There are a variety of opinions on the question of whether or not your spouse should also be your closest friend. Some people answer with a resounding “yes!” While others maintain that it’s important to keep different kinds of relationships separate, saying that “your spouse is your spouse, your friends are your friends, and your family is your family.” These relationships, all of which are important, are simply different. You wouldn’t say your boat is your car nor would you say that your car is your boat, so why would you say your spouse is your best friend? But are they right? Is there a correct answer? And if so, what is it?
Your Spouse Versus Your Best Friend
So is considering your spouse your closest friend a good sign? Does it mean that you two have successfully developed a highly-evolved, adult relationship? Or does it mean that you’ve lost intimacy? That you’ve lost a formerly passionate kind of love a substituted it for something less.
There is some evidence married people just don’t need other friends in the same way single people do. It may sound strange, but the research doesn’t lie. John Helliwell, a professor at the Vancouver School of Economics and the editor of the World Happiness Report, has found in his research that friendship is really important—but actually it just doesn’t make quite the same difference to married people. “While the effects of real friends on your well-being is important for everybody, they are less so for married couples than singles.” he explained to the New York Times. ”That’s how we got to the idea that marriage is a kind of ‘super-friendship.’”
Interestingly, in his research, those who listed their spouse as a ‘best friend’ were twice as likely to have higher life satisfaction than those who don’t. And men were slightly more likely than women to say their partner was their best friend.
But just because you don’t consider your spouse your closest friend doesn’t mean your marriage is doomed to fail. “The benefits of marriage are strong even for those who are littered with outside friends,” Dr. Helliwell said. “It’s just bigger for those who consider their spouse their closest friend. It’s a bonus.”
The problem is that calling, and thinking of, your spouse your “closest friend” smacks of codependency. The language of friendship (i.e. describing your spouse as your “closest friend”) is either just a shorthand for security and trust. Sometimes having a spouse/friend can be a sign of complacency or a red flag for a lot of conflict avoidance and intensity avoidance. Or, worse it can mean the couple has given up on the complexity of being in a romantic relationship because we accept a lot more negative behaviors from our friends than we do from our partners. Our values and way of life need to be more aligned with our spouses than that of our friends.
If calling your spouse your closest friend is merely a shorthand meaning that the two of you get along, enjoy joking, have a shared history together, and discuss personal matters with one another, then great. But it’s probably better to maintain actual friendship-type relationships outside of your marriage. Friendships can give you a lot that marriages can’t, just like marriage can give you a lot that friendship can’t. Ideally, your spouse should be one of your closest friends but, we believe, not your only close friend. After all, if your spouse is your best friend, then whom do you complain about your spouse to?
If you live in South Florida and are looking for a lasting, mature relationship contact South Florida Introductions today at (561) 393-6666, we have the help you need to find love.