Why You Should Marry Your Best Friend

Why You Should Marry Your Best Friend

Does it seem like I post a lot of things on the virtues of marriage? I think so, too. But people are always sharing links with me, I am always reading them, and I am eager to share with you all the things that I learn.

The latest study, by the National Bureau of Economic Research, is a breakthrough, because it not only illustrates that marriage makes people happier, but controls for pre-marriage levels as well.

“It concluded that being married makes people happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who remain single — particularly during the most stressful periods, like midlife crises.

Even as fewer people are marrying, the disadvantages of remaining single have broad implications. It’s important because marriage is increasingly a force behind inequality. Stable marriages are more common among educated, high-income people, and increasingly out of reach for those who are not. That divide appears to affect not just people’s income and family stability, but also their happiness and stress levels.”

Not surprisingly, it’s not about the piece of paper, but the intertwined lives that impact happiness.

I never thought of myself as an unhappy person before I got married. But I did find being single to be stressful. I had to make all of my own plans, reach out to guy friends, plan my own dates, fill up my life with stuff to do. That isn’t inherently a bad thing – as this is exactly the way LOTS of single people WANT to arrange their lives – 100% on their own terms.

But pretty much every study ever has indicated that deep, intimate relationships provide more joy than anything. People who have them report greater happiness across the board. And while one can have a bunch of close girlfriends, it’s very different than having a spouse. Says the article:

“Those who consider their spouse or partner to be their best friend get about twice as much life satisfaction from marriage as others.”

Not surprisingly, it’s not about the piece of paper, but the intertwined lives that impact happiness. As such, people living together also had the same spike in happiness as married couples. “Women benefit more from being married to their best friend than men do, though women are less likely to regard their spouse as their best friend.”

“What immediately intrigued me about the results was to rethink marriage as a whole,” Mr. Helliwell said. “Maybe what is really important is friendship, and to never forget that in the push and pull of daily life.”

All the more reason to continue to pursue love, and to pursue it with a man who is truly your best friend.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

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  1. 1

    A little off topic, but mentioned in the above-post: what is a mid-life crisis anyway? I mean, yes, the stereotypical buying the red sports car, getting the hot young mate, etc., but I don’t think I’ve had one. I don’t see one coming, either.

    1. 1.1

      You’re right…it has nothing to do with the topic.

  2. 2

    The challenge is to find a man who’s willing to be your friend at all. I’ve been single for 9 years since getting divorced at age 30 from a man who didn’t want me after I broke my neck and jaw. My ex husband used to tell me I was his best friend, yet he constantly put me down, told me I was broken, and that he was going to trade me in for a new model (which he did). So who’s been willing to be my friend? The married guys at work, and that’s it because they are already stable and taken. All of the single men I’ve met along the way only want to play the field b/c it’s what makes them happiest, I guess. Relationships don’t get the best press these days–just watch TV or the movies. Marriage has the potential to be the most wonderful thing in all of our lives, but it means actually loving someone else. Love involves actions not just talk of feelings. Love involves effort and understanding, and there just aren’t many people, especially men, out there who want to do this for another person. Love means showing up on a consistent basis and wanting to face the hardships of life together. Everyone is willing to be there when you’re perfect; you only find out who’s your best friend when you hit rock bottom.

    1. 2.1

      ” I’ve been single for 9 years since getting divorced at age 30 from a man who didn’t want me after I broke my neck and jaw. My ex husband used to tell me I was his best friend, yet he constantly put me down, told me I was broken, and that he was going to trade me in for a new model (which he did).”

      That is awful. What a horrible person. My heart goes out to you, as a guy, I’m the first to admit that guys can be total idiots and shallow. If you love someone, you stay with them in sickness and in health.

      1. 2.1.1

        No need to apologize for all guys. Women are equally as guilty of “trading in” as well as being idiots/shallow…

        1. AllHeart81

          Actually – while it’s the pc thing to believe that men and women’s behaviors are always equally terrible, statistically, when the woman gets sick in the relationship, it is more likely that the relationship will break up. Men are infact more likely to leave a sick partner. I don’t know why that is, but it is.

    2. 2.2

      I can emphathize with your situation, except spectrum shift, After breaking up with my best friend she decided to get with my good friend from out of state while cutting me off cold turkey. I havent been able to come close to starting a new relationship in 5 years. I met someone a few months back who I quickly became best friends with but she doesn’t reciprocate the same feelings I have towards her. It’s been 6 months and I’m absolutely infatuated with her and it’s driving me crazy that it won’t progress any further.

