In Houston marriage therapy, I see a lot of people who come in for sessions because they don’t feel they are close enough to their spouse. Perhaps they don’t talk enough, or they don’t spend much time together devoted to just their relationship. Often, my advice is fairly simple: do those things!

In my experience, relationship issues crop up and become exacerbated when we’re not around each other all that much. What do I mean by that? Well, let’s say that you and your spouse only get “together” time three or four times a month – and I’m not even talking sexual, just time that you use to focus on the relationship. If just one of those experiences turns out bad, then a quarter of your time together has been tainted.

However, if you interact more often and do more things together, really sharing your life with your spouse and making them your go-to person whether you need to talk about something, require help, or just want to have fun (e.g. your best friend), the negative will be outweighed by the positive.

At least, that’s always been my belief. But recently I read an article by a counselor making the opposite argument – that relationship issues crop up when spouses are best friends because they have no other emotional outlet to turn to. He has a point, I admit. It’s certainly not wise to become so fused with your spouse that you have no one else to turn to – no one wants to be the vent for all of your frustrations 24/7, especially when they are likely the reason for some of them!

Houston Marriage Therapy: Best Friend Doesn’t Have to Mean “Only Friend”

But I believe there’s a bit of language confusion going on here. “Best friend” doesn’t have to mean “only friend” or that you have some kind of completely symbiotic relationship. Plenty of happy, healthy marriages involve couples with friends outside the marriage.

When your spouse is also your best friend, the point isn’t that they should always be the first person that you want to talk to or hang out with in the vast majority of situations. It means not only cultivating interests together and working on your communication skills so that you know how to handle a fight when one happens, but also being able to happily do things separate from each other so that neither one of you is threatened by this time apart and (surprise!) you have more to talk about when you come back together.

If you’ve tried these methods and still feel disconnected from your spouse, you might want to try Houston marriage therapy.