One of the most common questions couples who have been together for a long time are asked is, ‘What’s your secret? What has kept you together this long?’ Some people say it’s all about communication and some people say a strong sex life is important. While it isn’t an easy question to answer, one study believes that it has found the key.
The Relationship Secret You’re Missing
A relationship between two people is a commitment to each other. It’s the understanding that, whether everything is going right or everything is going wrong, the only person you need by your side is your partner. And while many people will claim to have the answer, one study conducted on thousands of couples on marriage and happiness may have come up with the definite answer.
The study, conducted by John Helliwell, co-author of the UN World Happiness Report, has found that the secret to a long-lasting and fruitful relationship has nothing to do with sex or listening, or having a dedicated date night.
The secret, as it turns out, is whether or not you see your romantic partner as your closest friend.
Not only that, the study also revealed that couples who saw each other as best friends and lived together were just as happy as married couples that saw themselves as best friends. This news is rather surprising, especially in a culture that regards marriage as the natural evolution of a relationship and the key to a successful relationship.
This evidence shows that people are moving away from seeing marriage as a true indicator of being happy together. The research found that people in a long-lasting relationship – married or otherwise – referred to their partners as friends first before their lovers.
First Comes Friends, Then Comes Love…
These findings seem to make sense, as there are plenty of stories of friends becoming lovers. But many people are still wary of dating their friends, let alone being in a serious and long-term relationship.
While society tells us it’s a bad idea, and that a romantic relationship can ruin a friendship, science is telling us something different. In an interview with the New York Times , Helliwell said,
“Maybe what is really important [in a relationship] is friendship, and to never forget that in the push and pull of daily life.”
Why Is Friendship So Important?
Let’s look at what makes a great friendship. A great friendship revolves around mutual trust, mutual respect, mutual giving, and mutual joy.
The key word here is ‘mutual’, things need to go both ways in order for a friendship to be successful. So why would it be any different for a relationship?
A true friend is someone that is there for you in the worst of times and the best of times, so wouldn’t it make sense for that person to also be the one you’ve committed to spending your life with? And we’re not just talking about marriage, we’re talking about the person you want to see lying next to you in the morning. The one you want to laugh and cry with. Your soulmate.
When a relationship uses a genuine friendship as its foundation, there is no limit to what the two of you can build together.