You’ve probably heard couples talk about being each other’s best friends on their wedding day. Many couples start out as friends before making the leap into something more. And maybe your own spouse or partner used to feel like your best friend.
But whether you’ve been married for twenty years or you’ve just been in a long-term relationship, sometimes the friendship aspect of who you are as a couple can fade away.
There are several reasons why this happens. Life easily gets in the way. The stress of everything from finances and work schedules to children and social commitments can make your relationship feel more like a stressful routine than an encouraging friendship.
That certainly doesn’t mean your relationship is in a bad place or “broken” in any way. But rebuilding your friendship with the person you love can actually improve and strengthen your relationship as a whole, reminding you of where you started and the friendship you developed before you truly fell in love.
So, how can you rebuild that friendship, no matter how long you’ve been together?
1. Make Your Relationship a Priority
If you have children, think about the friends they always talk about. Or think back to when you were a child. Chances are, you wanted to spend as much time with those friends as possible. You made them a priority in your life.
The same holds true for your partner. If you want to give your relationship a boost, make your partner a priority. Spend time with them.
Of course, that isn’t always easy to do when schedules are busy. But even if you have to physically “pencil them in” every week, make sure you’re devoting time to your relationship without outside distractions.
2. Become a Better Listener
You may have heard before that communication is one of the most important keys to a relationship. But communication is about more than just talking. A big part of it has to do with listening.
Listening is a skill that can be developed if you’re willing to work on it. It means more than just hearing your ears. Pay attention to body language. And let your partner know that you appreciate their thoughts, feelings, and ideas.
Think about how much you want to be understood. Your partner wants the same thing. By practicing active listening, you’re showing them that you do understand them and that you value what they have to say.
3. Let Your Relationship Breathe
When you’re friends with someone, you probably aren’t with them every minute of the day. But when you’re married or in a serious romantic relationship, you’re usually around that person a lot more. That’s especially true if you live together.
Friendships thrive when both people involved have their own space to grow and be who they are. So, make sure you allow that in your relationship too.
You and your partner are two different people. While you might be stronger together, it’s still a good idea to have space apart. Do things you enjoy on your own at times, and let your partner do the same. You don’t want to lose your own identity in your relationship. Rather, you want to be two individuals coming together to support and encourage each other.
4. Be Real and Transparent
It isn’t always easy to be genuine. Even if you think you’re being real with your partner (or yourself), you might be holding something back.
But transparency is an important key to a successful friendship, as well as a relationship. When you have a best friend, you should be able to tell them anything without the fear of judgment. When your partner or spouse is your best friend, those same rules apply.
Transparency shows your partner that they can trust you. When you choose to be genuine and real with them, you’re also showing your partner or spouse that you trust them in return. It’s an opportunity for you to open up and be vulnerable, showing sides of yourself that may not be comfortable for you to display.
People don’t often realize it, but a strong friendship takes work. If you feel like your relationship is suffering because you don’t have the same friendship foundation you once did, the aforementioned tips can help. And if you’re still looking for more ways to rebuild your connection, feel free to contact me for more information about how I can help.