How to Become Your Spouse’s Best Friend

What does marriage have to do with leadership? If you are married, everything. Nothing will undermine your effectiveness as a leader faster than a bad marriage.

Michael and Gail Hyatt

Photo courtesy of Jeremy Cowart

Your marriage is a living example of what it is like to be in a close relationship with you. This is why it is so important that leaders get this right if they want to influence others.

Unfortunately, we live in a culture that is very me-centered. Gail and I often talk to people who are frustrated with their spouses. Most of this stems from the fact that they are not getting what they think they need or what they think they should be getting.

I am not saying that it is wrong to give voice to your needs. I am saying that it is often an ineffective way to get them met, unless you first sow the seeds of giving and servanthood. (This is also good practice for being a leader in any sphere of life.)

Gail and I have been married for thirty-six years. We can both honestly say that we are one another’s best friends. We talk constantly, go on long walks together, and eat almost every meal together. We just love being in each other’s company.

But what if you don’t have this kind of relationship with your spouse? We work with enough couples to know that this kind of intimacy and friendship is rare.

But, honestly, we are not special. I don’t want to be naive, but I don’t think it is that difficult—if you are willing to make the investment.

If you are, then I would recommend three steps:

  1. Make a list of what you would want in a best-friend. If you were going to advertise on Craig’s List for a best friend, what would the ad look like? Perhaps it might look like this:

    Wanted: Best Friend

    Prospective candidates will:

    • Make me feel good about being me.
    • Affirm my best qualities (especially when I am feeling insecure)
    • Call out the best in me, and hold me accountable to the best version of myself.
    • Listen without judging or trying to fix me.
    • Give me the benefit of the doubt.
    • Extend grace to me when I am grumpy or having a bad day.
    • Remember my birthday, favorite foods, music, and art.
    • Know my story and love me regardless.
    • Spend time with me, just because they enjoy my company.
    • Speak well of me when I am not present.
    • Serve me with a joyful spirit and without complaining.
    • Speak the truth to me when no one else will.
    • Never shame me, diminish me, or make me feel small.
    • Become excited about what I am excited about.
    • Celebrate my wins!

  2. Now become that person for your spouse. That’s right. Turn the table. Make this a list of the kind of friend you will become. I can promise you this: anyone who does half of these kinds of things will have more friends than he or she knows what to do with. But what if you focused this effort on your spouse? Think of the possibilities.
  3. Keep sowing the seeds, until the relationship blossoms. How long will it take to create this kind of relationship? It all depends on where you are starting. For some, it might be several months. For others, it might take years. Friendships are like gardens; they must be cultivated. The key is to be consistent and persistent—without expectations.

This is really nothing more than the application of the Golden Rule to marriage: “Do to others what you would want them to do to you” (Luke 6:31).

If couples would invest in one another like I am suggesting, the divorce rate would plummet. Romance is important. Sex is too. But a solid friendship is the foundation of everything else.

Question: What could you do today to be a better friend to your spouse? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Leah Adams

    My man and I are not yet at the place where you and Mrs. Hyatt are, but we are so much closer than we have ever been. By man’s standards, our marriage should not have survived this long, but neither of us wanted another divorce, so we stuck it out. Now, our marriage is better than either of us could have imagined 10 years ago. God has done a lot of housecleaning in my heart toward Greg over the years. One of the things that made the biggest difference was when I read Emerson Eggerich’s book “Love and Respect”. It changed the whole way I thought about and dealt with my husband.

    As you might imagine, this was a HUGE part of our problem, but to the praise of God’s glorious grace, I am free of this hatred. 

    • TNeal

      Leah, thanks for sharing your story and offering to the rest of us some helpful advice (i.e. read “Love and Respect.” Ellen and I, in less that 2 weeks, will celebrate our 28th anniversary and our friendship is far deeper now than ever. It’s worth the investment and I’m glad to hear your story which proves the point.–Tom

      • Leah Adams

        Thank you, Tom. Happy Anniversary and may God bless you with many more wonderful years.

      • Dylan Dodson

        I just got that book, I’m excited to read it!

        • kasi

          where did you get it from Dylan? please info me…so i can get a copy its not available in my country…gracias

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Leah. Love and Respect is a tremendously important book. Gail and I read it, attended the two-day seminar, and then I took my mentoring group through it last year.

      • David Santistevan

        My wife and I are reading this right now. Might have to consider the seminar as well.

      • Jeff Randleman

        It’s one of the best books on relationahips on my shelf.  Great for newlyweds or not so newlyweds alike…

    • Jmhady97

      Great news. I can say the same about my wife. We are clser than ever. Congrats


  • Craig Jarrow

    Love Step 2. 

    That’s the one that most people don’t understand. (Or forget.)

    They try to “pull” more out of a relationship, but the only way to get more…is to give more.

    • Amy Lynn Andrews

      Yes, so true. It never ceases to amaze me how God’s way is always so “upside down” and yet works every time. 

      Great post, Michael. I love that list.

    • Michael Hyatt

      So true. They are using a microscope with their spouse when they should be using a mirror with themselves.

    • Michael Vaughn

      Absolutely. Step 2 gets the heart of the matter. My wife and I have been married for 26 years. Whenever we’ve hit a rough patch, the solution has always been tied to each of us understanding the other’s needs. Serving one another has been the key to longevity in our marriage.

      Thanks for such a spot-on post, Michael!

      • Robert Ewoldt

        Michael, thanks for this comment. I’ve also found, even though I haven’t
        been married that long, that one of the keys to our marriage is serving one

  • Jonathan

    Step 2 is the most critical, especially because if you are already married your spouses’ list is probabl close to yours.

    I’ve been married 19 years and we vowed long ago never to go to bed angry or leave each others general vicinity when we argue. Those make it hard to be mad at each other for very long.

    • TNeal

      In 28 years, we’ve (probably more me than she) violated that “never go to bed angry” rule twice. I don’t even remember why. I just remember how miserable I felt and how my conscious gave me one very restless night of sleep. I don’t need a third failure to remind me that this is a very good rule to keep. Glad to know you and I have something of importance that we share in our marriages. Blessings–Tom

    • Michael Hyatt

      We made the same vow. It has served us very well.

      • Jmhardy97

        I don’t know why, but when I was young I asked my grandmother how he and my grandfather stayed together. She said we are each others best frien and we never go to be mad at each other. What great advice I got at an such a young age, but I never forgot it.

  • Agatha Nolen

    I agree totally–I’m single after a divorce 3 years ago, but I am trying to learn how to BE a good friend as well as look for those qualities in others. I just can’t imagine getting serious with someone who isn’t my best friend and exhibits the qualities that you’ve listed. It is a two-way street; I’ve had to learn how to BE a good friend in order to HAVE good friends! Thanks for stating it so clearly and congratulations on 33 years of marriage. 

    • Ryan

      Agatha, great to hear you are working on being a good friend and Michael’s steps. You never know what God has in plan for you moving forward.

      And congrats too to Michael for 33 years! Sadly, not too common these days despite the huge benefits of marriage.

  • Steve

    Wow Mike!  God forbid that I ever sound like John Lennon, but all I could think about was IAMGINE.  Imagine what our world would look like if more married couples would but follow that list.  Imagine.  This would foil the enemy’s plan in a huge way.  Thank you!  Perhaps none of us do this perfectly all the time but it is an amazing reminder.  Love the tangible nature of the list.  I re-commit myself to my best friend today. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome. The thing I like about this list is that it reminds me I have control of the relationship. Not total control, of course, but more than most people think. I can make a difference in my marriage.

      • Jeff Randleman

        Love that idea:  I can make a difference in my marriage…

    • Joe Lalonde

      Steve, you are right. If more married people stuck  together, it would be an amazing testimony.

  • Wanda Brewer

    Fabulous post–need to read this one at least once a month.  During dinner with Bob Proctor I recited the Golden Rule and he said, I like to treat others as they want to be treated.   That made a ton of sense to me as I reflected upon what I learned from Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages.  My spouse would compliment me which is what fills his bucket, but for me?  Make me a cup of coffee in the morning and you set my heart on fire with this act of kindness. 

    • TNeal

      Chapman’s book offers excellent insight to receiving and expressing love. As a pastor, I gave this book to every newlywed couple on their wedding day.

      Knowing his love language and hers really has proven a big boost in our marriage. Thanks, Wanda, for highlighting a very practical book. The investment of time in reading “5 Love Languages” will reap excellent rewards in any relationship.

  • Ryan

    A strong family is very important in supporting anyone’s life plan or leadership abilities. Michael’s great advice echoes a quote from an influential speaker in my life, Andy Stanley. He says (primarily to single people but applies to married people), “Become the person you are looking for, is looking for.”

    A lot of people mistakenly think this advice is too submissive and not beneficial enough for one self, but it actually works out better for everyone when you take the time to serve. It may take time (like the seeds in step 3) but in the long run, the investment is worth it and will help you be a better person and leader.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your comment, Ryan. I agree.

    • Jmhardy97

      There is a saying that the best gift a father can give their children is to love their mother. I totally agree.

  • Ed Chinn

    Michael, this is just excellent.  I sent it to my whole list. 

