I’ve heard stories of married couples who were together, but were not friends at all. Sadly, I must say I can relate. There have been times in my marriage where we weren’t really friends. We were more like business partners, our kids were like our employees or customers. They were the people we focused on pleasing. This put our relationship and our friendship at a distant second, or worse.
It’s not a good feeling. The thing is you don’t always realize it. It kind of creeps up on you. It’s like the silent relationship killer. It is silent, but deadly. Your relationship will not survive if you are not friends. Well, you can remain together, but your relationship will not be truly fulfilling.
The question is what do you do when you realize you are married, but not friends? Is there anything that can be done? Yes, there is, but things may not change overnight. Just like your friendship didn’t deteriorate overnight, it will not be restored overnight. But if you begin to take steps today to restore it, then it’ll be restored sooner rather than later.
Here are 5 ways you can restore the friendship in your marriage:
1. Go back to basics
At some point you were friends, and during that time you talked to each other differently, you treated each other differently, and you showed a different level of respect. Somehow through the ups, downs, and experiences in your relationship, you began to take things for granted. You stopped doing the basic things which made you fall in love. Basic things like opening car doors for her, cooking meals for him, making special trips on the way home before meeting each other, dressing in your best, or putting on that special cologne or perfume they liked.
2. Stop saying “yes” to everybody else
One of our biggest challenges was commitments for our kids, commitments for ministry, and of course, work. Somethings you have no choice, but with others you do. Stop saying “yes” to everybody else, and say “yes” to your spouse. Instead of filling your schedule up with all these things, leave space for you and your spouse. You say “yes” to your spouse by saying “no” to these extra non-essential things.
3. Get desperate about date nights
If you’ve done point #2, then you’ve made it easier to make this happen. When you free up that time, block it out for you two to be together. I wrote recently about how we were desperate for date nights. We had to make some changes, get out of our comfort zone, and just not let anything stop us from having date nights. Dating is how you grew your friendship. Dating will be how you restore your friendship in marriage.
4. Talk, talk, and talk some more
Communication is the key. It will unlock the possibilities in your marriage. Communication is how friendships are made. Do you have any friendships where you don’t communicate. Maybe you have some friends you don’t talk as much with anymore, but at one point there was a lot of communication which is the reason you are able to “pick up where you left off” each time you talk. This goes for your marriage. Talk about silly stuff, talk about serious stuff, and talk about your true feelings and dreams. The point is to talk on a daily basis.
5. Prioritize your friendship
One of the biggest barriers to friendship in marriage, is making other relationships a priority over your marriage. Marriage is the number one relationship you should have with another person. This includes your relationship with your kids. Some people don’t like it, but putting your kids, your parents, your girlfriends or buddies, ahead of your spouse will keep your friendship from developing to it’s highest level, which will keep your marriage from getting there.