Why Your Spouse Shouldn’t Be Your Best Friend.

It’s a romantic idea to marry your best friend.  It makes sense, right? If you marry someone that you get along so well with (like a best friend) then you think you’d be more likely to be happy together and have a lasting relationship. But deep inside I can’t help but chuckle to myself when I hear someone say that they married their best friend. I chuckle because as a counselor, I see so many bad things about this. Let me explain:

You Shouldn’t Want Your Spouse to be Your Best Friend

1) Your Spouse Should More Than a Best Friend. Being married is a sacred thing. It’s above and beyond friendship – even above being best friends. It means that you care about your partner so much that you want to share things with them that you can’t share with anyone else. You share intimate, personal, vulnerable moments with them and they do the same with you. And together you share a relationship that transcends being best friends. Sure, you’ve had these moments with your best friend at times but it’s different with your spouse. It’s much deeper. And the new category of your relationship can only be defined as pure love. And you don’t (and shouldn’t) share this kind of relationship with anyone else – not even your best friend. 
2) You Shouldn’t Want to Have Sex With Your Best Friend. A marriage is a passionate, intimate and sexual relationship. A relationship with your best friend is platonic and shouldn’t be sexual (You learned why you shouldn’t have sex with your friends in college, remember). If your spouse is only your best friend, then you’re not loving them like a spouse. Spouses are supposed to share a more intimate connection with each other. If you’re having sex with your spouse like you would with a best friend, then you’re doing it wrong. And you’re not really making love to your spouse.  And your sex life will suffer.
3) There Are Some Things You Just Shouldn’t Talk to Your Spouse About. Guys, your wife doesn’t want to be treated like one of the boys. If you want to talk about football, statistics, cars, etc. you’re tainting the sacred relationship of being a spouse. You have friends to talk like that with (I hope). Gals, the same goes for you. Your husband doesn’t want to hear about cutesie outfits or relationship gossip that’s going around the office. That’s what your girlfriends are for.

If you’re treating your husband like a girlfriend you need a lesson in how to treat your husband. And guys, if you’re treating your wife like one of the guys you need a lesson in how to treat a wife. Draw boundaries and talk about friend stuff with your friends and talk about spouse stuff with your spouse. Sure, there’s some crossover but if you’re talking to your spouse mostly about the same stuff you talk with your friends about, you’re not treating your relationship like a marriage – and your marriage will suffer.

4) Your Spouse Shouldn’t Come and Go like a Best Friend. I’m willing to bet you that your best friend has changed over time. I’m willing to bet that you had a different best friend in elementary school than you did in high school. And maybe you had a different best friend in college than you do right now. Even though you may still think fondly of all the best friends you had, over time you went through spells of losing touch with them. But your spouse is someone that you should never lose touch with. If you have, you’re not treating them like a spouse. Spouses are always trying to get to know each other more and more. They do new things together and explore life together through sickness and health and until death do you part. 

Being a Spouse is Different than a Best Friend

There are distinct boundaries between being a best friend and being a spouse. Even though you may have dear thoughts and feelings of your best friend your spouse should be even more near and dear to you.  The four things mentioned above are just a few excellent examples of how you should treat your spouse differently than even your best friend. It’s a romantic idea to marry your best friend. And I hope everyone married someone with best friend qualities. But a happy marriage is built on more than just friendship. And when you start treating your spouse as more than just a best friend – and start treating them like a spouse – then you’ll see real love and romance (not just friendship) in your marriage.   

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39 Responses to Why Your Spouse Shouldn’t Be Your Best Friend.

  1. Aaron!

    I LOVE this gentle but firm reminder to couples. Especially #2 – a Spouse is definitely more than a best friend with benefits!

    Thank you for keeping the spotlight on what makes marriage so uniquely wonderful.

    Ande Lyons

  2. Great topic! You're definitely correct. It's actually healthier to have someone other than your spouse as your best friend. I always say you should put all your eggs in one basket. Too many people meet their partner and drop everyone else, that's the wrong approach.

  3. I sumwhr nevr agreed to tis…coz my best frnd is above anythn..Bt I hve realised by Nw that all tis is juz breaking the bonds with my spouse..