    I will just add one thing here.  So often when I feel like my Joanne needs a little “course correction,” balancing, or additional information so she can make the “right” decision, the real issue is me — I am not creating a solid platform for her.  I am not loving her as Christ loves the Church. 

    Just at the point where I perceive — and prepare to expose — a misuse of time, money, relationships, etc., the Lord will quietly show me her real need.  And most of the time it is her spirit reaching for a more secure dwelling place.  A safe place. 

    Yes, I do know that all spouses need the loving presence of the “intelligent other” (in Michael Novak’s great phrase) who can help us with objective perspective and balance.  But, I also know that most of the time when my impulse jumps up to “help” Joanne, it is my own carnality struggling to win something dubious. 

    • Gina Burgess

      Ed, that is a very wise insight, and very courageous to admit in public. I wonder how often that same carnality struggle has influenced my reactions to my family.

    • Catpatlan

      Wow.. that was excellent.. ♥

    • Michael Hyatt

      Wow. Very insightful comment, Ed. I especially like the Michael Novak phrase. Do you remember which book that came from?

      • Ed Chinn

        Novak wrote an article in the May, 1976 Harper’s Magazine called “The Family Out of Favor.”  One of the best pieces on marriage I’ve ever read.  That article is the source of the phrase. 

        • Michael Hyatt

          Great. Thanks for the reference. I found it here. But you have to be a Harper’s Magazine subscriber to access it.

        • Michael Hyatt

          Actually, I found it online for free here.

          • Ed Chinn

            That free version is only part of the article.  I’ll scan it when I get home from a trip and email it to you.

          • Michael Hyatt


    • Joe Lalonde

      Ed, that is some great advice. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jason Fountain

    Your posts always keep me off balance. Yesterday you outlined a brilliant way to use Evernote with blogging and today you’re writing about growing your marriage. I just never quite know what I’ll get when I check my Reader each morning!

    There is no doubt that your spouse should be your best friend. And as so many others have mentioned, step 2 is the key. I believe the problem with society today is that we are all out for #1. A healthy marriage just cannot work that way. I’ve learned so much about selflessness since I got married (only 2.5 years). I love the statement that I’ve heard Anthony Robbins give: The purpose of relationships is to magnify the experiences of life. I know that is true for my wife and me. Experiencing life with each other is what makes life magical. Thanks!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Ha! I’m glad to keep you guessing. ;-)

    • David Santistevan

      So true, Jason. I’ve noticed from reading Michael’s blog that successful bloggers keep their content focused, but varied at the same time. Identify your categories and try and spread them out through the week. That has helped me so much.

  • Jay Cookingham

    Excellent advice my brother! My wife and I just celebrated 29 years of marriage and we are best friends…it makes marriage richer! Bless you bro’

  • Brian Hagman

    What a great blog post!  I read your posts everyday and I am a big fan.  I would have to say that this is one one my favorites so far.  Great job!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Brian. I appreciate that.

  • Patricia Zell

    I try to keep things positive and to speak kind words. In times of trouble, we both encourage each other to seek God for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

  • David

    Great post Michael.

  • Geoff Webb

    Brilliant, Mike. I love seeing how you look at this stuff. Sarah and I are going to give this a try.

    I’m wrestling with the Golden Rule right now. What if what I want or need isn’t what my wife wants or needs? What if there’s something that’s critical to her, that just isn’t a big deal to me. Think “5 Love Languages” or “adaptive leadership” stuff. In that case, don’t I need to do unto her as SHE would have me do unto HER?

    The insight I’m mining for here has application beyond spouses and friends. It affects how we lead as well. Thoughts anyone?

    • Gina Burgess

      Geoff, this is truly basic stuff. These are the general things that stem from respect and, I am quite sure, how Jesus treated his disciples. Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan,” when Peter was urging Him not to fulfill God’s plan. That’s truth.

      Dr. Gary Chapman’s book is about how to show your spouse you love him/her. He also delves into how to be a friend. As he points out, too often couples think love is all about physical attraction and that “first flush, tingling” whenever you look at your beloved. True love goes far beyond that. True love is best friends who enjoy each other and want nothing but the best for each other. True love is all about both partners putting self behind and thinking always of the best interest of the other. One person cannot do it alone for the long haul, I’m speaking through experience here.

      In leadership, the leader must act in such a way that earns respect. If the leader does 5 of the things listed above to his employees but does the opposite of 10 of them, then no matter he’s doing something right, he’s doing enough wrong to lose the respect of his employees. That makes for a very poor production team and undermines the company’s community respect because employees are spreading the negative about the boss which splashes all over the company’s image.

    • Michael Hyatt

      You make a good point, Geoff. My suggestion is to start with what you would want, get some momentum, then begin asking what he (or she) needs.

      • Geoff Webb

        Good suggestion. I think it would give you a good idea of your wants—so you can be ready in case they get in the way. I wouldn’t wait very long to share that list with your spouse though. I think if I embarked on this process without telling Sarah what I was doing I could do some real damage.

        I think we’re going to both make our lists on our own, then exchange them. I think that would spark a great conversation around the differences and our assumptions about each other.

        • Michael Hyatt

          This may just be me, but I would not share the list. I think a lot of damage is done by raising expectations and then not following through. (You may be different, and that’s fine.) Someone once said, “you can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” I think the same is true in marriage: “you can’t build a relationship on what you are going to do.” Instead, you have to do it!


  • Dylan Dodson

    Being married for almost 2 weeks now, I can say that my wife is my best friend. Of course, we still have much to go through together!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Congratulations! You have the opportunity to build a GREAT foundation.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Congrats Dylan! You’re going to have some great adventures! Enjoy the blessings that marriage brings.

    • Jeff Randleman

      Congrats!  Make sure you start out on the right foundation, and enjoy every moment!

  • joeburnham

    I couldn’t agree more with your opening statement, a bad marriage will destroy you as a leader.

    However, I would disagree with your solution as it assumes your spouse wants the same thing in a best friend as you do, which might be the case (and I’m guessing it is with you and Gail), but it might not (which I’m guessing is the case for most people who aren’t satisfied in their marriages).

    To put this in the terms on love languages, it’s natural for us to speak in our native tongues, but it takes effort to discover and then learn the often foreign tongue of our spouse. Of course, this takes two, both committed to discovering, learning, and becoming proficient, otherwise one will just become emotionally and relationally drained.

    In the end, the golden rule, which you propose, is ok, but I’d say two people seeking to live out the platinum rule (do unto others as they would like done unto them) is far superior.

    • Michael Hyatt

      You make a good point. I am simply suggesting that people start with the Golden rule. Once they gain some momentum, they can go Platinum.

  • Kay

    Amen! The Lord has shown me that when I’m miffed because my husband isn’t (fill in the blank), that I have the same problem. When I get my heart right, he no longer has that problem!

    It can all be summed up in a sentence, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
    Or in a word, “Love.” We have twisted the meaning of love so much that we just don’t get it unless we’re hit in the head by a 2 x 4.

  • TNeal

    As I went through your best friend list, I said, “She does that. She does that. She does that.” You  reminded me that I’ve got a jewel for a wife.

    Then you turned the tables on me in statement #2. Perhaps I’ll find the courage to return to the list and ask, “Do I do that? Do I do that? Do I do that?”

    Excellent, memorable lesson. But you are one sly trickster, you are.–Tom

    • Ben Tune

      He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD. – Proverbs 18:22
      This was convicting to me, too.  My wife is an incredible woman.  

      • TNeal

        Thanks, Ben, for the biblical reminder. Life bears that truth out. The Bible also says, “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife” (Proverbs 21:9). Grateful that’s still theory in our home (insert “husband” for “wife” and  I’d hope Ellen would hold the same view).

    • Michael Hyatt

      Tom, I one had a friend say, “What’s it like to be married to you?” Man, that turned the tables on me! I immediately teared up.

      • TNeal

        What about that question brought the tears?

        You first brought joy as I read the list and thought of Ellen. Then you brought an aha moment with point #2. So I’m curious to connect with the context of your own response of tears.

        • Michael Hyatt

          It made me realize my own shortcomings, and created immediate empathy with my wife.

          • TNeal

            In referencing your earlier post, it’s my wrongdoings and my wife’s gracious responses that have brought me to tears in the past. I think that’s why your list brings such joy today. I appreciate the challenge of that list. Although, until now, I hadn’t thought of printing it out and keeping it in a prominent place, it would serve me well to do that. Seeing, reinforcing, praying then doing what I’ve seen, reinforced, and prayed about. Again thanks.

  • Juan

    Great post, as years go by my wife is becoming more and more my best friend. 
    I think marriage is not a destination it is rather a process of constant renewal.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Amen to that. I agree.

  • Lou Henkel

    My wife and I have been married for 28 years. We dated 5 years and waited to have children for 3 years. In saying this my wife Tammy is by far my very best friend. We got to know each other and learn each others likes and dislikes etc. far before our four children  were born. There is nothing hidden between us and we pray together each and everyday. I totally agree with you. If your wife is not your closest and best friend I feel there is something wrong and some time on your knees and a little honesty with yourself always works for me.

