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In my 20s and teens, friendship looked a little different than it does now in my 30s married with children. Friendship, in all its forms, has many variations from when we were little and continues to evolve as we age.

In Pre-K, my friend at that time had pretty hair, and we liked to play with each other’s long locks and accessorize it with bows and frilly headbands. In elementary school, my friends lived in my neighborhood, and we liked to play in the cul-de-sac after school and enjoy an ice cream truck treat until the street lights turned on. 

Bonds became less surface-level in middle school, and I developed friendships with those I could trust, laugh with, and enjoy the same movies and music with. High school, although challenging, paved way for reliable, deep-rooted, long-lasting friendships. During these years, we learned about ourselves and saw our friends through academia, sports, a driver’s license and freedom, part-time jobs, boyfriends, family hardships, you name it. Our connections encountered an array of emotions and trying times during our late teenage years. Those years also brought singing at the top of our lungs at concerts, late-night phone calls lasting hours, giddiness over sleepovers, accomplishments, and changing times as we moved out into the world for college, relocation for jobs and trade schools, and financial independence.

RELATED: Life is Too Short For Fake Cheese and Fake Friends

I am eternally grateful for these different versions of friendships as they all hold a special place in my heart. But now, friendship and best friend mean a bit more. My priorities have changed since becoming a mother. The idea of letting in a stranger (and finding one) poses a problem. Letting new people close to me when I have limited time and energy to give during this stage is complicated.

Instead? I let nature run its course, and I begin to nurture an already existing friendship. One where I feel safe and unconditionally accepted, where I feel free to voice frustrations, bounce ideas off, and challenge one another.

As much as I appreciate and love my closest friends, my husband is my best friend.

Before you judge or laugh this off, let me explain.

Now, I’m sure the idea of your spouse or partner being your best friend seems . . . underwhelming, after all, you see him plenty. Equipped with the right mindset and tools, you too may foster something new out of your loved one.

RELATED: When You Marry Your Best Friend, You Are Lucky For a Lifetime

After our son was born, we realized friends were falling off the map, and we began growing closer to each other sharing deeper feelings and desires. We carved out time to discuss more than our jobs, our baby, and our lack of sleep. Instead, we set aside time to dive in and vocalize emotions, wants, and deeper needs.

Couples who are also friends—good friends—are happier.

My husband fit the definition of a friend when we married and checked all the basic boxes, if you will, for what was needed in a friendship, but we plateaued. It took reevaluating and dedication to become the unit we are now.

Embracing my husband as someone I can imagine, explore, and create with has had a profound impact on our marriage. We laugh more and share more, no topic is taboo, and we are more secure with ourselves.

Please know, my husband and I have completely (and I mean completely) different interests. He talks about running with the same enthusiasm I rave about the Target dollar spot. He enjoys exercising and modifying vehicles. I, on the other hand, enjoy cooking, decorating, writing, and museums. I have other friends for my hobbies and so does he. It’s a delicate balance of familiarity and adventure.

I pray for my husband as a father, a worker, a soldier, and a partner. I also pray for him as a friend.

At the end of the day, there is more to your spouse than companionship. I really got the best out of the person I married, and I’m proud to call my husband my best friend.

Marriage takes work. Thankfully, there’s an app that can help! Lasting—the nation’s #1 relationship counseling app—provides accessible sessions designed to help you build a healthy marriage. Download and take Lasting’s free Relationship Health Assessment.

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Jennifer Bailey

Stay at home mom enjoying one little boy and navigating parenting one trip to Target at a time.

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