The importance of married spouses being friends, even best friends, cannot be overemphasized.
John Gottman, a relationship researcher and expert, has found that deep friendship is critical between spouses who want a happy marriage. His research has shown that deep friendships between spouses inspire
- greater intimacy,
- and sex.
Let's face it, we are all very busy and under stress. Unfortunately, as life happens, our friendship with our spouse may take the back seat. Despite sleeping next to each other every night, living in the same house, and raising the same kids, it is easy to stop getting to know each other.
Over time, we grow, develop, and change. Our “favorites” change, our interests change, our hopes and dreams change.
So how do we continue to “know” each other? I believe it takes 2 things:
time and genuine interest.
We must spend time together. Just the two of us. Doing what? Great question! Do you have common hobbies? Do you have common interests? Many couples have lots of things in common but do not have activities they enjoy doing together. Try an activity your spouse enjoys. Ask your spouse to try something you like doing. Try something new together. Pinterest has a lot of ideas! It is important to find things we can do TOGETHER. Without kids. Without friends. Just us.
We must show genuine interest in one another, one that offers full acceptance. Ask questions (simple, deep, fun, serious). Listen to the answers. REALLY LISTEN.
What is interest that does not offer full acceptance? Here's an example...she asks him, “What is your favorite vacation spot?” He answers, “Florida.” She responds, “What? We went to Hawaii for our honeymoon and I thought that was the best vacation you have ever taken. I can’t believe you would say Florida because that’s where you go fishing with your buddies.” Wrong interpretation, wrong response. No judgment. Only positive regard. Rather, imagine if her response were “Wow, I didn’t know that! I would love to go to Florida with you one day and for you to show me what you love about it so much.” A conversation like this strengthens your connection!
Reconnect and get to know your spouse again.