You are “in love”. What does that mean exactly? Most people describe the feelings of being love as that heady rush, the quickening heartbeat when you hear the door bell ring, the giddy anticipating of evening, or night, spent together. Being in love, with thrilling, stomach-knotting bliss, is truly a powerful thing. But is being “in love” the same as “loving” someone?
Scientific and anecdotal evidence indicate that the rush of crazy emotions is part of a primal instinct, a millenia-old mating ritual designed to give you the hots for the mate most likely to help you propagate the species. Sounds romantic, huh? What draws people together is not what helps them stay together. Many marriages has landed in divorce court inside of 10 years because the original ardor has cooled. People don’t feel “in love” anymore, so time to move on, right?
Wrong. Oh so very wrong. If anyone enters a marriage expecting to feel the exact same way after 50 years that they did when they got to 3rd base, they are in for one horrific surprise. Why? Because those endorphin-induced highs can’t possibly last forever. Your brain would liquefy on that much dopamine. At some point, you must return to some kind of equilibrium.
So, if the bedazzling feeling of being in love doesn’t last forever, then how do happy marriages last? What is the secret?
Research indicates that while attraction may bring a couple together, the glue that holds them together is friendship. At some point in the relationship, the couple experiences a turning point, a critical point where they either grow together, like two tree trunks intertwining until they fuse together into one trunk; or they grow apart, with each passing year increasing the distance between the two trunks as they pull away from each other toward opposing light sources.
That critical point comes as the brain-chemical-induced infatuation begins to fade. Love, deep, abiding, long-lasting love, is a decision. It’s an action verb. You decide to love that person with your mind and through your actions, not with the flighty whims of the heart. Out of that decision arises the strong, loving friendship and the unbreakable bonds of an unshakable marriage. You have to put effort into it, just as you would any friendship.
5 Reasons Your Spouse should be your Best Friend
1. Best friends love and accept you, even at your worst
Let’s face it. When you are dating, you are mostly likely very diligent about making sure that every thing is perfect all the time. Perfectly dressed, showered, shaved. Perfect manners. No audible farting or belching. No stubbly legs. You’ll jump out of bed at 4am to brush your teeth, to make sure you don’t have morning breath when the 6am alarm goes off. In short, you aren’t you, in all your undignified glory.No one can keep up pretenses for an entire lifetime. It gets too exhausting. A real friend has seen you at your worst, but loves you for being you.
2. Best friends are like fuzzy slippers
Most women won’t admit this, but wearing heels is not for the faint of heart. Women go to a lot of insane measures to try to bring some comfort to these ridiculously uncomfortable shoes. Inserts, gel pads, bandages, foot massages. But at the end of the day, they can’t wait to take them off and put on a pair of fuzzy slippers. Heels are unnatural. They hurt. They are only worn to show off great legs, or because it’s expected at certain levels of management. No one wants to wear heels 24 hours a day, and if they did, they would be in for a lot of arthritis and foot problems later in life. Is that what you want for your marriage? The comfort of a friend, like a fuzzy slipper, makes it easy to be yourself, to be honest, and to really talk openly.
3. Best friends stand by you in good times and bad
It’s in the vows…”for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness, and in health”. Few couples really know what that truly means as they happily pledge their lives together. Reality may hit them 5, 10, or eve 45 years down the road. Some times, bad times can be really bad. And you find out quickly who your true friends are. Shouldn’t your spouse be one of those friends? Financial challenges, illness, mid-life crises…a spouse who is your best friend will be right there through it all.
4. Best friends make you a better person
Best friends love you even when you make mistakes. And they forgive you. But they are’t afraid to call you out on those mistakes, either. They aren’t afraid to be honest. They expect more. They demand better, because they believe in you. And you give it, because you value the friendship. If you and your spouse challenge yourselves to be better people, openly and honestly, then you will only grow closer.
5. Best friends would never deliberately hurt you
Think about it. Would a true best friend try to steal your girlfriend? Would a true best friend lie and cheat and do things behind your back that might cause you pain? So why would you marry someone who is NOT best friend material? If your spouse is your best friend, then there is trust, because you know your best friend would rather die than do anything to purposely hurt you.
Nothing is fool-proof
Obviously, nothing in life is perfect. Things happen, people change (or you find out they aren’t who they pretended to be). But if you are thinking about taking a trip down that flower petal-strewn aisle, then make sure it is your best friend you are taking that stroll with. Because that is your best chance of defying the odds, and living a love that helps you grow closer together.