Should Your Spouse be Your Best Friend?

by Darcie
couple on bicycle at sunset

There’s a lot of debate about whether or not your spouse* should be your best friend.

If you were to ask 10 people for their opinions, responses would likely be split down the middle, leaving you with no clear answer.

It’s easy to see why the answer to this question eludes us when the term “best friend” is one that’s often misused.

Googling the word churns out a perfectly simple definition: “a person’s closest friend.”

Yet, that’s not how many people use it these days.

What does “best friend” actually mean?

How often do you see #besties on friends’ Instagram accounts? And how often do you see friends caption photos with many different friends with that same hashtag?

If your feed is anything like mine, I’d guess pretty often.

If there’s not a widespread acceptance of what this term means and how it’s habitually used, then it makes sense that there wouldn’t be a consensus on on whether or not you should be besties with your spouse.

First, let’s try to define best friend. Some qualities people might throw out may include emotionally supportive, listens and responds thoughtfully, goes out of their way to care for you, is reliable and a shoulder to cry on, accepts your flaws, supports your goals and dreams, and helps you navigate life.

These qualities could very well could apply to a spouse, but also can probably be applied to any number of friends as well.

I use the term much more narrowly. My best friend is an individual person – as the term implies, “a person’s closest friend.”

Some people argue that their spouse is not their best friend because their spouse is “so much more.”

That “husband” or “wife” encompasses a much greater depth of intimacy than “best friend” does.

One woman writes:

In my experience, the marriage vows of “for better or worse” are literal; the commitment that spouses make goes beyond any friendship possible. Marriage is a lifelong commitment. This person shouldn’t just know you, accept you, and laugh at your jokes—they are obligated to you financially, legally, and personally. No matter how loyal I am to my best friends, we still have separate lives—and I like that. My husband and I, however, are committed to the life we are building together—career ambitions, children, each other.”

Frankly, I agree with this woman about all of the things about marriage. Still, however, I don’t see why that exempts her husband from also being her best friend.

And actually, based on how she’s describing their relationship, shouldn’t he be “her closest friend”?

She also calls him the love of my life. Urban Dictionary describes “love of my life” as “the one who made the ideas of intimacy, vulnerability, and uninhibitedness just click for you, the person you love with all your heart. The person you would do anything for.”

That sounds like the person I want to call my best friend.  

Is it better for your health to marry your “best friend”?

Relationship dynamics and reasons for getting married vary, but I think a foundation of friendship increases the odds of a relationship lasting a long time.

A nearly 20-year-long study of 30,000 Brits supports this hypothesis. The study found that people who listed their spouse as their best friend were twice as likely to have higher life satisfaction.

Of course, this is just one study, and no one can predict if marrying their best friend will lead to a life filled with romance and satisfaction.

But when the passion fades, and you have to roll up your sleeves and slog through the trenches of life with someone, wouldn’t it be nice if you got to do that with your “closest friend”?

Why I call Logan my best friend.

Throughout my life, my mom has been my best friend. I called her this because she’s been my go-to for the good and the bad. She’s accepted me, encouraged me, supported my dreams, loved me deeply .

Until I met Logan, I hadn’t had a boyfriend whom I considered my “best friend.” Even when I felt supported, accepted, and loved, a boyfriend had never overridden my mom as my number one.

I remembered lamenting this to my mom in a previous relationship. While I would always remain close with my mom and didn’t want that to change, I wanted my future husband to become my go-to, my bestie, my ride-or-die, my person.

But I wondered if that was possible. I thought maybe it wasn’t in my cards and decided maybe that was okay – I’ve never believed that one person should be my whole world, and that a single person could meet every one of my needs. I’ve found there’s value in having a community of people to support me.

And then I met Logan, and my outlook changed entirely.

We took our relationship slow in the beginning. Sure, there was attraction from the start, but our focus was on getting to know each other.

Recently, I said to him, “When I look back on the past year, I don’t feel like I got caught up in some whirlwind romance. I actually feel the opposite, that my feelings for you have only grown stronger the longer I’ve known you.”

Logan shared similar thoughts about his feelings for me.

Around six months into our relationship, I noticed that I was calling him after work, when I had news (good or bad), and when I just wanted someone to talk to.

My mom had become my first call less and less, as Logan became my person to problem-solve with, bounce ideas off of, and generally be around without feeling like I was using a lot of energy.

For these reasons (any many more), I consider Logan my best friend.

If I were another person, maybe I might not and that’s okay. Others may use the term partner, or love of my life, or husband.

But I don’t think it really matters. These labels are just ways to describe someone you feel highly connected to someone who knows you intimately, accepts you unconditionally, and has seen you at your best and worst.

So, the question “should your spouse be your best friend?” still persists.

In the wise words of Taylor Swift, “call it what you want.”

What’s your opinion on this topic? Is your spouse your best friend? Why or why not? Drop a line with your thoughts below!

*The the word “spouse” is being used in a generic sense to mean long-term partner or companion.

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