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The #1 Most Important Factor for a Long-Lasting, Happy Relationship


Many women want to be happy, have a relationship that lasts, and have more passion in their love life. Great news! If you can relate, studies have been conducted to explain the number one way to accomplish this.


Finding Happiness in a Relationship

Purdue University conducted a study that was published in The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships that revealed ONE THING  that does more for the long-term survival, happiness, and passion of couples than anything else. 

The researchers of this study surveyed couples and asked what they valued most about their relationships. Their responses showed that the number one secret to a long-lasting, romantic relationship wasn’t the chemistry that we often think is the most important in love. Instead it’s  friendship. 

This study showed that valuing friendship with a partner helps create a relationship with more commitment, greater love, more passion, and deeper romance. Additionally, couples who described their partners as a friend--first and foremost--said they were happier! 

Laura Vandergrift, the lead author for this study, notes that relationships are friendships at their core and friendship is a good predictor of long-term success of a relationship. She also said  that couples could solve several relationship problems at once simply by focusing on improving their friendship.

Finding Long-Term Success in a Relationship

A second study, a national poll conducted by Monmouth University, revealed even more great information about the happiness and longevity of relationships. The researchers in this poll asked couples, who had been married for over 15 years, why their relationship lasted, and the number one reason was that their partner is their best friend. 

Not only is it important to be friends for the long-term success of a relationship, but it is also crucial during the dating process. Being friends initially, while dating, builds trust. It helps alleviate concerns that a man might not be trustworthy or safe. Trust is so foundational for both a relationship and a friendship, and being friends first allows time for trust to develop.  

Creating Grace in a Relationship

Next, being friends creates grace in your relationship. A woman tends to be harder on a man she is romantically interested in than a man with whom she is just friends. When she slows down in a relationship and focuses on friendship, she will typically give a man more grace. 

When you jump right into a relationship, you may have your mental checklist out. Check! Check! Check! to see if your new love interest is meeting your criteria. Scrutinizing a man adds unnecessary pressure to any budding relationship and stops a friendship from developing, while creating space for friendship to grow can alleviate pressure. 

By being friends first, you can focus on being yourself. This can help eliminate some of the worry and concern you might have about not measuring up. ithout a foundational friendship, you may hold back, focus on how to make the best impression, and become overly concerned about not being enough. 

When you move slowly into a relationship without bypassing the friendship stage, you will feel so much more confident being yourself. And, it’s so important to be able to be yourself because you can’t be loved for the real you if you aren’t showing the real you!  

The Faster the Burn, the Quicker the Breakup

Another way being friends first will benefit your relationship is by helping to avoid dating flame out. Movies teach  that relationships are all about passion and finding one’s soulmate.  But Dr. Gary Lidowski, professor and chair for Monmouth University, who conducted the study previously I mentioned, says believing in soulmates is not necessarily ideal for a relationship.  Research indicates that those who believe in soulmates and destiny are actually more likely to break up. 

That’s worth repeating. 

Research indicates that those who believe in soulmates and destiny are actually more likely to break up. 

On the other hand, people who believe a relationship will grow over time have a more stable foundation and are better at dealing with conflict. Taking time to build a friendship and get to know one another sets a strong foundation, while rushing into a relationship can cause dating flame out. 

Defining Friendship 

Some women don’t know what it means to be friends first in a relationship. Granted, it can be a confusing topic! In reality, it’s quite simple, because a non-romantic relationship and a romantic relationship are built on the same qualities. 

For example. . . 

Both non-romantic and romantic relationships can be great because of trust. 

Both non-romantic and romantic relationships can be great because of respect. 

Both non-romantic and romantic relationships can be great because of friendship.  

If it’s challenging for you to determine if you have established a friendship with a man, I invite you to try this quick exercise: take out a piece of paper and write down all the qualities that make someone a great friend. 

After you’re done with your list, if you cannot confidently say that the man you are dating or interested in meets these qualities, he’s not the one for you. You want to have a friend for the long haul so you can have a great relationship that goes the distance. 

The next thing you want to do is set a clear definition of friendship, especially at the beginning of your relationship. This can help prevent you from skipping over the friendship stage. 

For example, a couple might say they are just friends, but they are making out or sexually involved, and there isn’t any commitment.  Take some time to determine if your man is already a friend and you feel ready to move into the next stages of a relationship, such as exclusive dating or engagement. If you’re convinced you’re building a friendship, make sure your actions and words match the friendship stage of a relationship. 

In closing, I want to invite you to remember that it is so important for couples to be friends first because that’s where you end up after the honeymoon phase. If you don’t  have a good foundation of friendship, your relationship will be in trouble. Studies show that the honeymoon phase lasts about three years, and after that initial high of a chemistry wears off, what you have left is friendship. If you start as friends, you will always be friends.  

I can testify as someone who is married to her best friend that friendship makes a relationship great! 

If you are the kind of person who gets anxious about new relationships, nervous when things start to get serious, or worried when a guy starts to show interest in you, visit ShanaSchutteCoaching.com for some one-on-one coaching! 

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