  • Edith

    Not sure I wholly buy into all this. I think a lot depends on the people involved and their culture. I think the most important thing is to love and respect each other. Being “best-friends” is a bit too sugary for me. I think it is important for each partner to have solid friendships and a social life outside the relationship that give balance to the whole thing. My parents were married for over 60 years, I’m not sure they needed a check list – they instinctively knew that marriage was about love, compromise and commitment, but above stickability. I think that is what is sadly lacking these days. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      Many people won’t need a checklist. The important thing is the outcome. How you get there is your choice.

  • Chris Cornwell

    My wife is my go-to. I hang out with the guys sometimes and she with the girls but if it’s a movie I want to see or she wants to go shopping, more often than we go together! Love my bride!

  • Cathy

    Today is my parents 67th wedding anniversary; 0r as my dad puts it, my mom’s “birthday.”  He says she did not begin to live until she married him! That  kind of humor, commitment to each other and God’s grace has kept them together for all these years. Remembering back to when I was a teen their holding hands and kissing  embarrassed me.  As I grow older I appreciate every bit of that public display of affection as it gave us kids security and was a wonderful example of love and friendship.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Wow. 67 years! That is awesome!

    • Jeff Randleman

      67 years!  That happens all too rarely these days.  Pass on congratulations!

  • Catpatlan

    The article was excellent.. Thank you for sharing.. ♥

  • Lisa

    Love these thoughts here, Michael.  Thank you for being a strong voice for marriage.  It is not easy, but it is possible — truly, it is in the perseverance and commitment.  One of the greatest gifts my husband has ever given me is letting me feel safe to be myself.  I count this among the greatest of things I can give back to him, as well as to others.  

    • Michael Hyatt

      I agree. That is my favorite thing about Gail. She calls out the best part of me.

  • Lindsey Nobles

    I love this! Thanks for sharing.

    • Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome. I wondered how it would play for singles. I remember when I was single, I soaked up everything I could on marriage, believing that one day I would need it.

  • Amy @ MomsToolbox

    I love this reminder, but I would add one step between 1 and 2:

    Ask your spouse what he thinks of your list.

    Although I relish encouragement and praise, it doesn’t impact my husband at all. Because of this, our lists would be mostly the same, yet still different.

    I have learned that often I work so hard doing for him what I would want him to do for me, and his wants and needs are different than mine. Now I check in with him periodically and ask what I can do to help or what other things I could do for him that he would enjoy.

    • Ben Tune

      This is so true.  My wife and I both read “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and I realized I was more of a words of affirmation guy and she is a gifts gal.  Because affirmation is my language and encouragement is my spiritual gift, I spent a lot of time affirming and encouraging her.  That’s nice, but sometimes she just wants me to pick up a little something on the way home to let her know I was thinking about her.

      • Amy Lynn Andrews

        Ha! Great minds think alike, Ben. :)

    • Amy Lynn Andrews

      Yes, good reminder, Amy. The 5 Love Languages (Gary Chapman) thing…

  • Max Anders

    Mike… super, super blog!  Can I preach it?

    • Michael Hyatt

      You may! I would be honored.

  • Rob T

    it’s amazing what intentionality alone does.  thanks for the post.

  • Anonymous

    What a wonderfully insightful post.  Thank you for sharing your perspective on marriage.

    One of the things that we seem to forget is that love is a choice.  We talk a lot these days about being intentional and making intentional choices, but for some reason we don’t apply that to our relationship with our spouse.

    So, to add to what you’ve so eloquently said, I find that when I am intentional about choosing to love my spouse, and when I am intentional about treating my spouse the way I would treat one of my best friends (overlooking the nitpicky things that can frustrate or annoy me), my relationship is smoother.

    And, like my relationship with Christ, it is something that I must choose daily.  Sometimes, like faith, I have to choose it moment by moment.  But, like growing in faith, the more I do it, the more I choose to love my spouse and show him love (not just saying the words), the stronger our relationship becomes.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I agree that this is something we must choose DAILY. Thanks!

  • Dbrennanj

    Michael, great, great, great post! Loved this!

  • Lilly Grace Brown

    I am a leader who is in a difficult marriage with a mentally ill and abusive spouse. I have found that in spite of that “liability” when I walk with integrity before God, seek to respect my husband regardless of how he treats me and put my needs in the hands of God, that I can still be used in a mighty way for His glory. I do not want to diminish the truths you have posted here, but there are many who are in situations taht go beyond the more minor neglects you allude to. Sometimes it takes great wisdom, gained through time in God’s word and through the counsel of godly friends to stay married and persevere in marriages like mine. Someday could God change my spouse? Sure. I only need to obey HIM above all and treat my husband as Scripture instructs and then leave the rest to God. If it never happens I have found that the process has grown me closer to my Savior than ever before.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Beautiful. I love your heart. Marriage is really designed to transform us—to help us become more like Christ.

      • tvphotog06

        Michael, I will be married to my wife for 10 years come October. She recently asked me was I her best friend. I responded truthfully. I felt bad afterwards becuase I was immediately presented with our shortcoming as husband and wife. I love my wife and I prayed to GOD to send me a wife. I just dont know how to say it in a way that doesnt sound rehearsed. We have four kids together and she stated that she would not be with me if not for the kids. That statement crushed me to the core. I dont know what to do.

        • Michael Hyatt

          If it were me, I would make it my objective to be my wife’s best friend. If you were, what would that look like. What would a best friend do for the other? Thanks.

  • Rocco Capra

    Imagine if we treated “Everyone” like your best friend list…
    Now imagine that God thinks of you like that…
    Now imagine that He thinks even more of you then that,
    Imagine that He thinks of you as His “Lover”…

    Cause He does! 

    And when I realized that it ‘saved me’.

    It was part of me realizing that I was taking my core emotional, spiritual, and mental needs to others, especially my wife, my whole life, and thus lived with unmet expectations. 

    The danger with a list like this is that it can become a list of expectations. There is no way that any spouse, or friend, can live up to that list all the time. There is only One who can. 

    When I understood who I am in God’s eyes, it no longer mattered how everyone else saw me. When I take the needs expressed in this list to God, He always meets them, He does not fail me. It frees me to Love… my wife, friends, neighbors, even (or especially) the ‘unlovable’. Cause if God loves me like that, He loves you like that! Thus who am I not to love you too? 

    “Know my story and love me regardless.” – That’s the heart of God.

  • W. Mark Thompson

    Great post, MH! Everyone has their own story, I know. Since I’m typing, here’s a piece of mine. Maybe it can help someone.

    Married 7.5 years ago into a stepfamily situation. She had 2 boys before me. Very rough first few years. She mentioned divorce several times in those first years. (It’s hard when you are saying one thing and the biological parent says something else.) I never said or agreed to divorce.

    Instead I searched the Bible for marriage and family guidance. Know what I found? NOT the perfect family or marriage. There wasn’t one. We’re all screwed up… even in the Bible! Also, I was always convicted that my first vows in our wedding was to God. God has not failed me… ever.

    So I try to honor that vow every day. Sometimes it is a daily effort. Don’t get me wrong, my wife and I love each other. The challenge comes when I believe we should parent all children (we have 2 of our own) in the same principles, and she has different ideas – leaving me with little credibility.

    Divorce has never been an option for me. Besides my vows to God, it always seemed like a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The oldest boy has moved out and doesn’t live here any more. The 2nd will be leaving in a couple of years.

    Yeah. I love them too. I’m just going down a winding road of trying to be a positive influence on their lives… including lessons that may need to be learned based in principle and love. Other than the step-parenting area of our marriage, we’ve grown into a great relationship.

    She knows how I feel. I’m not one to keep quiet about things that just don’t make sense. But we’re working through it and, one day, this too shall pass. Until then, I look for ways to be a blessing to the marriage while still parenting in principle.

    Hope this can help. Blessings!


    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Mark. Very helpful.

      • Jonathan

        Yes, very helpful. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jeff Randleman

      Great thoughts.  Thanks!

  • Ben Tune

    Like others have said, this is something I need to read often.  I think it would be interesting to ask Heidi to write a Craig’s List advertisement for a best friend and see how close I get.  That would give me something to grade myself against.

    By the way, when you mentioned the advertisement I thought about a song by Rupert Holmes called Escape (The Pina Colada Song).

  • CarolinaMama

    Michael,  awesome post! Thanks for sharing! We need to hear and see more things like this! 

  • Michael Hyatt

    Congratulations! And, I agree—there is always room for more.

  • Helen Gullett

    A great reminder. A great post. Nothing but the Word of God is always RIGHT! Next will be our 3rd anniversary and you are not yet there like you and you wife. We are so thankful that we can learn from both of you.

    And today, I could do what I want my husband to me and will reap what I sow today in his life and my lil girl.

    Be blessed and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY (next month ^_^) for Mr. & Mrs. Hyatt!

  • Jazzejward

    Great list

  • davidinnashville

    Thanks Mike for your thoughts on marriage.  Today (June 9) is my 49th anniversary, but my wife went to Heaven Tuesday December 7, 2010.  I was a Pastor and could not have done what God allowed us to do without her.  She is indeed a Proverbs 31:28 woman.  “Her children rise up and call her blessed, and her husband also praises her.”  Thanks again for your thoughts.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Congratulations. I am sure you miss her. It is great to think that you will be with her again!

