Can your Spouse be both a Consort and a Comrade?

Should your spouse be your best friend? It is a topic that I have noticed popping up lately. Although I have an opinion on this matter, I wanted to examine other people’s views to see if I aligned. Upon reading numerous articles on the subject, I found it fascinating that most articles seemed to lean towards “No, your spouse shouldn’t be your best friend,” or, they indicated the answer was both “yes” and “no.” The “yes” and “no” authors suggested that if you consider your spouse your best friend you should have other same-sex friends as well.

I get the logic behind this, having same-sex friends in addition to your spouse is beneficial, so you are not solely dependent on your spouse. You can also discuss topics with your same-sex friends that may not be of interest to your husband or wife. I agree with the “yes” and “no” authors, that having friends other than just your spouse is necessary. Bernard and I hang out together with a group that is made up of men and women. It is nice because the women can break off to talk about clothes, or celebrity gossip, or other topics of interest, and the men can do the same, but we all are hanging out in the same area together. There was an indication that having a friendship foundation in your marriage is essential especially in the later years when passion fades. I would agree with this as well. If your relationship is based on passion and lust, those can be fleeting, having someone you can just sit and be with can bring a sense of security to your life and marriage.

Although I did agree with the logic I discussed above, for having same-sex friends, I took issue with additional reasons given by the authors for why your spouse should not be your only best friend. Many of the authors stated that you need same-sex friends for when you and your spouse are fighting so you can get an outsider’s perspective. They also felt same-sex friends are necessary when you need to vent about your husband or wife.

Why are those reasons an issue?

You may not view getting your friend’s outsider perspective on your relationship as a problem. You may even find voicing your frustration to your friends about your spouse as a therapeutic release. However, there are problems in doing either of these things.

  1. Your friends do not have to live day-to-day with your spouse. The advice you get from your friends may not be suitable for you and significant other’s relationship.
  2. The guidance will likely skew in your favor. While we all like to hear, we are right; it does not necessarily mean we are.
  3. If whatever is said gets back to your significant other it could cause more issues, especially if he or she feels hurt, embarrassed, or angry about what you said.

In whom should you confide during those times of conflict and frustration, if not your friends?

I am a firm believer that open and honest communication is the key ingredient in any successful relationship. Therefore, I feel the person with whom you should be speaking when there are problems is your spouse.

The only person besides yourself that can resolve a fight in your relationship is your other half. You and your spouse are the experts, trusting your instincts is far more beneficial than listening to others. It may not be pleasant, but working it out together not only strengthens your connection but it helps you to reach mutually satisfying solutions. Likewise, the only person that can stop the behavior or action that is driving you crazy is your spouse. You do not have to be hurtful or cruel to get your point across and this way your feelings are out in the open, and he or she knows what is going on in your head.

That being said, I do not believe open and honest communication in a relationship is something that comes naturally to most people. We often mirror the communication and conflict styles of the environment in which we were raised. If your parents or whoever raised you communicated poorly or vented to others, then you will likely find yourself doing the same because it is all you know. However, it does not have to be that way. It can take a lot of work breaking those poor communication habits and behaviors, but it is possible to change them.

The articles that stated your spouse should not be your best friend or at least not your only one so that you can vent and get an outside perspective may not realize that there is another option – cutting out the middle person and going right to the source, your spouse.

I am going to end this post by doing something those other articles did not do, which is to encourage you to address your spouse directly during times when you would usually reach out to your friends. It may seem uncomfortable at first, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. You may find yourself surprised at the positives results it has on your relationship.