Whoever said marriage and friendship go together perfectly, said it right. Research in the Journal of Happiness Studies shows that not only are married couples happier in the long-term than single people, but being best friends with your spouse is linked to even higher levels of satisfaction. This isn’t just a honeymoon-phase peak in happiness — it is even true for couples who have been together for years and years.
When the couples are best friends, the benefits are even stronger. “To begin with, both the partners should like each other and should be happy to be together. In addition, they should have a common interest, which leads them to be good friends who value each other,” says psychologist Sanjoy Mukherji.
Befriend your partner
“We have relationships with all kinds of people — mother-child, student-teacher, friendship, best friends, the whole range of romantic relationships, from girlfriend to wife. But the one relationship where things are most sorted, most forgiven, most cool and most calm is with your friends and that’s what make it so special,” explains psychiatrist Dr Shefali Batra.
You have a fight with your partner, you feel like talking to your best friend. You have a fight with your mom, you feel like talking to your friend. You are really upset with your teacher, you want to talk to your friend. “So, when you look at someone as your friend you are actually equal because friends are always equal,” adds Dr Shefali.
A friend is someone whom we would call even in the middle of the night and when we don’t feel like waking up our partners because they might be irritated to be disturbed. Thus, making friendship the most giving and easy relationship. “Two years went by pretty fast. We had our ups and downs but they were wonderful in its own way. We became best of friends and now I know her inside out...I guess more than her best friend!” claims Vaibhav Jain, a Mumbai resident, who had an arranged marriage with Riddhi Jain.
Another thing about friendship is openness and communication. Whatever you have on your mind, you say it because you want the friend to know and that’s what friendship is all about. It’s always better to say it versus hide it because the lie will hurt more. Hence that friendship is the optimal relationship, where you are completely open to being yourself. One should not see their partner as somebody who is there for them at all times, somebody who is compulsorily supposed to be doing these things etc.
These categorisations of a partner lead to unrealistic expectations, as opposed to friendship where everyone is equal. “In relationships, there are two sides. But when it comes to best friends, it’s not about you and me, it’s about us and then the families are ours, problems are ours. There is no difference on either side,” explains Riddhi Jain.
It’s a bonus
When partners are each other’s best friend, it not only makes their married life easier but it becomes beautiful whether it’s an arranged marriage or love marriage. “Fundamentally, it’s not different for either–love and arranged marriages,” says psychologist Sanjoy Mukherji.
However, for love marriages you know your partner pretty well, but when it comes to arranged marriages you may not know the disposition of the person well until and unless you have spent a lot of time with the person. So, that makes the difference. “Hence, if the spouse is the best friend, definitely the sex life will be real fun, no two opinions about it,” admits Sanjoy.
Openness and communication are also important for a good sex life while feeling that intimacy with your partner. Sometimes we even discuss our sex life with friends, we talk about our past experiences. It’s difficult to do this with your partner as envy and jealous come in. “But if you look at your partner as your friend, you will actually be able to talk about your sexual experiences or encounters of the past and you will not judge the other person because friends don’t judge,” specifies Dr Shefali.
Hence, you will be more open about your sexual communication and be understanding and receptive of what they are saying. For example, if you don’t like to be kissed in a particular way or you just want to cuddle, you will be able to communicate it to your partner. “At this point in time I always feel that I took the best decision to marry Preeti as she was my friend first and then my wife. Also, the understanding and the communication have improved which makes our relationship better and healthy,” says Prashant Dudhediya from Nashik, who had a love marriage.
Other factors that matter
“Being friends with your partner definitely cuts down on high expectations, as your partner understands you better and already knows so much about you. You can just be yourself, you do not have to pretend or put in efforts to please your partner. I think mutual respect, loyalty, trust, overlooking each other’s weaknesses are equally important,” says Preeti Dudhediya, wife of Prashant.
“According to me, the element of love is of great importance, but in no world is a best friend not loved. It sure is one of the most important qualities to have a happy married life but there are other keys as well to take care of – love, respect, appreciation, understanding, support and faith that my spouse will always be there with me no matter what,” concludes Sanjoy.