  • Cynthia Herron

    This is such a fantastic post! Since I write contemporary, faith-based romance, I try to merge all of the above elements in my novels. Sometimes, just as in “real life”, my fictional characters have to learn through a few hard knocks before realizing that God just wants the absolute best for us in all of our relationships, and most certainly, in our marriages.

  • Cass Comerford

    Fantastic advice.  

  • Chris

    I’m so happy to say that because Amanda and I started as best friends we’ve stayed that way through our years of dating and our five years (tomorrow!) of marriage! This is seriously good advice that we more or less have tried to follow over the years. 

    • Jeff Randleman

      Congrats on 5 years!

  • Cynthia Herron

    To Lilly Grace Brown: I just prayed for God’s provision and watchcare over you today!

  • Kristy K

    My husband goes out of his way to help others, but the last few times he’s needed help with a project, his friends have been unreliable – not showing up, calling at the last minute to reschedule, or just plain forgetting. He never gets mad and is very understanding.

    After it happened again last night and I saw how defeated he looked, it made me angry. When I told him how upset I was that people let him down –because he works so hard to be there for everyone — his whole demeanor changed. I think he just appreciated that someone shared his burden and noticed that he was hurting.

  • Live with Flair

    Make your spouse laugh!  I have the world’s most hilarious husband, and I think our marriage gets through rough patches with laughter.  He gets a good belly laugh out of me every morning (even on my worst days).  He helped me write a list yesterday of 10 Ways to Laugh as a Family, but, really, it’s about laughter between us.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Laughter is indeed the best medicine!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Laughter is indeed the best medicine!

  • Stephanie

    Great post Michael! I’m not married, but this goes right along with what Andy Stanley said in a recent sermon series to singles called Love, Sex & Dating. He said we should be focused on becoming the person who the person we’re looking for, is looking for. Your post showed that this holds true even after we marry. 

    Thank you for the value you place on marriage and for the many ways that you communicate its importance through your blog. One of the many reasons why I respect your leadership so much!

    • Michael Hyatt

      My college pastor told us exactly the same thing.

      Thanks for your kind words.

  • Beck Gambill

    Congratulations on 33 years of marriage, I know you didn’t get there by accident! I’m thankful for people willing to do the hard work and set a good example. My marriage of 12 years is a gift, this was great advice to make it sweeter and stronger.

  • Jeedoo

    Good stuff.  Yesterday was my husband and my 36th anniversary.  I wrote a Tribute to him that shows a lot of the reasons we are still best friends.

    A Tribute to My Husband

    • Michael Hyatt


  • Ralph Stoever

    Be the person you wish to befriend – an inspiring post but also more than that: a reminder to put it down in writing. This exercises in itself can be a helpful catharsis. May it help you all to find and keep such deep relationships.

  • Anonymous


    Definitely one of your best. I think there is no better advice than 2 and 3. You can’t control how the person treats you. You can only control your own treatment of then. When you make that your focus and sow the seeds of a healthy relationship, your spouse can’t help but respond with love. One thing I like about your writings that I don’t find in many other places is the continual theme of humility. I think so much can be cured with that.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your kind words.

  • Aaron Householder

    Brilliant.  Simple & brilliant.  One corollary  jumps to mind immediately, however.  Spouses most often do not share the same love language (  As a result your spouse may not feel  most loved in the same way you do.  So, Michael’s idea here is simple & brilliant, but I’d that one consideration when considering how to become your spouses best friend.  Thanks for addressing this most needful topic!

  • Ted Werth

    Lots of good stuff here! 
    “Speak well of me when I am not present.”  My wife and I married later then some of those around us and would commonly hear other criticize  their spouses. As a result my wife and I agreed early in our marriage that we would not speak ill of each other.

    It was one of several items we agreed to and after 26 years we are best friends. 

  • Alicia Scott

    love it – and this is also GREAT advice for us single folks and just plain ‘ol friendship. God, help us all to walk in love AND wisdom. Thanks a bunch for this reminder. :-) Blessings!

  • Pat Alexander

    Mike, my husband and I will celebrate 37 years of marriage this year which follows a 6 yr courtship. We too consider ourselves each others best friends. I think another point for your list is “Make me laugh”. It is such a great feeling when you laugh together. It just brightens my day when he makes me laugh out loud. This has been especially important for us the past 1 1/2 as we have both had several health issues and surgeries. These times are the true test of love, support and friendship. Thanks for you insightful and useful blog.

    • Ted Werth

      I like that.  Nothing helps with life like a good laugh.

      • Jonathan

        Three nights ago my wife recorded the two of us lying in bed laughing and sent it to our daughters visiting their uncle for the week. It’s important to let your kids see that and how you are best friends, too.

        • Michael Hyatt


  • melakamin

    can’t tell you how much I needed this in my inbox today … I have an incredible husband, who thinks of others so often and works incredibly hard, leads with integrity and plays hard with our boys, takes our daughter on dates … I often miss all that and instead gripe that he’s too busy and doesn’t meet my probably unrealistic expectations. I realize if I were working harder at being a champion of his and cultivating our relationship, my attitude would change and I’d see him for the kind, generous, fun person he is. I’m going to put action behind these intentions and be a better spouse. Thank you!

    • Jonathan

      Having just finished Daddy Dates, I easily recall that one important (but easy to overlook) aspect was not to neglect dating your wife as well.

    • Jeff Randleman

      I date my daughters, do fun things with my sons, and date my wife as well.  All are crucial elements of a healthy family!

  • Jeff Goins

    Great post, Mike. On our wedding day, my wife committed to being my biggest fan. She’s lived up to that pledge quite well. Today, I’d like to try to reciprocate.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Good for you, Jeff.

  • Anonymous

    One of things that we do that I think helps to cultivate our relationship is to pray every night together and we do it out loud.  We are both vulnerable at this point talking about our deepest, needs, hurts, wants, and prayer request and it helps us both to see the heart of the other person.  No to mention that it allows us to get past any difficulties or disagreements we may have had during the day or difficult times at work or with the kids.  At the same time, I realize that I could sit back and address all the things that I might think is wrong or negative about my wife, but that is only my perception and also it is not something I can do anything about.  I can only control me and I can only control how I respond to situations.  Once I learned that our marriage has been much better.  We have been married for 15 years and it only gets better and better each and every day.  Another thing that I do is try to put myself in her shoes and see things from her perspective rather than mine.  In this case, I always find out that I was blind to something that I was not paying attention about and should have.

  • Toddsandel

    Great challenging word, Michael.  This post reminds me why I follow you.  Its a great change from Evernote tips.

  • Gordon Moen

    I like your list.  I am a pastor.  Would you mind if I used it as an example when I meet with couples prior to marraige.  My next couple happens to be my daughter.  It is a good piece of advice.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, please. If it is helpful, use it!

  • Mrsmilton0304

    Continue to understand the stress he is under at work. Love him more than ever!!

  • Joe Lalonde

    Great post Mike! It reminds me of things I need to work on in my marriage. I know there’s a lot of growing my wife and I can and will do together. I look forward to it.

    Also, congrats on the 33 years! I’m sure there are some amazing stories to be told!

  • Joe Lalonde

    Elke, congrats on going on 25 years!

  • Mollianne

    Michael, absolutely spot-on!!  My husband and I are very committed to having a healthy marraige, as we are both survivors of broken marraiges to unfaithful spouses.  And while we are best friends, I never want or ask  him to be my girl-friend.  Big difference, in my opinion.   Last week, I found myself feeling put out with him over something that has been an ongoing struggle between us.  I sat down after I listened to his voice mail and before I returned the call and wrote down 10 things I absolutely adore about him.  It made all the difference in the world when we actually talked.   And I agree about not going to bed angry, but I also feel that there are times when a time-out before those difficult discussions is quite helpful.  Most things can be tabled for a short amount of time so you can collect your thoughts and dwell on those things that you love about your spouse. 

  • Robert Ewoldt

    Michael, this is a great post.  This is an area that I need to work on.

  • paula

    My husband is my best friend too.  It does take effort and solid decisive action to keep that connection strong,but it’s worth every moment.  When Christ is the center and connecting joint of that friendship, He helps you to be better at friendship than you thought you could be.

  • Shannon Dittemore

    I have this wild and crazy hope that a flood of marital reconciliations will spark a revival–a returning to God and His plan for us. It is a hope. It is a prayer. Thank you for this post, Michael. God bless!

  • Anonymous

    I love The Message translation of Ephesians 5:26 talking about Christ and the Church.   
    “His words evoke her beauty…everything he does and says is designed  to bring the best
    out of her.”

    I long to love my wife in this way that I would “evoke her beauty…” When I have the guts…I will blog on that myself.

  • Jonathan

    Before we got married our pastor told us that all marital arguments boil down to 4 topics. Communication, In-laws, sex, and money–not necesarily in that order. We have found that to be true throughout our marriage. I have passed that nugget on to several others, including my brother-in-law back in mid-Jan. By Early Feb. he called and asked me to repeat it because he had forgotten one. Knowing that these were the big areas helped us to see where we were headed when we got off track. We have become better best friends as we try to avoid these issues.

  • Susan

    Great blog, but I must add that to be a best friend to someone else, you must first be your own best friend.  How many of us can say we fill that bill?

