06/30/20 – Today’s Question of the Day
Should you treat your spouse like you treat your best friend?
This question comes from a conversation I had with an older friend, several years ago. I had read an article on how married people sometimes don’t treat each other as nice as what we treat our friends. I had shared this with my friend, since it was an area I felt I could do better in. However, she didn’t agree with me at all. She thought since we are married, we should be able to just let everything go and ‘let it all hang out’ and not worry about being on our best behavior.
What do you all think? I realize this question could be interpreted in different ways for different people and marriages. Just answer how it comes to you.
Should I treat her like a best friend? Absolutely, I need to treat my DW better than I treat anyone else. Do I always do that? No, because I am sometimes an anal sphincter., the back end of a burro, and I let myself go after a long day, letting my frustration go and DW taking the brunt of it when I take for granted her generous, unconditional love and forgiving spirit by forgetting how caring she is. (She should be a saint…and then again, she has her moments too which remind me that she is more than able to dish out what I can! Hormones, or lack there of, can certainly help those moments! I love you babe!) LOL!!!
I will say that I’m not her best “girlfriend”. She needs that in another female. Someone to process certain things with…or certain things with BEFORE she comes to me about the situation. I believe men and women need people who they can bounce ideas and problems off of at times to not feel so isolated or for perspective BEFORE they go to their spouse. Again, this is NOT to avoid a conversation but to supplement. It is in similar fashion as to those of us who come here to get ideas about how to have a conversation and/or get perspective about life, sex and our spouse.
My wife needs to have an extra conversationalist, someone to process my “jerkiness” with, someone to bounce thoughts off of…and even sometimes dream with ’cause I’m a terrible shopper and my wife likes to verbally process ideas about the house, backyard, etc. and my “blue” glasses start running the numbers…cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching. I’m trying to learn this is how she likes to verbally dream about the house (it was mine before we married and she moved out of town to here with her girls BUT by staying in it, she’s been able to be a mom, now go to school, and not have to work full-time or even p/time now if she desires.) and while she’s got a brand new kitchen that is WAY BETTER for entertaining, master suite, and more money than she ever had or dreamed of in her previous life & marriage (we’re not rich), I have a hard time being her “let’s do this here” partner. We dream about the future, just not about the house & property very well. 🙁
DW is the only person I want to do life and ministry with as long as God gives me breath…I just can’t be her girlfriend….just like I need a male friend to converse with sometimes when we get sideways. 😀 I get perspective, conviction, realize I’m not the only one with this issue…and then understand how bad an apology is needed and whether I need to stop at the store for flowers. LOL! 😀
My wife and I consider ourselves to be best friends. Neither one of us has a lot of friends, but we each have a few close/best friends who we trust completely and feel comfortable sharing pretty much anything with. Like NWNL, I’ve learned (and been encouraged by DW) to bounce certain things off these friends before bringing them to DW. She was getting overwhelmed being the main/only person I was processing things with. Growing my friendships outside our marriage has benefitted our marriage and my friendship with DW.
I can’t imagine living life with someone who’s not your best friend. But I know some people have different views on marriage than DW and I, and that’s ok too.
I’m looking at this question in two parts. First, you have to have a best friend outside of the marriage to determine whether you are treating your spouse “like” you would treat your best friend. My DH had a best friend for about twenty years, give or take, and then he died. DH never had a best friend as a kid, or even a lot of close friends, and felt the lack. He also didn’t have any siblings and his father was gone a lot. I was THRILLED for him to have a best friend who wasn’t me! He filled a need for my DH that I could not. We still mourn him. I pray constantly that God would bless my DH with another best friend because I have seen a negative difference in my DH (mentally, physically, spiritually) since his friend’s death. And they were friends like guys are friends; I definitely would NOT have wanted DH to treat me like he treated him! I, on the other hand, had a best friend from elementary school until we each fell in love with our husbands-to-be, and suddenly HE was HER best friend and I definitely felt set aside. (There were other problems too; we had grown apart, but I think it could have been saved if I felt she cared enough to.) I felt the lack of a best friend (and prayed for God to send me one!) until our neighbors moved in and God answered my prayer. She had been feeling the same way and even though we don’t get to spend much time together (even living next door!) we feel very close! And we do enjoy activities that our husbands don’t care that much about, talk about things that would bore our husbands, and sometimes minister to each other as sounding boards, but encourage each other in building Godly marriages and families. My DH knows how much it means to me to have a female friend (because he saw how hard it was for me to feel as if I had none) and even though we are the best of friends, and even behave like brother and sister at times (there’s an old post about that, but I’m bad at finding and linking) our relationship is utterly unique.
