There's a truth about making a relationship work that most people brush off. When we're young and in love, it can feel like the the love we're feeling is ever-lasting. But there will come a time when the handsome hunk you once stared at with stars in your eyes is now only a fleeting memory. Your exciting young love will become monotonous and life's ups and downs will put pressure on your relationship. All couples struggle through these trying times, but the ones that are married 30, 40, even 50 years later have something in common.
They report that their lover is also their best friend.
A 2014 working paper from the National Bureau of Economics found that couples who said they were each other's best friend were happier, and reported higher life satisfaction, than couples who considered someone else to be their best friend irregardless of marital status. Study coauthor John Halliwell said, "Maybe what is really important [in a relationship] is friendship."
We commonly blow off this age-old adage because we think well of course the person we're spending all of our time with is our best friend. But, in actuality, he may not be.
It takes a lot of time and investment in another person to get to the place where you consider him or her your best friend, and this fact alone goes against what most people think makes a great relationship, i.e. the instant chemistry and can't-get-my-hands-off-of-you passion.
In many instances, when the romantic passion wanes, so too does the relationship. But according to research, both scientific and anecdotal, it's beyond the passion where the friendship lies when you truly experience the benefits of a happy and healthy relationship.
So how can you become best friends in love? By working on a friendship in addition to the romance. According to Psychology Today, a friend has the following attributes:
Able to trust others
Has good listening skills
Supportive of others in good times and bad
Fun to be around
Able to see humor in life
Do you offer these qualities to your partner? Does he offer them to you? Perfect these and you may be able to give the same advice to others when they ask you what made your relationship stand the test of time.