5 Ways Couples In The Strongest Relationships Maintain A Genuine Friendship With Each Other

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Why Being Best Friends Is One Of The Strongest Signs Of A Healthy Relationship & How To Rebuild Your Friendship

Your friendship with your significant other affects every part of your relationship, including intimacy.

The Gottman Institute's research has found that couples with a strong friendship have better relationships. And, this is true for both men and women.

These days, people separate the idea of being in a relationship from friendship. This is an interesting idea.

But, when you think about it, don't you have fun with your best friends? And, don't you want to have fun in your relationship?

Having fun together is important in any relationship, whether you are intimate or not. And a close friendship is one of the signs of a healthy relationship.

RELATED: 9 Signs You're In A Genuinely Healthy And Strong Relationship

When you start to treat your partner like your BFF, you will start to see your relationship change and grow in healthy ways.

So, take a genuine interest in your partner. Friends stay together during tough times — this can also be true for a relationship. The best way to improve the intimacy in your relationship is to work on the friendship.

Here are 5 ways to rebuild your friendship as a couple.

1. Express your appreciation about your partner regularly

It's easy to forget this when you've been in a relationship for a while.

Write down your appreciations on a piece of paper and stick it on the mirror, text your partner during the day, or tell them when you are departing in the morning.

It can be something as simple as, "I appreciate your smile."

2. Say "thank you" regularly

Healthy relationships have gratitude. So, tell your partner what you are thankful for.

For example, tell your partner you are thankful they are in your life, that they brighten up your day, and that you love to see them at the end of the day.

3. Think fondly of your partner while you are apart

Think positive thoughts of one another while away from one another. Think of a fun date you recently went on or send positive thoughts to your partner.

When you see each other at the end of the day, this will make a world of difference.

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4. Use 'I' statements

These statements make your partner feel criticized and isolated in the relationship. So, learn to rephrase your 'you' statements.

Tell your partner what you need. For example, say, "I need you to play a game with the family tonight."

5. Learn to receive your partner's bids

Based on the Gottman study, couples are always making bids towards one another. This can be eye-contact, a smile, humor, etc.

It's important to respond to your partner's bids. Learn what your partner's bids are and make a genuine effort to respond positively.

When you have a strong friendship, it will make it easier to get through the tough times. Think of a couple that you know has a good relationship. Surely, they have fun together and have a good friendship.

There are many opinions about whether or not friends can be lovers. (I'm not talking about friends with benefits, either.)

But, research by the Gottman Institute found that if you want a lasting relationship, then you need to work on the friendship.

So, if your significant other is your best friend, your relationship may just last forever.

RELATED: 10 Best Signs You're In A Truly Healthy Relationship

Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist dedicated to helping couples and has spent the last five years learning and applying The Gottman Method for Couples in her practice. For more help, please visit Lessons for Love.

This article was originally published at Lessons for Love. Reprinted with permission from the author.