  • Adameli33

    I DISLIKE complicated, long, hard to understand books…the only book I’ve gone through is “The love dare”. Very simple, very tough, and it hits the core that it is not YOU who can love your spouse but rather CHRIST through you…this doesn’t mean I’m not buying your book :) Shalom!

  • Leigh Ann

    I read this this morning and have been thinking on your question. How can I be a better friend to my spouse? The answer I keep coming to is “I don’t know, but I’m going to ask him.” I have all sorts of ideas on ways that I can become a better friend to him (i.e., rejoice in his successes, give him my undivided attention when he speaks, be available, etc.), but if I’m going to be the friend he needs, then I must ask him. What I think he needs and what he actually needs are sometimes two totally different things. So, good question. I’ll ask the hubby. :)

  • Bianca Juarez

    YES!!! This is what I need to do! Thank you SO much for the practical tip, Michael :)

  • Scoti Springfield Domeij

    Thank you for your wise words. In the singles world, my friends and I have found people want to bypass cultivating a friendship and use romance and sex to hook a potential spouse. 

  • Aisha Quinece

    I know that one of the things I can do is find more ways to spend quality time together that doesn’t involve a TV or Internet connection.

  • Combsy

    Mr. Hyatt, You have really challenged me to rethink how I am investing in my wife and marriage. Thank you for the great advice. God bless. 

  • Peter Paluska

    Excellent principles to live by, Michael! And I intend to.

    Thank you.


  • Steve D
  • Alise Wright

    I love this. My husband was my friend first and he is my friend to this day. It’s one of my favorite things about our relationship and why I believe we were able to withstand with little disruption his move from Christianity to atheism. By already having a close friendship in addition to being “plain old married people” – I think we were able to navigate that transition with little turmoil. 

    It is certainly something that I would wish for all married couples!

  • Tessa

    I feel like this post was directed at me. Great reminder of what the foundation for a marriage should be. Thank you sir.

  • Jessica Traffas

    Fantastic advice, Mike.  My husband and I have been married less than 7 years, our son will be 2 on Saturday, and we’re expecting another little boy in October.  So…..I have a feeling some of our most challenging years are still ahead of us!  :-)  

    I thank God for the wonderful influences we have in our marriage thus far.  Ultimately, we need to do the work ourselves, but it’s easier to fight for your marriage when you are well-equipped with good counsel and surrounded by people who will fight along with you.  This blog post is more fuel for the battle – thank you for putting it out there.

    • W. Mark Thompson

      Just said a prayer for your marriage and family. Congratulations on the children. They are such a blessing.

    • Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome, Jessica.

  • Anonymous

    My wife and I were inspired by this.

  • Erik @rebelmagazinevp

    Great article.  I want to share this will all of my married friends

    Rebel Magazine

  • Eudanos

    So blessed by this article. Thanks for sharing.

  • John Lane

    “Extend grace to me when I am grumpy or having a bad day.” My wife is a whole lot better at that one than I am! That’s one area I definitely need to improve! 

    • TNeal

      Today I learned that truth all over again. Ellen handles my grumpiness a lot more and a lot better than I do hers (which happens rarely).

    • Robert Ewoldt

      Me, too, John. This is an area that I need to work on, too.

  • Dailygrace1

    Seems like all coments are upbeat and positive… but what if you’re just tired of trying to be your spouse’s best friend and it isn’t working? I’ve given up and then tried again many times. I’m just tired.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I understand. But if your only goal is to be a great friend to your spouse—expecting nothing in return—you can’t fail.

  • Anonymous

    It sounds like you wrote this about my wife.  She is a rock star.

  • Bret Snyder

    Thanks Mike and for all out there, please never underestimate the power of friendship and unconditionally enjoying your spouse as a friend.  Whenever oyu feel slighted just remember to show grace, love, and respect to your spouse…it will come back 100-fold if you can buck up and do it.  For many years I could not and almost wore my wife out…and even now it takes conscious effort.  Enough consciousness and we can form new habits too.  My wife and I hit 11 years next week and I am oh, so thankful for her in all aspects – thanks Lord and thanks PollyAnna! Cheers all!

  • bethanyplanton

    Love this! It is relavent that you and Gail are best friends! Thanks for sharing!

  • Christiannw

    Great article. Have shared it on Facebook. Thanks much.

  • Anonymous

    As a man who is not yet married (engaged hopefully soon (wink)) I actually can get a lot out of a post like this. This is a great roadmap or cheat sheet for me before I enter my future marriage. Being the best  friend to them that you want in a best friend is excellent advice.
    We are a culture that is so focused around our own needs being met, yet when you ask someone how they feel after they give someone a gift or after they volunteer or something…they say that they have never felt happier. Our culture has it backwards. We can be happiest not just when our own needs are met, but when we meet others needs.

    Great Post Michael.

  • Stephen Sturdevant

    Great post. My wife and I are continually trying to improve our marriage, its the most important relationship we have.

    Marriage has a lot to do with leadership. I wrote about it a couple weeks ago after a Kirk Wiesler Seminar

    • Robert Ewoldt

      Good post, Stephen!

  • Susan E. Isaacs

    I’m sending the “Wanted: Beset Friend” list to All The Single Ladies!

  • idelette

    Thank you for your wisdom on this. I really appreciate hearing from you and Gail on living a better marriage story … thank you for your investment. // As for your question …  I asked the kids yesterday: How can we show Daddy we love him today? So we all put on our Canucks gear (my first time ever), then we drove to Scott’s work (40 min), took a bouquet of balloons in Canucks colours and surprized him. He had such a big smile on his face … It definitely was a better story. As for today, I want to keep entering his world. 

  • Dan Brennan

    Michael, this is great stuff. This centers the relationship in the depth of unique communion between husband and wife. Here is where we really, really agree–“A solid friendship is the foundation for everything else.” 

  • chris vonada

    Michael, I like your list! To me this goes  to Ephesians… love and respect… and verse 5:21 : “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

    • TNeal

      Your blog page is very inviting and the title “The Ridiculously Awesome Cole Slaw” made me laugh. Appreciate the history lesson about Jacksonville in today’s post. Good stuff, Chris.–Tom

  • Katie @ Imperfect People

    My hubby shared this on facebook and I love it!  So simple and true.  Thank you so much!

    • TNeal

      I love the statement on what appears to be a cooperative website. “Imperfect people in love with a perfect God.” And the scripture verses offer excellent counsel from the Bible.

  • TNeal

    In thinking about your question, and based on my poor response this evening, I can not be so prickly when my wife makes a neutral statement (one not intended to criticize).

    In rereading the qualities list with the focus on me living those qualities, I can celebrate her wins or, more precisely, recognize how capable she is in her jobs. I know if I want to extinguish her fire, I just criticize her work and say she’s not capable (which would both be difficult and a lie). She’s a children’s librarian and, among the children, she’s better than a rock star. And I agree with the kids.

  • Ralph Yoder

    Your posts are challenging and inspiring to me as a young leader, dad, and husband.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts and wisdom.

    I found today’s post encouraging as my wife and I approach 17 years of marriage next week.  We have learned and applied some of what you shared today and I pray that we can continue and reach 33 like you and Gail (and keep going).

    Thank you for your Godly and faithful example.


  • Kim Bruce

    Great stuff, Mike.  As we talked about this week at Storyline, we have co-agency with our spouse and God to make our marriage great, but we have to choose the character that we will be.  Choosing to be the character that loves FIRST, instead of waiting to be loved, is an excellent choice!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Kim. I love the concept of co-agency. I have been thinking about it non-stop. I think choosing the character is key. The actions flow from that. I love the character you have chosen. ;-)

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the reminder Michael. Someone once told me that love is a decision as well as an emotion and that has helped me to keep my marriage as a priority. The thing I am working on currently to better my marriage is to prioritize one on one time with my wife. With young children at home its a challenge but our relationship is always strengthened when we make it happen.

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  • Anonymous

    Mike, really fantastic post – one of your best. Thanks for the challenge to be a better husband and for providing the mirror of what a fulfilling marriage looks like. Love to you and Gail. 

  • Calin

    Following your blog for quite a while, I understand at least one thing: that you had a very supportive wife. I guess that’s one of the most difficult parts in a relationship, to have a supportive wife and the man is screwing some things up. In these moment is so easy for the man to lose confidence  and this is a very good starting point for a downward spiral in terms of confidence. We, as men, need a bit of a room where we can fail and be able to tell to our wives about our failures, without being criticized or humiliated. ( I am not encouraging here an yes man attitude) When there is a 50% chance to be humiliated or not understood in these situations I can bet that relation is going to be colder and colder.
    Nevertheless the list is useful and as you said it could take a longer time for its effects to be seen.

  • Uma Maheswaran S

    Great advice to people who are single and are planning to get wedlocked soon. Like any other relationship, it is evident that relation betwwen husband and wife must be nurtured intentionally and nothing will happen by accident.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent message! My wife is definitely my best friend, and the light of my life along with my beautiful children. So many people miss out on the beauty of this because it is a “me first” culture. Thanks for sharing this, Michael…

  • Alex Humphrey

    In my new marriage (almost 2 months!) this is something we have been working on. I love the way you’ve explained it: have your spouse write down what she wants in a best friend and then work to be that person!

