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We have an alluring myth of love at first sight in our culture. There is such a thing as an instant attraction to a person when we first meet them, and that initial hormonal surge is an important part in starting relationships. That is not the same as what is needed to sustain and make a relationship thrive. There are layers of knowing and connection that can comes out of a friendship with your future partner that are building blocks to a long-term relationship. Chemicals that our bodies release propel us into engagement with the other but that is not what makes us stay in a relationship.
Friendship is a type of love. It is best described in the three types of love espoused by the ancient Greeks: Eros means sexual passion; Agape means love of all or spiritual love and Philia means deep friendship.
We are talking about Philia that can sustain a marriage or partnership. I have heard many couples say they started out by having lengthy conversations with their future spouse.
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A conversation or conversations that went well beyond friendly banter. These deep conversations can be part of that blooming friendship as well as a romantic relationship.
The glory of having a friendship first is that it can keep feeding the relationship even after the initial spark of romance has dimmed. To be able to share your true self and be known as you navigate the challenges of life together can have its roots in a friendship.
Having a friendship is a great way to warm up to a relationship that can turn into serious dating. It does not have to end up as a romance, but it is a great way to get to know someone without all the expectations and social pressures that go with dating.
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You can think of it as a low- cost way to find out about someone and letting them get to know you. Taking the time to find out what commonalities you share and activities you might explore with them will expose you both to situations and experiences that can be mutually pleasurable.
You may not be friends first and it is a great way to start.
Friendships offers a sense of shared values, interests and ways to spend time together. They offer opportunities to work on ways to communicate differing wants and needs. We can spend time together and work through conflicts and find a communication style that works well for both of us.
Those are some important relational skills to have and share. Maybe it is not a sure way to romance but a friendship can hold many of the building blocks to deeper relationships.
So, think about the friendships you have in your life. The ones that really matter to you and have stood the test of time.
That is because it can take a lifetime to know someone. Even couples who have been together for over a half century can still find new things out about the other person and deepen their connection and love. Finding a rich friendship with someone is a good way to begin the process of knowing and sharing with them that might lead to a wonderful romantic love. N, SuiteSeattle, WA