Is Your Spouse Your Best Friend? 5 Reasons Why They Should Be

You are “in love”. What does that mean exactly? Most people describe the feelings of being love as that heady rush, the quickening heartbeat when you hear the door bell ring, the giddy anticipating of evening, or night, spent together. Being in love, with thrilling, stomach-knotting bliss, is truly a powerful thing. But is being “in love” the same as “loving” someone?

Scientific and anecdotal evidence indicate that the rush of crazy emotions is part of a primal instinct, a millenia-old mating ritual designed to give you the hots for the mate most likely to help you propagate the species. Sounds romantic, huh? What draws people together is not what helps them stay together. Many marriages has landed in divorce court inside of 10 years because the original ardor has cooled. People don’t feel “in love” anymore, so time to move on, right?

Wrong. Oh so very wrong. If anyone enters a marriage expecting to feel the exact same way after 50 years that they did when they got to 3rd base, they are in for one horrific surprise. Why? Because those endorphin-induced highs can’t possibly last forever. Your brain would liquefy on that much dopamine. At some point, you must return to some kind of equilibrium.

The Secret

So, if the bedazzling feeling of being in love doesn’t last forever, then how do happy marriages last? What is the secret?

Research indicates that while attraction may bring a couple together, the glue that holds them together is friendship. At some point in the relationship, the couple experiences a turning point, a critical point where they either grow together, like two tree trunks intertwining until they fuse together into one trunk; or they grow apart, with each passing year increasing the distance between the two trunks as they pull away from each other toward opposing light sources.

That critical point comes as the brain-chemical-induced infatuation begins to fade. Love, deep, abiding, long-lasting love, is a decision. It’s an action verb. You decide to love that person with your mind and through your actions, not with the flighty whims of the heart. Out of that decision arises the strong, loving friendship and the unbreakable bonds of an unshakable marriage. You have to put effort into it, just as you would any friendship.

5 Reasons Your Spouse should be your Best Friend

1. Best friends love and accept you, even at your worst

Let’s face it. When you are dating, you are mostly likely very diligent about making sure that every thing is perfect all the time. Perfectly dressed, showered, shaved. Perfect manners. No audible farting or belching. No stubbly legs. You’ll jump out of bed at 4am to brush your teeth, to make sure you don’t have morning breath when the 6am alarm goes off. In short, you aren’t you, in all your undignified glory.No one can keep up pretenses for an entire lifetime. It gets too exhausting. A real friend has seen you at your worst, but loves you for being you.

2. Best friends are like fuzzy slippers

Most women won’t admit this, but wearing heels is not for the faint of heart. Women go to a lot of insane measures to try to bring some comfort to these ridiculously uncomfortable shoes. Inserts, gel pads, bandages, foot massages. But at the end of the day, they can’t wait to take them off and put on a pair of fuzzy slippers. Heels are unnatural. They hurt. They are only worn to show off great legs, or because it’s expected at certain levels of management. No one wants to wear heels 24 hours a day, and if they did, they would be in for a lot of arthritis and foot problems later in life. Is that what you want for your marriage? The comfort of a friend, like a fuzzy slipper, makes it easy to be yourself, to be honest, and to really talk openly.

3. Best friends stand by you in good times and bad

It’s in the vows…”for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness, and in health”. Few couples really know what that truly means as they happily pledge their lives together. Reality may hit them 5, 10, or eve 45 years down the road. Some times, bad times can be really bad. And you find out quickly who your true friends are. Shouldn’t your spouse be one of those friends? Financial challenges, illness, mid-life crises…a spouse who is your best friend will be right there through it all.

4. Best friends make you a better person

Best friends love you even when you make mistakes. And they forgive you. But they are’t afraid to call you out on those mistakes, either. They aren’t afraid to be honest. They expect more. They demand better, because they believe in you. And you give it, because you value the friendship. If you and your spouse challenge yourselves to be better people, openly and honestly, then you will only grow closer.

5. Best friends would never deliberately hurt you

Think about it. Would a true best friend try to steal your girlfriend? Would a true best friend lie and cheat and do things behind your back that might cause you pain? So why would you marry someone who is NOT best friend material? If your spouse is your best friend, then there is trust, because you know your best friend would rather die than do anything to purposely hurt you.

Nothing is fool-proof

Obviously, nothing in life is perfect. Things happen, people change (or you find out they aren’t who they pretended to be). But if you are thinking about taking a trip down that flower petal-strewn aisle, then make sure it is your best friend you are taking that stroll with. Because that is your best chance of defying the odds, and living a love that helps you grow closer together.