  3. 3

    Our society is based on fast food, social media and everything at your fingers tips…..easy peasy. Relationships don’t work that way. I have a lot of old, dear friends I have invested a lot of time with, not to mention close family members I would call my best friends. Finding the right person is being in the right place at the right time (if you’re lucky). Or, online dating, which I’ve come to believe will be the only way to meet a man and form a relationship after the age of 50.

  4. 4

    At one point, I asked my current beau, “Your ex is younger (she is 31, my BF and I are both 35) accomplished, wispy, blond statuesque.. what gives?” He replied, “she is not my best friend..”

    It was a simple statement that had a profound effect on me. My exes were not my best friends. In fact, at times, I wasn’t a very good friend to them. I was self-centered and unwilling to compromise. The realization of that was a tough pill to swallow. Today, I still have selfish tendencies but I am acutely aware when it happens. And I am willing to do the work to be a better partner and a better friend. N.

    1. 4.1


      Your boyfriend is very wise. I couldn’t agree with him more. Yes, us guys are attracted to pretty women, the prettier the better. But at the end of the day, if I am looking for someone to marry, I want someone I am compatible with, I want my best friend. I am not going to marry someone just because she is hot. I want the whole package, attractive, smart, kind and supportive. I want to have a family so I want her to be someone I think would make a good mother.

      One of my dear friends, who I love dearly, has been married to her husband for over 40 years. She has shown me many pictures from her younger days. When they first got married, she was an absolutely gorgeous woman. Just stop traffic gorgeous. Not only model material, but beyond that, the complete package. Gorgeous, smart (she has a doctorate) and an all around great person. Now, after two kids and many years of marriage she is still pretty, but she is a grandmother now. She is in her 70s. She isn’t a super hot 30 something woman anymore. He is in his 80s, he certainly doesn’t look like the man she married. But they deeply sincerely love each other. And that is what is important.

      My view is that if the entire relationship is based off of how hot I am and how attractive she is, there is no reason to get married.

      1. 4.1.1

        “Yes, us guys are attracted to pretty women, the prettier the better.”

        Do you not see how contradictory your statement reads? This is why women are confused. You guys will go on and on about how important looks are and then turn around and claim they aren’t important. Only after you’ve made sure to first reaffirm to women that looks really matter. Baffling.

        1. Adam

          AllHeart81, I see your point and I am sure if I were female I would consider us guys confusing as well.

          Men are primarily visual. We get turned on primarily by how women look, it is not so much based on behavior or status.   For example, I used to know a girl years ago, very pretty but not relationship material by any stretch. She treated her boyfriend like trash and cheated on him. If a girl like that came onto me, would I sleep with her if she were single? Oh, heck yeah. Definitely. But would I take her seriously for a serious relationship? Absolutely not. Is this girl married, years later? No. If a guy is smart, he may sleep with that, but wouldn’t marry that.

          Let me give you an opposite example. One of my friends growing up, was literally a male model. His wife is perhaps a 5/10. But they have a lot in common, she is a genuinley kind person and they have a beautiful relationship and a beautiful life together.   He is very smart. Yeah, he may have slept with bimbos, but after a while, that grows old. You want someone who loves you and is compatiable with you. She isn’t anyway near as attractive as the girl in the first example, but whatever. He is happy with her and finds her attractive and that is all that really matters.


          I think looks get you in the door, I definitely want an attractive, feminine woman to marry. But if the ONLY attribute she has is that she is attractive I am going to get tired of this eventually. I do have to be sexually attracted to her and she definitely has to be pretty, but from my point of view, the prettiest girl doesn’t automatically win.

    2. 4.2
      Jenny Rugeroni

      During a crisis in our relationship, my boyfriend got involved with a woman who has a lot of money, and can pay for all expensive treatments to make her more beautiful. We were separated for a year, then he came back to me. He told me that she is beautiful and attractive, but all of this will fade away and nothing will be left, as she is selfish and spoilt. He said I am beautiful too, but I am also his friend, and I am the woman he wants for the rest of his life.

      1. 4.2.1

        Your boyfriend is an extremely smart man.

