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Friendship & Relationship

Why the two need to go hand in hand for a long-lasting relationship

Image courtesy of Unsplash
Ever heard this phrase; marry your best friend? Whenever I heard it in the past, I always used to think that it really didn’t matter. I did not have a lot of close guy friends that I would have even considered dating, let alone marrying one day. I figured at the time that if I met and fell for someone, then a friendship of some sort will forge in the relationship. I was friends with my college boyfriend before we started dating, and that has been the longest relationship I have had till date (so there is truth to this), but every other relationship started off based on attraction and emotions, basically on the wrong foot.

As I have grown older and wiser, I have come to understand the value of a friendship in a relationship, I see why a lot of people advise that you need to be friends with whomever you want to join your life with. Emotions are fickle and will fade away with time; it is not every time that you will have those romantic feelings and thoughts towards your partner. Especially on the days they piss you off or get on your last nerve, you need something deeper and stronger that still pulls you guys together, which is friendship.

A friend is a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations, according to google.com. When I evaluate my close friendships, one thing I have found out is how free and open I am with those relationships. I can spend hours speaking with my friends on the phone, I have the freedom to call them whenever I feel like, sometimes we may start off texting, and I decide to call them on face time, just to see their face and what they are up to. I remember one Saturday when my very good friend called me on face time, and we were on the phone the entire day. She watched me clean my house, cook and do what people do on the weekends. I can’t even recall what the conversation was about but I know it wasn’t anything deep.

We just enjoy each other’s company a lot and she has joked that she doesn’t mind being the third wheel in my marriage when I get married. The more I keep growing into myself, the more I realize that I actually love to laugh. Now when people ask what it is I am looking out for in a potential life partner, rather than whipping out a long list of things, my answer is simply, someone I can have a good laugh with. I am generally a shy person, so if I can be myself and have a huge belly laugh with you, then you are it! I like keeping things light-hearted and I genuinely like to have fun. The world is stressful enough, so you need great people in your corner who you enjoy doing life with. If you don’t enjoy your partner’s company, then you will resent each other.

The same way I enjoy genuine friendships and laughter with my friends is the same way I want to enjoy that bond with my one day spouse. Studies according to the one conducted at Purdue university, have shown that being friends with your partner is the secret to a long-lasting relationship and couples who are friends even have a better sex life (win!). Think about it, there are a lot of people who are in relationships who don’t have an open line of communication with their partners. Being around their partner is like walking on eggshells. They don’t share any common interests; they don’t carve time out to just have fun with each other, or just to gist (talk) with each other. I have come to a resolve that I have to be able to gist and laugh with my partner, if I am not free like that with you, then the relationship wouldn’t work.

There would be tough times in your relationships/marriages, and what I have heard a lot of married people say, is that you need that friendship to be able to fall back on. You can tell your friend anything, you can ask your friend to pray for or pray with you when you are facing a difficult situation, you can be vulnerable with your friend, and your friend has seen you at your highest and lowest points. Your friend has seen you cry and has probably cried with you, your friend has seen you mad, your friend has been steadfast with you during the tough times, your friend knows all your dirty little secrets, and doesn’t hit below the belt, your friend has called you out on your mess; when you were probably not acting right, you and your friend can have mindless conversations for hours, just because you enjoy each other’s company.

You and your friend have done crazy things together (good crazy I hope); your friend knows your dreams and encourages you to pursue them, so you can achieve them.
Your friend knows your strengths and weaknesses, your friend knows your faults and still chooses to love you anyway. In the same vein, you need these characteristics a great friendship possesses in your relationship with your partner because it will help you guys stand the test of time when the going gets tough.

Image Courtesy of Unsplash

Put in the time and effort to build a genuine friendship while you are getting to know someone, don’t focus only on the romantic aspect of things.
Yes, romance is good, yes attraction is fantastic! (I am very big on attraction, dear Lord I hope I haven’t gotten rid of great guys just because I wasn’t attracted to them, haha) and love is even better, but at the very core of every relationship, apart from the God factor, should be a great friendship. Because when you can completely be you with someone, then you will be able to truly enjoy the benefits that come with a genuine relationship. And you guys will have a ton of fun & laughter and create a beautiful life together; I am so looking forward to that!
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