Posted by: Debbie Loyd | June 24, 2010

Friends or Lovers?

I would like to expand on my last blog regarding the crucial friendship factor in successful marriages. Just to refresh your memory, recent marriage researchers have found that helping couples maintain positive feelings and intimacy is more helpful than teaching conflict resolution skills. Successful couples are able to maintain positive feelings DESPITE conflict. I like the way Ted Huston describes this:  “Discontent doesn’t spill over and soil the rest of their lives.” I think this means that couples are able to keep disagreements about specific differences separate from general relationship issues. Consequently, conflict doesn’t result in viewing each other negatively. How is this possible? I think it has to do with friendship. We often forget that, whatever else our partner is to us, they should be our best friend. Without deep friendship, it is too easy to become focused on getting and judging.

What do you think of when you think of friendship? The things that come to mind for me are intimacy, safety, and respect. I think my favorite friendship quote is, “A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.” (Arabian Proverb). Happy couples overlook one another’s weaknesses and mistakes. They have a bigger perspective because of their friendship. They see beyond a specific behavior and love the whole person. Because of their history together, they interpret their partner’s behavior in a way that gives them the benefit of the doubt. Conflicts can be openly and calmly discussed and both can be heard without fear. They can agree to disagree.

Friendship guards our heart and our lips. Communication may not the THE most important element in a marriage, but show me good communication and I will show you respect. Respect will show up in our words as well as our actions.

Friendship means support and encouragement. Two quotes come to mind:  “A friend is one who believes in you when you have ceased to believe in yourself” and “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.” What more can I say after those words! We often think of support as being helpful during times of disappointment and problems, but support can also be rejoicing with someone. Oscar Wilde once said, “Anybody can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend’s success.”

What does friendship mean to you and how does it relate to better marriages? You are welcome to share your thoughts…


  1. […] Friends or Lovers? – a crucial factor in successful marriages debbieloyd@beyondtheweddingceremony […]

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