By Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC
When people first get married they usually expect their
love and commitment to last for a lifetime. Unfortunately,
for at least half of all couples it doesn't. What happens?
Soon after marriage, couples discover that the bliss of falling in love quickly fades. They no longer see each other through rose colored glasses. The ease with which they once overlooked each other's faults becomes much more difficult.
With married life, couples begin to encounter new challenges, roles and responsibilities. Conflicts arise and sometimes go unresolved. Tensions build. Commitments weaken. Mutual respect isn't always present. And, unconditional love and acceptance do not always last. So how do you build a strong marriage that can withstand the onslaughts of life's challenges?
No one ever said that marriage is easy. Marriage is hard work. To keep a marriage strong, satisfying and lasting requires a great deal of investment. It takes time and energy to get to know and understand your spouse, to set goals and share dreams together, and to have fun and enjoy each other. Couples sometimes lose touch with each other and grow apart when they get lax and don't work on their marriage. Yet when they do, they are much more likely to feel very close and deeply cared for by their partner.
Couples who invest in their marriages can build deep friendships. Researchers have found that the level of a couple's friendship is the greatest indicator of success in marriage. Couples who are close and are best friends have more happiness and satisfaction in their lives. Best friends are trustworthy, safe, understanding, loving, accepting and respectful. Best friends are a strong buffer in times of trouble. You can count on them. They are supportive and faithful. Best friends can work through conflicts and pressures that threaten the relationship. Best friends do not give up on each other. They forgive. They share.
You may have been your spouse's partner and lover,
but have you been your spouse's best friend? If your
marriage is not all that you would like it to be and you
want to begin investing more into your marriage to
make it better, why not begin with your friendship.
You may likely find that it is one of the greatest
investments you will ever make.