How to treat your husband like your best friend.

Treat Your Husband Like Your Best Friend

Imagine the scene: You’ve got a good friend visiting and she’s brought some mud in on her shoes. Would you yell at her for not taking her shoes off? Demand she clean it up immediately?

How about a friend drives you somewhere and takes a wrong turn. Would you make her feel like a dimwit? Cross your arms and get in a huff?

And if she spilled some food down her front in a restaurant? Would you tut and shake your head in a ‘can’t take you anywhere’ kind of way?

Of course you wouldn’t!

But what if the person in these scenarios was your husband? Hmmmm….

The point is, we treat our friends kinder than we do our own partner. (You know, the one who’s meant to be our very best friend. The one we spend the most time with?)

Nit picking, nagging, snide comments – you’d never treat your close friends this way, yet it’s easy to fall into this bad habit with your man.

I can’t stand being treated like a child. I see red when my husband makes me feel worse for a mistake I’m already feeling crap about. Yet I know I’m guilty of criticising him in a way I’d never do with a girlfriend.

Recently I started treating my husband more like a friend. And do you know what? He’s being nice back.

It’s almost like our honeymoon stage when the other could do no wrong. (But without the cystitis from too much shagging.)

Here’s how I aim to keep it up – and how you can get started.

4 ways to give your man the best friend treatment:

1.  Be interested.

Just as you’d listen attentively to a friend, do the same with him. Be aware of your body language, facial expression and tone. Stop what you’re doing. Make eye contact. Be genuinely curious. Ask ‘and then what happened?’ – in your best non-snarky voice.

 2. Show support.

If a friend shares a new goal or project she’s excited about you’d share her enthusiasm, right?  Instead of giving him a reality check on ten reasons why it’ll never work, keep an open mind. If he’s stressed about work, put yourself in his shoes and be supportive. You don’t have to one-up him on what a bad day you’ve had.

3. Use the 5:1 rule.

Aim to say five kind things for every negative one. It can be hard to keep a daily track of this, but the gist is: say more nice things than bad.

4. Bite your tongue.

When you find yourself about to say something unkind or unhelpful – even if you’re already in mid-sentence – press your mental pause button. The more you practice, the better you get. Believe me! I was terrible at this before and I’m improving.

It’s easy to get too comfortable and forget the basics of being kind and considerate.

Give it a try and see what happens. He may just begin to give you the Best Friend Treatment too. 

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In the comments below, share what you think about treating your husband like your best friend

photo credit: TheeErin via photopincc

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  1. Helen Butler on February 10, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    Great article Kelly! (Especially the shagging bit!!!)

    I read a book recently called “The Go-Giver”. In it are ‘The Five Laws of Stratospheric Success’. Even though the book is mostly biz related you can also apply these laws to your personal life.

    One of the laws was “The Law of Influence”, where “your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first”. Another was “The Law of Reciprocity”, where “the key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving”. I think both of these can SO easily be applied to relationships, and definitely the relationship we have with our partners.

    My hubby and I learnt a long time ago that we like each other so much more when we’re nice to each other. It can be hard when the mundane day-to-day stuff gets in the way – but we give it a red hot go! And you know what? We still like each other after 22 years together!! 🙂

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on February 10, 2014 at 10:11 AM

      Helen, Thanks so much for sharing these Laws in the context of our relationships. They make so much sense!

      Good for you and your hubby giving niceness a Red Hot Go and congrats for still liking each other after 22 years 😉 xx

  2. Amy on February 10, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    Seriously great timing! My husband and I were just taking on the weekend about how we speak to each other and how interested we are in each others lives.
    Thank you for a beautiful reminder. I know this will make a big difference. Xx

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on February 10, 2014 at 10:43 AM

      Aww, so happy the timing was great for you and appreciate you commenting to let me know Amy 🙂 xx

  3. Ana Laura on February 10, 2014 at 7:34 PM

    I loooveed today’s post, my husband is definitely my best friend, and laughing with him is the best time of every day 😉
    Thank you for what you do, I enjoy reading your weekly posts…

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on February 10, 2014 at 8:16 PM

      You’re welcome Ana Laura and thank YOU for your lovely comment! Love hearing that your hubby is your best friend. (Mine truly is too.) xx

  4. Eli@coachdaddy on February 10, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    I don’t think women understand that to the extent that the things we do to bug you really kill all romantic feelings for you, the same can be said for when we get nagged, or talked down to, or treated like children. Treat me like a man, and you’ll get a man in return.

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on February 11, 2014 at 11:04 AM

      Hi Coach Daddy – always good to get the male perspective on things. Relationships are certainly a two-way street and everything I wrote about treating our husbands like we would a best friend can be said equally in reverse. We need to remember to be kind and respectful in the way we talk to each other. The problem is, as soon as we’re not feeling respected, we don’t want to be respectful back and a vicious circle ensues.

      When I’m feeling respected and my love tank is full, I have more to give. (And I can overlook dirty dishes stacked up in the sink much easier when I am feeling loved and listened to.) 🙂

      All we need is love! xx

  5. Eli@coachdaddy on February 12, 2014 at 12:45 AM

    Being kind and respectful is a huge part. I thought about this post a lot today. We have to be cautious not to say, “she should love me as I am,” then leave our socks laying around and eat hummus with our fingers. And presumably, if we’re treating you like a best friend, we’re less apt to leave a sink full of dishes, too.


