I like to say that marriage is the cherry on top of the cake. The cake itself is a mixture of two people who are best friends, live together, enjoy each other’s company, and respect each other’s sense of self. They are “intimate friends”… What a sublime combination, right?
But, what is intimacy?
Many believe intimacy relates to sex. While intimacy certainly is related to physical touch, intimacy is about being vulnerable. Being vulnerable happens when there is a strong friendship filled with emotional connection. This level of intimacy with your partner can lead to more sex simply because it creates trust and a sense of security in the relationship –a necessary factor for desire to happen. So, in order to be intimate, you have to be best friends first.
Now you know that the secret for more intimacy is “Friendship” let’s go a little deeper into the topic.
The Components of Friendship in a Marriage
Marriage expert Dr. John Gottman says that is important for your marriage to consider your spouse as your “best friend” because a deep friendship is the foundation of a happy marriage.
Now, do you know what the components of friendship in a marriage are?
1) Know your partner well:
Being friends in marriage can be different for each partner but here are some basic components that romantic relationships need. I’m talking about knowing each other well through sharing information about likes, dislikes, wants and desires.
Ask regular questions to your partner to keep learning what your spouse likes and dislikes. Things may have changed since you first met.
2) Learn your and your spouse’s love language
It is also important to know each other’s love language and respond to each other’s requests. Here is a list of Dr. Chapman’s Five Love Languages, which are:
• Words of Affirmation – Some people prefer the affirmation language, like hearing “I love you”. That’s what they consider very important for the relationship.
• Quality Time – This language is related to focus our attention on our partner. They usually get hurt easily if they don’t feel listened.
• Receiving Gifts – Some people like this language of receiving gifts. They feel loved when they get a present from their partner. This doesn’t mean they are materialistic, they just feel that this is a way of expressing love.
• Acts of Service – The language spoken by these people is about getting help. They feel loved and valued if you simplify their lives.
• Physical Touch – They appreciate being touched and this is not only about sex, but kissing, hugging, and hand-holding. They need to be touched to feel safe in the relationship.
Do you know your love language? How about your partners? Once you discover each other’s love language, honor them. Do for each other what you each need.
3) Show Appreciation
We can agree that we all like to feel appreciated and your spouse is not the exception, for example:
• It is healthy for your relationship to appreciate what your spouse does.
-Thank you for fixing dinner tonight even though you had a hard day, honey!
Remember, every detail counts.
• Reciprocal appreciation and gratitude keep the relationship strong so it’s less likely to break up.
Spouse A: -I really appreciate you took care of my mom when she got sick, sweetie.
Spouse B: -I couldn’t have done it if you had not helped me with the children.
• Remember to show your appreciation whenever your spouse does something that makes your life better.
-Thank you, honey, for replacing my old laptop with this new one that has all I need and runs so fast!
• Recognize every effort he or she makes to help you with the kids or the house chores.
-You did the laundry while I was napping, honey? That’s so thoughtful! Thank you.
Now, if you want to be best friends in marriage, try these as well:
1. Never forget your spouse’s birthday, your anniversary or a special occasion.
2. Always give your partner the benefit of the doubt.
3. When ordering food or choosing something for your spouse, remember your spouse’s likes and dislikes.
4. Don’t judge your spouse and don’t criticize him or her behind his or her back. Never!
5. Spend quality time together – Cuddle more!
6. Encourage your spouse to fulfill his or her dreams – Let him shoot for the stars!
8. Consider and value your partner’s opinion.
9. Don’t wait until your partner shows his/her appreciation to you. Take the initiative!
10. Write a message of appreciation and leave it on his/her nightstand or wherever visible.
11. A hug, a kiss or even a wink, are ways to show appreciation.
12. Smile at him or her more frequently.
13. Try to eat every meal together.
14. Try writing a Gratitude/Appreciation Journal every day. Count your blessings.
“True love is not a hide and seek game: in true love, both lovers seek each other.” ~ Michael Bassey Johnson
Being appreciative and grateful to your partner is also very important to a happy marriage and a strong friendship in the marriage, which will lead to more intimacy and sex. Think about it. With so many marital stressors we have in life, saying “thank you” and smiling at your partner could dilute some of the tension and can even change the tone to any difficult situation you are going through.
Above all make your friendship fun!
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To your relationship success!
Your Therapy Friend,
Sofia Robirosa is the owner of Infinite Therapeutic Services and is a Relationships & Parenting Expert. She offers individual, couples, and family counseling to individuals seeking to enhance their relationships. Her private practice is located in Plantation, FL. She attended Nova Southeastern University for both her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and in Business Administration. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Leader in Active Parenting for children and teens, an evidenced-based program. She is also a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). She is a passionately committed therapist, who thoroughly takes pride and joy from her job. She enjoys working with a culturally diverse population and is bilingual in Spanish and English. She is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and an active volunteer of the Broward Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves her family, which consists of her husband, daughter, and two dogs. Some of her interests outside of work include spending time outdoors, traveling, and dining. Read more about her at: www.infinitetherapeuticservices.com and follow her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/infinitetherapy/