THE BLOG
05/25/2010 10:50 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Marrying For Friendship

It makes perfect sense that a good relationship will enhance your happiness quotient. While love is still a potent factor in your decision to share your life with another person, friendship cannot be dismissed as a solid component of a healthy, happy relationship. Not all couples, married or not, are in crazy, "I-can't-live-without-you" love. Affection combined with friendship makes for a great partnership.

The reasons for getting married are as varied as the couples themselves. If you asked anyone to describe love, you would get several different descriptions, and those same descriptions would change in definition over the years. As people grow and change, their idea of what constitutes real love and happiness changes with them.

We all remember movies where good friends make a promise that if either of them is still single by their respective thirtieth birthdays, they'll marry each other. Some of us may have even made that promise with one of our own friends.

Guess what? Some of those promises are being kept. Many couples today are entering into a marriage where love is only one of the reasons; companionship and a sense of solid partnership is a necessity. This new estate of marriage is called the Friendship Marriage. It is a marriage and relationship where you can be yourself and pursue your personal goals with the full support of your partner. Despite the cliche of the oft-quoted and sometimes ridiculed, statement, "My spouse is my best friend", marrying that best friend does indeed seem to create happier and healthier relationships. You're buddies, you're pals, you're already good friends; why not get married?

Marrying for companionship conjures up the image of two elderly people who marry to escape being lonely. This is a stereotype that isn't true anymore. Companionship or friendship marriage is the joining together of two people who already have successful careers, independent lives, other strong friendships, and a positive sense of self. They are fulfilled in their lives, and marriage is simply the icing on the cake. The desire they have is to find someone who has the same outlook on life, similar goals and ideas, financial security of their own, and exact expectations of what they, and their prospective spouse, will bring to the marriage table. A friend they have known for years fits this description perfectly with the added benefit of pleasant familiarity.

If asked, these couples say they respect and love each other. Notice that the word respect goes hand in hand with the word love. They want a union that is strong and secure; one that complements rather than changes their lives. Each partner is willing to make compromises and adjustments to accommodate this new union. Any money or property that you earned from your life before marriage should not automatically become part of the marital pool. While each member is certainly expected to contribute financially to the marriage, your worth as a single person is something you attained on your own. It is common-sense to protect your own earned assets no matter how good your friendship is.

While many of the friendship marriages are first time forays into the estate of matrimony, some are second marriages. In that case, certain legal financial agreements, and codicils to established wills, may be necessary, especially if children are involved from a first union.

Creating a comfortable life with someone you respect and admire, and with whom you are comfortable as a friend, is an aspect of love that we don't think about as often as we should. Love is wonderful; combining that love with respect and friendship makes for a lasting relationship. The happiness that comes from this secure partnership carries over to all other segments of your life.

To read more from Kristen Houghton, peruse her articles at Kristen Houghton.com and visit her Keys to Happiness blog.

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Copyright 2010 Kristen Houghton