Simple Ways to Strengthen Friendship in Marriage
In relationships, sex can disappear with health problems, loving feelings can get lost in temporary fights, and the youthful attraction between partners can vanish with age.
So what makes relationships last over time? Friendship with emotional intimacy. Most happy couples will tell you that they feel they are friends before romantic partners. Becoming friends who are committed to each other can help couples get through the good and bad, through sickness and health.
Below are 5 ways to strengthen friendship in your marriage or relationship.
1. Appreciate your spouse
No one is perfect but someone can be perfect for you. Therefore you must appreciate your spouse. The grass is not always greener on the other side.
John Hamilton, 53 years old, said, “Mary and I, both enjoy swimming but I love Toastmasters and Mary does not. I really like it when I can practice my speeches in front of her that I prepare for presentations. She listens and critiques it. Even though she is not a member, she claims she has learned a lot from me. I like the support.”
Know what your partner or spouse’s core values are. Core values can be respect, compassion, self-worth, trustworthiness etc. Breach of these core values can be deal breakers. Once these values are violated relationships go downhill.
Janie Hudson, 35 years old, said, “I’d been married before I met my present husband, Jake. I told Jake when we were dating that I can’t stand a liar because I never could trust that last husband of mine. I didn’t like the way he made me feel about myself. That is my pet peeve. As long as we don’t have to go there, we will make it. I know that would not be easy but I wanted the foundation of my relationship to be based on truth and honesty. I don’t have to like what I hear but what I hear has to be the truth.”
3. Encourage your spouse
Raise your partner’s or spouse’s self-esteem. Make them feel good by telling them, recording, or writing them “success messages.” These positive words will stick in your partner’s subconscious mind.
Sam, 25 said, “I really like it when I open my lunch box at work and find a sticky note with a smilie face from my wife. The last note read, ‘I am proud of my hard working husband, I love you.’ That really made my day”.
4. Be a friend to yourself, nurture yourself
The old saying “If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone else” is still true. Take out some time for yourself. Do things you enjoy separate from your partner.
Maybelline, 40 years old, said, “I love art. I have taken a beginner’s class and read some DIY books. When Bert and I take trips, I find historic places to draw. Drawing gives me a peace of mind. I like doing something that my husband has nothing to do with, but is supportive of anyway. It gives us something to talk about.”
5. Avoid power struggles
‘I am right and you are wrong’ is what power struggle means. No one likes to submit and admit that they are wrong. Power struggles cause resentments in a relationship.
Cedrick, 28 years old, said, “I love my wife Shannon but when we first met we argued all the time. She was adamant that ‘women can do anything that a man can do’. I respect that. But I wanted to be respected too. I wanted to have a nice time and conversation without everything turning into a power struggle. We almost broke up. But then we talked about that and since then, it has been a smooth sailing.”
In conclusion, friendship is the first basic human relationship that sustains all relationships. Following these 5 steps can strengthen friendship in a marriage.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.