Therapist: Who do you consider your best friend?
Wife: Samantha, I have known her since childhood.
Therapist: Who do you approach when you have problems?
Wife: Why, Samantha, of course!
Therapist: Not your Husband?
Wife: No, when I have problems I confide in Samantha.
Therapist to Husband: What are your thoughts regarding this?
Husband: I have always known about this. I have no problem with it.
The couple above is in therapy since they fight and have no effective communication
Among the evaluation techniques used in marriage/couples therapy is asking each member of the couple to mention their best friend. On most occasions, those who answer that it is my partner usually have the best outcome as a result of treatment. The aspect does not to imply that married couples don’t or cannot have good friends. Friendships do not end with marriage. Nevertheless, a marital relationship entails something very special. It topples any best friend relationship that existed before.
According to the Dictionary, “A friend is someone you know well and like a lot, but who is not a member of your family.”
When there is eminent overlap between best friends and married couples, something is not right somewhere. A best friend should be someone you confide in, you feel affection towards and even love them. However, when it comes to best friends there are no complex sexual relationships. As a matter of fact, the ongoing nature of the sexual relationship distinguishes the difference between married couples and best friends. Marriage comes with a deep intimacy that has the ability to transcend other relationships, even the ones that involve family members.
In the context of a marital relationship, couples tend to share their deepest passions, secrets, ambitions, doubts, insecurities, dreams and fantasies. Also important is that married couples share their finances and financial struggles. Put into consideration that, most often, there are children involved. This develops a bond that is quite different to the closest best friend relationship.
There are qualities that ought to be there for a healthy marriage.
According to John Gottman, Ph.D; an expert on marriage, a sound marriage is based on:
1. Knowing each other’s life well. This helps identify the other partner worries about and what they are hoping for.
2. Mutual admiration and affection.
3. Repairing conflicts by expressing remorse and humor when the conflict becomes loud and out of control.
4. Possess conflict regulation skills. This entails handling difficult issues with understanding, tact and respect for what the other partner desires, values and means. It is also vital to have the ability of de-escalating the emotional climate.
5. Positive response to bids for affection. It builds fondness, trust and an aspect of caring.
6. Not to refusing to talk or communicate or using stonewalling. The aspect develops a punitive effect and increases resentment and anger.
If the qualities of a healthy marriage are not prevalent, then it is time to undertake an assessment. When the assessment results to a conclusion that things are not proceeding well in the marriage, there is need to seek third-party help.