  5. 5

    Simple – is a scale – from meeting someone – than Friendship and just than a loving relationship. If the Love breaks down – there is no coming down on the scale – there is Nothing.
    Yes, the married people Must be best friends – how else would it work…? You trust your best friend, he does not judge you,he is there every time for you, he supports you everyhow – from crying with you to holding your hand when scared, you can share everything with him/ her…etc…
    Problem is – there is no trustworthy people left – no commitment, no truthfulness… Mainly men are so shallow,so game playing, so stingy ,lazy and selfish…not to mention the rest- jealous,controlling,abusive etc…

  6. 6

    I wonder what some people even consider “friendship” to be. There’s another thread on this site about “the friendship crisis of the modern male” (or something to that effect) so I have to ask if many men even know what friendship is. And heaps of women are witchy and back-stabbing with their girlfriends; what do they understand of true “friendship?”

    Plenty of men make guy pals based on nothing more than shared interests: golf buddies, tennis partners, co-workers, marathon training-mates. So the bar isn’t particularly high for becoming one of their “Best friends;” when they meet a pretty-enough woman who laughs at their jokes and likes to hike with them, they think that’s a deep friendship. Qualities like loyalty, integrity, forgiveness and communication skills often never even figure into the equation.

  7. 7

    Ha! My ex broke up with me a few days ago and said he felt like I was his best friend and not his girlfriend.

    1. 7.1

      There’s definitely a fine, fine line between bestfriend/boyfriend and bestfriend/buddy. My ex and I broke up a little over 2yrs ago, and my reasoning for the breakup was that we turned into plain old friends. Contrary to that though, while we were together, we always used to tell each other we were one another’s best friend. Sounds weird, right?

      For me, yes, he was my best friend while we were together in the sense that I told him everything- small stuff about my day and big “existential” life stuff too, and when I wanted to go somewhere, I wanted to go with him. I wanted to talk to him about everything and do everything with him- he was my best friend. Then, after a while, he started crossing boundaries of bestfriend/boyfriend and bestfriend/buddy. It was just a turn in our relationship when his actions (and I’m sure to an extent my own as well) made me look at him as someone I’d grab a beer and hang with, more than someone I wanted to cuddle and sleep with. When the relationship takes a turn where you no longer want to be romantic/sexual with someone because you see them as more of a friend than a partner, that line has been crossed. For me, at least.

  8. 8

    Very true. My ex was also my best friend; still miss him and really haven’t been able to find someone even close to being as compatible as he was. Since then, I’ve learned that if a new guy isn’t someone I’d normally have as a friend, he ain’t relationship material either.

    1. 8.1

      My ex husband is probably still my best friend – something I’m going to have to change if I want to have a long-term, committed relationship with my new boyfriend. That said, my boyfriend and I are old friends and every man I’ve ever fallen for was my friend first. I don’t know what it would mean to be in love with someone who wasn’t my friend.

  9. 9

    Not the primary point of the article, but it’s only those in GOOD marriages that are happy(ier). One hitch in that get-along is by definition most marriages are not good. Another hitch is a good dose of the “happy” is cultural/societal which is to say external and not of the self – having a family because you feel that is expected, wanting to pass on the family name, etc., etc.

    As to the primary point? I don’t quite get it if I’m honest. Why would one ever consider marrying someone with whom you can share everything with and have at a fair amount in common?

  10. 10

    I remember after my mother passed away, my father and I sat down in the den after her funeral. My father had said very little up to that point and I was concerned. He told that he had lost his best friend. My strong, tough father looked and sounded so sad. My parents loved each other, but I think more importantly, they truly liked each other. They did not have a storybook marriage, but stayed together because they wanted to be together. Their life has provided endless funny and sometimes unbelievable stories for my sister and me to share. Marry someone who likes you and you like in return. Life is too short.

  11. 11

    I agree with Catherine. I would have thought that one of the first things you should consider if dating / marrying is whether you actually ‘like’ them or not. If you knew this person under other circumstances would they be your friend? Marriage is ( in theory) a very long and committed relationship and friendship is as important as all the other emotions involved…love, lust, loyalty, commitment, trust etc…. I would be surprised if you spoke to people with long happy marriages and they did not refer to their partner as their best friend

  12. 12

    What if you meet someone who has a lot of other good qualities, but you just don’t feel as if they were one of your best friends? I have a great boyfriend, a really good, supportive, stable guy but we don’t have that easy natural flow of being best friends. He has many other great qualities, but I don’t know if it’s more important than having someone who is your best friend.

  13. 13

    I agree and you will treat your best friend better and that will be reciprocated  from someone who really has your best interest in heart.   Friendship is the base for any good relationship so it is the glue that holds good marriages together.

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