Shortly after we started dating, my boyfriend told me that he wanted to be my best friend. It was important to him to have a true and deep friendship with me. We have tried to be intentional in being good friends to one another, and this has significantly transformed and supported our relationship.
What Does it Mean to Have a Friendship in a Dating Relationship?
Being friends with your boyfriend when you are definitely “more than friends” seems to really help order the relationship. It helps us practice a love that mirrors God’s love and friendship with us. God wants to be our best friend. He desires a love from us that encounters us in our deepest self.
When I keep friendship in mind within my relationship I can more easily and more deeply encounter who my boyfriend is. It also helps me to be my most authentic self so I can likewise show up as a true friend to him.
How to Cultivate Friendship with Your Boyfriend
Friendship within dating ultimately means providing a place of safety where the other can feel safe sharing their deepest and truest self. A true friend can handle the parts of you that are silly, weak, broken, strong, uncomfortable, beautiful, intimidating, overbearing, fearful, wonderful, humiliating, angry, individual, and exquisite.
Having a friend in your romantic partner means you are safe with him. You know he accepts you and supports you, regardless of how things are going, and you likewise provide the same safety, acceptance and care for him.
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1. Be Intentional
In order to cultivate something, it’s important to know what you want. Simply having the intention to be good friends with your significant other helps to make that happen. By simply voicing that you both want to be good friends to one another sets you on the path of learning how to do that well.
2. Be Friends with God
Friendship with your boyfriend ultimately flows from friendship with God. Being good friends within a romantic relationship also helps us to mirror God’s love. The more we are connected in God’s friendship, the more we can be true versions of ourselves and true friends to one another.
When my relationship is not going so well, it usually means I need to return more deeply to my relationship with God. It usually means that both my boyfriend and I need to individually turn to God in prayer, and to pray together. Our friendship with God is the source of our friendship with one another. When that gets out of place, we feel it in our relationship.
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3. Practice Honesty
Being a friend to my boyfriend means I have to show up honest and true. This means that I practice being honest about the good things I see in him and I share what I appreciate about him, even if I feel a little vulnerable. This also means I have to be honest about the difficult things, too. This is both the hardest and the best part about having your romantic partner be a true friend. We have to be open to share and to receive one another’s feelings and experiences, even if conflict is uncomfortable and we feel vulnerable.
Being true friends means we care enough to confront. It is precisely our friendship that makes this kind of openness and truth-telling possible. I know that at the heart of it, this man receives my feelings and what I have to say. Likewise, he knows that I am his true friend who listens to him and accepts him and what he is experiencing.
Friendship makes conflicts far more bearable to endure, but it furthermore makes the conflicts good experiences where we can come closer together and more deeply learn about one another. Our relationship then becomes a safe space of support, authenticity, and real love.
4. Have Fun
The best thing about having a friendship with your boyfriend is that it makes the relationship fun! This could look like a spontaneous trip just to get out of the house, enjoying a playful activity together, or planning something special together.
Personally, after working through conflicts or tough stuff, my boyfriend and I will often do something spontaneous or fun together. This helps us reconnect more quickly and come back to a space of joy and laughter together. I think nourishing our friendship in this way helps us care for our relationship as well as take care of one another.
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I am in no way an expert, and my relationship is not perfect. My boyfriend and I are simply two imperfect people who are striving to follow God and learn how to best love and care for one another. We have found that nourishing our friendship is a way that helps us along that journey.
What about you? What do you think about cultivating friendship in a romantic relationship? If you are in a relationship, do you practice being friends with your partner? If you are single, is friendship in dating something important that you are looking for?
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Mary Catherine Craige enjoys spending her time creating art, writing, and playing her Irish harp. She uses her experience as a Montessori teacher and catechist to serve young children through the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. As a life coach for business leaders, she encourages and challenges women in all walks of life to more deeply discover their purpose and live their full potential. You can find out more about her here.