Revive Your Marriage 3: Revive Your Friendship

Revive Your Marriage Series

It’s time to…Revive Your Marriage! This month I’m joining three bloggy friends, and every Monday we’ll all write our own posts on how you can Revive Your Marriage!

Today our topic is Revive Your Marriage through building a friendship with your husband!

Friendship is often the first thing to go in marriage. You parent together; you fix up the house together; you care for extended family together. But you don’t actually DO anything just for fun together. It’s like your relationship has become an endless to do list. And indeed, studies have even found that most couples spend less than 10 minutes a day talking about non-logistical issues (in other words, most of the talking they do is about who will pick up what groceries, what repairman needs to be called, what we should have for dinner, etc.)

That’s dangerous.

Because if you don’t feel connected as friends, it’s hard to feel connected as lovers. And it’s hard to deal with any issues that arise.

Friendship in marriage is the glue that keeps you together.

When you’re friends, you build up positive goodwill. It’s like you make bank deposits into a relationship account. And you can’t start making withdrawals–like talking about problems, or dealing with issues–if you don’t already have a big balance in there.

Here’s the central problem: some of us were friends when we were dating, because we figured out things to do together and we liked hanging out together. Then you get married and life gets busy, and you settle into routines. But others of us never really were friends, even before we were married. We loved each other, but we never really DID anything together. Our dating life was mostly watching movies or making out.

Build a Friendship with Your HusbandSo how do you build a friendship with your husband?

Here are some thoughts:

1. Think Side-by-Side, Not Face-to-Face

When women think about doing things together and talking together, we often think of face to face type of encounters. If we want to share our hearts with our husbands, we want to sit down over coffee and talk about our day.

But if you were to say to your husband, “I want to spend 15 minutes of the day just talking to you”, he’s likely to get nervous. What does that look like? What would you talk about?

Men, in general, like to communicate side by side, when they’re doing something together. Women like to communicate face to face. But communication honestly works either way! So instead of saying, “I want to spend 15 minutes talking”, why not say, “Can we take a walk after dinner every night to get a little exercise and fresh air?” The effect is the same–15 minutes talking–but it’s a different dynamic.

I mention this concept quite a bit on this blog, and recently a young mom emailed me and said that this simple ritual had turned her marriage around. It was such a small thing, but putting the kids in strollers and going for a walk every night let her and her husband connect, and she stopped brooding about how he never talked to her.

So what can you do with your husband side by side?

2. Think Laughter!

It’s so important to laugh as a couple, and this is more likely to happen if you’re simply doing something–anything–together. When you’re involved in a low-stress activity, you’ll laugh! And a couple that laughs together at least once a day is a couple that will thrive. But don’t let all your laughter come from watching movies or TV. Laughter builds a relationship much better when it spontaneously flows out of stuff you’re doing together.

I’ve got a list of 16 sexy, flirty things you can do to laugh with your husband. And if you need more ideas, here are 14 Ways to Play as a Couple! Or what about simply board games you can play as a couple? Remember, laughter is something that just comes from the moment. So plan some time to do something when you’re not watching TV!

3. Don’t Wait for Him to Do Something You Like

But here’s the crucial point: if you want to build your friendship with your husband, you do not have to wait for him to start enjoying the things that you do. Take the initiative and do something he likes. In The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I shared the story of Kendria and Juan, whose marriage was on the rocks. Kendria decided drastic action was called for, and so she joined her husband on the church’s annual fishing tournament. She hated the thought of fishing. She didn’t like boats. She didn’t like worms. She didn’t even like fish! But she went, and spent six hours in a boat with her husband. And they talked. It was wonderful! And a new hobby was born.

Don’t think about WHAT you’re going to be doing as much as WHO you’re going to be doing it with. And most guys would be ecstatic if their wives actually joined them in something they enjoyed.

So here’s today’s challenge:

 

My three blogging friends have also written on how to build a friendship with your husband, and you can see what they have to say, too!

Click on through to see what WomenLivingWell, Darlene from TimeWarpWife.com, and Jennifer from UnveiledWife.com have to say!

 

 

 

 

 

And you can have your say, too! Just leave a comment to tell us the struggles you’ve had with friendship, the solutions you’ve found, or what you love doing together.

Join us next Monday when we talk about how to “Revive Your Praise“!



Comments

  1. These are all terrific suggestions that WORK. There is a lot to be said to just getting out of the house, whether for a short walk or drive. My hubby and I have started taking time again to head out for an hour or two to photograph. We find it so relaxing and enjoyable, and it gives us a chance to laugh and chat, and to refresh from our busy weeks.
    Kim recently posted…Dear MeMy Profile

  2. My hubby and I are going to be away together this weekend, attending an event he is MUCH more interested in than me. I’m going to spend time with him while he does something he enjoys, whether I will or not :)

  3. Friendship is definitely important. My husband and I laugh together every day. We have tickle fights, he chases me around, we have water fights, we act silly together, we go for walks while holding hands and talking, we lounge on the bed talking about anything and everything. The other day I drew “tattoos” all over his back and on one of his arms with an ink pen, silly pictures and fun phrases. The great thing is that we’ll always have the time to do things together and build our relationship, because we’re not going to have kids.