    Tonight, when she gets home from work, I am going to talk to my wife about this. I think it will help us a lot!

  • Christian Ray Flores

    Deb and I are best friends. It takes years of hard work but brings decades of incomparable joy. 

  • David Santistevan

    So great to see posts on marriage spread like this. Our generation needs this. Mike, your ebook has helped my wife and I immensely. If you want a relationship to succeed, you’ve got make deposits into each other. You’ve got to be intentional or it doesn’t happen.

  • EvaFearless

    Great read. :) I am not married but I want to start putting these tactics into practice now and later. Thanks!

  • Scoulter9316

    I have been married18 years and he hasn’t let go Of his moms apron strings. How can you be their best friend when their mom is?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Let me ask you, “How can you become his best friend?” If that is too much of a stretch, “How can you become a better friend?”

  • Anonymous

    I saw the title of this post and put off reading it a few days because I was pretty sure of what I would find:  A description of a terrific marriage (and I am honestly happy for you and I do believe it is the result of hard work) followed by suggestions on how to achieve the same. I think the pressure to be “good Christians” makes it difficult for people to talk about their real struggles and I find that discouraging. 

    Here’s my situation, so common as to be almost boring.  We are christians, married almost 25 years with high school and college age children.  My husband works 70-80 hours a week in the business he owns.   Remarkably, he and some like-minded friends had a discussion recently when they complained that people mislabeled the hard work they do for their families as being workaholics!

     I am working and he is “too crazy busy” to help out at home so I am covering almost all the household responsibilities. I will never work as long as he does, so he always “wins” with that excuse. We are to the point of more duty than love, although I don’t think either of us wants to say it out loud.  I feel like I tried to live this list for years and he was pretty happy with it, but I was getting less and less back because he physically isn’t there.

    I know he wants a better marriage, but work is his blind spot.  There are always excuses for the long hours  First it was buying the business, then expanding, then the economy.  Since my love language is quality time, is it any surprise that I don’t feel particularly valued?  We have talked about counseling, but I don’t know when he would find the time.
    I guess I should show him the list in the blog and ask him to work on it with me. He might do it–but he might decide he doesn’t have time and that would break my heart. 

  • Pedro M.

    I like the spirit with which you instructed us on the “Wanted- Best Friend” ad, but if you love in the way you want to be loved, you’re selling your spouse and yourself short.  Taking the time to get to know your spouse, what it is they want, what they love, how they feel loved, how they feel listened to – much more important than playing the “golden rule – treat others the way you want to be treated.”  For some, I understand, doing it this way will be a drastic improvement, but for those of us who are further down the road and can’t understand why we keep buying the wrong presents on birthdays, play the wrong music, invite the wrong BFF over to a dinner party – you’ll do yourself a favor by taking the want ad and asking your spouse “what is your top 10 list for things in a best friend?” and being that instead.  

    If you are having a hard time with a list of your own, or asking your spouse for one, take Michaels and use it – you will find it does some great things for your relationship.

  • Joe Griffin

    Excellent advice. My wife is my best friend and we are 28 years and counting. I once took to heart some advice I heard that instead of thinking of marraige as a 50/50 deal we should look at it as 100/100 each giving 100% without demanding anything in return.

  • Anonymous

    Besides where I was with the Lord this morning (Psalm 103), this is the most hope-filled thing I read all day! Thank you Michael. 

  • charis

    i love this and am definitely going to share it.  my favorite part is  “now become that person for your spouse.”  great practical do-able recent post: you do not have to get divorced

  • Anonymous

    Loved this!

  • Sarah M

    Being unselfish and selfless can be very hard, but it’s safe to see needs get met mutually this way.  On the articles on the site: the two concepts of leadership and honoring one another are put together to show leaderships role.  

  • Jeff Randleman

    Heather and I have been married for over 17 years.  we are great friends, but there is much room for improvement in this area.  We’ve had some rocky times, just like anyone else.  But we are committed to growing together, and ever closer ion the process.

    Thanks for a very timely post!

  • Sarah M

    We still have to remind each other that we are friends first.  We are in a very stressful situation in our lives and it sets us against each other frequently.  Honest and open communication sometimes into the early morning is the only way to work it out together.  But, it is worth all of the hard work.

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  • Rainman2581

    My husband and I are sparated at this time.  The end of this month will be 21 years.  I have blamed him for all of our problems.  In visiting with my step father and finding some of our old love letters…I have to my shame realized that I did push him away.  It has been difficult for me to find the medium between wife and mother.  Four years later…here we are apart. 
    Of course there are more details I prefer to keep for personal reasons. 
    However, I went to him this afternoon and confessed my wrongful and hurtful doings.  I have even gone so far to contact our friends who I blindly and selfishly spoke against “his” wrongs.  True he is still to be held accountable…but he does not deserve the entire wrap.
    We have a modest lifestyle…and cannot afford expensive counciling.  Right now my heart is so heavy with remorse.  I simply pray that these past four years of pain have not torched his desire to be with me.  I want so much to have my best friend back….I have been so lonely without him…and here I was my own problem.  Please pray that God heal his hurts and restore our marriage…  We were once really good together.  And I have faith that with God’s power we will again.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I would encourage you to find a way to get into counseling. Some churches and other organizations will work with you on a reduced fee or none at all. Even if you have to pay for it, it is less expensive than the alternative. Warm regards.

  • Carolyne Jimenez

    This is good, really good. I am a bit convicted by the “taking years” part. I have attempted every possible way to engage and improve my marriage, but often fissile as my efforts are not reciprocated. 
    I am searching to learn how to truly hold on to God and be able to persevere regardless the outcome. This is so so so hard and I keep failing!

  • Jacqueline Whitmore

    I’d like to add one more tip that has worked for my husband and me:  Always remember to say “thank you.”  I try to thank my husband for all the big and small gestures he does everyday. We’ve been happily married for 13 wonderful years!

    • Robert Ewoldt

      Good thought!

    • Michael Hyatt

      This is a really important point. Thanks for mentioning it.

  • Dr. Tom E.

    Thanks great reading.
    Tom E.
    Lawton, OK

  • Karen Zacharias

    Coming up on 33 years and yes, I absolutely Amen this post. 

  • Jacqueline Whitmore

    I’d like to add one more tip that has worked for my
    husband and me:  Always remember to say “thank you.”  I try
    to thank my husband for all the big and small gestures he does everyday. We’ve
    been happily married for 13 wonderful years!


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  • Pchristie

    What if my husband has filed for divorce after 27 years – is it to late?  Begging hasn’t worked but I love him and want him to come home.  Communication and relationship was our problem – we weren’t friends.  HELP!

  • Jim Martin

    Michael, this is an outstanding post.  I read part of it to our church yesterday.  Very, very good.

  • wendy

    affirm him

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  • Crystal

    Thank you so much for posting this. I totally agree with it all i just have 1 question. I’v never had a BEST friend, only Jesus. My husband and i have been married almost 6 years and i love him sooo much more than anyone ever (except the Lord). I never knew real love befor him. I used to think he was my best friend but as time goes on i couldn’t help but wonder what is a best friend, is he really? Not being pridefull but humbly and only because of the Lord can i say i do all that is on that check list. But i fall short on opening up to my husband and letting him in on all my deep  feelings. He knows how i feel on certain issues and such but the reasons i feel or act the way i do i dont share. I’m scared if i should even, and dont want to be vulnerable, are we supposed to do that? What if he thinks bad things of me or doesn’t like me or if its a turn off (non sexual) for him towards me? He will think i’m insecure and have no self confidence and i know he doesn’t like that. There’s so much more. I have thought how nice it would be to have someone to talk to about personal things and thoughts but would NEVER go to anyone. How i would love to be able to go to my husband with my true feelings, he knows nothing of this and thinks he knows all my feelings but he don’t. I don’t know what to do and can’t ask anyone we know i want to honer him and respect him and not embaress him i wouldn’t want to even go to our pastor i dont want to make our marriage or my husband look bad they are both great and i love them so much! Sory this is so long i didn’t intend for it to be i just had to get it out. thanks for listening…. God bless!   

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think friends (and lovers) have to practice “paced self-revelation.” In other words, you “peel off a piece of the onion” and you reveal something about yourself. This gives him the courage to peel off a piece and share something with you. And it goes back and forth from there. You just try to get a little deeper each time. Ultimately, if both of you participate, you can develop a deep and mutually-satisfying relationship. But it doesn’t happen overnight.


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  • Vanilla

    Hi I am only 18 years old, and I leave for boot camp soon, but I really like this guy, and he really likes me back. We are just friends right now. We don’t know if we will date or not, but we know we will keep in contact no matter what. I Have written down all the things I want in a best friend, and in the guy I fall in love with. He matches them both all the way but I haven’t told him. What do you think?

    • Michael Hyatt

      This is old-fashioned, but I would let him take the initiative.

  • kasi

    I am preparin myself while waiting…:)

    • kasi

      this is very helpful information and as a young woman…I will strive to develop and prepare my self…

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  • FemmeFuel

    Fantastic idea of turning the table, and using the list to modify our own behaviors.

    Love the range of topics in your blog, Michael…all so different, but each one so relevant and integral from a leadership perspective.


