I think that’s a very important question. I have been married for two and a half years to my wonderful wife and we have known each other for a total of seven years. First off, I will say that what makes a truly "better life together" is continuous work at trying to be a better husband, man, etc. and a wife who has similar goals for herself.
All things being equal though, having a friendship with your spouse means that you enjoyed being around her before sex was in the picture. Marriage is a lifelong relationship and while the excitement and intimacy of being lovers is a wonderful part of it, it isn’t what makes up the majority of your life together. It's great to have a beautiful and sexy wife who never fails to make my heart race, but ultimately it is my respect for who my wife is as a person that really makes our marriage as strong as it is. Her intelligence, integrity, and forgiveness have helped a thousand times more than her smile.
I am not saying you need to go around to all your female friends to find a suitable dating partner (you may very well lose your friends that way), but I would say that when you do find yourself in a romantic relationship and are contemplating where it is heading, ask yourself “would I want to be around this person if we weren’t in a romantic relationship?” “If I wasn’t going to have a physical relationship with this person, would I still want to spend so much time with them?” If the answer is no, I would probably look for someone else.
On that same note, you should be evaluating how you behave in the relationship too. I think there is nothing sadder than a man who stops his pursuit of a woman once he has married her. No man would expect to stay friends with someone without spending time and showing concern for that person, a wife should receive more than a platonic friendship, not less.
Whoever you decide to date, keep in mind that that person is someone's daughter and will probably be someone's wife, so treat her with respect.
+1 I was friends with my wife for three years before we started dating and it worked out well. I especially agree with what you said about a man that stops his pursuit of a woman when they get married. Some people say they take divorce off the table in the beginning, but that is a good way to find yourself divorced. I know my wife could leave at anytime she wanted to, and she know I could as well. It is that fact that keeps us still pursuing each other and not getting complacent, I know if I don't buy her flowers or tell her nice things she can find someone else that will and if she doesn't start picking up her dirty close I can find someone that will.
Some will argue the opposite that by taking divorce off the table you want to make sure the other person is happy since you are going to be with them forever, but that seems easy to be complacent if the other person doesn't complain much. There is a whole thread on her somewhere that talks about that.
The best way to make a girl friend a girlfriend is send her flowers when she gets some good news as a congratulations or send her flowers when she is sick. Follow it up with dinner as friends with just the two of you and let things go from there. After a few dinner as friends with just the two of you, move on to dinner as more than friends. Next thing you know you will be married with two kids and one on the way.
But now I have rambled, yes it is better to be friends first.
Wow...great insight. So far, with all the women I have dated, it started out as a romantic relationship, then we discovered we don't really like each others personalities. Then it ended.
I asked this all important question because I'm 26 and will be moving to a very big city in Dec for a year, first. I do see myself as a married man one day, still having his own life to pursue all my interest but want to meet that special someone the right way.
I am Catholic and have other values which I want to share with this woman and I want to make my relationship life fulfilling. I always believe we can't always control the problems coming in, but we can control how we handle it. I want a woman who thinks the same way.
Thx for the good advice. Yes, I am truly working on my own self. Reading a lot, going out and doing all the things I want to do. I'm very calm abt finding the one because I have faith. Faith is key for anything.
Yes. Marriage is, in some respects, a lifelong friendship ... so building on that foundation is extremely important.
But, its a fine line to tread. You want to be friends ... but you don't want to be "friends" to such an extent that she's coming to you to ask whether you think this other guy is hot for her. If you've reached that point, you've gone too far and probably graduated from "friend" to "girlfriend". You don't want to be one of her girlfriends ... or she's likely to place you completely out of her mind with regard to actually having a relationship with you.
Depending on her maturity level she may be asking him about another guy to see is reaction, it is completely immature in my opinion, but it could be her way of say "I like you, but I want to see if you like me enough to get jealous".
I think the test is more, " I was hoping you'd get all jealous and declare your love for me like a man". I thinks it's immature, since a girl can make the first move as easy as a guy can. It would be immature for him to try the same test the other way as well.
Well, truth be told, we as men need to stop getting women to think like us. Just accept them, and call them on their bullshit when the time is right. When is that? When the hormones have died down. Throwing fuel on the fire never helps.
Yes, I think it does. It can be tricky in some respects, I suppose, like knowing where to draw the line (like JB wrote; you don't want to graduate to "girlfriend" status) but I tend to think the best relationships were friends first.
Interesting article Rebekah, the only thing I would question is this:
"What they found, however, was that after an average of twenty-five years of marriage, there was virtually no difference among the three different groups in terms of commitment to each other, and closeness. "
What percentage of the group that fell in love "fast" stayed married for twenty-five years compared to those who got to know each other first?
The book should tell you the average length of marriage for each "kind" of couple, though the study only involved present "long-term relationships" (averaging 25 years of marriage), so it wouldn't include prior relationships or prior marriages of the participants.
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