There have been many break up scenes when one partner claims they just want to be friends, however, it turns out this is precisely what a marriage needs in order to last. We care about our friends, we don’t want to be rude to them or hurt their feelings, we respect them and their thoughts, and have things in common. We even enjoy the time we spend with our friends, and make time to regularly see our close friends. If a marriage were to contain all of these aspects, most would agree they are happy and in a successful marriage. This is why John M. Gottman, Ph.D., explains friendship and respect is so vital to a marriage. He states, “The determining factor in whether wives feel satisfied with the sex, romance, and passion in their marriage is…the quality of the couple’s friendship”. These findings are the same with men. While most say men and women vary significantly in what they want out of a marriage, and what keeps them in their marriage, friendship is likely a strong factor.
Friendship is so powerful in keeping marriages together because of the positive feelings and understanding it promotes. It is also what helps people to bond over any number of things, as well as helps them to know one another better, which builds trust and commitment. Concentrating on treating our spouses like our dear friends may be the one reason marriages don’t break up.
Trying to be friends may be something couples aren’t used to, or haven’t thought about before. It Is likely many don’t want a friend, they want something more, however, the groundwork has to be laid. For a strong relationship to exist, it needs a strong foundation, a foundation of mutual respect, care, good communication, enjoyable time spent together, and trust. A strong relationship cannot be so without a strong friendship.
We must learn to treat our spouses with love and care. There will be times when one spouse feels annoyed, frustrated or angry, and there will be times when the other spouse feels the exact same way. However, if overall, there are more positive than negative feelings about one another, and a friendship is strong, these times are likely to be overlooked and/or overcome. It is important to focus on the good, be more slow to anger, and more quick to help.