Sunday, July 4, 2010
Friendship is the cornerstone of a successful marriage. When a marriage is built on an intimate friendship, the love will last forever. In his book "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work," John Gottman, Ph.D. explains, "Friendship fuels the flames of romance because it offers the best protection against feeling adversarial towards your spouse."
Romantic relationships may form when two people share common interests and enjoy spending time together. Here's a classic scenario. Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Boy asks girl out on a date. Girl says yes.
The initial "spark" or "chemistry", felt when boy meets girl, will only provide enough momentum to move the couple towards that first date, or possibly two. If no common interests exist then any hope for a future relationship fizzles out.
When common interests do exist, boy and girl will likely continue to spend more time together engaging in shared interests and activities. Boy and girl begin to build a solid friendship on the basis of their shared interests.
The relationship and budding friendship will grow to reach a more intimate level as the couple begins to share their hopes and dreams with one another. If the couple finds that they shares similar goals, values, and lifestyles, the relationship will progress even further.
Combine the joy one feels when she has met a special someone to share her innermost thoughts and feelings with, and the tingly feeling one gets when he is physically attracted to a member of the opposite sex; and the intensity of this friendship has risen to a full-fledged romantic relationship.
Marriage is a conscious commitment between two consenting adults to love and cherish each other every day for the rest of their lives. Love is a choice. In order for a marriage to succeed, each partner must choose to act lovingly towards one another for all the days of their lives. Love is unconditional.
Dr. Gary Chapman, in his book "The 5 Love Languages," discusses why love can fade after the wedding. He asserts that people prefer to be shown love in different ways. To be precise, Dr. Chapman has identified five primary love languages. The love languages are 1) words of affirmation, 2) quality time, 3) gifts, 4) acts of service, and 5) physical touch. By learning your spouse's love language, you will be able to convey love to your spouse in a manner she understands and recognizes.
A marriage based on a deep friendship, with mutual respect and admiration, provides a couple with a solid foundation that will hold strong in times of marital distress. According to John Gottman, friendship is a happy couple's secret weapon. His book states, "Rediscovering or reinvigorating friendship doesn't prevent couples from arguing. Instead, it gives them a secret weapon that prevents the quarrels from getting out of hand."
Maintain the friendship with your spouse by setting aside a regular time to re-connect and discuss the intimate as well as mundane details of your lives. Tell your partner you know how much you love him. Let your partner know that she is appreciated by planning a special date or buying her flowers. A simple hug can go a long way in letting your husband know what it means to be his wife. Helping your wife do the laundry or clean the bathrooms will let her know that you recognize all she does to keep your home warm and inviting.
A healthy balance of friendship, love, and respect will allow your marriage to thrive!