Thursday, October 22, 2009

Can You Be Lovers But Not Friends?

"Lovers are always talking to one another about their love; Friends hardly ever talk about their friendship. (Lovers are normally face to face, absorbed in each other; Friends side by side, absorbed in some common interest.)" –C.S. Lewis

The answer to the question is yes, you can be lovers but not really be friends. I see it all the time. But can you be lovers without being friends long term and still have a great and satisfying relationship? I'm not so sure.

Friendship, knowing each other, sharing common pursuits and interests, sharing in each others lives - these are like the cake that the icing (eros and romance) is built upon. John Gottman who has 30 years of research into couples behind him says the quality of a couple's friendship is one of the most important indicators of whether the relationships will persevere or fail. Sometimes when meeting with a couple who is in peril I will ask them directly: What is their friendship like? Married couples need to put time and energy into knowing and being known, spending time together recreationally, and pursuing life experiences together.

And yet, let's face it, men and women do not usually pursue each other for friendship, they pursue each other for romantic and erotic love. And so both eros (erotic love) and phileo (friendship love) are necessary in order for a relationship to prosper and persevere. Don't settle for one without the other.

Most people are better at one and find the other more challenging. If you are married, look at your own relationship - What are you better at? What do you need to put more into? How are you going to do this (and when)?

1 comment:

Moxymama said...

Reminds me of the old Michael Bolton song, "How can we be lovers if we can't be friends...."