This CNN article (via parenting.com) has some pretty good advice that contradicts some standard relationship conventional wisdom. I think the points about sex and arguing in front of the kids are especially good. But there was one I just didn't get -
Myth: Spouses should be best friends as well as romantic partnersI don't think there is a right way or a wrong way to create and maintain a relationship. The only hard and fast rule is that both people should be happy with whatever arrangement they have. That said, I don't really get the point here. Maybe they have a different definition of best friend than I do. This is the part that confuses me - "It would be great if your husband is someone you have fun with, respect, have great sex with, work well with as a parent, and is your soulmate. But almost no one gets all that in one relationship,". So what in this list do you not expect? How can you be married to someone you don't have fun with? Respect? Any relationship without respect is doomed. No great sex? That's fine, but only if neither partner cares. Unaddressed differences in sex drive is a killer as well. Working well together as parents? And what's the alternative? Soulmate is a bullshit romance novel idea, so I think we can ignore that.
It sounds wonderful, doesn't it? After all, you and your husband know each other better than anyone else, so why wouldn't he be your best friend, too?
What we say: "Romantic relationships are different from friendships. One person can't be everything to you," says Andrea Smith, a mom of two in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.
In other words, don't beat yourself up if it sometimes feels like you're closer to the mom next door than to your mate. "It would be great if your husband is someone you have fun with, respect, have great sex with, work well with as a parent, and is your soulmate. But almost no one gets all that in one relationship," says Wexler. And if you and your partner manage some of these things, "you've been blessed," he adds. The trick is to keep your bond going on some level. "Stay involved in your partner's life. When you separate in the morning, make sure you know at least one detail of each other's day -- and ask about it later," says Wexler.
It helps to be grateful for what you do have. "Rick and I have been together since high school -- and he's not my best friend," says Deborah Coakley, a mom of three in Ridgewood, New Jersey. "But after everything we've gone through, he's definitely my most constant friend."
I'm not saying that I think spouses/significant others should want to spend every minute together, or even that they agree on everything all the time. That's unrealistic. I like alone time, I like spending time with friends without Michelline, we have divergent interests and hobbies in some cases. But she is my best friend. What that means to me is that when I see something interesting or exciting, she's the first person I want to share it with. I can be completely unguarded with her without fear. She's the person I most enjoy spending time with. We've been together for 20 years and we never run out of things to talk about. Our interests overlap in most areas. The things that are most important to me are also important to her. I see us together 40 years from now and I don't feel limited or constrained by that, I feel excited about the prospect. And the sex is great ;)
I don't expect that all successful marriages will be like ours, I know that's not the case. But I don't understand a committed relationship where one partner feels emotionally closer to someone else, and that's what I get from the quote above.