How Important is Friendship in a Marriage?

“It isn’t marriage that’s hard, messy, difficult and complicated, it’s life itself. Opting out of marriage doesn’t avoid any of life’s struggles or heartbreaks. But going through life married to your best friend means doubling the joys and halving the sorrows.


This quote was from an article in Newsweek debating the necessity of marriage in today’s age. I always remembered it because I think it’s all to easy to blame life’s difficulties on our partner. Today it inspired me to go back and look at what women said about their partner being their best friend and how important that was to their longevity. That is not to say the spark wasn’t important…but having the respect and security and intimacy of a true friend also ranks up their in “what makes it work”.


This woman married the first time around for attraction and shared interest in starting a family. She married the second time around for the whole deal …attraction plus friendship and respect.

“It turns out friendship is the most important part of a marriage. Now I’m married to my best friend, which I didn’t have in my first marriage. I didn’t realize it was so relevant when I married in my 20s. I had no idea that you’re supposed to marry your best friend. I just thought I’m attracted to this person. We have the same ideas. We wanted kids. I forgot the friendship part completely.

If you interviewed me ten years ago, I would’ve said you can’t expect your spouse to be everything – your best friend, your confidant, your lover, and your partner. You can’t expect that. That’s what I would’ve said because I wasn’t. Now I would tell you I was wrong. It actually does exist that you can find someone you can spend your life with that can be all the things you need and you don’t have to settle for less than that.

At the end of the day when I have something I want to talk about, he’s the person I want to talk to. Tons of respect is enormous for longevity in our relationship.  If you don’t respect the person’s opinion, you don’t want to talk to them.

It’s been a really amazing life experience for me. That wanting to tell your husband before your friend — that’s the real deal. I’m really intimately connected to my friends, men and women, but this is a whole new level for me. – 43, divorced, remarried, mom of 3 and step-mom, retired marketing executive, Detroit, MI

This woman married a guy who had been her friend for years before they fell in love…in fact her best friend’s brother and her go-to guy friend.  So needless to say their relationship was based on a foundation of friendship. She thinks it’s a problem when you want to spend more time with your friends than your husband.

I love weekends with him as much as girls weekend. I love going out with my friends but I also like going out just him. I just went on a girl’s weekend in Florida and it’s fun to do it with them but there are times when I’m like, it would really be fun if Rick were sitting here right now. I think he feels the same ways. If time with your girlfriends comes before your husband that is a problem. I couldn’t live without my girlfriends but he is my best friend.

If you are in a relationship, if you can’t just go out together, if you always have to go out in a big setting or go out to dinner always in big groups, that’s a watch-out.  Do you ever just go out yourself even after you have been together a long time? You have to be able to do stuff just on your own because you get so wrapped up in your friends and your kids and your job your family.  – 44, wife, mother of 4, happily married 14 years, teacher, Cleveland, OH

This women your husband should be your best friend…but don’t expect that to mean he is a girlfriend in man’s clothing…

“If you look at your girlfriends as your friends and your spouse as your spouse, I think you’re in trouble. I think they kind of have to be your friend too. Somebody you have fun with. I have friends who say I just need my girl friends because my husband…is not my friend. Well that’s all good but it could get you in trouble.

Your husband should sort of be your best friend. You have to really like them as a person. They have to be interesting. Not interesting as in intellectual per se but it’s what makes your relationship interesting. If they’re not interesting to you, you’re going to get tired of them.

Don’t think it’s going to be the exact same type of friendship as women. Men are really different from us. Don’t try to fight that. Just enjoy that. There are just certain things we think about and they can’t even comprehend it. – 40-something, married, kids, consultant, Chicago

This woman married a man who put her on a pedestal…when times got rough during the recession and life pressure mounted…she fell off the pedestal and they both realized they didn’t have a strong foundation of friendship they needed…

“Don’t think that you can rely on the fact that he adores you and get swept up in that. When someone loves you so much, you assume that you love them too and really it’s more of a projection. I think you really have to know someone a long time and you have to get over that phase of it before you know whether or not you love them back for real and for the right reasons. It’s a partnership. You better choose somebody who is really your friend and a good partner.” – 40-something, divorced, in a relationship, Los Angeles



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