  4. This has not been our strength lately, but we’re working on it. My husband has been pricing canoes, and really wants to get one for us. It’s not something that would have EVER crossed my mind, but I’m getting excited about the idea of starting a new adventure with him!

    We also used to love playing games together in the evenings, like Uno, etc. We’re wanting to start doing that again – can’t wait!

  5. My husband is a huge NASCAR and football fan. He knows I don’t really care about either sport. Once in a while though, I will snuggle up on the couch with him when the TV’s on. He knows that I’m not watching and he appreciates the effort to be close to him. After 11 years of marriage, I’ve picked up a few things about each sport. (I’ll root for his favorite driver and cheer when the Bears make a TD, etc.) It’s hilarious when I do say something about the game/race that completely surprises him. He’ll even admit that it’s a little bit of a spark for him.

  6. Unfortunately, my husband and I don’t get to laugh and talk everyday. However, we do make a point of communicating as much as possible. We definitely carve out time for each other several times throughout the week. We keep close tabs on that in our relationship.
    Crystal Green recently posted…99 Days Until Christmas- 1st Christmas Gift Suggestion…My Profile

  7. Friendship is important, but I want to add two things from a man’s perspective: trust and desire.

    Sex is a foundational core aspect of marriage, probably the biggest single factor. So when a wife denies, plays possum/sick, withdraws, is too tired (but not too tired for kid stuff or household chores) or starts making sex conditional on some new standards, the husband will usually feel betrayed or defrauded. Basically, he will think to some extent “she made a commitment to me and is now trying to back out of it” or “she said she loved me and married me – she was lying”. Men do not like to be friends with a liar or betrayer. Lack of sex will often CAUSE lack of friendship with a husband.

    Additionally, increasing the friendship and that type of intimacy will usually increase a husband’s desire for his wife. If the sexuality does not improve with the friendship, the husband will usually feel MORE frustrated and betrayed. A man will withdraw from the intimacy of friendship to feel less frustrated and ease his suffering.

    So working on the friendship is good and important, but if the sexuality does not also improve, it will be a temporary patch that will fail most of the time. If he really loves his wife and/or God, he may suffer through this frustration to keep the frienship going. However, the wife will probably feel that something is “off”. So, if a wife wants to really improve the friendship and other similar areas, she will probably need to commit to an improved sex life with her husband first. If she really is committed to God and her husband, such a commitment should not be a big deal. Of course, for the 25 – 30 percent of wives whose husbands want sex less, working on the friendship will probably be a great focus (unless the reason the husband wants sex less now is because of all the denial from earlier in the marriage).

    • Sheila has talked a lot about that in other posts. :)

      • Yes, but I am stating it goes further than what Sheila typically writes. He’s not just retreating to areas of competency; he’s withdrawing from a liar/betrayer. Denial of sex (both active and passive) is a sin against both God and your spouse. That violation to the marriage is real and must be addressed. Just improving sexuality without some type of genuine apology won’t really heal the damage done. The Five Languages of Apology may help with this typically difficult area for women.

        • This isn’t just a problem for women. In my marriage my husband is the one refusing all forms of physical intimacy. And no I do not nag him or belittle him. Everything and I mean EVERTHING is his way or NO WAY. And he refuses to even talk about this problem. The violent fantasies he demanded that I indulge were(even by the world’s standards abusive)and when I quietly refused to talk about being attacked by a women, his response was to withhold ALL physical affection, including sex. Twelve years and any mention of this subject even with a counselor and his response is to start screaming explitives and shouting “DONE..THIS SUBJECT IS OVER” He acts as though he is being generous “allowing me” to watch TV with him standing in the garage.He won’t even consider sitting on the couch, not even opposite ends of the couch.
          We’ve been married almost 35 years and frankly, I have growing concerns about his mental health.

          • Debbie, it does sound like you have some very valid reasons to be concerned. I’m glad you did talk to a counselor at one point, but it sounds like you could really use a time to talk out these issues. I pray that you can find someone who will be a wise listener to you. And I do think that in situations like yours, Matthew 18 is probably a good guide–we aren’t meant to deal with things by ourselves. If our spouses are honestly acting in sinful ways, I think sometimes we need to bring others in. So I’d talk to a counselor about the right course of action. I do hope you get the help that you need!

          • When did he begin refusing intimacy? How far into the marriage?

  8. Okay, seriously, where have you been all of my life? I NEVER though about the face-to-face thing! I am going to save the other links within this post to make sure I’ve read and acted upon them.
    Ginger recently posted…#UngluedMy Profile

  9. Every night, or well almost every night, my husband and I sit down and watch tv together. I really love this time with him and we both really enjoy movies and even the same movies but like stated above we mostly just sit there. We have 2 children (7 and 2) and no friends or family that can watch the children except for maybe once a month. Our nightly routine is after he gets home from work we play with the kids or take them on a wagon ride then we cook and eat, then bathe them, and put them to bed and then we will watch a movie or a couple shows on tv. We don’t have money for a babysitter and our only alone time is at night once the kids are in bed. Other then kiddie board games there’s nothing else we can do. Money is tight as I stay home with the “baby”. What are ideas that we can do besides tv and board games (cuz the kiddie games will get old after a while) and nightly walks, since we can’t leave the kids home alone.

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