Your relationships with other people will do more to determine your success and happiness in life than any other single factor and the choice of a mate is the most important relationship of all. Successful men and women are those who can enter into a long-term, loving and intimate relationship with another person and maintain that relationship throughout life.
One of the great purposes of marriage and intimate relationships is to give each of us the opportunity to evolve grow and prosper to our fullest capacity. This requires true love and a total commitment by both people to the relationship.
When you truly love another person you want that person to fulfill his or her potential, to become everything that he or she is capable of becoming. If there's the slightest reluctance or hesitation in creating or supporting every opportunity for the other person to grow and develop you may have a relationship but not a very strong or loving one.
This is what makes the "friendship factor" so important in long-lasting relationships. You must genuinely like your partner first. It's much more important and satisfying to genuinely like your partner than to be in love, because in a long-term relationship people tend to fall in and out of love and the amount of emotion that each person feels for the other may vary with the passage of time. So, if two people are friends and they genuinely like and respect each other the relationship can endure indefinitely.
When one person stops liking or respecting the other person for any reason then the relationship or marriage is usually over. For example, many couples fall in love, then, break up and never speak again, because they never took the time to become friends first. They never learned how to genuinely like and respect each other as an individual, rather than just as a romantic partner.
Marriage and relationships often don't work out, but if the two people are friends first they would most likely still be able to communicate and interact on an adult level without any negativity or hatred after the break-up.
How can you tell if you and your mate are best friends? If you feel that that there is no one else in the world that you would rather be with, share time with, talk with and tell things to, then he or she is your best friend.
If for any reason your don't feel that your spouse or your mate is your best friend, that you don't feel that you'd rather be with him or her than anyone else, it's a good indicator that something is wrong in the relationship. In most of the studies regarding long-term marriages that I've read, each person always describes the other as his or her best friend in the world.
Here are some keys to keys to keep the "friendship factor" alive and cultivating a long-term happy and loving relationship:
You must respect and accept yourself. You are entitled to receive the same consideration from your spouse or partner that you give, but be sure you are not expecting to get from him or her, what you should be giving yourself. You must have a high-level of self-esteem if you want your spouse or partner to respect you.
Build up your spouse's or partner's self-esteem with simple complements. Take the time every day to point out something he or she does or says that is really good and that you appreciate.
Make the time to talk every evening. No matter how busy or hectic your day has been or how tired you are, take 30 minutes before you go to sleep to talk with your spouse about how each other's day has been.
Be specific about what you want. When you need something from your spouse or partner, discuss that one issue. Be specific about your need. Focus on the issues, not on the emotions.
Speak up when something is bothering you, talk about it instead of becoming silent and withdrawn. Get the matter out into the open and hear both sides of the issue. Unless you tell your mate what is bothering you, you will never be able to solve the problem.
When you don't like something your spouse or mate does always tell him or her, but do it in a positive way. Suggest an alternative that is acceptable to both. For example, if you don't like the way your spouse is dressed, tell him or her how attractive he or she is in the type of clothing you like.
Avoid the "It's really nothing" syndrome. You set yourself up to be taken for granted by pretending your efforts are not important. For example, if you have done work in the yard or cleaned the house, point it out and make it known that you like to have your efforts recognized and appreciated.
Don't wait to have your efforts noticed. People today, including your spouse or partner are absorbed with their own concerns. You have to show or tell him or her what you have done.
Because of the strenuous demands of every day life, relationships today are more difficult than ever to keep together, but they are worth it. When you take the time to become best friends and have a genuine like and respect for your spouse or partner you have the foundation for a long-lasting and loving relationship.
Copyright©2007 by Joe Love and JLM & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.