This title may seem silly. Am I friends with my partner? What kind of question is that? Of course I am. However, many couples if they look deep down have realized that they have lost their friendship. Sure, you still love your partner and can't imagine your life without them, but do you find yourselves going in different directions? Not spending much time together? In any healthy marriage, it is important to be friends. To enjoy spending time together and having fun together. When work and child rearing starts taking over your time it can be difficult to find time to connect and nurture your friendship with your partner.
When you enjoy spending time with your partner, your relationship will flourish in all areas. Spending time together can be as simple as eating dinner together without distractions (well, if you are like my husband and I we have the distraction of two young children, but you know what I mean), checking in with each other each morning about what your day looks like and then following up at the end of the day to see how the day went; having a date night on a regular basis; spending a weekend away when you are able; and participating in an activity that you both enjoy.
If you really struggle with connecting and listening to each other, try setting twenty minutes aside each day. Set a timer for ten minutes and let one person talk about their day and have the other person listen with empathy. The listener can ask their partner questions, but try not to offer solutions. Just ask questions to form a deeper understanding of their experience and their feelings. When the ten minutes are up, switch places and allow your partner to do the same thing. Taking the time to really listen to your partner and showing true emotion will help you feel more connected. If you are unable to have a date night due to finances or a lack of child care, take 30 minutes before bed to turn off the TV and connect with each other. Practice the exercise above or come up with questions on topics you want to know more about how your partner feels. Investing quality time in your friendship will pay off with a happier marriage and you will feel more connected and supported.