our marriage. Nope. I don’t buy that. Even a job is not more important than maintaining a healthy marriage. Bjorn and I emphasize the importance of our marriage to each other daily. It’s a lifelong commitment that we made and we are daily expressing that to each other by prioritizing each other! There are nights that I am busy blogging in our office upstairs but Bjorn would like to chat or hang out and watch a movie…and I will often then set aside my blogging goal for that evening, knowing that life is short and I choose to spend time loving my husband. Other times, Bjorn would like to read a book that is important to him, but I just really need to chat about something and get a hug…and he graciously sets the book aside and prioritizes me.
Now, we’re not perfect in the least, but we daily are trying to live this way — other-serving, rather than self-serving. You often feel most loved in a friendship or relationship when you see you are being prioritized. You’re only given this one life to live; therefore, I believe we should focus on the important things like the people and relationships God put in our life.
Are you your spouse’s best friend? How do you foster friendship in your marriage?