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Friends with benefits

in Romance

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Photo by harrykeely on

I see so many romantic comedies based on “friends with benefits” that they’ve become predictable. A girl and boy are friends, they find themselves lonely, they decide to hop into bed with no strings attached, and then one falls for the other one. It’s old hat.

But in reality, there’s something to the plot line. The problem is that movie characters just skip a step.

Friends first

I’ve always had difficulty with female friendships. Women in general are cannibalistic towards each other, and that has developed serious trust issues for me. I can count on a few fingers how many women I truly trust.

Since I was a tomboy, male friendships were much more natural. That was fine until I grew up and was interested in being more than a basketball buddy. Luckily that interest developed about the same time that a cute red head walked into my journalism class.

Friends last

My husband and I started dating in 1995 when we were both seniors in high school. We were friends for months before anything more developed. One of the keys to our success though is that three kids into our marriage, we are still dating. Whether we are watching our Aggies play football on TV, sitting beside a campfire with s’mores, or having a dinner out; my husband and I are friends first. Dating doesn’t have to involve a sitter, a dress, and an expensive restaurant. I often date my husband with a meal at home after the kids are tucked into bed.

Our relationship still outweighs any other relationship we have. I put my husband above my friends and even our kids, and he does the same. Our unity is the harmony that makes our family’s song work. If we have a problem, we talk to each other; not to our friends. Every conversation develops more trust.

The overlooked step

The difference between us and the characters in the movies is that we didn’t add the physical relationship until our commitment to a lifetime was made. Lots of people think this is old fashion, and that’s fine. If our relationship is what “old fashion” feels like, I’ll take it. Our commitment to postponing the physical relationship, and our respect for each other to see that commitment through, has given us a deeper appreciation for one another than I see in most couples. I think the reason marriage gets a bad rap is that people skip a step or two in the “friends with benefits” path to a lifetime.

Your turn

What are your keys to maintaing a friendship in a marriage?

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