Being friends before, during and after a relationship requires a certain amount of maturity. Furthermore, friends that should remain friends are the people who probably would not have ever gotten into a close, monogamous relationship from the start—had they been thinking clearly. For the two, becoming more than friends was a convenience more than anything. It’s possible that they found themselves alone and lonely at the same time; so they looked at each other and say a nonverbal “why not”. Or one was grieving and the other one was “there for them.” However it happened, it most likely was not a good idea. Unlike our married best friends who somehow knew that she/he was the one. Let’ take a look at this blissful, almost unbelievably happy couple.
Friends turned lovers turned married, best-friends
This couple is two who would exclaim from the mountain tops “I married my best friend.” And a jealous hater would echo back—annnnnnh. But I, Dr. Debra, relationship expert, applaud these two. As for my money, if you are going to make a life with someone and expect it to last anywhere near “forever” then you had better marry your best friend! So how is it that some people can pull it off? How does one marry one’s best friend? As always, I’ll begin with a few questions:
1. What makes for a best friend and do you know right away?
2. Is the best friend the infamous “Soulmate”?
3. Does one grow into this relationship or does it just happen instantly? Is it immediately mutual?
4. What are the most outstanding traits of this best friend and are they universal or specific to each couple?
5. How do you know you should marry or whether you should remain best friends without being married?
These are real questions for those couples who boast of being best friends. To this point, research findings show that couples who report being best friends have the highest levels of happiness. Accordingly, couples who report being best friends have “well-being benefits” that are two times higher than other couples.
So what are the ingredients to finding and marrying our best friend? My question is "What is that these friends have that the rest don’t?" My first response is high regard or respect for each other. While the two may not agree on everything each has a level of admiration for the other that help the two find reasonable ways to disagree. I’ve seen these couples in action. When one is talking the other is watching with support and agreement. Should the on-looker disagree, he or she will offer their opinion as an addition-to versus an instead-of-comment. When the two are sharing a story each defers to the other while nodding and adding to the narrative if necessary. I call this respect but it’s an example of how much "in-like" the two are. For me, being in-like is 100-times better than being in love. This kind of like and respect is what keeps the couple in love, I believe.
I’ve seen other couples that negatively disagree and even challenge each other negatively in ways that signal that they may love each other but they don’t like each other anymore. They are not friends, but family members bound together by a piece of paper that says that they are married. What a prison of an existence. When I observe a couple that behaves this way I wonder if they know that they no longer like each other. I get the sense that they’ve lived in contention for so long that they don’t realize what is truly missing from the relationship. Also, I wonder if they are interested in getting it back. I think not. So they “go on together living a lie because neither one … wants to be the first to say goodbye,” as the song goes. Accordingly, divorce is inevitable.
On the other hand, couples who claim to best friends find a way to live together in harmony for 50-years and beyond.
Part 1: If you’ve got a good thing going with your friend think thrice before you hop in the sack.
Part 2: Write the book for the rest of us on how to marry your best friend