“Marriages are forms of super friendship”

     — John F. Helliwell, Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research   
 

Some marriages begin with love at first sight. Usually, but not always, they fail after the initial buzz wears off. Others begin with a friendship that grows into love. This kind of marriage is more likely to succeed in the long run.[1]

Love at first sight is based largely on fantasy and romantic longings. Don’t get me wrong —  I love romance. It’s just that it’s not the main ingredient for an everyday fulfilling, lasting marriage. Romance is more like a condiment; it’s there to spice things up.

Spice is nice...very nice! But it’s there to enhance what already is nourishing. If friendship is lacking in a marriage, romance and attraction won’t last or the relationship won’t be satisfying overall.

What qualities do you value in a good friend? Are you drawn to someone with similar values who supports, respects, and understands you? A trustworthy person with whom you enjoy talking, laughing, and just hanging out? 

Friendship Is Key for Lasting Happiness 
Ample research confirms that friendship is the main ingredient for a lasting, fulfilling relationship. When the British Household Panel Survey asked people about their closest friend, half of them said it was their spouse. For those who called their partner their best friend, the benefits of marriage were about twice as great as for those who didn’t.[2]

Researcher John F. Helliwell states that happiness in marriage “has less to do with your social status or financial stability, and more to do with sharing wedding bands with your BFF.”[3]

A 13-year longitudinal study by Tom Huston at the University of Texas Austin (Huston et al., 2001) found that “couples with steady, longer courtship periods and awareness of each other’s strengths and weaknesses were more likely to remain happily married over the long term. By contrast, couples with ‘Hollywood Romances’ — bursting, passionate courtships that quickly result in marriage — quickly grew dissatisfied as spouses, and predictably, were more likely to divorce within seven years.[4]   

Best Friend Spouses Are More Sexually Fulfilled
Researchers found that “valuing your friendship with your partner helps create relationships with more commitment, more love and greater sexual satisfaction.”[5]

It seems only natural that sexual intimacy would be more emotionally and spiritually fulfilling when you feel truly understood, loved, and cared for by your partner. 

Other Friendships Are Important  
Of course, no matter how wonderful a spouse is, he or she cannot meet all of your needs; no one person can do that for another. Supportive friends can fill the gap. Treasure yours, keep in touch, and spend quality time with them. Freeing your potential — or actual — spouse from the absurd expectation of being your “everything” supports both of you and your relationship.

After marriage, certainly romance and sex should spice things up. But most of your time together will be spent relaxing, talking, eating meals, and dealing with chores and other responsibilities. A spouse who is your best friend will be there for the happy times and the challenging ones.

 


* BFF stands for Best Friends Forever

[1]  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2269657/Friendship-sex-secret-long-lasting-romantic-relationship.html

[2] https://qz.com/323172/definitive-proof-that-a-good-marriage-especially-to-your-best-friend-makes-you-happier/

[3] ibid

[4] http://www.yourtango.com/experts/nina-atwood/how-fast-do-you-fall-love

[5] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2269657/Friendship-sex-secret-long-lasting-romantic-relationship.html#ixzz4ZwVukI3Y 

 


Marcia Naomi Berger
, MSW, LCSW, author of Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You've Always Wanted (New World Library, 2014), is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist in private practice. A former executive director of a family service agency, she previously worked in the fields of child welfare, alcoholism treatment, and psychiatry. She teaches continuing education classes for social workers, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and counselors. www.marriagemeetings.com

 

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Comment by Kathy Custren on May 9, 2017 at 9:54pm

Hi, Marcia - leaving official word that your article is being forwarded to the publishers for use in a future edition, with our thanks ~ Blessings! :)

Comment by Regina Chouza on May 2, 2017 at 9:52pm

Hi Marcia, That is perfect, thank you!

Regina

Comment by Marcia Naomi Berger on May 2, 2017 at 3:04am

Hi Regina, Is this what you would like from me? If yes, I'll use this bio for future articles and hope you'll be able to use the abstract below for this one, okay? I'm not sure how to edit an article once it's been posted. Thank you!

60 word bio:


Marcia Naomi Berger
, MSW, LCSW, author of bestseller Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You've Always Wanted, is a psychotherapist in private practice. A former  executive director of a family service agency, she worked professionally in family and children’s services, alcoholism treatment, and psychiatry departments for the City and County of San Francisco. www.marriagemeetings.com

 

Abstract  80 words

Is love at first sight a good basis for marriage? Romantic movies and novels say so. But instant passion and sex don’t usually result in a successful marriage. Research shows that couples who waited longer to have sex with the person they married and view their spouse as their BFF (best friend forever) have more fulfilling, lasting marriages than those that began with a “head over heels” romance. The BFF couples have more romance and better sex in the long run. 

Comment by Marcia Naomi Berger on May 2, 2017 at 3:00am

Comment by Regina Chouza on May 1, 2017 at 9:02pm

ps ... I don't know if you saw the latest updates but we are asking authors for an 80 word abstract that summarises the article. This will be used for promotional purposes =) Please add that too! 

Thanks!

Comment by Regina Chouza on May 1, 2017 at 8:59pm

Hi Marcia, Thanks for submitting this piece! Would you be able to trim your bio down a bit - ideally to less than 60 words / 400 characters? Thank you! Regina

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