  4. There are many type of love and relationships, there are no thin line in distinguishing what is right and wrong. What matter is whether it works or not for people. For many people, marrying their best friend works and for others marrying their lover ends up being a physical relationship that's bound to crash burn through time.

  5. I'm married to my best friend of 20 years.
    Not only is he interested in the most seemingly mundane aspects of my feeble female hobbies, we actually bonded over our mutual love of muscle cars and college sports.
    Sure, he's much MORE than my "friend," but the fact that we share a deep friendship underneath it all has been one of the most positive aspects of our relationship.

    While generic relationship advice may work for some issues, I firmly believe this is a matter of individualism, and saying that a couple who happen to be best friends lack depth demonstrates a lack of understanding of how relationships work on a realistic and fundamental level.

  6. Nothing better than having your best friend as a spouse. I did not. I let physical attraction and finances rule my decision. When your spouse is mean to you years later, his looks and hotness will mean nothing. Liking a person is first and foremost. Inevitably, the romantic phase fades and you are left with a man who feels cheated because the sex went downhill and a woman who wishes her husband didn't base his love on how recently he got some. Ladies, don't let looks consume you. It will mean nothing 10 years down the road. You want a very good friend as your spouse.

  7. How old is this guy again sounds like advice from the wrong century, so black and white and close minded. I've had a best friend for 6 years and came on this website to talk my self out of telling her my feelings but this article did the opposite.

    All those points proved why I should tell her because we would share our intimate moments together, wetend to mess around when we drink, our friendship started over wanting to know and listen to each other's problems and help each other out (yes I listened to all her gossip), and we've been best friends for 6 years we've never drifted apart and we've grown up together and changed into the people we love to be and I love who and how she is now. But at the same time what if I tell her and I lose her forever I feel as though I would go into serious depression if I did.

  8. This is the stupidest thing I have read. Marry your Best Friend if you know what marriage is actually about. Marriage isn't only about the sex, love and feelings, its MUCH more than that. The practical things matter more than anything.

  9. So, I disagree with this article, but I'd really like to not be lumped in with the two commentors directly above mine, which seem way too aggressive and not so constructive.

    I agree with many of the ideas raised in this article, but I think (having read several of your articles now) we have a fundamental difference in how we frame the marriage relationship.

    I agree wholeheartedly that the marriage shouldn't be like a friendship and should be deeper. But that's exactly what people mean when they say their spouse is their best friend. They may not be articulating it, but they're saying that this person, the spouse, transcends all other relationships.

    But they're also saying something very important, which my fiancé (a marriage/family therapist, herself) and I focus on. Which is: "I love you, and I also like you." Please note that the word "like" in that sentence is not a demotion, it's meant superlatively. It means that I take joy in finding my lover to also be an interesting human being.

    I do have one major objection to the article, which is the idea you pose to talk about "friend" topics w/ friends and "lover" topics with the lover. Eesh, that's a dead-end street. I'm a writer who loves movies and books and football. She's a therapist who loves baseball and camping and volleyball. I love being able to talk about all of those things DEEPLY with her. In fact, it was the depth of conversation (as opposed to merely the topic of the conversation) that propelled our relationship to the next level.

  10. Of course intimacy is important, but I believe you are totally dismissing solid friendship as an equally essential pillar in the entire foundation of marriage, which is just absurd. Being a spouse includes being a best friend AND a lover. Take either one out of the picture and you have yourself one problematic marriage.

  11. Dumbest damn thing I have ever heard. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THE AUTHORS ADVICE, OR YOUR MARRIAGE WILL LIKELY FAIL. My spouse is DEF my best friend.

    *Passionate 30yr + marriage <3

  12. What if you don't really have any friends and your husband is the only person you talk to about basically everything? Is that to be considered unhealthy?

  13. To anonymous from May 21,

    Yes, that's SUPER unhealthy and it's exactly what I'm speaking to in this post. Your spouse should have a dedicated position in your heart as your spouse. A spouse, then, is a much more important and sacred position than a friend or acquaintance. And if you try intermingling any of these positions with the one your spouse plays you won't be doing any of them well. Friends are meant to be friends. Colleagues are meant to be colleagues. Spouses are meant to be spouses. Treat all of them as such.