  • Lourdes

    well I thought my Husband and I were best friends after two years of marriage we are in the process of being divorce. Today I do talk to him I lift him up in prayer but I have to be honest the emotions i feeling today are mixed I love my husband but the fact that he allowed obstacles that he had control off come between us hurts very much. I know that I serve an awesome GOD and he has control over all things so there is a possibility of restoring my marriage and one day i may also say i am celebrating my 25 or 50 wedding anniversary with my best friend   

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  • Ian

    Thanks for the reminder that the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence it’s greener where you water it!

  • Cheryl Floyd

    My only reservation to this line of thinking is by way of Chapman’s Love Languages ideas: we tend to think in terms of our own wants but not of others. So in order to be our spouse’s best friend, doing what we would want for ourselves will not always yield good results. We have to study our spouse and find out what their wants, desires, preferences, and dreams are – that really is what “we” would want for ourselves. And then we have to do some sacrficing sometimes because those findsing will sometimes conflict with our flesh.

    I have seen in my own marriage these results, and my husband has gone a long way in hearing God and seeking to be my best friend, after I listened to God tell me what he needed first. :)

  • Perry Coghlan

    You are right on target. The summary of Christian duty is to be other focused: “Love God with all….” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” After 40 years of marriage I can testify that selflessness combined with the grace and mercy of the Gospel,  are central to a successful marriage and any other human relationship. This is a duty to be embraced, a habit of mind and life to develop (Eph. 4:17-32), and the normal Christian life.

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  • Andre J.C. Bor

    Thank you Michael. Great post! (and I love my wife :))

  • Pastor Hoppe @

    Remember though that your spouse may not wish to be loved the way you want to be loved.  Learn rather how they like to be loved and do that.  have them make the list rather than you.

  • James Mullinax

    i love u anna mullinax and i want to b your best friend you r the person i want to spend the rest of my life with. i know it will take some time but i we can become the friends we want to be. ive failed so many times before but i needed help doing this in time u will see that i am the man u love and want to spend the rest of your preacious life with im sorry for the past but past is the past i want to live in the present and strive for a better future with u as my best friend. I am the man of your dreams i just need some cleaning up , i love u with my every bit of my heart and soul and i am going to show you u r speacial to me. i know i get upset and say hurtful things when u dnt say what i want to hear , and im wrong for doing that i will strive to be a better friend and husband to u with all the love in my heart.

  • Harleena Singh

    Totally agree with you Michael- the foundation and the very basic of a relationship is trust and friendship. If these two main things are not there, I doubt if you can proceed further. 

    Also, rather than expecting anything from your spouse, check out what you can do instead, as this will make you a happier person! Treat your spouse the way that you want to be treated. Don’t expect your spouse to take the first steps toward friendship, instead you initiate the first move.Thanks for sharing!

  • Tennyson Mills

    Honestly friend, my husband has no desire for anything that’s “close” and so far, stepping aside and letting him do as he chooses or wants is what satifies him. I don’t want to change his many wonderful qualities and, I think it’s a question of good or bad rather, what’s important to one partner isn’t important to the other.  How can one change or help this mind-set?

  • Shauna Renee’

    My intention to improve my relationship with my spouse is by not speaking ill of him; I work with mostly women, and everyone tends to gripe about what their husbands do wrong. I’m going to try to not join in this backstabbing game anymore.    

  • Angela

    My husband is the love of my life and best friend of all time. We, too, talk constantly. If he is not calling me from work every couple hours, I will call him, or text. We truly do think about each other in all that we do and truly enjoy our intereactions. Of course we have had our misunderstandings, but have learned quickly that it is about learning about each other’s needs. But, honestly, I believe that there are marriages that are just meant to work. I do not believe you need be lazy, of course not, but I was married once before, and there was always strife. I was either crying at something he said that was ruthless or crude, and he was always paranoid about one thing or another! It was a terrible way to live!! I felt awful for so long after divorcing, but sought God with all my heart. And he brought me this beautiful, God-loving man that I can now boast as being my love of 15 years. I just could not have imagined what God had in store. But I also believe that when you seek the best from God, he will give it and grant it, and you can have a relatively “easy working” marriage–one that you both just fit. I cry at the thought of the beauty He has bestowed upon my life with this man and that he would say the same about me, as his wife, in return. I would wish this expression and feeling of love for all couples. It feels as though it is God showing what his love looks like via us with each other.

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  • Alouisjr12_10

    ok ive been married for 7 yrs and ive been seprated from my wife for almost a yr. she says that she loves me but is not in love with me. i have lied over the years and now she dont want anything to do with me. so what can i do to get her back if she is telling me she dont want to be with me, to just be friends. so what am i to do. should i let her go or continue to fight to get her back……your answers will help me alot..allen..p.s. email me at thank you very much

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  • Mrs. D.

    Being a friend to your spouse is when you stick closer to him/her than you do your siblings, your homeboys or your girlfriends.  It’s when you don’t call your siblings or friends when you are troubled; you share everything (except what belongs to God) with your spouse.  You go above and beyond to make him/her smile.  You are not concerned about yourself, you are more concerned for his/her wellbeing.  Everything you do is centered around your spouse, even going to work.  

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  • Dale Melchin

    I love this post.  Common sense is not often common practice.

  • S Glenn Turner Jr.

    This is a powerfully simple, simply powerful message. Your construction and deliver is so concise. Fantastic!

    It took me the first 19 years to figure this out. Thank God for a patient wife. We are now at 31 years and getting better with practice.

    “…invest in one another…” I pray this for all marriages.

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  • Tim Chan

    Great post Michael!
    For me, one way to be my spouse’s best friend is to learn what her needs are. Olive is an introvert, and needs (and prefers) lots of time and space to be by herself. I’ve had to learn, in our marriage, how to help her create those spaces in the midst of our lives. Many times, it means turning down social engagements that I’d prefer that we go to together, or sometimes being the one that “represents” us and go alone.If you’re an introvert, Olive has starting writing (from my biased option) a great blog series about the Life of an Introvert. you’re married to an introvert and want to understand more about your spouse’s need, I’d recommend you read her series – I think you’ll gain some perspective.

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  • Chooper8

    I agree wholeheartedly with your guidelines and advice. After 14 years of marriage and 6 years of dating we are still commited to each other, consider ourselves a team and feel fortunate to have each other. However, we have had our ups and downs. Things are not as good as they could be. We both have broken every item on your proposed list. More often than not I wonder how we have both been so commited to each other. I love my husband but because of all the times I’ve been hurt, my feelings of being “in love” come and go. How do I get past the past hurts in order to start changing my behavior towards him?

  • Guest

    Hi Michael, how much I love your post! I have one question. How can you go back to try to be the best friend with someone after you were betrayed by him? 

    I had always devoted all my self to my husband, then to our little children (8 months old and 2.5 years old), all of who were always far above my own needs. I did most of things you listed to be someone’s best friend for the past 5 years of our marriage. But my husband took it for granted, even attempted to squeeze the tiny remaining bit out of me up to the point that I felt miserable and even abused emotionally! When I wanted to leave this suffocating marriage 4 months ago, he woke up and promised to change. To my surprise, it has been a complete change! He has been now a very good husband and father for the last 4 months, to which I am extremely grateful. The problem is that I have also forever changed! He had taught me to be selfish, to give less, and ask for more. I am no longer who I was before: I am no longer willing to give without expecting to receive something equivalent back even though I don’t want to be like this. I can no longer follow your advice above to become the best friend of my husband. 

    I am sorry that I am not religious. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I think you can. But it begins with a decision on your part. You are who you create yourself to be. What kind of person do you want to be? Thanks.

  • Dennis

    How can you plant seeds if what you are doing and want to be done to you are being rejected. Example, I want to be a team I want to show kindness, love, be usefull, and helpful. I want the same thing to. I feel like I treat people how I want to be treated. But to my partner she feels like its the opposite. When I want to help or figure something out with her she takes it in a way that it has to be my way or I’m controlling or I’m taking over what she is doing. That is not in anyway what I want or how I want her to feel. In fact it is the exacte opposite of what I want or how I would like her to feel. I want her to feel like she was on part of a winning team were we both could shine and assiste eachother in our lives. She is so amazing, beauty, brains, and talent. I have so much I could learn from her and want to but feel she doesn’t want the same. So how can we work well as teammates on the same team? If she doesn’t want to be on the team or play at all. I’m willing to do or try anything but feel that the only thing left to do is give her what she wants let her do everything her way, and not help her with anything. That would make me sad. I welcome her ideas and help. I don’t know what to do as every thing I try seems to have the opposite effect on what I want or how I want it to come across. I want to be her best friend and to feel that she has a best friend in me.

  • Gissel

    Hi Michael, question for you…
    After reading this article I feel like a new to know a few things.
    My husband and I have been married for 12 years in the beginning of our marriage we were friends and so in love. Last weekend he told me he was no longer in love with me and that he wants a divorce. I want to rekindle our love and friendship but I don’t know how to go about it?
    What steps to I take to be his friend again?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I would start by reading The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. You have to be able to speak his language before anything will work.

