I have been thinking about this subject for a while. It might stem from my desire to have one last romantic relationship and have it, hopefully, be the one. So, I have been doing some thinking of my own and I have also dived into research. I might be a crappy researcher because I have been looking for studies that might confirm my own theory. Or maybe, I am on the right track. Maybe my theory is valid after all. So, I looked around online and found this:
“Relationship expert John Gottman, professor at the University of Washington, and author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, says “Happy marriages are based on a deep friendship” and that friendship is the core of a strong marriage. Gottman’s research has shown that a high-quality friendship in a marriage is an important predictor in romantic and physical satisfaction.”
“Being married has a lifelong effect on how content people are. This is according to a study in Springer’s Journal of Happiness Studies that investigated people’s levels of well-being based on their marital status. Using data from two UK surveys, its authors, Shawn Grover and John Helliwell of the Vancouver School of Economics in Canada, showed that an even greater sense of well-being was reported by people who think of their spouse as their best friend.”
I read part of the study and it clearly indicates, within a certain statistical margin of error, the happiest couples are the ones where the partners consider each other as best friends. If one were to move away from the studies, and simply look at their own environment, the conclusion of the study makes sense. If you see a couple who act like best friends, it makes sense.
Think about it; you feel safe with your best friend, whoever they might be. You are not afraid to talk to them because a true friend doesn’t judge you or admonish you disrespectfully. Your best friend cares about you. I mean, your best friend literally loves you. There is love, respect, trust, patience, compassion, compromise, and fights between best friends. You know you want to talk to your best friend first and foremost when something happens, how you want to lean on them when things go sideways, how you are vulnerable with them. A true friend is a precious thing. They are priceless and the bond between best friends is hard to define and sometimes it is impossible to accurately explain to others because you know they won’t get it.
Technically, if you think about it, friendship is love. It might even be the purest form of love because it is often unconditional. A friend usually is someone you aren’t related to, which takes away the whole genetic/family and social obligation to be around them. The friendship is simply there. Moreover, the love you feel for your best friend isn’t always romantic love and there isn’t always a mutual sexual attraction. You simply appreciate them for the time, love, and energy they graciously give you.
Furthermore, and this is mightily important, you share a myriad of values with your friend. Chances are, and this isn’t absolute of course, you probably come from the same ethnic and same socio-economic background, you might even share an academic, religious, cultural, and traditional background. You and your best friend are extremely close as people but also as members of the same social group.
Therefore, it would make sense, to look for a life partner in the same social group. If you have the same outlook on life, well, that person is more likely to understand you and vice versa. It makes sense to make a life together with someone you love, trust, talk to, have fun with, can lean on when times get hard and someone who truly loves you. In the end, someone who truly loves you wants to see you do well, to improve, to become a better human being and they ultimately will help you to achieve those goals.
Imagine being married or being in a long-term relationship with someone who doesn’t put you down. Imagine being with someone who tells you the truth, especially the part you don’t want to hear. Imagine being with someone who has the same values as you, someone who puts the same weight into the things that matter to you. Imagine being with someone who can simply look at you and almost read your mind because you connect on a supersonic level. Imagine being able to talk about anything and not having any fear of being judged, misunderstood, mocked, taken down, ignored, etc.
Surely, all relationships need work, maintenance, attention, compassion, understanding, compromise, and patience. I am sure you offer all that to your best friend, and I am sure you get all that in return. Is there a relationship that is safer? Is there a relationship you’d want more than this?
Some romantic relationships start out as friendships. It happens a lot. Studies prove those who have a partner they consider their “best friend” tend to thrive way more often. My parents have been together for 46 years. They still chill together, they play cards every night, they still go on dates, they still hold hands whenever they are walking down the street and my dad still bugs my mom as if they were teenagers and she gets all red because she is annoyed but he does all that in good fun, he is just messing with her. I know for a fact my dad wouldn’t be the man he is today without her and vice versa. They act, talk, and behave like best friends. Maybe that’s why they are still together after nearly 5 decades. I might just have to ask them.
Am I suggesting you should marry your best friend? No, I am not. Or maybe I am. If it makes sense to both of you, I guess, why not? But if you could, would you? It isn’t easy to jump from friendship to love and marriage sometimes. And some people do it seamlessly. How about that? And if you are not best friends with your spouse, you might want to give it a try and have your level of happiness jump through the roof. Maybe try working towards that bliss and connection best friends have. It requires regular, non-stop work. The question is, are you ready? Time will tell.
The ultimate question is, am I ready? I guess I’ll find out soon enough.
Just one man’s opinion.
Now smile and go on with your day!