Friendship First, Lovers Second Look at your spouse as a whole instead of individual parts. BY SHARON BIRKMAN FINK
Reconnect using the basics of love.
The secrets for being a good friend should all be applied to being a good spouse. The extent to which we can see our spouses for who they are and still love them as friends, in addition to any romantic attachment, will be the extent to which the relationship will continue to grow together rather than grow apart.
What do friends do for each other? They are loyal, they are there in a pinch, they respect and trust one another, and they like each other in spite of their problems and idiosyncrasies. A friend is able to look at a whole person, to see all the plusses and minuses and to accept that person’s warts and all.
It is important to find out what makes your partner your friend and why you get along so well when you do. For instance, people are not merely sets of attributes without meaning. They are more than height, weight and age. Each individual is a whole person, a complex organism with its own rules and logic and often motivated by unconscious principles.
These unconscious principles can be partially determined through personality testing, and partially through years of experience getting to know a person in unguarded moments. Personality testing can give you insight into your spouse’s fears, hopes, strengths, secret talents and the way in which your spouse deals with fear and anger.
By understanding our spouses as whole people, we can learn about how their stressors and fears contribute to the things we also love about them. For instance, you may not appreciate that your spouse dislikes trying new things as much as you do. At the same time you may also value your spouse’s sense of focus, loyalty and steadfastness. By understanding underlying needs, motivators and personality traits, you will be better prepared to diplomatically handle issues and disputes as they arise.
Friends, therefore, choose to be with each other to see what happens, and to help each other when needed, but also to stay out of the way when necessary. A good friend is more than a good lover, and to achieve a successful marriage, each member of a couple must be both.
Taking over for her father, Dr. Roger Birkman, in 2001, Sharon Birkman Fink is President and CEO of Birkman International, Inc. providing a unique assessment tool that accurately measures internal needs, behaviors, occupational preferences and organizational strengths. She can be reached at 713-623-2760 or email@example.com.