Those sweet words graced the cover of my longtime friend’s wedding program. Yes, she was marrying her friend, her love, the first person she thought of to share good news or heartbreak. But, on this exciting and hope-filled day, the question was, “Is friendship enough?”
Enjoying a satisfying long-term relationship takes more than friendship. Think about the friends and acquaintances in your life today. You likely enjoy common interests such as long walks in the park, music or skiing. You may even enjoy spending weeks-long vacations together. But can you see yourself living with them day in and day out? Perhaps it’s the chemistry between you and your friend, your love that will make the difference. Does friendship + chemistry equal a satisfying long-term relationship? Not really. Many of us can think of at least one couple whose breakup left us surprised and wondering why. If friendship + chemistry do not result in the satisfying long-term relationship many people seek, then what is missing?
The missing link could be a set of relationship skills with communication and negotiation being chief among them. Indeed, we need those skills, but there are others too. After all, what are we communicating and negotiating about? The art of money management comes to mind. How will the two of you handle money? Will you place all of your income into a joint account from which all bills are paid? Or will you divide the bills 50/50? There is also the option of each of you contributing an amount commiserate with your individual income. And by the way, have you and your partner discussed how much debt you both will bring into the union? Will that debt be paid jointly or individually? Taking the time to acquire the skills to work through these details (and a myriad of others) beforehand can help foster a satisfying long-term relationship. And, after years of such a lasting relationship, these skills can help you look back at the day you married your friend with a smile.