How to Keep the Friendship in Your Marriage.
When couples are dating I often hear them say that they are like best friends. A friend it is someone you can share your life with in an honest way. You enjoy each other and spend time together. Webster defines friendship as “a state of mutual trust and support between two people”. This is all well and good but once a couple is married and the stresses of life come crashing in, I see couples become more like survivors than friends. Sometime it is unclear if they are even on the same team.
What do we need to do to maintain a friendship? Why does the friendship breakdown?
I mentioned that once married the friendship is swallowed up by the pressures of life, work, children, home and family. We realize that the person we married is very different than we are and handles these stresses differently. This causes us even more stress because there is now conflict about how to handle life stress. So we pull away and start working independently instead of as a team. We don’t know how to work with this person who sees life with a different perspective. One of you may be an organizer and perfectionist while the other is social and fun loving. Each quality has its benefits but they deal with life very differently.
The way to avoid pulling away from each other is to learn to maintain the friendship.
Accept that your partner is different from you. Listen to their ideas and consider an alternative solution. Show respect for the person that they are by learning how they think and supporting them. Loyalty is an important aspect of friendship.
Friendship requires a vulnerability and we are not vulnerable unless we feel safe. If we feel like we will be judged or dismissed then we will not feel safe and supported. One of you may say, “My partner never shares his/her feelings with me”. That may be because they do not feel accepted for who they are or for their ideas and that is what a friend needs to feel. You need to draw your partner in without demands or judgements.
Give of yourself by listening. Friends share themselves, their time, their focus and their support and this shows itself when you truly listen to their ideas.
Remember to have fun together. This mean you may need to lighten up a bit. The stress will remain but it can be minimized by your change of attitude. It may help if we take life a little less seriously. Laugh at yourself and the situation, don’t be so adamant about your opinions and remember to take time to have fun, this can relieve stress.
Don’t let the friendship break down, remember to make it a priority to maintain. A marriage without friendship is more like a business arrangement. Don’t let that happen. If you need help then give us a call at Save My Family Today.
Written by Lisa Strong
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