This is the second of 7 articles that can make your marriage stronger or save your marriage. The first article may be found in the free download you receive when you sign up to receive our newsletter.
Friendship is essential for a strong and lasting marriage. In fact, couples that enjoy the best marriages start out as great friends. While the concept of friendship in marriage may seem simple, friendship usually is one of the first things to fall by the wayside in a marriage. The loss of friendship within a relationship is tragic, no matter how it happens. According to research done on marriage relationships, most couples view friendship and marriage as being synonymous. They not only want to have a friend in their spouse, but they want to be a friend as well. Of course, this comes as no surprise, since generation after generation of parents have been urging their children to look for friendship in their relationships before all else.
Those in healthy relationships and often those early in their marriage acknowledge the deep friendship present in their relationship. Nourishing that can help keep your marriage strong and vibrant through the years. Even if the friendship has faded, it can be rekindled so you can strengthen your marriage before it falls apart.
If you’re going to nourish or rekindle friendship in marriage, it’s important to understand friendship. If asked what it is, most people will have a different answer. However, in general, a good friend is someone you can talk with about your deepest dreams and thoughts. A friend is someone who is there when times are good or bad. You can be yourself and relax with a true friend.
Having a true friend is important, both physically and emotionally. When you go through tough times in life, a friend can be that solid buffer you need to get you through. In fact, research actually shows that physical and mental health is improved in those who have at least one great friend.
The connection and intimacy you have with a friend is the most powerful part of friendship. It is this part of friendship that is approached differently by men and women ― sometimes this difference in approach can cause misunderstandings. Most women usually prefer communicating face-to-face when talking with friends. They usually stop doing everything when talking about important issues. However, men approach this very differently. When men begin talking with a friend about their feelings, usually they engage in something else simultaneously.
When it comes to friendship in marriage, it’s important to hear the heart and feelings of your partner in a way that is comfortable for them. You must understand how he or she is best able to share deep feelings. This can vary from relationship to relationship, meaning that building a deep friendship will be unique to each couple. As a good friend and spouse, you need to listen to the heart and soul of your partner while sharing your own.
What’s Sabotaging Your Friendship?
Friendship in marriage probably sounds pretty simple. So, how do friendships fade away within marriages? What can go wrong when it comes to friendship and marriage? Sadly, in today’s fast paced world, plenty of things can go wrong that sabotage it.
One issue that can sabotage your friendship is the issue of time. Life gets busy. Keeping up with your children, dealing with work demands and other responsibilities can easily take up your time. With everything on your plate, it’s easy to let maintaining your friendship fall by the wayside.
Over time, a change in attitude and a change in your view of the relationship can sabotage friendship in marriage. When couples are engaged or newlyweds, they often refer to each other as their best friends. While you would expect the friendship to get stronger over time, sometimes couples start seeing themselves as just a married couple. Instead of seeing each other as being friends, the change in attitude causes them to look at the relationship like a business partnership, just a division of labor – often without friendship at all.
When Couples Stop Talking
Behind the change in attitude within a marriage is a lack of communication. Couples often only talk about problems instead of talking to each other as friends. When “friendship talk” stops, the intimacy and friendship slowly begins to fade over time.
Sometimes spouses even begin building walls between them. If disagreements and problems are the only things being talked about, it becomes more difficult to open up in a vulnerable manner to each other. Couples begin to fear baring their hearts and souls to each other, fearing that another argument will simply crop up. Eventually the fear of negative communication will totally extinguish any friendship talk in the relationship.
Preserving or Rekindling Friendship
Good friends take time to talk – they take time to stay in touch with each other. Friends ask each other questions, keeping up with what is going on with each other. While this may sound easy, it’s important to realize that preserving or rekindling friendship in marriage can be more difficult than it may sound.
Is time the problem you’re having when it comes to maintaining your friendship? If so, make sure you make time to work on the friendship. Set aside some time early in the morning before the kids get up, or late at night after they go to bed, to spend time together. Take the time to protect and preserve your friendship. One of the best things you can do is to nurture what you have – even if it takes some sacrifice.
Another step you need to take is to stop letting problems and conflict enter your “friendship talks.” Even if you need to come up with rules to keep arguments and other conflicts out of your communication as friends, you need to do it. Keeping “friendship talk” separate will help you build your friendship to a point that your marriage can survive when conflicts do occur.
Friendship Talks – Starting the Conversation
Sometimes, it can be hard to know how to start the conversation if you’ve let your friendship in marriage fade away. It will take some work on your part to get those talks started again, but it’s worth it. Here are a few ideas you can use to get the conversation started.
Start those talks by sharing your hobbies or other interests. When you talk about something that interests you, you get excited. Talking about it will help share that excitement you feel with your spouse.
If you have good news, share it. Maybe your kids did something cute or you had something great happen at work. Whatever the good news is, start talking about it with each other. Current events can help get the conversation started. If you can’t think of something else, fall back on this option to get talking again.
No doubt, you both have goals and dreams. Begin sharing them with each other. This will help strengthen your friendship and you’ll probably be gaining an ally that will help you accomplish those goals and dreams.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Once you start strengthening your friendship with your spouse, you’ll find that the conversation will begin flowing naturally. It will take some work in the beginning. But, this hard work will build a great friendship between you that is worth the investment the two of you make.
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