I know most, if not all of us have heard the saying "marry your friend" right? You have probably wondered how to go about it.
Do you start the relationship and develop the friendship along the way or you become friends before the relationship status comes in. Some of us have even tried dating or courting (whichever one suits you) our friends but it seemed like the friendship evaporated immediately we put the dating/courtship title on the relationship and we wonder what happened?
Let me tell you what happened, we assumed since we were already good friends, the relationship will take care of itself. We thought nothing could go wrong, we already know one another, the only thing changing is the fact that we upgraded our friendship nothing more.
Wrong. You need that same deliberate effort it took to build the friendship to also build the relationship.
No friendship ever happens by chance. It's a deliberate effort. Building any relationship demands intentionality. Meeting the person might have been by chance, you didn't see it coming. It might even be an acquaintance but a conversation with that person sparked your interest and you decided to give friendship with the person a chance. You probably think, it just happened, No, you made an unconscious decision to pursue it.
The same way you need to approach being friends with your partner with a deliberate effort. It won't just fall into your laps because you already have butterflies flying in your stomach or because he/she makes you smile unnecessarily. If that's all you are depending on, it will shock you. So how we we build this friendship?
• Take time to Study and Understand your Partner.
After you have decided to build the friendship, the first thing is to take time to know this person. Find out his/her areas of interest,(hobby, dreams and aspirations, food, relax mechanism) basically like you want to write a composition about them. Their interests would most likely be different from yours but you would always have one or two common grounds. Try to develop interest in what interests your partner. it doesn't have to become your favorite overnight but a little interest goes a long way.
For example, most guys love football. As a lady, you don't suddenly have to become a pro at the game. You might still not enjoy watching the game but one thing you should never do is ridicule his interest and vice versa. Don't go all, "I don't understand how grown up men would be running around after one small object" it just puts him off. Imagine he ridicule your love for shoes like that, the butterflies in your stomach can die.
• Use Their Love Language.
Try to understand your partner's love language and speak it to them as often as possible. Nobody wants to be friends with someone who they feel doesn't love or appreciate them. A way to find out is by trying all the five love languages and look out for the one for which they express the most gratitude and affection or you can simply ask.
The method to use would largely depend on your partner's personality. For someone like me, I would prefer you find out yourself, it gives me the vibe that you really care and you are willing to go to lengths to prove your love. Don't mind me, that's just my own.
• Spend time with your partner!
This one cannot be overemphasized. You can't claim to want to be my friend if you don't spend time with me. Don't be such an home buddy, go out with your partner, you can stay home sometimes though. Spend quality time, do fun stuff together, explore your areas of interest together.
These things bring you closer and help you understand each other better. It doesn't have to be expensive outings, don't do beyond your pockets. Cut your coat according to your clothe(material).
I know some people are already countering my with the reasons they can't do all that. Wait, don't be quick to attack me with there's no time or our job doesn't afford us time to be together as much as we want. All those are excuses.
Thank God for technology, there are numerous ways to spend the with someone now without physically being together. You can chat(this is one of the best and cheapest ways), have long calls, plan video calls. This does not in any way throw away or reduce the importance of physically seeing your partner but they are supplementary ways for you in case you can't hangout as much as you want.
• Do Spiritual exercise together.
Setting aside marriage relationship, your connection grows stronger with that friend whom you know you can agree together with to lift up your request to God. Friends that refer you to God, the type that always reminds you of your spiritual stand in case you are drifting, the type that lifts you up in prayer. The friends that worship and share the word. That kind of friendship just hits on a whole different level. Now imagine when you have that person as a partner, the connection would be deep. Nothing builds friendship faster than finding someone who shares same or similar value system as you.
Many steps can be written on building friendship with your partner but the most important thing is to be a person of integrity, a person that is trustworthy. Nobody wants to be friends with someone whose stand they don't seem to get. You are here and you are there. We all want to have the security that our friends are in the same corner with us, we trust them to a certain extent, it should be greater for a partner. If trust is broken in your relationship, building the friendship would be hard. Let's make sure to always have the trust and respect of our partners. God help us in Jesus name.
Written by Oluwadamilola Olabusuyi