Are you friends with your spouse? Relationship expert and researcher, John Gottman, has found that friendship is the foundation of a healthy relationship and connection. His research shows that “long-term vitality and connection is maintained through moments of intentional friendship woven throughout the course of your relationship.”

I love the movie Lion King. At one point in the movie young Simba hears that he is betrothed to his best friend, Nala. When he finds out he says, “I can’t marry her. She’s my friend!” Much to Simba’s surprise later in the movie he and Nala fall in love, but it’s the foundation of being good friends that allowed it to happen.

If you want to have a healthy foundation in your marriage. It is important to keep the friendship alive.

Here are easy ways to be good friends in your marriage:

Be Intentional

It’s important to make sure that as you nurture your relationship, the friendship still exists. It doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been together, if you allow the friendship to drift, your relationship will suffer.

Spend Time

You can’t be friends with your spouse if you don’t make time for each other. Be each other’s friend by doing fun things together, being silly and laughing together, or learn something new together. Having regularly protected time together will keep the friendship alive.

Lean on each other

Friends should be helping each other through hard times. You should open up and process your stressors and have conversations about the good, bad, and the ugly you experience in life. This requires vulnerability and trust, which can be scary. But doing this will strengthen the bond and build a strong foundation of friendship in your marriage.

Make it a priority

Do you give all your time and energy to everyone else and have very little to give to your spouse? If that’s true, what does that say about where your relationship falls on your priority list? Your spouse should not get your leftovers. Make it a priority to invest in your friendship!

Simple contact

I love getting a simple reminder from my husband that I’m on his mind and cared for. Making simple contact with your spouse can help keep the friendship connection throughout the day when you’re apart. Send a sweet text or leave a note some where for your spouse to find. Mail a ‘thinking of you’ card to their office or have something yummy delivered as a treat. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate gesture. Keep it simple!

Be sure that you don’t take advantage of your partner’s presence by not maintaining the friendship. The distance will lead to dissatisfaction. If you treat each other like good friends or even best friends, you’ll be amazed at the intimacy that can follow.

What’s something you can do today to be “friendly” with your spouse?