Your Best Friend
I’ve recently been reading John Gottman’s 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work. (book review coming soon). I’ve read a lot his professional writings and have been wanting to read his self help book. Unlike the vast majority of self help books, Gottman’s book is born out of research about marriages. I wanted to share one thought from his book so far.
Gottman talks about one of the biggest factors that make marriages happy and satisfying is when spouses are truly friends. This idea could easy be discounted as cliche — how many wedding songs and cards talk about marrying your best friend. He outlines why friendship is so important to marriage.
You truly know your best friend — what makes him happy, how to tell when she is in a bad mood, what helps after he had a long day, what are her pet peeves
You give your best friend the benefit of doubt — He says something rude, you take it as what happened at work. When she forgets to call you back, you assume that she got distracted and nothing more.
You use your manners with your best friend — When you are upset, you typically restrain yourself from yelling at her, calling her names, assassinating her character and talking about all of the her wrongs from the past.
You want to be with your best friend — This is the person who you have the most fun with, who you share great memories and stories, and who makes you the most comfortable.
Gottman talks about how a foundation of friendship can carry couples through the difficulties of marriage because their friend continues to connect them. All friendship can get stretched thin and have to be nurtured to continue to be strong. As a side note, I would add that often we would tell our friends more directly what we want or need but often expect our spouse to just know. So at risk of sounding cliche, maybe your marriage can get stronger if you focus on reclaiming your friendship a little today.