My husband and I just celebrated our 10-year anniversary. It’s hard to believe!
As I think about words to describe our relationship, there is one that resoundingly trumps all the others:
We are a lot of things to each other, but at the end of the day, my husband is my very best friend in the whole wide world.
Your friendships don’t come without cost from both people involved, but they do seem somehow easier than other relationships in life, right? Think about your best girlfriend. You chose her, you rely on her, you couldn’t live without her. Yes, you consciously choose to pay attention to her, but it doesn’t really feel like work because you like her and enjoy her. It should be the same way with your spouse. And it can be, because the relationship started the same way. You chose him. You were attracted to his personality. If the toll of life and kids and responsibilities has distracted you from that fact, I do believe you can get back there. Think about the ways you have grown and nurtured your relationship with your BFF, and you’ll realize you already know how to be friends with your spouse.
Here are 6 things you can start doing today to become better friends with your husband:
1. Tell Him First
When you get a pat on the back at work or a favorite celebrity chooses a weird name for her baby, you excitedly text your bestie, right? Text your husband first next time. He may not care as much as she does (and yes, you get to tell her .2 seconds later), but you told him first. That automatically gives him best friend status.
2. Pay Attention
It is so easy to be lost in thought about other projects and responsibilities in life, and not really pay attention to what your spouse is saying (especially if he’s talking about clan war video games). But try to show enthusiasm for the things he shares with you. Take your eyes off the screen, the phone, the kids, the dinner, or whatever else has your attention when he starts talking, and put them on him. You would wake up at 3 am to take a call from a hurting girlfriend, right? Extend the same love to your husband as he talks about his work day.
3. Do Him Favors
Sometimes it’s hard for spouses to help each other with their tasks. For instance, the man who would drop everything to help a buddy move a couch is the same man who is angry when his wife asks for help with laundry. You’d take your girlfriend’s three kids in a heartbeat so she could go to the doctor in peace, but you resent the extra work of packing your husband’s lunch. Why is that? Do we take our spouse for granted? Do we think he isn’t pulling his weight? This might be a tough question, but it’s an important one to ask yourself. Are you as willing to do a favor for your husband as you are for best friend?
Surprise him and do one of “his” jobs once in a while. Vacuum out the car. Empty the garbage. Drop off his dry cleaning. It’s kind of like when you do dishes after lunch at your friend’s house. Isn’t it so much less of a chore to wash plates in someone else’s kitchen? Pick a chore that is usually your spouse’s and do it for him once in a while.
4. Share His Interests
If you’re only going to do one thing on this list, pick this one. You have to have common experiences to foster a truly thriving friendship.
My husband is a huge NBA fan. So I watch games with him. I go to games with him. I let him watch draft night (all 5 hours of it) every year, and I listen to him tell me the play by play as it goes down. I listen to him talk about trade rumors for weeks leading up to pre-season signing day and for weeks again leading up to the mid-season trade deadline. I know more than I’ll ever want to about Latrell Spreewell’s tirades, Ron Artest’s shenanigans, Kobe and Shaq’s feud, and LeBron’s return to Cleveland’s good graces. Do you see my point? He cares about it, so I care about it. Because I’m his friend.
So, if your husband is constantly on Twitter, get on Twitter! If he likes to play fantasy football, ask him how his team is doing, high five him when he has a win, and tell him the team name he picked is super cool. If he organized the garage, or worked on the landscaping, or built something in his workshop, or fixed the car, have him give you a tour and tell you what he did out there. Speak his language, and take an interest in his interests.
5. Let Him In
Lest you think it’s a one way street here, my husband has sat through countless chick flicks, listened to me wax poetic over fabric and chairs way too often, and he even opened a Pinterest account and spent a whole night with me choosing board names and cover pictures. But the key is I invited him to do it- I’m sure he never would have said, “Hey, let’s spend a night together on Pinterest so I can see what you love and be involved in it!” Haha, no. You have to choose to share with him and let him in.
If your husband doesn’t take initiative to participate in your favorite activities, give him some slack. The things we like are sooo boring to men! Pick something that won’t make him want to gouge his eyes out, if at all possible, and invite him to do it with you.
6. Do Things Together
You don’t always have to be reaching across the aisle. And your friendship will be richer if you spend time together doing something you both love. Your common interests might take some time to figure out, but you can find things to do together that you both enjoy. Our favorite thing has been finding TV shows to binge watch together. I love finding a thought-provoking series that we can talk about and look forward to when we’re not watching it. Maybe your thing will be tracking down the best Thai food, or mapping out the perfect scenic drive, or hiking. Experiment and figure it out.