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julie portrait3BW[From Julie]  We’ve all seen wedding invitation the quote “This day I will marry my friend, the one I laugh with, live for, dream with, love.” written on them.  It was a popular kind of romantic statement that couples used to use to describe their relationship.  I remember my grandmother telling me once that she didn’t particularly like that saying because you marry someone who is so much more than just a glorified friend.  I think she was trying to say that you should have higher hopes for your marriage and your spouse than just close friendship.  While I think she was right I also think the friendship factor in your marriage has amazing power.

When Noel and I got married I wouldn’t have said Noel was my best friend.  My bridesmaids were my best friends and my family.  I really liked Noel 🙂 but if you asked me to think of my friends I thought of my girlfriends.  Noel was my husband and so much more than a friend.  Now after several years together, Noel is my best friend.  He above everyone else is the one that I want to do things with, tell stories with and share my life with.  I love his jokes, his stories, his way of looking at the world, his compassion and his honesty.  No one makes me laugh more than him. Our sons are a close second though.  I just simply like being with him.  Developing this kind of friendship wasn’t something that either one of us really gave a lot of thought.  It just, sort of, came naturally to us however if you and your spouse have very little in common it takes a great deal of effort.

Most couples got started as friends.  Typically you got to know someone and thought they were interesting or fun to be with.  That may have been what led you to start a dating relationship with them which was likely enjoyable.  This friendship starts to grow as you enjoy your time together.  You’re still friends but so much more as time goes on.  And what do friends do? They have fun together!

The friendship factor is one of those things that binds you together and keeps you close.  If you choose to have kids you can easily push your own relationship to the back burner while you focus on the more pressing needs of small children.  Those years can be tough to get through.  That’s why so many marriages seem to fall apart.  You start to drift and do very little together as a couple.  Soon you find yourself living with a stranger with whom you share nothing, other than the kids.  He has his interests and you have yours.  You don’t enjoy each other’s company like you once did and you rarely see the fun in your relationship anymore.  All your conversations revolve around the kids.  You may not be fighting but the ties that bind are weakening the same way they do when a friend drifts out of your life for no real reason.

If you are in that stage of life right now, make it a priority to build some mommy and daddy fun into your life.  That’s why you hear people encouraging couples to make sure you have date night or get aways.  It’s important to spend time enjoying each other and taking an interest in each other’s hobbies.  It keeps you looking to each other for the encouragement and support you need, as well as the laughs.  The friendship factor keeps you looking forward to the next adventure in life because you are doing it with your best friend.

So, if you have a husband who is really into hockey.  Go to a game or two with him.  Don’t worry I feel your pain on this one.  🙂  He may even take you out to dinner to your favorite place which definitely sweetens the deal let me tell ya.  at-at-star-wars-costumeIf your husband loves Star Wars.  Watch the movies with him.  I almost had to resuscitate Noel when I told him I had never seen these movies as a kid.  Well, I’ve seen them all now with him and it wasn’t that bad.  Husbands, if your wife likes Twilight, same thing goes.  It’s not going to kill you to see them with her.  Also take her shopping if she enjoys that even if you don’t.  Of course you don’t have to do everything together.  Outside interests are great however friends spend time together so there should be some things you like to do as a couple.  Pick something and do it.

Lovers are more than sex partners, and sex partners are more than friends but you need to tend the friendship within your marriage like Malakilli looks after the Rancor monster in Jabba the Hutt’s palace, or at least that’s what Noel says.