This post on The Importance of Friendship in Relationships was written by Jeffrey Chen, who is pursuing a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Fuller Theological Seminary. Jeffrey has a passion for sharing God’s love with those around him. He blogs at The Wayvy Life.
In my last post, I discussed the importance of kindness in a relationship. I hope you were able to practice kindness with your partner or friends since then. In today’s post, I want to talk about friendship in relationships. We all have our different stories on what first attracted us to the loves of our life. It may have been looks, humor, similar career, or just something you cannot explain. However, whatever it was, while it may have been what sparked your interest, it likely is not something you can build your relationship on.
For example, take physical attraction. While I believe it is certainly part of a good relationship, you cannot form a strong bond on looks alone. There is obviously a lot more to a person than their appearance. If you do not like their personality, cannot hold a conversation with them, or have vastly different values, your relationship likely won’t last long no matter how attractive you find them. The point being, for a relationship to succeed, you and your significant other need to connect on more levels than one.
Here is where friendship comes in. In a research study by The National Bureau of Economic Research, it was found that “well-being effects of marriage are about twice as large for those whose spouse is also their best friend”. Friendship matters! Although your husband or wife does not necessarily need to be your “best friend”, it still is critical that they are a close companion.
What does that mean? It can mean a lot of things. It means you should enjoy spending time with them, talking to them, have similar interests, laugh with each other, and support each other. You should enjoy each other’s presence whether that is watching a movie, playing sports together, cooking meals, or reading books. It can look different for every couple, but there should be something that you both can have fun doing together like friends do.
You should also like your partner for just who they are as a human being. You don’t have to think they are perfect or be extremely similar (or different) to them, just like any other friend, but you should have affection for them. They should be somebody you could be friends with if you were not in a relationship together. If you hate their guts, that probably is not a good sign. You do not want to end up living with somebody who you cannot stand besides a couple surface-level redeeming qualities they may have. You need to be able to connect with them on a deeper level.
Now, this all may seem very obvious to you. Of course you should get along with your significant other. But, whether you have been married for decades or are in a new relationship, it can be easy to get caught up with relationship conflict and points of tension. It is important to remember that they are not just your partner, but also your friend. So support each other, love each other, and be there for each other just like friends do.
As always, please feel free to reach out to me for feedback, questions, suggestions on topics, or anything else. I’m happy to chat about anything and everything. I hope you could take away something helpful from this post. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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