  14. Semantics.
    And sexual relationships are not in any way more "sacred" or better than platonic ones. Friends experience true love, trust, and intimacy, devoid of lust and other complicating factors. Get a grip and stop thinking with your penis or at least stop telling others what to do based on it.

  15. What a total piece of crap. From the sexist "The girls how could they understand statistics" (Yes I am a female statistician and I am mad) to "Friendship and sexual intimacy can't coexist" wish this was written on paper so I could have the satisfaction of balling it up and throwing it into the waste bin.

  16. Sorry, but this is the DUMBEST thing I have ever had the misfortune of reading. How old is this author?

    And to think the author contradicted himself here "… But a happy marriage is built on more than just friendship. And when you start treating your spouse as more than just a best friend…"

    He was right. A marriage is built on more than just friendship…that is why you marry a BEST friend. Or at least, try to be best friends when dating and through marriage. If your best friends are all the same gender as you are, (and you are straight), then when dating someone try your hardest to care for that person, and he/she should do the same. THEN you come to love one another and become each other's best friends. Remember this: "to love and to hold, for better or for worse…FOREVER". Trust me, no one does that for someone that is only for sleeping with. NO ONE.

    One can't say that a spouse is more than a best friend, and then describe the relationship as simply sexual. BLEH! You just lose all credibility there.
    What the author explains here is that spousal relationships should be based ONLY ON SEX or SEXUAL ACTIVITIES.

    ALSO, I am still best friends with all my best friends since childhood. Having a best friend and being a best friend are also different, but the idea still lies in the fact that complete caring and love is involved. If you are the type to drop friends so quickly, then you do not understand the true meaning of (best) friendship, and that will explain your very narrow thought-process.

    I'm sorry, but having a "counselor" certification MEANS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING if you can not understand the basics of a real relationship.

  17. I could use a little help. My husband is right when he says we have a sex-less relationship when it comes to a 2 sometimes 2 1/2 week gap. He says he has needs which is fine. He wants to know why I don't. But I do, just not as often as he does and to be honest its easier to please myself. Im looking for help on how to renew my sexual self for my husband and stop taking short cuts in my own personal time.We have bee together for 16 years only married for almost two and I want to enjoy a sex life and stop seeing it as a chire (since he is counting days).
    Any thoughts?

    • I had a period where I felt the same. It was easier to just please myself. I read erotica and am a very sexual person, but to him…I just didn’t want to go through the effort. But, over a period of years I realized pleasuring myself was hurting us. First thing I recommend is to absolutely stop that. It was very awkward when I actually had to go to my husband for sex, but it got easier. I also began telling him my every sexual thought…Thingd I wanted to do with him (some we still fight over to this day haha) and even my dreams. I found that doing these things made me feel more sexual and after fighting through the embarrassment…Empowered. I also found that I wanted to have sex more often and was more satisfied as I began to feel more comfortable about getting what I wanted. Now, as far as him wanting some when you don’t. I basically have my husband permission to ease himself on days I really was just not feeling it. In the beginning, I had to constantly Express to him that I still loved him even though I didn’t want sex. I explained that I am very emotional and anything can turn that off. It is just how women are wired. Get him aroused and say something that can change the mood in a snap. Then tell him this is what happens to you. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you, just that physically it’s gone. He needs to learn patience, but if you have a much less sex drive, you can’t afford to waste it pleasing yourself. Good luck!

  18. Wow, the advice below is straight out of the 1950's. It presumes women don't discuss sports (false assumption), that women aren't interested in the "hard" subjects like math/statistics (false assumption again), and that women's discussion topics are fairly frivolous such as cutesie outfits. Wow. More women than men are attending college, women are in the workforce in record numbers including in positions like CEO, doctors, lawyers, etc. This "advice" is flooring and sets women back. As a female professor and researcher, I find this to be lacking in evidence and mainly drawing on stereotypes.

