4 Ways to Foster Friendship

Your friendship with your spouse is an essential part of your relationship. Here’s how to keep your it vibrant.

Way back in high school, more than 40 years ago now, my relationship with Jenni started out as a friendship. I’m very thankful that we have that as a foundation to our marriage, because I’ve come to believe that the strongest marriages have friendship at their core.

I’ve been posting about passion and intimacy lately (most recently, 3 Keys for Tending the Fires of Passion, and 5 Surprising Facts About Passion in Marriage), but the truth is that unless you are intentional about being friends as well as lovers, you are missing out on an essential part of your marriage.

Here are a few ways to nurture the friendship component of your relationship.

1- Have Fun Together

Fun is absolutely critical element of marriage. Yes, playing together is one of the five habits of a passionate marriage, but it is also key to a vibrant friendship.

With all the COVID constraints we face these days, it’s much more difficult to find fun activities to do together than usual. So you’ll have to get a bit creative.

  • Get outside! Go for a walk or a hike. Colder weather makes for a great excuse for snuggling up with a hot chocolate or spiced cider afterward.
  • Learn a new card or board a game. Make a sexy bet for the winner.
  • Go for a drive. Explore somewhere you’ve never gone before.
  • Go Christmas light hunting to find the most outrageous displays.
  • Take an online course together like cooking or dancing.

2 – Share Quality Time

I get it that life can be crazy. I’m constantly surprised how busy our lives are at this empty nest stage, but things don’t seem to be slowing down in the least. It’s important, in the middle of the craziness, to make time for each other. Quality time means time with just each other, without devices or screens, where you can engage in meaningful, non-functional conversations. If you need some conversation-starting ideas, download our recently-updated Intimate Connections workbook (or get the new hardcopy edition with tear-out pages). The point is to talk (and listen) at a deeper level, getting below the surface. Be present and engaged!

3 – Get Behind Each Other’s Passions

Jenni’s primary calling is to children (of all ages). Mine is to marriages. But we both wholly support and invest in each other’s ministries. It can be a lonely feeling to have a passion or calling that you don’t feel is important to and encouraged by your spouse. Ask questions about each other’s interests. Encourage them to go all-in on their passions – be their biggest cheerleader. Look for ways to actively invest your time and resources in helpful ways.

4 – Do the Little Things

I can’t emphasize this one enough. There is no need to make your friendship a grand project. Just be intentional about doing the little things that communicate love and companionship daily. Be a lifelong student of what makes your spouse feel closer to you. Watch for them, and do them regularly. You’ll have to figure out what that looks like to your spouse, but here are a few ideas for thought:

  • Pay your spouse a specific compliment about their personal attributes: skills, talents, personality traits
  • Include frequent non-sexual touch in your regular interactions
  • Bring your spouse a favorite treat or snack when you shop
  • Thank your spouse for things they regularly do but that you don’t often acknowledge.
  • Ask your spouse to pick what you watch on TV. No complaints or eye-rolling allowed!

One day soon, sit down together (see #2 above) and talk about the friendship component of your marriage. Talk about what you can do to strengthen it. Rather than focus on what’s missing or what the other isn’t doing, focus on the positive and on what you can do to become better friends. You’ll be glad you did.

Photo by cottonbro / Pexels

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