Does Marrying Your Best Friend Lead To A Happier Marriage?
By: Hailey Neu
Updated March 04, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Karen Devlin, LPC
The idea of marrying your best friend is nothing new. When asked how to have a successful marriage, many people recommend marrying your best friend. Does this idea have any evidence supporting it, or is it just a cliché piece of marriage advice? And what if your spouse is not your best friend? This blog post is going to answer these questions and explain the importance of friendship in marriages.
What Does Marrying Your Best Friend Mean?
There is a high chance you have heard at least one married couple claim to be each other's best friends. A common misconception about this phrase is that many people think you have to be best friends before falling in love. While this does happen on occasion, it is not what the phrase is referring to. The fact of the matter is, it would be very difficult to find a spouse if you wanted to be best friends with them before entering a romantic relationship.
If the phrase, "marry your best friend" worried you because you aren't interested in any of your best friends, worry no more. When you are told to marry your best friend, most people mean you should build a friendship with your romantic partner. They are recommending that your spouse should be your very best friend, as this will likely lead to a happier marriage. Here are some ways to know if your partner is one of your best friends:
They Have Similar Interests As You
Just like with your other best friends, you should have some shared interests with your partner. Whether you enjoy the same types of movies, sports, or hobbies, having similar interests can greatly benefit your relationship. Doing things together that you both enjoy will make your relationship fun and exciting.
If you and your partner don't have the same interests, this does not mean you shouldn't get married. Chances are, you have many friends who have very different interests as you. This is why you don't have to enjoy doing all of the same things your partner enjoys. However, you should be sure you and your partner don't mind engaging in each other's activities and can compromise. This will help make spending time together easier and more enjoyable. You never know, your interests might grow on each other after some time.
You Get Along With Them Really Well
When spending a great deal of time with someone, you want to get along with them well. This does not only mean arguing infrequently or usually agreeing with each other. While these things are very important, you should also feel like it is easy to be around each other. You should feel that most of the time, getting along with your partner is effortless and even second nature.
Living harmoniously with your future spouse is often overlooked when discussing relationships. Feeling like you are walking on eggshells trying to avoid an argument with your spouse is not enjoyable. With your best friends, it is usually very easy to get along with them when spending time together. This should be the same as your romantic partner. Of course, arguments and conflict are very normal in all relationships, but for the majority of the time, it should be easy to get along with the people closest to you.
You Genuinely Enjoy Being Around Them
Along with living harmoniously with your partner, you should also enjoy being around them. For almost every relationship, there will be seasons where people don't enjoy being around their partner. This is completely normal, so do not worry if you are in one of those seasons currently. For the most part, you should enjoy being around your partner and want to make time for them. If you do this, there is a great chance your partner is one of your best friends.
A best friend is someone who you make time for, no matter how busy your schedule is. Spending time with someone is how you develop your relationship with them. To keep any relationship going; being intentional about spending time with them is crucial. This is also the case with marriages. You should enjoy being around your spouse and prioritize quality time with them. This will help your marriage have a strong foundation and deepen your connection.
They Like Your Friends, And You Like Theirs
For many, people spend time with their friends in group settings. They also tend to have the same friend group as their best friend. This is because people tend to have something in common with their friends and enjoy the same types of personalities. The same can be true for romantic partners.
A sign that your partner is your best friend could be that you both enjoy each other's friends. You may not share the same friend group, but many people enjoy their partner's close friends. Usually, a person is very similar to their group of friends, which is why you may get along with your partner's group of friends. Being able to go out with your partner in a group of friends can be a great way to spend time together and develop your relationship.
Evidence Supporting The Idea Of Marrying Your Best Friend
While the saying may have been started as honest marriage advice, it has certainly become a cliché in the past decade. However, there is research supporting the idea of marrying your best friend. Here are two examples showing that friendship is important in marriages:
Dr. John Gottman's Research
One of the most highly regarded psychologists, who has contributed to relationship research is Dr. John Gottman. He has developed an entire relationship counseling method around his research findings with his wife, Julie Gottman. They have a theory called the "Sound Relationship House" where they describe important traits of a happy marriage.