    "Guys, your wife doesn't want to be treated like one of the boys. If you want to talk about football, statistics, cars, etc. you're tainting the sacred relationship of being a spouse. You have friends to talk like that with (I hope). Gals, the same goes for you. Your husband doesn't want to hear about cutesie outfits or relationship gossip that's going around the office. That's what your girlfriends are for."

  19. To be honest, I have to agree with this and I am not ashamed to say it. I don't understand why all these people are so mad and are trying so bad to make this article sound somehow "offensive". I think that people use the expression "I am married to my best friend" simply because they're just misunderstanding the meaning of "best friend". As much as you could love and care about your best friend, you will never love them as you're supposed to love your spouse. I think that what the author was trying to say is that not only this two types of relationships are different, but that, most of all, the one you have with your spouse must be way more intimate and important than the one that you have with your best friend. You can't call love "friendship". Obviously, a romantic relationship has to include some sort of friendship elements in it, but that's not how you should identify it. Again obviously, you should like your partner before loving them, you should like them as a person, you should like spending time with them, but there's way more than that. Your spouse should be the person that you love the most, so I just think that the simple definition of "best friend" can't be applied to such a much more intimate and deep relationship.

    Also, apart from the sexist interpretation of point n.3, I guess that just means that you and your spouse may very easily have different interests, so you're more likely to have conversations about those with people who share those interests with you. But, I also have to say that I think it's important to involve your partner in your passions, in all the other aspects of your life and to share with them as much as you can.

    • Exactly. It’s almost like people are wilfully misunderstanding the article.

      It has become fashionable to declare your spouse as your best friend- Facebook is littered with such proclamations, why they post it online and don’t just tell their spouse who is likely sitting in the same room is quite a different matter.

      Author is suggesting your spouse transcends all other friendships. I agree, really nothing can compare to the relationship I have with my spouse really it is much much more than friendship, far far deeper.

      As for best friends, well personally I haven’t had one of those since school and as a grown woman I do not care to rank my friends. Except I most definitely do not have sex with them!

  20. Great Article, to many marriages fail because couples treat marriage as casual friendships. Women have a tendency to know everything about their husbands life and tend to get rid of any 'friends' they think may be a threat. On my best friends wedding day his new wife told him his best friend 'hit' on her. It was a lie but she achieved her goal, get rid any close friends so she could rule all information, relationships, and communications he got from that time on. They divorced 10 years later. I lost a great friend for life.

  21. Wow! This blew my mind and I’m thinking how crazy! First, if you go through best friends like underwear then you don’t have a best friend and clearly do not understand what a friendship is. Second, when you have a best friend there is so much respect, love, and acceptance there. It is very close to unconditional love. You add that foundation to a marriage and it will be rock solid. From there everything enhances and reaches the depths Christians are taught marriages are to be. That deep friendship with catch you when there are severe problems such as infidelity. Yes, you will have possible 2 separate feelings in a marriage. That is the natural ups and downs. On the days you are not in love, you will still love them for the friendship they give. You will stay with them, stay committed because they ARE your best friend. Looking at a realistic view…The vow of marriage is often not enough…There has to be a base, a glue…That is friendship and marrying your best friend…Well, that is super glue.

    • Hey Researcheresk,

      I agree that you have to be friends with your spouse. Just don’t let it end there. In fact, most couples I see (and I realize they’re coming to see me for a reason) have hit a ‘friend zone’ in their marriage and have lost the passion. They even still have sex and still feel like friends. I think fundamentally we agree that friendship is important and will help hold through the bad times. I say to everyone that if friendship lasts for more than a month or two, then it’s time to take an inventory of the marriage and try to bring the passion back so you’re not friends anymore.

      • I did agree with your article but disagree that lack of sex means marriage is only friendship. Intimacy is much more than sex. Obviously most couples if they are together long enough will experience the end of their sexual life through age and illness.

        • Yes, a lot of things come up where sex per se can’t happen (illness, age, etc). In that case couples still need to find a way to be sexual. Even if it’s not penile vaginal intercourse.

  22. Your very stupid. Who is there to oick up the pick up the puke when the other us thriwing up orto bandage the ither who just cut themselves badly. Lovers,husbands and wives. NO NO NO. ITS best friends that will di the dirty jobs and not run away and leave the one in need. Been there, done that.

