it’s the friendship stupid

Borrowing from a famous political phrase, while doing some research in preparation for a talk on sex, I learned that when it comes to happy marriage experts are declaring, “It’s the friendship stupid.” In other words, so much emphasis in our culture is placed on sex that what is absolutely crucial is overlooked. Now, don’t misunderstand me – sex is important to a happy marriage but get this: recent Gallup research indicates that a couple’s friendship quality could account for 70% of overall marital satisfaction. In fact, some psychologists and sociologists suggest the emotional intimacy married couples share is five times more important than their physical intimacy. How they figure that out – I’m not sure but it seems to ring true. Apparently it did over one hundred years ago as well. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “The best friend will probably get the best wife, because good marriage is based on a talent for friendship. It is not the lack of love, but the lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”

4 Responses to “it’s the friendship stupid”

  1. August 31, 2008 at 2:07 am

    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

  2. 2 Bill Daniel
    September 3, 2008 at 3:40 am


    You hit the mark. Today, our culture places the emphasis on the wrong part of marriage. Is SEX a great part of the marriage bond? Absolutly! Is it the glue that holds the marriage together? No, age tends to play a cruel joke on us. Mentally we are in our 20s while are bodies show the wear and tear of life. I believe many couples fall into dissolutionment with each other and fall into the cultural “quick fix”. Get a divorce and find someone else that makes you happy or you feel makes you happy. In todays culture, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Until, you leap over it and fall into the mud of reality.

  3. 3 Larry Eisner
    September 5, 2008 at 4:32 am

    Nice comments, Bill!

    I would also include that while sex is important and integral to a marriage relationship, the friendship takes the “making you happy” out of the equation! Because you’re always happy with your best friend. You may not always agree and things can get tense from time to time, but you’d never WANT to trade in your best friend for someone untested, unknown or “mysterious”, no matter how intriguing. Because your best friend is simply that: Your BEST FRIEND.

    I consider myself extremely fortunate to have my best friend as my wife, in Karen… Because we love each other and care greatly about our family, we have arguments from time to time and things can be frustrating because, well, frankly ANY arrangement where two people who are different in any way live with each other requires compromise and there will always be times when you don’t agree. But when you care deeply for each other, those differences and occasional minor issues get pushed aside for the bigger picture, commitment towards a lifelong partnership and continuation of a lifelong friendship.

    I find it interesting that so many people actually miss this fact. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people (even really really smart people!) say, “Oh, yeah, I am totally in love with so-and-so, but we could never date. Because we’re such great friends.”

    I mean, certainly there are people you know just won’t work as future mates, but so often I think: “But you’re kind of missing the point! If you want to spend your life with someone, you SHOULD be great friends!” But I suppose most people seem to think friendship is where the depth is, and relationships (and by extension, marriage) is about physical intimacy and the excitement factor. Which no one realizes (even though EVERYONE has been through it if they have dated more than one person for any good length of time) that the excitement stage always fades with familiarity.

    Anyway, I’m ranting (I apologize), but such a simple fact amazes me with its seeming ability to remain hidden to so many people…

  4. 4 nate
    September 9, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    in preparation for my wedding I have begun to read about marriage. One thing I have read consistently is that physical intimacy is more a barometer of the health of the relationship than a basis for a relationship. Yet another example of “our collective ‘flesh’s'” ability to mix up the whole cart/horse thing.

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re: the random-ness

Husband. Father. Senior Pastor of Parkview Community Church in Glen Ellyn, IL.

Ok...so you've located the place where I put down my random thoughts. The key word here is random: music, sports, art, food, books, news, spiritual musings, weird stories, etc. I'm especially interested in how everyday experiences of life intersect with the ancient stories of Scripture. Thanks for reading.
August 2008
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"No problem can withstand the assault of substantial thinking." Voltaire



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