It seems like every wedding I've been to in the last few years (and I go to a lot of weddings) has centered around the theme "today, I marry my best friend." If being friends with your significant other wasn't the main theme, it was at least a sub-theme or decoration. Or part of the toast. And every one of the couples was really invested in being best friends or becoming better friends their relationship.
So are you doing something wrong if you don't think of your partner as your best friend? I mean, your best friend is your best friend, and sure, you love your partner with your whole heart, but he or she hasn't dethroned your bestie. And that's OK, according to Aaron Anderson of The Marriage and Family Clinic. That's because the roles of spouse and best friend are very different. It's important to get along and enjoy spending time together, but a spouse shouldn't be the only person you talk to about everything. Especially when it comes to venting about your spouse (who will absolutely get on your nerves at some point).
While you certainly don't have to replace your current best friend with your partner, there are some things you can do to take your relationship friendship game to the next level. You're probably already doing some of these, but if not, no worries. It's never too late.
1. Share Experiences
Shared experiences bring you and your partner closer, more so than buying each other gifts, according to Mridu Parikh in an article for lifestyle site Tiny Buddha. You'll feel closer even if those shared experiences involve pain, according to the Association for Psychological Science. So take trips together, go on adventures, try new things, and do actual activities on a regular basis.
2. Share Your Feelings
Friends share things. Especially feelings. If you want to relate to each other on a deeper level, you'll need to open up and let your partner experience your hopes, fears, dreams, and vulnerabilities, according to mental health nonprofit site Help Guide. And remember that part of sharing is also listening.
3. Practice Empathy
One of the most important things friends do for each other is provide empathy and understanding, according to Amanda Robb in an article for Oprah's O Magazine. Empathy means relating to your partner's feelings and making him or her feel understood, which helps validate your partner's feelings and gives comfort, according to Robb. A lack of empathy creates serious distance.
4. Have Fun
Having fun and being playful is something all friendships have in common. Having fun can be as simple as laughing each other's jokes or leaving each other silly notes, according to Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. of Psych Central. Playfulness is also a quality you and bring into the bedroom.
5. Be A Cheerleader
If you want to be better friends with your partner, you need to be a constant cheerleader, according to life coach and mentor Michael Hyatt. This includes celebrating even the smallest of your partner's accomplishments and bragging about him or her to your friends and family.
6. Be The Kind Of Friend You Want
To have a friend, you need to be a friend, according to Hyatt. This doesn't just include the standards, such as being a good listener and being kind, but also more complex behaviors, like encouraging your partner to be their best self, being honest, showing an interest in the things they're interested in, and reminding them of their best qualities.
Who would have thought that one of the keys to a better relationship was good-old-fashioned play? Sounds like the best kind of work to me.
Images: Giphy (6); Pexels