Investing in the friendship aspect equates to more romance and prevents breakups.
What kind of friend are you to your spouse?
New research shows that having a strong friendship bond with your partner is the secret to having a long lasting romantic relationship. While that is not a surprising revelation about relationships and marriage in particular, this information does serve as a checkup to the state of one’s friendship within the relationship.
The road to many commitments is laced with an emphasis on romance and not compatibility and friendship. In our society, the following mentality is often highlighted in love:
- what the other person can do for me to make me feel loved;
- what makes me feel good about myself;
- what makes me appear valuable to others
This self-centered approach is not the basis for laying a strong friendship foundation. If you find yourself in a marriage or committed relationship that has a weak friendship quotient, there are steps you can take to strengthen that bond and improve the longevity of your love.
Replace the “me” mindset. Think about the friendship you have with your best girlfriend and how in sync you are with her. Many times she doesn’t even need to say a word and you will know if she’s sad, down, lonely, happy, brokenhearted, etc. You have invested time and energy to mutually nurture that bond and that only happens when you do not see her as a person who can enhance your life, but a person you genuinely care for.
Improve perception. How many times a day do you choose to ignore your spouse’s needs because you do not want to make the time to help out? It is a spirit of serving each other unselfishly that enhances mutual respect and trust. Friendship does not wait to be asked to do something you know he will appreciate. Improving mutual awareness does not look for recognition or reward; acts of service are done for the joy that comes from giving to the one you love.
Become Available. Do you allow your individual goals to override the requests of your spouse on a regular basis? Having a personal agenda without flexibility communicates that you do not truly value his desires. Each person wants to be a top priority in life, over the demands and responsibilities outside the marriage.
Drop the Project Mentality. Mutual acceptance communicates love and friendship. Making your significant other a “project” only sends the message that you believe your spouse is not worthy of you in his current state. Friends encourage one another to develop their talents, skills and strengths and do not make it a habit to point out their short comings and personal pet peeves. You are each other’s best cheerleader, emotionally supportive in short and long term goals.
Marriage can be the most amazing relationship experience, leading to a lifetime of growing personal fulfillment. Building a strong friendship is vital to developing a deeper intimacy with each other and breaking out of the routine of superficial living. Your marriage can be anything you want it to be, however one person must take that first step toward that goal. I encourage you to have a vision for the friendship you desire within your marriage and use this Valentine’s season as a new beginning for making the love of your life your best, closest friend.
Nancy Pina is a highly recognized author, relationship coach and speaker. She is dedicated to helping individuals attract emotionally healthy relationships through her practical, Christian-based advice. Visit here for articles, exercises, coaching options and recent books.