Once a couple has developed a deep level of romantic love, they usually move onto friendship love. This is also very important for a happy marriage. Often when people who have been married for 50 years are interviewed, they are asked what is their secret to a long and happy marriage. A common answer to that question is “I married my best friend.” While romance is important, you can’t always be romantic in a successful relationship. You won’t feel romantic when you’re paying bills, disciplining children, or fixing that leaky faucet. However, you can be best friends even in the challenging times. In fact, it’s that close friendship that helps you get through the challenging times in marriage.
To be best friends requires a deep level of trust. You know each other thoroughly. You can talk about anything. You support each other through thick and thin. You have each other’s backs. You can joke and have fun together. You don’t keep secrets from each other. In fact, you share secrets with each other. Most of all, your best friend is the person you want to be with the most. When something good happens, he/she’s the person you tell first. When something bad happens he/she is the person you turn to first for help/comfort. This is the kind of relationship a husband and wife should have.
As with romantic love, friendship love needs to be nurtured throughout a marriage. This can be done my maintaining common interests and taking time to enjoy those interests. For example, if you and your wife enjoy exercise, you might go walking or biking together regularly. You can read and discuss books or current events together. You might find a good babysitter and take some day trips together. It’s all about spending time together and enjoying each other’s company. Being a best friend also means taking risks to share what is in your heart with each other, knowing you will be unconditionally loved and accepted. There is never a fear of rejection or abandonment between best friends. You feel totally safe with each other.
As you consistently work on nurturing your romantic and friendship love, you will naturally move into spousal love, the third kind of love in a relationship. I will discuss this in my next article and how all three types of love contribute to a healthy marriage.