Put the Friendship Back Into Your Relationship TodayThis guest article from YourTango was written by .

In an article published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, researchers found that couples who value their friendship over other aspects of their relationships report greater romance and sexual satisfaction over couples who look to their partners mostly for sexual gratification.

This probably doesn’t surprise anyone — but it’s great to have the research to back it up. So why do you think a friendship with your significant other will actually increase the odds you will have long-lasting love?

When I surveyed 100 happy couples for my book, Secrets of Happy Couples: Loving Yourself, Your Partner, and Your Life, friendship and quality time together are in the top 20 factors the couples themselves said are important to their relationship success. Adding those two responses together, 70 percent of respondents found those to be important factors.

When I think of reasons people cheat, I often hear things like, “She never supports me.” “He didn’t want to spend time with me.” “She doesn’t understand me.” “He never really listens when I talk to him.” “I don’t even think s/he likes me.” “S/he is always complaining.”

Aren’t all these statements really the opposite of the core of friendship?

Check out YourTango for relationship advice

Think about how you are with your friends. You tell each other everything (are there things you keep secret from your partner?). You look forward to being together (are there times you dread spending time with your partner?). You freely give your time, energy and attention to your friends (do you do the same with your partner?).

It’s rare that we criticize our friends. In fact, we often do the opposite. We really listen to them, attempting as best we can to understand their position. Even when we think our friend might be wrong, we defend him or her, nonetheless. We would never publicly put down our friends. We support them through dark times and encourage them to always be the person they are meant to be.1

Too often in our romantic relationships, we play a different role. Not in the beginning of the relationship, though. In the beginning, we treat our partner like the best friend we ever had. If you still have a solid friendship with your long-term partner, congratulate yourselves and celebrate your friendship this week. You will likely be together for a very long time.

If, however, your relationship has gotten off track and you realize you aren’t being the best friend you could be to your partner, why not change that now?

You don’t even need their commitment to do the same for you. Ask yourself, “What kind of person do I want to be in my relationship with my most significant relationship of choice?” Take a long look in the mirror and ask, “Is that the person I am being right now?”

If the answer to those questions is no, then think about performing a random act of kindness in your relationship. One of the best gifts we can give our partners is the gift of total acceptance of who they are without expecting anything in return.

Don’t think, Why should I do this if s/he isn’t going to do it too? Is that how you treat your friends?

You have recognized you are not being the person you want to be in your relationship. You are the only one who can change that. Your partner may notice and respond accordingly or she or he may continue being exactly the same. It doesn’t really matter. What’s most important is that you take control of the one thing you can control in your relationship — what you do!

Start today and you will feel better and there’s a great chance your relationship will improve dramatically as a result. Put the friendship back in your relationship now!

To stay in touch with Kim, go to The Relationship Center, sign up for her email list, and receive her free report on Relationships from the InsideOut.

More great content from YourTango:

 

Couple having fun photo available from Shutterstock

Footnotes:

  1. In order to get a blueprint for being the person you want to be in relationships, my eBook on Relationships from the InsideOut is on sale this month at The Relationship Center. Check it out. []

 


Comments


View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 0 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.


    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Jul 2014
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Experts, Y. (2013). Put the Friendship Back Into Your Relationship Today. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/02/23/put-the-friendship-back-into-your-relationship-today/

 

Recent Comments
  • Healed: I have a niece suffering with depression and this blog has helped greatly. Thank you to all for sharing your...
  • Will it ever end: I’ve been married for 8+ years and in total have been with my husband for 14 years. About 4...
  • george: a Appreciate your comment. The added dimensional of “relational” helps my understanding.
  • ruff2play: Thank you for this. I’m in the worrying stage and have been paralysed in taking further steps to the...
  • Clara: Dear rationalizer and all those reading along, For me typing out my story and posting it out here for the...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code