Does Your Spouse Need to Be Your BFF?

Posted on December 16, 2011 by

This topic interests me because it speaks to the changing nature of marriage in recent decades. This idea that all of our emotional needs should or can be met by our mate leaves me unsettled. I fear that far too many women approach marriage from the perspective of husband as best girlfriend with different plumbing. I don’t think we must necessarily view our spouse that way in order to have a fulfilling marriage. I believe that the understanding of marriage as a commitment, a vocation, and a sacrament compels us to grow to the place where we accept our spouse, warts and all, allowing good will and affection to be sustained as we settled into the reality of the permanence of marriage.

I would say without hesitation that my husband is my closest friend. We agree on all of the major issues of life and the first person either of us will call when something interesting happens to us or we read something noteworthy is each other.  We spend more time with each other than with any one else (and most other couples we know I might add), and have “brutal honesty” policy that provides as many opportunities  for laughter as arguments, interestingly enough. And no, it wasn’t always this way.

The definition of best friend I often hear when talking to women however, is much more expansive. It includes shared tastes, interests, and leisure activities. My husband and I are polar opposites in many ways, and it often required an act of the will in the early years of our marriage for me to join him in things that interest him such as cars and computers, or for him to join me in things that interest me such as film adaptations of 19th century literature.

Still, I don’t expect him to tramp around behind me when I’m dress shopping and he doesn’t expect me to sit and watch sci-fi movie with him whenever he watches one. We do step out of our comfort zones and do this for each other sometimes, but we allow one another the latitude to explore our divergent interests. Far too many relationships suffer when one spouse (most often the wife) suddenly expects the other to fill all of their social, relational, and even spiritual needs, desiring to develop a BFF relationship. I don’t think that’s what marriage was meant to be.

I am curious about others thoughts on this subject. Does your spouse need to be your best friend in every way?

Posted in: Relationships