More than just sex
Research suggests that the key to a long-lasting relationship is not sex, but friendship. A study lead by Dr Laura Vanderbilt of Purdue University in Indiana found that people who put more emphasis on friendship and invested time in keeping the friendship aspect of their relationship strong, were less likely to experience a break-up than other couples whose focus was on other areas.
Now, this may not be much of a surprise to some, but the fact that a study was needed to verify this information, suggests that not everyone is aware that friendship is a vital part of keeping a relationship together.
After nearly 11 years of marriage I can heartily recommend it to anyone. I’m a much richer and better person because of the relationship that I have with my husband. It’s been the most wonderful journey, but there have been challenges along the way. Disagreements, limited finances, a miscarriage, coping with a growing family, frustrations and disappointments at work; all these things have tested our relationship, but at the heart of who we are as a couple, is the strongest friendship I’ve ever experienced. We were friends before we began dating. I loved spending time with my husband and that part of our relationship hasn’t changed.
I know that not every relationship is the same and not everyone can say they are married to their best friend, but if you’re willing to invest the time and attention necessary, it’s easy to strengthen your friendship and, ultimately, your marriage.
Best Friends Forever
Here are a few things you can do to cultivate a stronger friendship with your spouse:
- Find something you enjoy doing together and go do it!
- Take an interest in things that your spouse enjoys.
- Choose to spend time with one another rather than alone or with someone else.
- When you disagree, think how you would respond if your spouse was your friend – sometimes we are kinder and more forgiving of our friends than our spouses.
- Find ways to treat your spouse or do something special for them.
- Share your secrets, your hopes and your fears.
- Be the kind of friend to your partner that you would like them to be to you.
It’s so easy at times to take marriage and our spouse for granted, but marriage needs to be valued and nurtured for it to be the best it can be. Sex and romance are both important aspects of marriage, but it’s friendship that will hold it all together. Real intimacy in marriage isn’t about what you do in bed, but its about allowing the other person to see those areas that aren’t on display to the rest of the world, opening up, and being a safe place for each other.
Do you have a close friendship with your spouse? How have you invested in that area of your marriage?