Friendship is very fundamental in marriage. In fact, people usually joke that friendship is what may hold the marriage together after love might have jumped out through the window. It is therefore correct to argue that friendship is the positive energy that fuels and sustains a successful marriage. Building and sustaining friendship in marriage is a great way to keep the fire burning in your marriage. When you strengthen friendship in your marriage, it becomes more fun and rewarding.
Without true friendship, couples will soon get bored with each other and this can lead them to start tolerating each other’s company, rather than enjoying it. Like marriage, friendship is mutual. It is not a one-way traffic.
While most people marry their friends, others may get married before building friendship within their marriage. Whichever category you belong to, there is need to consciously sustain and strengthen friendship in your marriage, for marital bliss to be achieved. It takes more than romance to keep and sustain a marriage. There are times in marriage, when you may not really feel that initial romantic flame that attracted you to your spouse. Such are the times when the level of friendship you have built within yourselves comes in to save the day.
Here are great ways to strengthen friendship in marriage:
- Reflect who and what you want/desire: Do you want to have great friends? Then, be a great friend. In your actions and attitude, reflect what you desire. If you want your partner to show you true friendship, then show same to him/her. Be a good example. The principle is that he that desires to have good friends must show himself friendly.
- Get into your partner’s world: Mutual interests is one of the things that foster great friendships. You may have different career goals and aspirations with your spouse. However, when you get into each other’s world by showing some level of interest in what your partner likes doing, you will have common areas of interests to talk about and explore together. This will in turn make your communication to be more effective, thereby strengthening your marriage. Show some interest in each other’s hobbies. Also, having some common hobbies is a great way to build friendship because you bond while doing such hobbies together.
- Celebrate yourselves: People love to associate with those that celebrate them rather than those that tolerate them. Celebrate your spouse. Identify each other’s unique features and qualities and celebrate such. Recall what drew you to each other.
- Mutual acceptance and respect: Unconditional acceptance is an attribute of genuine love. If you got married with an expectation of changing your spouse in the future, discard such expectations and express an unconditional acceptance to your spouse. Even if there are obvious areas that your spouse need to work on for improvement, commit such to God in prayer and express total acceptance towards your spouse. Respect each other’s opinion and views, even if you do not agree with it.
- Teamwork: Teamwork helps to build stronger bond between you and your spouse. Plan and do some activities together, such as house chores, cooking, gardening, walking, etc.
- Empathy: Show empathy. See things from your partner’s point of view. Do not be selfish in your views and opinions. Be considerate.
- Playing together: Do not always be too serious with your partner. Play together. Crack jokes, tease yourselves and have fun together.
- Show genuine interest in each other: You build friendship in mutuality, not in isolation. Show genuine interest in everything that concerns your partner’s well-being. People hardly resist genuine love and interest. Rather, they reciprocate it.
- Be an active listener: Effective listening skill is being eroded with an increasing presence of technological gadgets. Listening is beyond just hearing what the other person says. It involves a proper understanding of both the verbal and non-verbal clues. Be an active listener. Avoid hasty reactions. Rather, respond appropriately at the right time.
- Communicate effectively: Talk and listen to yourselves. Keep talking and keep listening.
- Recognize and manage your differences: You will obviously have some areas of differences with your partner. Recognise these differences and manage them properly. Recognise your strengths and weaknesses. Cover up each other’s weaknesses.
Building friendship is a venture that requires deliberate efforts and commitment. It is never something that develops by accident or through passive involvement. The rewards of friendship far exceed the efforts required to establish it. So be friendly. Create friendship and watch your marriage blossom.