One big difference between our marriage and our friendships is we have far more problem talk with our spouse! Think of another close friend: you probably argue rarely, and while you might discuss difficult topics on occasion, you likely enjoy each other’s company because you share many common interests, discuss dreams and goals, and share exciting things you’ve done recently, or that you’re looking forward to.

If you find conversation with your spouse largely centers around issues - problems at work, repairs needed around the house, frustrations with in-laws, challenges with your kids, or concerns about finances, you’re not talking like friends anymore. It’s no surprise we’re having less fun together when we consider how much energy we devote to problem talk.

So, the first step toward talking more like friends is don’t try to solve problems! When it’s time for fun together, be sure to protect it from “problem talk” and conflict. Remember, when you’re with friends, you’re usually focused on connection and fun, not problem solving.

Research shows couples who are happy together long-term laugh together, and they share stories and fun experiences.

Discussion Questions:

  • What are you excited about right now? (e.g., a book or podcast, an idea you have, a project you’re working on)

  • What’s a goal or dream you have for the future? (e.g., taking a special trip, building a business like setting up your own café or running your own consultancy firm, or teaching your kids to ride a bike one day).

Chat with your spouse on these prompts, and remember to keep the mood light. Stay curious and open, and avoid conflict at all costs during friendship talk.

For more mini marriage PREP tips, click here!