“Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.” So says Charlotte Lucas in Jane Austen’s masterpiece, Pride and Prejudice. If you leave the development of your marriage relationship to chance, happiness might become elusive. A truly happy relationship in marriage needs to be nurtured and cared for. It needs to be built on a foundation of friendship as well as affection. The elements of a best friend relationship include spending time together, communicating and supporting one another. If you take these and apply them to your marriage, you can become best friends with your spouse.
When a couple first begins dating, they want to spend time together. They enjoy being around one another. This has to be nurtured throughout a marriage. The most effective way is to have a set date night each week. My husband and I always try to have a date each week. When we were first married and had little money this often consisted of renting a movie to watch and getting take-out. Or we would get together with friends and play games. As we got older and more established we hired a babysitter or traded babysitting with another couple.
Try and remember what brought you together in the first place. Did you enjoy hiking together? Did you like to go dancing? Go back to those early days of your courtship and remember why you enjoyed being together so much.
Or develop a hobby together. My husband wanted to take up golf again since so many of his business partners golf. I decided to take a swing at it. We have found it gives us the opportunity to talk uninterrupted and just be together.
So many couples complain that they never talk any more. We often get so caught up in our day to day lives that all we ever discuss is who is making dinner and did the kids get their homework done. Date night can help with this, but each day we need to find the time to talk. It may be as you are getting ready for bed or perhaps as you fix dinner together.
Take the time to listen to your spouse talk about their day, their triumphs, their failures, or just something funny that happened. Listen to their opinions and ideas, even if you don’t agree.
Technology can be a blessing and a curse when it comes to communication within marriage. Use it to send texts or emails letting the other know you are thinking of them. My husband and I love to send one another news stories or videos that we find interesting or amusing.
Do not allow technology to come between you in any way. My husband does not have a Facebook account, but I do. So I make sure he knows with whom and what I am communicating. Also, put away your technology sometimes so your spouse can have your undivided attention.
Be willing to say you are sorry as well. We all make mistakes and when we own up to them it goes a lot further than your sense of being right. We were given great advice when we were married. Sometimes it's just best to say, “You’re probably right, dear.”
A best friend is someone who supports you through thick and thin. How much more should a spouse do the same? Support one another in your dreams, aspirations, careers, choices and decisions. Knowing that someone has your back provides a great sense of reassurance.
Our family has moved a lot: 6 times in 25 years of marriage. These were made for my husband’s career. He takes great comfort in knowing that I am willing to stand beside him wherever we may go.
I also appreciate the support he has given me as I have made decisions to serve in the community, in our church and in our schools. Often this has meant his involvement in these activities as well.
When we lived in Florida I decided to join a women’s flag football team. We played on Friday nights and I am sure there were times when he would rather be home watching TV or doing something besides standing on the sidelines shivering. I loved knowing he was there cheering me on.
Happiness in marriage is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of making the effort to strengthen the friendship upon which it was originally built. Make the effort to become your spouse’s best friend. Doing so will bring you a lifetime of happiness.