  23. My comment without the errors made in my first message sent. You are very stupid. Who is there to clean up the puke when the other is throwing up or to put the bandage on the other bleeding profusively? Husbands and wives? Lovers? No its Best Friends who will do the dirty jobs. Been there done that.

  24. I didn’t read this article but my thought on this topic is that, overall, your spouse should certainly not be your only friend, or your glued-at-the-hip 24/7 friend-that-you-only-separate-from-when-either-of-you-have-a-work-event-or-business-trip-or-guys/gals-night-out.

    I know so, so many couples who generally do EVERYTHING together. The only time they are apart is when their partner is out of town for work, or at a class, or has a night out with the guys/gals. Suddenly, we (the married person’s friends) …suddenly we hear from them….’oh hey, Mike/Mary is out of town this weekend…or out with the guys/gals tonight…it would be SOOOO great to see you and catch up!’

    I have a real problem with this rampant mentality and behavior. First off, how utterly boring to spend 99% of your time with the same person. I don’t care how much you love each other…don’t you want to see other people sometimes….new faces?…new conversations?…new jokes? And, are we other friends just a ‘fill-in’ for when your spouse is (gasp?) not able to be glued to your hip for a few hours? So basically, you just want to ‘use’ us because you are just so clueless as to what to do with yourself when your social crutch (spouse) is not around? Do you really not like us? For if you DID like us, and we really were friends, could you not (as a grown adult) make a DECISION to pick up the phone and suggest that we get together? Why do we only hear from you when your spouse is not around? And…why don’t you ever suggest the three of us get together….you, me, and your spouse? Or are you that insecure and afraid your spouse might be ‘attracted to me’?

    Couples such as these also tend to go on ‘double dates’ with other couples. They will go on vacations with other couples. Blech. How utterly boring these people sound. And how insecure. But hey, I guess it’s just me. I’m bitter. I’m cold-hearted. I must not know what it’s like to ‘really be in love with someone’. No. It’s not them. It’s not that they are boring. Or insecure.

    Being this way is really not good for anyone, because as we all know, there are NO guarantees in life. And when their relationship ends, or their partner dies, the other person is completely lost….not so much because of the loss of their spouse, but because they put all their eggs in one basket so to speak. Now the spouse that’s left has no friends…all their friends were ‘other couples’ (where this single person now no longer ‘fits’ since they only socialize with other couples)…the person has no idea how to ‘be alone’…how to take care of themselves, etc.

    The truly happiest couples spend time with each other, but ALSO spend time with mixed company (other couples AND singles)….with their friends only, and time ALONE as well. Two people in a relationship should have their own friends, their own hobbies, etc. Couples who are glued at the hip are Boring and living a lie. There’s just no way two people can enjoy being with each other, and each other only, every single day, and not have other friends, hobbies

    • Thank you for your comment, Liz. It’s funny because looking at the comments it’s mostly women who are angry at me for this article and it’s mostly men who are understanding. It’s nice to see some women who are understanding, too.

  25. I found this article more interesting and agreeable..i used to be going out person without my wife, had friends other than my wife, used play poker, or sometimes go out with friends to the bar. When I come home I had other in common with my wife, and trust me, there was this fire between us, we never had that long discussion of everything. we had our ups and downs, but mainly everything was okay. couple years later, this new couple moved next door. the two wife’s became a bestie.. the problem starts from there. this neighbor are like movies type, they do everything together. I never like them, but my wife never stop talking about them. she wants their life style. so, my wife stop being happy, and start getting mad all the time. I start changing my ways. I start focusing on her more, going out more with her and the kids, we have boy and a girl. I have lost interesting going out. we spend all the time together, talk about everything together. this where it gets weird, she stop seeing me as her husband, more like her bestfriend. we became less attractive to each other. she start focusing more on my physical appearance, and commenting that I need to go to the gym, that I need to change how I address and so on. my mainly problem, I think I have lost my wife somewhere on the way of transformation. and I cant not go back the way things were, I have lost interesting the outside world. Plz help

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