This week’s chapter of Real Marriage was about being best friends. Going into this chapter I was pretty confident because one of the things that I love about my marriage is that my husband and I have a great friendship. We formed a solid friendship before we started dating and that friendship has only grown. We have a lot of fun together and we laugh with each other often. We tease and flirt and we love to be around each other. Every single day one of us will text the other saying, “I miss you.” I think it’s safe to say that we’re both most satisfied in the other’s presence.
However, when reading through the chapter, some things did stand out to me as areas that my husband and I could work on. Overall we have a great marriage but I think we could definitely work on being more emotionally connected and open. We should both feel safe to share our feelings with each other, without fear of being judged or rejected. I think my husband has a problem in this area only because he’s of the male gender and men don’t typically talk about feelings. His innate reaction to emotions is to fix the problem and then the emotions will go away. It’s very different for women though. We need to express the emotions we are feeling and then we’ll be ready to address the problem. Or, in most instances for me, expressing the emotion, being heard, understood, and validated will fix the problem. Typically the emotion that women express isn’t about the problem that may have caused the emotion but is about releasing that emotion and having the person they most love hear them out.
For instance, I am currently working on a project with 13 other bloggers. The director of the project asked me to shorten a work that I submitted for my part of the project. I was very upset by this because I felt very satisfied with my work and did not wish to make any changes. I had written about something very close to my heart and I was very emotionally attached to it. The thought of shortening something I had worked hard on and had poured my heart into made me cry. My husband’s initial response was not very encouraging but as we talked about it later I was impressed by how well he heard me and responded to my emotion. I knew what he really wanted was to fix the problem but what I really needed was for him to understand how I felt. I still don’t like the idea of having to shorten my work but I feel better knowing my husband understands how I feel and is here for me as I work on making the changes.
That is what being emotionally connected as best friends looks like. The story I just shared is one of our few success stories because this is something we are still working on. I struggle with emotionally opening myself up to my husband because in my past most of the men in my life didn’t care about what I felt. I fear to open up because I’m afraid of what he’ll think of me and how he’ll respond. My husband isn’t a cruel man but I have brought this fear into my marriage from my past. It is difficult to overcome but is something that I wish to continue working on. My husband is my best friend and I don’t want to hide any part of myself from him.
What about you? How can you be a better friend to your spouse? What areas of friendship do you need to work on?