John and Julie Gottman's Sound Relationship House theory is separated into nine different levels. The foundation of the theory is having a deep friendship with your spouse. They found that couples who have mutual respect and enjoy their partner's company tend to have happier marriages. Based on these findings, they recommend couples who partake in their relationship counseling method take steps to develop their friendship. They help couples do this by instructing them to build "love maps" of their partner, which is everything they care about and love.
If you were to ask Doctors John and Julie Gottman if marrying your best friend is important, they would give an overwhelming yes. Their entire relationship counseling theory is based on being close friends with your spouse. They instruct couples to develop a deep and meaningful friendship with each other to make their marriage more enjoyable. Their method of relationship counseling is very effective, and many couples report having better marriages after receiving counseling.
NBER Of Canada's Research
Two professors at the University of British Columbia in Canada published a study in the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)of Canada discussing marriages. These professors are Shawn Grover and John F. Helliwell. Their goal was to see if married couples found life more satisfying than single individuals. While they concluded married couples are usually more satisfied with life than those who decide not to marry, they also made other findings.
The two professors found that the benefits of marriage are long-term and that marriage is very important for the well-being of middle-aged individuals. They also found that having a romantic partner as your best friend resulted in double the well-being benefits. This goes for both partners who are not yet married, and couples who have tied the knot. The couples who were studied were much happier with their marriage and cohabitation when they considered their partners their best friends.
What The Research Shows
With both John and Julie Gottman's and the NBER of Canada's research, we can conclude that marrying someone you consider a best friend is a great idea. You and your partner will likely feel more satisfied with your marriage and with life in general. Having a deep friendship with your spouse can help create a level of respect and value for each other. When difficult times arise in marriage, having a friendship as the foundation of your relationship can help you move past your problems and better manage conflict.
What if Your Spouse Isn't Your Best Friend?
You may be reading this and feel concerned if you don't consider your partner or spouse your best friend. There could be many reasons you feel this way. You two might not have many common interests, or you may not spend much time together. Keep in mind, it is alright if you do not consider your romantic partner your best friend. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to relationship dynamics. Just because your partner is not your best friend; it does not mean your relationship is doomed.
If you would like to develop a deeper friendship with your partner, try out some of the methods below. Finding a meaningful friendship with your partner or spouse is possible, but it does take some effort.
Show Interest In Your Partner's Hobbies
Try to participate in your partner's hobbies and passions. Even if their hobbies seem boring to you, your partner is sure to love having you show interest. You can also ask them to do the same for your hobbies. Hopefully, you two will be able to find common interests that you both enjoy doing together eventually.
Schedule Regular Date Nights
You and your partner are busy people. Between work, kids, responsibilities, or anything else that requires your time, it is easy to forget to go on dates with your partner. You both can get so caught up that you become passersby's in each other's lives. Sit your partner down and look at your schedules. Find some time to go out to dinner, watch a movie, or even take a walk. Spending quality time together should help deepen your relationship greatly.
Be In The Moment When Spending Time With Them
If you and your partner already spend time together, but you don't feel as connected as you would like to be, make sure you are living in the moment. Many people have a bad habit of sitting on their phone or computer when they are around others. Having a distraction around when spending time with your partner can hinder your ability to connect with them truly. The next time you two are spending time together, make sure you both are focused and are actively listening to each other.
See A Relationship Counselor.
If you try these methods and still do not feel a connection with your romantic partner, you can consider going to relationship counseling. With the help of a counselor, you and your partner can get tools and resources to help you bond and develop a personal connection again. They can help you get to the root of the problem and help you get back on track.
If you have never felt a connection with the person you are currently dating, and have made multiple attempts to connect, do not hesitate to do what is best for you. Finding a partner you connect with and enjoy being around is possible for everyone, no matter what stage of life you are in.
Marrying Your Best Friend
According to research and cliché marriage advice, marrying your best friend is a great idea. By having a great friendship with your spouse, your marriage will have a firm foundation to stand on when going through difficult trials. Be sure you keep your spouse as the position of your best friend, as this is very important for your relationship. Just like with your other friendships, you will need to develop your friendship with your spouse and be intentional with each other. With your marriage, strive to treat your spouse as your best friend forever, because they are!