Is it safe to say that most romantic relationships do not begin as friendships? Often people lament the position of being placed in the "friend zone". With such fear that comes from the position of being a friend, one might imagine that it is the black hole where relationship possibilities go to die.
Lack of friendship in relationships may actually be the reason many relationships have such friction and turmoil that they cannot overcome. Sure you can be smitten with someone, but that is all about "chemistry" and attraction. At the core, you may not even like the person very much as a person. That's where friendship is key.
Yesterday, President Obama posted pictures on Facebook of he and the First Lady with the following caption:
“The friendship that we established early on in our marriage … that carries you through tough times. That and a good sense of humor.”— President Obama
Most people, on a non-partisan basis, see the genuine love that seems to radiate from the Obamas. When they are together, it is almost as though they share a secret that no one else in the room knows but them. The laughs, the warmth, and the tender moments seemingly breathe life into their relationship. Many can see the friendship bond that exists between them.
Why have friendship in a romantic relationship?
- When a relationship includes friendship there is a bond that is wholly separate from the duties and responsibilities of two people being committed romantically to one another.
- True friendships come from a place that includes genuine transparency. A person likes you for who you are, not what you can do for him or her. There are no airs to be put on.
- Friendship offers a release. You can share with your friend anything without worrying about it ruining the friendship.
- Friendships usually come with a level of respect that has been formed over time that is not tied to your romantic feelings for one another.
- Friends often give and receive the benefit of the doubt because they know you and your intentions.
- With true friendship there are no requirements to impress the other person. You are who you are and that is enough.
- The "like factor" is heavily at play. You can separate how you feel about the person from something they have done. You just like the friend because part of who he or she is connects with who you are.
- Expectations are not heavily involved. You do not pour all your hopes and expectations on your friend.
- Laughter and pure unadulterated fun comes with good friendship.
- Spending time with the person is a want, not a requirement.
Often you can see the difference in couples who have a genuine friendship versus those who are just romantically linked. Too often that difference is a level of selflessness exists in those who have friendships where it does not appear in those that do not.
Further the warmth of the relationship increases the more deeply rooted the friendship. You see it in how they look at one another and how playful they are. Whereas, being "in love" is beautiful, being in friendship that produces love, is genuinely amazing.