How to rekindle your friendship with your spouse
Who’s your favourite couple of all time — the pair that works, that fits, that you’d aspire to be? Maybe they live next door. Maybe Harry and Sally spring to mind.
What do you think makes them work? Chances are, it’s not enduring passion or uncensored PDAs (public displays of affection). It’s the respect, warmth, honesty and fun these couples share. In short, they’re friends.
Friendship is essential to romantic love. While friends don’t necessarily become lovers, the best of lovers are the best of friends. To connect with someone intimately requires abiding trust. We have to trust that we can truly be ourselves and, in doing so, we create a deep connection that is the basis of friendship.
Sure, friendship isn’t enough. We also want that crazy chemistry, that electrical spark that sends shockwaves up our spines when s/he touches you in that place. But is it realistic to think that we’ll feel that fusion all the time? No.
So what does that leave you with? Hopefully, a best friend — someone who laughs at your jokes, understands instantly why your mother and her sister can’t be seated together at Easter and knows without you saying a word what “that look” means and whether it’s a one- or two-glass night.
Does that mean that if you haven’t married your best friend all is lost? No! But here’s some truly controversial advice: Stop scheduling sex and start scheduling, oh, I don’t know, pillow fights, movie nights, baseball games. If being bon amis is the basis for bon amour, spend a little time fortifying the friendship. Here’s how:
Spend a little time reminiscing. Think back to the early days. What did you do together before the house, the dog, the kids, the hockey practices and the ballet recitals? Likely, what attracted you to each other in the first place were shared interests. Make an inventory of those interests.
Explore your mutual interests. Now, take a good look at that list and consider re-exploring one of those pursuits. If you both love art, go take in an exhibit. Keeping the love alive means keeping the friendship alive and that requires what I call “memory maintenance” — you can’t keep withdrawing from your bank of memories without putting some new memories back in.
Develop new mutual interests. If you’re having trouble finding common ground, develop a new love together. If you both love to cook, take a cooking class together. Love music? Get a season’s pass to the symphony, or membership at a local jazz joint. The point is, by building your out-of-bedroom bonds you are insuring your love, too.
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Conscious ParentingShefali Tsabary, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist with a private practice in New York.