Valentine's Day has come and go. For parents, this Hallmark holiday could mean a regular day attending to the kids or, sometimes if you and your partner are lucky, a much-needed couple time, no matter how you spend it (if you happen to book a romantic evening at a restaurant, a quick dinner date, or just a home date, that's all well and good).
When you're a parent, it's a little tricky to put the spotlight on you and your partner's union—not that it’s impossible (of course, it is!). However, childcare tasks and parenting responsibilities could get in the way—and it is an endless list that does not really get shorter as you age. A couple’s honeymoon stage only lasts for about a year or two after getting married.
That's why this study suggests that, as much as possible, you should marry your best friend. Because ultimately, marriage is about friendship.
According to a study by National Bureau of Economic Research in Canada, married people are consistently happier than single ones. However, couples who endured end stayed happily married for the long term, even during the midlife-crisis years, are technically best friends. Researchers found that marrying your best friend actually strengthens a marriage and can improve life satisfaction.
Study authors Shawn Grover and John F. Helliwell explains that the effects of a great friendship goes beyond their initial individual happiness as single people. "There's a lot of stress going on in middle age," Grover told The Huffington Post. "Having someone to talk that out with and having someone to support you in those difficult times can help explain why it's a bit harder for people without a partner." Friendship--not romance or lust--allows individual to receive the full benefits of marriage. It’s the friendship between couples that counts. “[Friendship is] the secret ingredient of the sauce for successful marriage,” Helliwell tells Quartz.
The same holds true for partners who are living-in together, and the numbers don’t change either if financial stability, social status, or health were factored in. As long as you’re in love with one who you consider your best friend, you can "get almost twice as much additional life satisfaction," the study authors wrote.
Still, the main idea to “make a marriage work” is not in the same capacity, making a friendship work. (Yes, it still involves “working” on it). Marriage is a deeper kind of friendship that also needs care and attention to last a lifetime. Family life and pastoral counselor Anna F. Esperanza gives her expert advice for a lasting and happy married life: “Evolve and grow with your partner. The only thing constant is change. Day-to-day, gradually, our personhood changes. Do not get stuck on what you used to be as a couple or keep on holding on to who your partner was when you first met.”
Sources February 9, 2016. "Should you marry your best friend? Science says yes!" (gmanetwork.com) January 09, 2015. "New Study Says You Should Marry Your Best Friend" (huffingtonpost.com) January 08, 2015. "Definitive proof that a good marriage, especially to your best friend, makes you happier" (qz.com)