Your Wife is Not Your Best Friend

Arena Men,

Confession Time

For years now, I have called Shanna my best friend. But interviews on the Men in the Arena Podcast have compelled me to reconsider that statement as ignorant, impulsive, and—frankly—not biblical. This week we will release our interview with Brian Tome’s interview about his new book, The Five Marks of a Man. Next week we release Rich Gorecki, author of Get Out of Your Man Cave: The Crisis of Male Friendship and Turning Good Friends into God Buddies.  

For different reasons, in their books both men warn against calling your wife your best friend.

Guilty as charged. I was shocked and convicted by their arguments. Here’s why. 

The Love Doctor

Dr. Terri Orbuch, also known as The Love Doctor®, is America’s most trusted relationship expert. She’s an author, speaker, therapist, and distinguished professor. In her book Finding Love Again: 6 Steps to a New and Happy Relationship, she studied married couples for more than 25 years and discovered a key fact. 

Men are more emotionally dependent than their wives for affirmation in their marriage. She asked men and women to map the five closest relationships in their lives onto a series of concentric circles. The inner circle represented those closest to them. The increasingly larger outer circles represented the degrees of decreasing closeness. 

Orbuch discovered that women tended to put all five of their closest girl friends in the intimate center circle—the bull’s eye. 

Men, on the other hand, tended to put only their wives in the center circle and buddies in various outer circles. Orbuch concluded that both men and women need to realize the dependance husbands have for their wife’s emotional support. My wife’s best friend is Beth. 

Duh, Jim

Why are we so clueless guys? Sorry, why am I so clueless guys?! After the interviews with Brian and Rich, it hit me like a punch in the face.  Shanna’s best friend is Beth and I know this because that is how she introduces Beth to people. 

When I tell people Shanna is my best friend, she smiles politely yet remains silent. She has never called me her best friend! Because I am not her best friend. Beth is.

This is a recent epiphany, please bear with me. Thus, I had to sheepishly admit to myself, and confess to you, I do not have a best friend. Using Orbuch’s concentric circle illustration, I have several inner circle friends I would call at 2:00 a.m. in a crisis, but no man I would call my best friend.

Is this a problem? I’m not convinced it is. Yet I still have this longing for a man to fill this highest friendship role.

More Than a Best Friend

The reason why I should not be my wife’s best friend (nor she, mine), is that marriage is much more than friendship. Read about the first wedding ceremony in Genesis 2:22-24 when God proclaimed Adam and Eve husband and wife. 

The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib
which He had taken from the man,
and brought her to the man. The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother,
and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

One flesh. Shanna is way more than my best friend. Biblically, she is part of me. She is an extension of myself. Together we are an integer, a whole number. Apart we are a fraction! In Matthew 19:5-6 Jesus took it to a higher level when he said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’. So, they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” 

Biblically, then, our wives are not our best friends because they are much more than that, which is why divorce is so devasting. It is a ripping away, a tearing apart, of a holy union God created through the covenant of marriage. 

The Big Three.

Howard Hendricks taught that every believer should foster three relationships in their life. Even without a “best friend,” this is a healthy and biblical model men should strive after. They should be strategic. They should be sought. They should be sound. Every man should have:

A Paul who is an older and wiser “mentor” that will teach you what is means to follow Jesus. 

A Barnabas who is a “side by side” friend to do life with that encourages and holds you accountable.

A Timothy who is a younger “protégé” you mentor and invest your life in.

These three masculine friendships are vital to live as your best version. If you are seeking deeper relationships with other bros, I emphatically encourage you to visit our website and sign up to join our program now! We will be launching more virtual teams this January. 

  • You can read more about how to build your marriage and healthy masculine friendships in our Amazon #1 bestseller, Strong Men Dangerous Times.
  • If you desire to build deeper friendships with your children, make sure you download my newest book, Tell Them: What Great Fathers Tell Their Sons and Daughters including 200 “tell them’’ statements, Bible verses, and meditative images to help dads become their best version. Add this fathering weapon to your arsenal.
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Becoming His Best Version,