Dear Fearless Love,
We’ve been married 13 years and have three kids. We first met in college and became best friends. After a couple years of pursuing our careers in different cities (still keeping in touch), we met again, fell in love and got married. As friends, things were so carefree, fun and non-confrontational. We could just talk, enjoy each other’s company and the conversation would never get into arguments, problem-solving sessions or discussions about things to add to the family To Do List.
A relationship with a friend is different from a relationship with your spouse – we all know that. We were best friends before and, somehow, that has been lost over the years. We want to be happily married and best friends. It seems hard to do the latter. Do you have any advice on how we can be best friends again? How can we recapture that joy and excitement we thought would never end?
~Bob and Diane
Dear Bob and Diane,
Sharing our life with our best friend forever is possible. Before marriage the friendship tends to be carefree as you each have separate lives, haven’t had children or the added responsibilities of maintaining a larger home for your family.
Entering into a partnership through marriage starts the journey of becoming one. We bring along expectations, desires, goals, and dreams. Unknowingly, these expectations can become demands and create pressure on the relationship, robbing you from the carefree giving and receiving rhythm of love.
Try the following tips to help you get back to your carefree, BFF relationship:
- Separately list your personal expectations, desires, goals and dreams. (You may notice how some of your hopes and dreams have evolved since the time you got married.)
- Come together as a couple and share the lists
- Notice things in common and what might be complementary
- Agree to start doing the items you have in common
- The items you don’t share agree to support each other
- Spend at a minimum 1 hour a week as a couple doing fun or relaxing things
- Spend at a minimum 1 hour a week pursuing your individual items
- Once you know what’s important to each of you, be more spontaneous in having fun
Supporting each other to achieve your heart’s desires, roots and deepens your love. Although marriage requires some work, it’s not all work and no play. Self-awareness, communication and collaboration infused with fun and play helps maintain carefree, BFF relationships.