The person who you marry should be your best friend, and there is no need to tiptoe around this. Infatuation is what often inspires us to think about ourselves as someone’s spouse forever after. It is this feeling of passion, desire, and raging emotions that we want to feel for the rest of our lives. But the fact of life is that, if there is no true friendship between partners, many relationships tend to crumble under pressure.
Passion vs. Friendship
Romantic crush is a wonderful feeling, one that makes teenagers and elderly look alike. And it has a way of making us want to spend all our time with the person we are in love with. For some, this fascination that is so emblematic of the start of a new relationship leads into a proposal of marriage. And for some, on the other hand, the same passionate feeling slowly develops into a steady long-term relationship which sometimes lasts for years before the partners say their “I do”. These couples usually experience many changes and crossover many hurdles prior to getting married.
The difference between these two kinds of newlyweds is often in one crucial aspect, and that is friendship between the spouses. Although both couples can develop deep bond and companionship, those who enter marriage swiftly might be surprised after the infatuation fades. On the other hand, there are also couples who spent years together and still aren’t each other’s best friends. In essence, practice shows that both sexual attraction and romance, and friendship and partnership, contribute to a happy marriage. As we will discuss in the following paragraphs, it’s a lucky combination of both that makes a relationship endure many hardships and downs that are inevitable in any marriage. Yet, research suggests that marrying your best friend could be the key to a happy and fulfilled life.
What research teaches us
A study by Helliwell and Grover begun with many times repeated findings that marriage, in general, appears to be correlated to subjective well-being. There were researchers and theoreticians that were somewhat sceptic of such association and postulated that these positive effects were either short-lived or that it was the other way around – that initially happier people were more likely to get married.
Helliwell and Grover examined all of these possibilities. They found that the positive effects of being married to our well-being were not short-lived, but they extended over the entire course of the marriage. In specific, married people experienced a milder drop in happiness during mid-life than singles. Moreover, the effects were apparent even when the researchers controlled for the levels of happiness prior to getting married. Apart from Sub-Saharan Africa, these findings appear to apply to all cultures across the world.
What is important is also this – not only does marriage promote greater wellbeing in general, but the participants in this study who said their spouses were also their best friends were twice as satisfied with their lives as those who separated these roles. In other words, having your husband or wife as your best friend seems to directly cause greater life happiness.
What makes friendship in marriage such potent benefit is the fact that, when life gets tough, you will need to have someone you can talk to and fight alongside with. And, the ideal combination is having both a husband or a wife with whom you share your life plans with and the best friend all in one. Best friends talk about everything together, consolidate each other, support one another, and help find solutions.
Many nuances of marriage and friendship
Yet, if you prefer to separate marriage and friendship, there is also good news for you. Although for the majority of people the above may apply, not everyone will necessarily benefit from having the best friend and a spouse in one person. For some, having a best friend apart from the husband or wife, and sharing different kinds of bonds with different people, appears to work much better.
Marriage can get stressful and experience problems, even for those who are very good friends. And although every successful marriage is founded on good communication and teamwork, it is at those times of hardships that many find that having a best friend to talk to contributes to solving the marriage issues. In essence, you should never feel pressure to conform to any set form of human relationships. Whether it is having your best friend and your spouse separate or in one person, both of these relationships should primarily feel natural and come with ease. Whatever works for you and your partner is the best way to go.