A marriage without growth in intimacy and romance is just a contract to stay together or just a simple convenience while waiting for the right person to come along. Without the practice of sensitivity and sincere friendship, marriage becomes nothing more than a vehicle for selfish gain and sensual pleasure.
The intimacy between married couples who lack the knowledge of bonding qualities will grow weaker and weaker until an uncaring coldness engulfs their marriage.
The rituals of romance such as giving flowers and gifts, showing affection and expressing terms of endearment, asking caring questions and hold meaningful conversations goes out of the window. Besides living together, the couples’ relationship is reduced to nothing more than a roommate.
However, when the sense of friendship is strong in a marriage the relationship flourishes in all areas of the institution. Romance grows. Intimacy flourishes. Trust and confidence deepen. Couples who have been together for 30, 40, 50 and 60 years have all mastered the power of friendship in their marriage.
New couples who want their marriage to thrive and grow in intimacy must continue to apply the following simple but powerful principles:
Just because you are married doesn’t mean you can take your partner for granted. You must show the same respect for them when you were both dating and life together seemed brand new. Continue to say words such as thank you please and excuse me.
Don’t disrespect your spouse by doing something or taking something that belongs to them without asking for permission. In many marriages, couples (especially men) may spend money without asking the spouse if it’s ok for the budget. This is a mistake in marriage. Good money management in a marriage is one of the most vital skills to harness. Millions of divorces have occurred due to the misuse or lack of financial stability in the relationship.
Identifying and Expressing Emotions
Showing sensitivity to the emotions of your spouse is an indicator that you care about her ideas and suggestions. Many couples are so self-absorbed that they have falling out of touch not only with their spouse’s emotions but also their own emotions. Couples who have fallen into this trap where emotions have gone cold must quickly re-ignite the fire or else face the death of intimacy in the union.
Be quick to apologize. The practice of the apologizing in marriage is vitally important because of the many conflicts that will occur. No relationship can go long without something said or done which will eventually offend the other partner. Whenever there are two people sharing their lives together there is bound to be incidents that offer opportunities for forgiveness. These are the times when couples have a chance to strengthen their love for one another.
Unfortunately, today many couples take these times of conflict as a reason to head to the divorce court. But the willingness to apologize to your partner with genuine sincerity will go a long way in straitening the relationship.
A relationship grows when friends express constructive criticism for the benefit of helping the other partner grow. No one is beyond criticism. Every individual has flaws and habits that may not aid them in becoming a better person. Your partner is in your life to help you to overcome those character defects and weaknesses that you need to overcome for the sake of growing your marriage. Good friendship involves helping a partner become all that he or she can be, both in personality and characters.
Compromising and Negotiating
A marriage without the willingness to practice these principles will not last a week. Everyday opportunities abound in which a compromise is necessary to settle an issue. Couples will need to compromise and negotiate on such things as money, time, possessions and outside relationships regarding relatives and in-laws.
Danger of Losing Friendship in a marriage
Couples must work hard to keep the friendship alive in their relationship. The accumulation of hurts, pressures, and stress over time can weaken the things that matter most in the marriage: intimacy and love.
In order to sustain a strong marriage that will leave a legacy for others to model their own relationships after has to be earned on a daily basis. Getting with other couples and attending events for marriage couples will go a long way in providing hope, encouragement, and strength for the journey of marriage.
The Bottom Line
Practicing friendship skills as a means of strengthening your marriage will keep you and millions of couples from the divorce court and will make you a model couple for relatives, friends and neighbors to emulate.