7 Ways To Move Past an Affair

Some relationships simply fade, allowed to wither from lack of nurturing. Others explode in emotionally charged fights, as a partnership sours into adversarial confrontation. But there is one total relationship annihilator that has become increasingly frequent in today’s world: adultery.

Few relationship challenges are more prone to utter devastation than to betray one of the most crucial, foundational elements of a relationship.

Trust

A small word. Trust. It belies the colossal tangle of feelings, religious beliefs, dreams, fears, hopes, and future plans that a marriage is built upon. It’s hard to believe that something that takes so long to build and nurture can be shaken to rubble in an instant.

For the partner who has been cheated upon, the corrosion begins as soon as he or she begins to suspect that a spouse is cheating. That corrosion eats away at trust, but it also eats away at self-worth, at core beliefs about lasting love, and leaves in that space anger, fear, feelings of rejection, profound sadness, and other tumultuous feelings. It’s extremely difficult to recover a relationship after an affair, but not impossible.

What few understand is there are multiple kinds of affairs. The most obvious is the physical affair. But even more insidious is the emotional affair. Even if never acted upon, emotional affairs drain away the emotional connection between two people, as a new connection is established between the adulterer and the object of affection.

The decision to love is placed elsewhere, and that loss is keenly felt by the wronged partner. A betrayal of the body can sometimes be easier to forgive than a betrayal of the heart.

So Now What? Did you catch that little tidbit there? “Decision to love”…not “feelings of love”? Those words, right there need to become your mantra, if you truly want to pull your marriage from the brink.

Most marriage and family counselors unanimously agree that truly healthy marriages are based upon a decision to love, rather than the more fleeting feelings of infatuation or “being in love.”

What do you do after an affair to recover your marriage? Well, first you have to decide if you truly want to save it. Because if you aren’t willing to take the actions listed below, then the likelihood of saving your marriage is slim. Even if you do all these things, it still might not work; your spouse also has a say in what happens next.

7 Strategies to Move Pass an Affair

Here are some things you can try, if you truly want to repair the damage caused by a physical or emotional affair. These are not the only strategies, but they are common sense steps to try to rebuild trust after an affair.

In addition, you should consider seeking the help of a local marriage therapist or an online marriage coach to help you work through this dark time.

1. End the affair. Like, yesterday. You can’t still be friends. You can’t still talk. If you have to change jobs, start going to a different coffee shop or a different church, do it. Whatever it takes. If you can’t commit to this first step, then forget the rest.

2. Self-reflect. Why did this affair happen? If you can’t be honest with yourself about why you sought an outside relationship, then you cannot be honest with your spouse about it. You must be self-aware enough to know what you need from the marriage, and how you would like your marriage to grow.

3. Take Responsibility. Even though there may have been problems in your marriage before the affair, you MUST take responsibility for the decision to cheat. No matter what role your spouse may have played in the decay of your marriage, YOU made the decision to be unfaithful. You must own it, discover what you need to do to keep it from happening again, and take whatever action is necessary.

4. Apologize. And apologize some more. You know the old saying “it’s not what you say, it’s what you do”? In this case the words aren’t enough (but say them anyway, over and over). You need to show your partner, every single day, that you regret every, single tear shed over this situation. How do you do this? By being present. By keeping promises. By offering reassurances.

If you say you are going to be home at a certain time, be early. If you say you are going to call, call twice, once just to hear your spouse’s voice. Answer every question, provide every detail, Make your life an open book, and hide nothing. Recommit every single day that you choose to love your spouse, and you are sorry for causing pain.

5. Give it time. Your spouse has experienced some of the most profound pain of human existence. It won’t go away over night. Your spouse needs time to work through anger, to cry it out, to heal. Don’t expect too much, too soon, but don’t give up, either. Just because your spouse may exhibit anger or detachment, doesn’t mean your every word and deed isn’t being analyzed and re-analyzed. Don’t waiver in the other steps, while you give your spouse time to decide what comes next.

6. Listen. No judgment. No excuses. No justifications. Right now your spouse needs to know that you are listening and truly hear the pain, humiliation, and anger. Making excuses or trying to justify things devalues your spouse’s feelings, and that’s not what you need right now.

7. Build a shared vision of the future. Saving your marriage takes both of you, and a commitment to get through this trial stronger and better. It may take time, but having as shared vision will help make the rough patches and an occasional step backwards much easier to handle.

When things seem to take a turn for the worse (and it will happen), revisit your commitment, talk about your dreams for your marriage, and remind each other that you can and will get through it together.

If you need help getting past marital infidelity? Don’t try to resolve it on your own. Instead sign up for a free, no obligation consultation with a professional marriage counselor here.