  • Jenniffer

    Hello am Jeniffer  from UK i wanna thank Dr Paloma for what he has done for me at first i taught he was scam but until i just decided to follow my mind.i told him that my ex lover which i loved with all my heart left me for another all Dr Paloma did was to laugh and said he will be back to me in 3days time i taught he was lying on the 3rd day my ex called me and said he wanna see me,i was shocked then he came over to my place and started begging that he was bewitched,immediately i forgives him and now we are back and he his really madly in love with me.All thanks to Dr Paloma he indeed wonderful incise you wanna contact him here his is private mail   

  • sarah

    me and my boyfriend of six and half years (a young start to i was 17 now 23) have really been trying to make things work but constantly fight and now I have just found out he lied about a rather massive amount of money he got from a car accident, at first he lied and told me he only got a tiny bit and so he couldn’t even afford to get me a birthday or Christmas present but now i found out he had this huge amount of money and was lying all along he kept it from me for about 3 months he wasn’t paying rent or bills and said he was completely broke. Now that I found out he had all that money and spent it all on little things for himself… my heart is breaking and i just cant seem to get over or through this and we aren’t getting along at all its so horrible and I hate feeling sad about it every morning I wake up and every time i see him. I just want us to be friends again I just seem to be doing all the work to make that happen I’m physically and mentally exhausted.

  • Electtech

    By understanding her needs and keeping a mindset that she is important.

  • Lita

    wow great advice

  • tee jay

    My wife of 21 years wanted a separation out of the blue. It tore apart that she wanted to separate. she explained it because of things that happened years ago and that she was hard on me, and suppress her feelings. she told me she only married me to make her self legal in gods eyes, it hurt deeply but I tried to hang in my marriage, I contacted Prophet Mike for help and vowed to stand for my marriage, my wife still brings up things from the past, no infidelity on either of us, just excuse after excuse, our marriage is based on sex. I asked Prophet Mike to heal my marriage and within four day, things became normal and my wife put away the idea of separation and wanted me so badly like never before. how Prophet Mike did this, i don’t know. But since he did this for me, i believe he can help with which ever relationship problem you may be going through and i will gladly recommend him to anyone. If you ever want his help, here is his contact

  • patricia

    i can surely love my spouse and pour kisses over him

  • Abdullah

    Call.text or speak in person and apologize for any offensive action. express appreciation for a meal or your partner said or did

  • Henry Nancy

    I want to use this opportunity to thank Dr. Olokum for helping me get my lover back after he left me few months ago. I have sent friends and my brothers to beg him for me but he refused that it is all over between both of us but when I met this Dr. Olokum he told me to relaxed that every thing will be fine and really after just a week I got my man back. so thank you so much Olokum. here is the email and phone number of Dr. Olokum

  • mare7777

    I could definitely be a better listener… and give more credit where it is deserved. I say thank you and acknowledge the things that he has done. Mare7777

  • Altariq

    Let her past go and love her for who she is

  • michelle

    What will it take the whole world to know of the great and powerful prophet called AKHIDE, He has helped many people the whole world many people came from different countries to see him for solutions, including me, I based in in UK because of my illness i travelled down from UK to bini republic to see him for cure and it did take him an twinkle of eye to heal me because I was able to provide all the requirements needed for the cure, and I am now happy that I am now +1 this year, and how which I did met this dr testimony on net I would have been in my grave and joined my ancestors today….thanks to dr akhide for his cure and his mercies he show to me… emailed prophet AKHIDE ON PROPHETAKHIDESOLUTIONTEMPLE@GMAIL.COM

  • Laura

    My husband and I have been together 11 years, married 7 of those years. He lost his male best friend 1-1/2 years ago to Marphan’s. I have tried to be his friend, and I read everything I can on being a good spouse, but still he tells me that I am not his best friend. He actually told me in an argument once that we were not friends at all — and most of the time we don’t seem to be. Mostly he sleep (he has back problems and is 43) and I work or sit in the living room alone (I am 47). I am and have always been willing to do whatever it takes, but am at a loss at the moment as to what to do.

  • Heather

    My husband and I are going on our second year of marriage. I want to be my husband’s best friend but it seems like anything I do is not good enough for him. I cook and clean every night and his response is I wish you were more like my mother. He is always on my case about cleaning and watching what I eat.

  • HC

    Unfortunately my wife has recently divorced me after 30yrs of marriage.
    For the most of this time I bathed in my own glory always making excuses for the things “I enjoyed” was really for her & my daughter. Don’t get me wrong, I did & still do love them both very much.

    But we know the old saying of what we don’t know what we have until we no longer do. I wish I could have “our” time over again. I am just so sorry that I hadn’t reversed the tables as you have commented a long, long time ago.
    She now has a boyfriend in her new life.

    My beautiful ex wife is 51yrs, my daughter is 23 & hasn’t spoken to me for 10yrs. I am 61, disabled, near broke, living in a retirement village & very, very alone. She knows how I feel & believes I have changed, but all too late.
    I wish her Very well.


  • Frank Silver

    I never had it in mind that thing were ever going to come back to normal, My name is Frank Silver and i am so pleased to thank Dr Ekpiku for doing what he knows how to do best that is bring back lost lover. My lover and myself has some stress with each other and it let to our break up, After a while i was missing my lover and i needed Him back but he refuse to pick my call or reply my mails or test message. During my search on the internet i saw the details of Dr Ekpiku which were via email: and i contacted Dr Ekpiku and by his help i was able to get my lover back within 48 hours. If you are having any stress in your marriage or relationship contact Dr Ekpiku today so that you can also testify of his powers

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  • Miss Linder

    My name is Linder from UK, After five years in marriage with my husband, he suddenly started going out with other ladies and coming home late at night, i did all i could to stop his from this but each time i confront him it turns out to be a combat between us, he even threatened to sign a divorce, it was really a hard time for me until i met a old friend of mine who told me about a spell caster Dr. Ojuku who helps people solve their relationship or marriage problem by the power of spell, at first i doubted it because i never believed that spell works but with much pressure from my friend and convincing i decided to give it a try, when i contacted the spell caster via email, he helped me cast a spell and within 8 hours my husband came back to me apologizing for all he has done and today we are happily together again. Contact this Great Spell caster today for your relationship or marriage problem via this email Good luck

    i am Linder from UK you can email me with my via email address

    • Michael Hyatt


  • Dave Shrein

    Great thoughts Michael. I am sitting in my living room with my wife and two young boys and read this aloud to my wife. We are going through a major transition. When I say my living room… I really mean my parents living room. I was let go from my job in July and instead of getting another job I have decided to build my business and jump into platform building full time. It’s put a strain on our marriage, to say the least. We love one another very much and there is no doubt in our commitment to one another. The particular traits of the season has made it difficult to cultivate a friendship together, and we needed to be reminded of the importance.

    I appreciate your relationship with Gail and the example it sets for 32-year-old guys like me. Thanks for being a source of encouragement in this arena.

    • Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome, Dave!

  • Vicki Certain

    Wonderful piece of information…..been married 43yrs and still in love. It has been a growing thing not something that just happened, we worked for this and are reaping the Joy in our older years. Turn the TV off and talk, unless you can find a good movie or show both can agree. We set our alarm in the morn for 5:15 just to make a date with coffee and conversation. A great start to the day =) If you find a fault talk about it and work it out don’t keep it inside and let it fester. Don’t rush into a relationship look at the whole picture before you choose your mate don’t go into a relationship thinking you can change the other IT WILL NOT WORK PERIOD…. Lifes to short to fight and argue!

  • Chandler Crawford

    My wife and I have had a really difficult year. Our daughter passed away in Feb. and we are trying to have another child, but struggling to do so. When our daughter passed several people in our lives felt like it was their duty to inform us of the statistics of marriages that last after the death of a child. But we refuse to be part of those stats because we are committed to one another and know that we need each other in order to heal and make the most of what we have. This post came at a really good time for me today. I will definitely be sharing this with her and maybe it will help us ease the stress. Thanks for all you do, Michael.

  • Kathy @ SMART LIving

    Congratulations Michael! My husband and I are going to be celebrating our 37th Anniversary this week and I so agree that having your husband as your best friend is amazing. It does take a strong commitment and the willingness to work on your relationship as much or more than anything else in your life. Here are a few other things I learned…

  • Jason Richardson

    Michael Hyatt for president. He would get my vote!

  • Carley O’Connor

    This makes a lot of sense. My husband and I are separated…again because we have lost the way but after reading this and realizing we have this friendship potential. We were best friends in the beginning but we let things get in the way of us. So now, he feels unloved and wants to be loved by another that can give him that. But, I know I can because we had it before. I started yesterday on appreciating him and what he does for me. He is still caring even though we are separated. So I gat him a candy bar that has a special meaning for us and had a note that said just because you are you :). He didn’t say anything, he is the type of person I if he doesn’t like something he will say it. So, I take it as a sign. He deserves to be appreciated and cares about and give gratitude to, and learn about me. That’s all he says he wants different and communication. And that’s not bad for a marriage. The communication is mostly because of my own issues of trust and worthiness of love. Something clicked in my brain a few days ago and I have a completely new perception of myself and new attitude towards everything. He hasn’t quite seen it, he doesn’t really want to see me much. But, the gift is a start. I know we can have a marriage that will last forever. We married at 22 & 23 so we were young and not quite prepared so the battles ahead. But, you learn from your mistakes. I certainly have.