  6. Kristy on February 12, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    Thanks for such a poignant reminder about really valuing your relationship with your partner. It is so true that you can easily become complacent and take your partner for granted. Your four strategies are practical and easy to implement. My Mum said to me when I first married my husband,”Pick your battles. Just let some things slide.” It has been such great advice. I’m logging off to go and spend some time with my husband. Thanks again for such a timely blog post.

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on February 12, 2014 at 10:09 AM

      Kristy, thanks for sharing that advice from your wise mum. We could all do with letting a lot more things slide. Concentrate on their good qualities and feel grateful for those 🙂

      Hope you’re having a nice time with your hubby! Thanks so much for your comment x

  7. Jana on February 13, 2014 at 3:12 AM

    really, really valid points here. Especially about the nit-picking.

    + I totally agree with changing ourselves and our approach to situations is far more useful, then trying to change the other person.

    Love it.

    Love Jana xx

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on February 13, 2014 at 8:43 AM

      Thanks Jana. I don’t know if you’ve read “Loving What Is” by Byron Katie, but she has some wise words about staying in our own business and that we’d all be a lot happier if we didn’t concern ourselves with what others around us are doing. I think about this sometimes as I’m about to tell my husband he really ought to turn off the TV and read a book or he really ought to take a shower as soon as he gets back from tennis instead of sitting around sweaty for an hour first…. Need to stay in my OWN business! 😉

  8. Denise on February 16, 2014 at 2:59 AM

    Great post Kelly! I love the advice about saying five nice things for every negative one. It’s so easy to get into the nagging habit. I’m staying in my own business too from now on:-) Thank you for the reminder.

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on February 16, 2014 at 7:07 AM

      You’re welcome Denise! Thanks for your great comment – here’s to more peace and love on the home front xx

  9. Clare Greig on February 17, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    Like Amy this is good timing for me too. It can be so easy to get into the snarky remarks scenario. Then there is the whole competition of who has done the most chores etc etc. I am going to put these tips into practice

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on February 17, 2014 at 6:19 PM

      I know exactly what you mean on the keeping tabs on who’s done the most chores. I read a funny statistic about how we always overestimate the amount chores we think WE do and underestimate it for our partner… Thanks for your comment Clare 🙂

  10. Aparna on February 17, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    Nice one, Kelly……just what I needed after my serious conversation with hubby last night.
    I often notice…you get what you give and realize that when I treat him well, he treats me even better in return (although I have little to complain about, I must say!).

  11. Kelly Pietrangeli on February 17, 2014 at 6:22 PM

    Aparna, my experience is always one of getting back what I put in and attracting the same kind of energy that I give out. It’s just a question of remembering! (over and over, again and again…) xx

  12. Seana Turner on February 28, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    This is such a great reminder. For me, #4 is the hardest… somehow with family/spouses, we feel the comfort level to say what we are really thinking, instead of keeping the kindness filter on. I’m sure my husband thanks you for posting this:)

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on March 1, 2014 at 6:45 AM

      Yes Seana, #4 ‘Biting your tongue’ is hard! It takes a real resolution and a lot of mindfulness of noticing whenever you DON’T bite your tongue (and could have….). Self-control is like a muscle, the more we exercise it, the stronger it becomes.

      Show this to your husband and remind him that it works both ways 🙂

  13. Rea Alducente on March 2, 2014 at 3:06 AM

    Aww, you really have good points here. I oftentimes treat my friends kinder.. Great that you’re pointing this out, it’s kind of an eye-opener to me.. I can be a real pain sometimes. LOL

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on March 2, 2014 at 9:34 PM

      Don’t beat yourself up Rea! We all do it. It’s just about REALISING we’re doing it and making an effort to be kinder. Glad it was an eye-opener. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  14. Julie Marah on June 4, 2014 at 11:58 PM

    Great article with practical, doable steps.. I had this very conversation with a client recently where she had the realisation that she is much kinder, more caring and attentive to her friends than her hubby!

  15. Tammy Cornett on August 4, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    I can’t tell you how pleased it made me to come across this article–it’s something that I’ve spoken about myself so many times to others.

    My husband and I have been best friends since the first day we met. We’ve never screamed at each other in anger…disagreements get talked through, without ever raising our voices. He and I never nitpick at each other, although we’ve been known to tease one another(good-naturedly) about certain annoying habits, haha. There is, and always has been, a LOT of laughter in our home.

    We got engaged two weeks after we met, then married six weeks later, and have never regretted it once in the 25 years we’ve been married…I completely adore him, and I’m pretty sure he feels the same way about me. 🙂

    You’re absolutely right when you point out how many women treat their best friends better than their spouses. I hope that your message has been heard loud and clear by many!

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on August 4, 2014 at 4:10 PM

      Congratulations on 25 years of happy marriage Tammy!

      It sounds like the two of you have a very deep and MUTUAL respect for each other, which is makes it much easier to speak to each other with kindness and overlook each others annoying habits.

      I’m sure your hubby does adore you 🙂

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