Thursday, October 27, 2011

Are you your spouse's friend?

Image: Photostock/
I overheard a conversation at the park between a man and a woman this week that got me thinking.

They were acquaintances -- from what I could tell -- and they were being so nice to each other. Like trying really hard to be helpful and provide information about kids and parenting and the like. They were seriously trying to be nice -- on their best behavior -- like when you are making a new friend.

Their interaction made me think about marriage and what happens over time. How people stop trying so hard to be nice and helpful and thoughtful. How sometimes couples stop being "friends" and turn into roommates.

I thought about how amazing that conversation would have been if that couple was married. If they always spoke to each other like that. And if they always went out of their way to be nice to each other -- like they do when they are making a new friend.

I think a whole lot of marriages could be better off if people treated their spouses as good as they treat people they are meeting for the first time. This is definitely something Paul and I have worked on in our marriage, and I can tell you it makes a big difference!

How's that for food for thought? I think it's a good chance to look at how we are behaving in our marriages. I'd love to hear feedback on this topic!


  1. I think this is a GREAT topic. One thing I try to abide by is making sure I talk to my spouse with respect in public (and of course at home, too), but if you are aware of your actions in public, it's more likely to translate to life at home as well. Being disrespected by your spouse in public, for me, is the ultimate cutdown.
    For example, I know a couple who are CONSTANTLY rude to eachother in public, cutting eachother off, saying things like "that's stupid" when the other offers an is so embarrassing and uncomfortable, especially for people that do not know them (their friends are used to it by now, which is terrible to say). If they just took the time to focus on their tone of voice and how they speak to eachother in public, I think they would start to have a better relationship and it would be easier to continue this practice in private as well.
    It is sort of the opposite of what you experienced today, Tina. When I watch them, it reminds me of how NOT to act with my spouse. I used that line of thought today in the hospital, when Joe was getting prepped for surgery and he had to tell all the nurses, docs, helpers how he cut his hand chopping wood with an axe. Each time he told the story, I wanted to say "that was so stupid of him!", but I knew that would be embarrassing, unsupportive and lead to resentment. Instead, I pushed those thoughs aside - accidents happen and he's mad enough at himself already - and instead I laid with him in this TINY bed, scratching his neck, making jokes to help him relax. Even when the docs came in, I didn't move from my odd position in this tiny bed. After we got home he said "Thank you for helping me today, you really put me at ease and made me comfortable". That compliment sent me to the moon - because that's all I ever want for my spouse, my best feel happy and comfortable!

  2. You are amazing, Laura! Thank you for sharing this! It is soooo helpful!

  3. Tina,

    I loved your blog. It is funny Steve and I have been working on this idea over the past few weeks. We talked about what it would be like if we treated every day like this was our first date? How would we talk to each other? Of course when you are on your first date some challenging issues don't come up like.. "Hey id you change the cat box? Or sweetie would you mind putting the toliet seat down? That would be super fantastic!" But you know it is worth the effort. You truly do get what you give. We also have agreed not to police the other person, like "Hey that is not how you would talk to me if we were on our first date." Anyway with kids and work and all of the challenges of a busy life it can be easy to get lazy and leave our manners behind. However, with a little attention and effort, we can create the type of relationship where there is lots of love and friendship. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and inspiration. You are the best!