As I sit here thinking about marriage (because that is what you do when you are chronically single and in your late 20s), I was mostly thinking about all the marriages that have happened around me and what percentage of them will end in a ball of flames. I certainly hope that it is none, but I know that between my friends and families members that are married, a few of them will end in tragedy. After reading a few chapters of John M. Gottman’s book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, it got me thinking about the marriages around me and what I like about them, or how they will inspire my future marriage. The one big thing that I have noticed is that all the marriages around me are based on friendship, not the girl’s night gossip about your significant other kind of friendship, but something deeper than that.
Dr. Gottman’s book is based around the idea that marriage is rooted in friendship. I think that friendship in a marriage is so important. Dr. Gottman states “Friendship fuels the flames of romance because it offers the best protection against feeling adversarial towards your spouse”(Gottman & Silver, 1999, p. 22). However, friendship in a marriage is completely different then my relationship I have with my best friend. I think when Dr. Gottman is referring to friendship in a marriage, he means that you need to have the openness, trust worthiness, compatibility, but also the willingness to learn and adapt. While your relationship with your girlfriends (or guy friends) is one where they accept you for you and don’t try to change you. In marriage though you do not want the other person to change you, you need to be able to learn and grow with them, while in a friendship this does not need to happen
Friendship is so important to a marriage. I believe that all marriages should be based off of friendship because why would you want to marry someone you are not friends with. When I look at the significant marriages that surround or influence my life, I can see that they all started off as friendship before they became relationships that grew into marriage. Now some of these friendships started off rocky, but as the friendships grew so did the relationships. When I look at my mom and stepdad for instance they have been friends since elementary school, while my oldest brother and his wife were friends for two years before they started dating. I think that when you start off as friends it is easier to get to know the person. They are more comfortable around you and you are able to see their true self. When you jump into a relationship (and the friendship comes after) sometimes you are blinded and unable to see their true self (this is a lesson what one of my best friends had to learn the hard way). Being able to start off as friends I believe allows you to start off on the right foot.
I know that when I find the person who is to be my eternal companion, that I will want them to be my friend first. I know from the marriages around me that when you start off as friends, you are able to build a better foundation for your relationship. I know that when you have a solid foundation, you are able to build a sturdy relationship upon it, which hopefully will last for eternity. I also know that by having a friendship first you are able to learn the little quirks, and little tricks to help fight against the storms that will come up in marriage. I know that when I find my eternal companion that I will want him to be my husband AND my friend.
Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (1999). The seven principles for making marriage work. New York: Crown.