I want to answer a question that I get asked a lot: How do Brian and I pursue friendship in our marriage?
First off, I want to start out by saying that Brian and I are not “marriage experts.” We have discussions and disagreements all the time. I never want to come across like we have it all together or we never have problems.
We got married young and it was really hard. We’ve had totally awful fights and, in the beginning of our marriage, we had a lot of BIG problems caused by immature things. We’ve come a long way, but it still feels weird to talk about something that I know we’re not the best at.
Having a good marriage has been a struggle and something we’ve really worked for. We have a very REAL marriage. We are not perfect. But we do really love each other and we are friends.
And I just want to speak to that because I believe that any couple can cultivate a friendship with a little work. I mean marriage is already work so why not focus on working to be friends with your spouse?
There have been times when Brian and I have really had to work on our friendship. There have been times when we’ve had to recreate it because it was ruined by words, situations, or us just growing apart.
So, be encouraged if you’re in a distant place in your relationship. You can make it back. You can be friends.
To give you guys a little inspiration, Brian and I sat down together and jotted down a few things that we believe have helped us create an air of friendship in our marriage.
This isn’t an exhaustive list. But I hope what we share will inspire and encourage you to start pursuing a healthy friendship with your spouse.
#1 We Search for Common Ground
When we were younger, we liked a lot of the same things. We liked the same music, we had the same friend group, we had a lot in common.
Over the years, those commonalities have changed. We don’t like the same music anymore. We actually have really different tastes in music now (among other things).
We’ve just changed since we were teenagers. So, we’ve needed to revisit what we have in common. What do we enjoy doing together?
For example, we are both “dinner and conversation daters.” We don’t really like “adventure dating.”
We would rather go to the same restaurant every week and just talk and catch up. That is something we have in common now and it is something that contributes to our marriage and friendship.
#2 We Compromise
We’re both pretty good at compromising. Sometimes that looks like trying to find movies we both like and watching those together. Sometimes it looks like Brian watching the chick flick with me or me watching a movie he picked with him. It’s about doing something just because the other person likes it.
Listen, it’s OK to hate something the other person likes, but find some common ground. Be willing to compromise. Find compromises in each other’s favorite things and do those together.
#3 We Keep Learning About Each Other
This sounds a bit cheesy but Brian and I sometimes do those fun quizzes where you ask each other things about yourselves. It’s so fun and refreshing to go over those things again…especially when it feels like you’ve known each other for so long and you probably know everything.
A lot of the time we learn new things about each other because spoiler: people change!
So, even though I know what Brian’s answers would have been six years ago, they have more than likely changed since then.
There is always growth and change, and you want to constantly be learning about the other person.
For example, I might ask Brian, “What’s one thing you really thought you would have done by now but you haven’t yet?” Learning little things like that can be intriguing and fun.
#4 We Create A Lot of Alone Time Together
We are really religious about having date nights outside the house. But even at the end of the day, we’ll sit down with each other, away from the kids, and talk.
This is actually where we started quizzing each other and asking each other questions. We create the space to have conversations and spend time together—just the two of us.
#5 We Connect Even When We’re Apart
We used to spend a lot of time apart because of Brian’s job. We didn’t see each other much because he worked 12–14 hour days, 6 days a week. But we were always communicating.
We were texting each other, sharing jokes, sharing little bits of our days, just constantly talking and connecting.
We still do that, even though it’s not quite so hard now since we work together and spend our days together.
But take whatever your day looks like and apply this. It could even be something small. Email. Text. Leave a voicemail. Write a note. Just connect in some way.
Need some ideas for fun, sweet, flirty texts to send your hubby?
I’ve put together a FREE list of 20 Text Messages to Send Your Husband.
Copy word for word or use it as inspiration to create your own messages!
Either way, pull that phone out and send your man a text YOU KNOW will put a big smile on his face 😉
#6 We Treat Each Other Like Friends
How do friends act? What do they do for each other? How are they with each other? Well, friends have coffee, they check in with each other, and they talk about issues with tact and respect.
It is so easy to get comfortable and let anything and everything fly out of your mouth. But in a healthy friendship you would talk about what’s bothering you in a healthy way.
This has been one of the hardest lessons for us as a couple. I’m very sensitive. If Brian says anything, even if it’s in love, I just feel smashed.
On the opposite end, I’m also really blunt and have a hard time guarding my words. I’m just really honest. It physically bothers me to not say what I’m thinking, especially with Brian because we are so close.
And I’m not saying you don’t talk about issues. We are very open with each other.
But we try to be careful in the way we bring up an issue. Handling things like we would with a good friend—with tact and respect, saying things in love, maybe even waiting for a better time.
Those are the main ways that Brian and I have pursued friendship in our marriage. These are the ones that stood out to us the most when we were thinking of how we have grown and nourished a healthy friendship.
We feel like having that piece of friendship is a really important part of our marriage. And we believe it’s something that every couple can have.
It’s such a relief to know you have your best friend by your side for the worst situations, scariest nights, and most stressful days. I want that for you because I know how awesome and good it is.
So, grab a sitter and schedule a date night. Or put the kids to bed early (they can handle it, ignore the whines) and carve out some space for you and your hubby to really connect.
Maybe print this blog post out and use it for reference. Have a conversation. Express that you want to be friends. And then roll up your sleeves and work at it.
It doesn’t come easy. But what does? I promise you it’s worth it.
Wanna know how to REALLY transform your marriage? Minimalism did that for us.
Sign up for our free class, where we talk about creating more space for what matters in your family.