For many people, the word relationship has become a byword for two people who are romantically and sexually involved with each other. This however, presents a very narrow view of the range of important connections human beings need to sustain healthy lives.
Friendships, for instance, are some of the most important relationships you will make in your life. And while it can be easy to neglect your friendships as you deepen your bond with your spouse, doing so will only harm your marriage in the long run.
Here’s why friendships outside of marriage are important for you and your marriage.
They Keep You Healthy and Living Longer
According to research by a Harvard-affiliated institute, meaningful relationships are crucial to sustaining better mental, physical, and emotional health. Maintaining meaningful friendships plays a significant role in health, longevity, and happiness.
Social connections and the quality of those connections strongly determine people’s health and happiness. Relationships that are conflict-ridden tend to affect health adversely—as does loneliness.
They Help You To Pursue and Realize Your Goals
While you may have found a lot in common with your spouse during the early stages of your dating and married life, over time, you may have come to recognize glaring differences in interests. This can make pursuing such interests difficult when your partner doesn’t share your enthusiasm and drive.
Making friends who share your interests and goals can provide you an opportunity to learn and grow. An opportunity that you may otherwise have missed out on.
They Provide Different Perspectives
If the only perspectives you get to hear are those of your spouse and family members, there’s a good chance they’re biased or rehashed. Communicating with friends allows you an avenue for new and fresh perspectives on anything ranging from a new TV show to college tuition fees.
They Provide an Avenue for Independence
Co-dependency—a relationship trait whereby one person enables and supports the other’s destructive behavior—is far less healthy for both parties than a relationship based on mutual independence. Spending personal time with friends can help spouses develop that sense of independence, while remaining committed to each other.
As a leading marriage and family therapist in Palo Alto, Azizeh has helped countless couples revive their relationships. She helps them identify underlying issues that harm their marriage so they can reconnect with each other.
Call (650) 206-9973 to schedule a free 20-minutes consultation.