The second(and maybe essential) part I think speaks to the courtesy we show our spouse vs. our friends. I learned something about this from something my pastor told me about parenting: He reminded me that our DD has to be “on” all day, on her best behavior with teachers, friends, grandparents, strangers, etc, and that when she comes home she is likely exhausted from doing her best all day to be the kind of kid we have taught her to be, and she NEEDS the chance to just let loose and be “off” for a while. She needs the safety of home to be who she is and still be accepted. It’s true it doesn’t give her the right to just treat us poorly, but I have become a much more patient mother now that I think of it that way instead of being angry that “she can be ‘sweet’ for everyone else but me!” Obviously, part of this understanding comes from the knowledge that she has yet to reach full maturity, whereas supposedly we adults have. But I think the principle still applies. If my DH has been biting his tongue and polite to irritating customers, stupid contractors, frustrating co-workers, and idiot strangers at the store and in traffic all day, he is exhausted from being nice. I don’t have to put up with rudeness or meanness, but I can certainly give him a little space, a little grace, and attempt to be as non-grating as possible. (WAIT!! A) I am a SAHM, so I know this might be different for a working wife who comes home having dealt with all those same things!! I used to do that, and I frequently grouched at him! Sometimes it was best–for me–if I just went off and buried my head for 10-15 minutes before I had to be human at home. And B) I have not been doing the greatest at this! This is one of those, having-a-revelation-as-I-type-it things, and now I will have to go do it myself!!) So the short answer, I guess, (too late) is that I wouldn’t want to treat him like my best (girl) friend in this sense either, because for her I would smile and cover and try not to let on just how badly I tanked my day. I’d be nice, but dishonest, and later I’d feel bad about myself because I compared myself to her and found myself wanting.
So, I should always be as kind and loving as I can to my DH, but definitely with honesty, and by the grace of God, hopefully our bad days will fall on alternate days…
Ideally I think we should be on our best behavior with everyone. Matt 22:39 instructs us to love others as ourselves (and I will point out that it doesn’t say MORE than ourselves, but AS ourselves.). That doesn’t mean that all relationships are equal, there are relationships that are more important than a friendship. I have much more responsibility towards my wife and family than I do a friend for example. I wouldn’t agree with the notion at all that one should treat their friends with better behavior than their family. Now a different thing is that you can be more straight up with your family, perhaps more direct, and I see that as true, but I don’t see that as an uncaring “you are less valuable to me” than my friend sort of thing at all. I cringe a little when I see the term friend used for the marital relationship simply because marriage is so much more than friendship, and sadly operating as friends is the way a lot of people approach marriage. My wife is my best friend, but she is also so much more than that, something that a best friend could never be.
This is a hard one for me to answer because my wife and I are best friends.
We don’t have close friends now, but when we did, we largely “let it all hang out” with them too. In our minds, that’s how good close friends should be.
Maybe the only area this isn’t true is with house cleanliness. When friends are coming over, I’ll put in extra effort to tidy up the house (four kids under age 10 can wreck it like a hurricane), whereas I don’t do that most days just for my wife. In that case, no, I shouldn’t do that everyday for my wife. It takes energy that can be better spent elsewhere with/on her.
Treat your spouse like you treat your best friend?
I would take that to mean things like:
– Wanting to spend quality time with them
– Treating them with respect
– Seeking to have fun with them
– Being able to be real with them (showing the real you, warts and all)
– Accepting them for who they are (warts and all)
– Sharing in their struggles
– Seeking their good
In that case, I say YES, we should treat our spouse like our best friend.
I think in many marriages, especially over the long term, people can end up treating their spouse somewhat worse than they treat other friends, family, and even random strangers. I have seen this first hand and it’s a very sad state of affairs.
I’m not talking about being on your best behaviour, in the sense that you can’t relax and be real with your spouse. However, I believe there is something amiss when a person can be polite, friendly, caring, etc, to some random stranger, but can’t extend the same courtesy to their spouse (obviously I’m not talking about situations where there is abuse or other major things that need addressing).
I grew up witnessing this kind of situation, and it was terrible. It felt like the person was happy to interact with almost anyone, but when it came to their spouse they went into a default mode where they treated their spouse very much less than they treated others.
In my own marriage, I want my husband to feel like I give him the best treatment. I want him to feel treasured and loved and appreciated. To me, treating him like my best friend can only mean good things, and that is what I strive for.
For men, as Kevin Lehman once said, “if husbands say they have more than one good friend, they’re lying.” Truth is that if men are so bad at making friends, it may be that men are poor at being a friend and therefore the wife is perhaps the best and only friend. For women, like my wife, making friends comes easy. My wife is surrounded by her friends on facebook, from church, from our foster care group and some neighbors. I got guys from the gym. Thats it.
in conclusion; how do men in general, or in my case, treat our wife? Perhaps as our only friend in the world?
MQ’s points above are spot on and I do agree with those comments. My beloved wife is my best friend. I have many friends from several social groups, church, golf and an art club and I enjoy the friendships there. However, my “best friend” is truly special. Sure we are lovers we have so much more. One thing that I do not and will not ever do… show disrespect towards her in front of others.
My wife is my best friend. She knows me the best and I know her better than anyone else. I have known some people longer than her, but they are no longer close to me – mostly because in 50+ years people end up moving around. I treat her like a best friend – better actually! I have sex with her! LOL!
I would say treat your spouse as good or better than you do your best friend.
Very nice answers here. @MQ, your post was how my thinking was/is. I just didn’t manage to write it up like yours, so thanks!!
I also liked everybody’s input, as well. I also feel my husband is my best friend. He knows me like nobody else does. I think we should be able to share exactly how we are feeling with each other, but not grump or sulk around just because we are having a bad day, and we are married. I wouldn’t do that with my best girl friend, so why would I act like that around my husband? For me, that was my biggest eye opener!