“To love someone is to learn the song in their heart and sing it to them when they have forgotten”. (Chandler)
Friendship is the single most important element of sustaining a happy and healthy marriage. Working on your marriage is really about nurturing and treasuring your friendship with one another.
Friendships, like good marriages, don’t “just happen”. They need to be nourished. They require thought, some insight, action, and follow through.
I think of my friend and realize I haven’t seen her in a while. I know she is going through a rough period in her life and is focusing mostly on herself and her family.
I call her and she doesn’t return my call. I could take it personally and play the “wait and see” game. But I love my friend. I miss her and I want to see her. End of story.
So I don’t go on and on making up one scenario after another about why she hasn’t returned my call. Instead I call her again. And I e-mail her again. And I send her a funny card. I just keep reaching out, trying to connect, with no expectation of what she will do in return. And every time I reach out, I actually feel better.
Had I spent that time obsessing on story making “She probably thinks this, she probably thinks that….” I would feel rejected, upset, perhaps angry, depressed, among other negative feelings. By reaching out, I am taking control of the situation and the friendship. It feels empowering.
You grow your marital friendship in a similar way. Don’t wait for your partner to make the first move. Remember: we live in stressful times, everyone is busy, everyone is self involved. Break the pattern of neglect and make time for your spouse every single day, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. Check in with one another: “How are you doing today?” Simple, yet powerful. It gives your partner the message that you care, that you’re paying attention, and that you’re thinking about them, even in the midst of your own crazy busy day.
Use technology to stay connected and to pop into their hectic life during the day just to say hi. Again, this doesn’t take a lot of time. A quick text. A cute emoticon. It sends a simple, yet powerful message: “You’re on my mind”.
Try taking your friendship to the next level. Get back into the habit of dating each other. This is a cool thing to do. You have a built in friend who you can date, how lucky are you? If you have kids leave them at home. Dating is for grown-ups. This is how you keep and build your couple relationship.
Remember, the more you nurture and grow your friendship, the stronger your couple relationship will be; the closer you will feel to one another and the happier your home will be.
“The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.” (Flora Whittemore