People from all walks of life, of all ages, say that the most important goal for their marriage is to have a friend, be a friend and develop a strong friendship. Disconnected couples who come to me repeatedly say that they love their other half but are not ‘in love’ and don’t like them right now. Some of them have built their connection on close friendship but can hardly remember what that playful exchange or banter felt like. How important are friendship and banter in our intimate relationships?
In the past, our beloved husband or wife was well respected but was no required to be our best friend, soulmate or confidant. Things are very different today when we literally expect our partner to be our EVERYTHING. Our romantic lover, co-parent, confidant, muse, best friend, partner in crime, soulmate, sometimes our business partner, our safe harbour as well as someone who keeps exciting us and continues to offer something deliciously mysterious.
At the same time, as time passes in our long-term relationships, some of us stop seeing our partner as a friend and that is often the moment when we start drifting further and further apart. ‘We’re not friends- we’re married!’ Responsibilities, the juggling of multiple roles, testing and critical situations, entering new life stages, destructive patterns and the lack of focus, patience and oh yes time!! are some of the key contributors to friendship- and subsequently relationship disruptions.
Banter. What a simple word, yet hiding so much meaning and importance.
A wink once we’ve put the kids to sleep.
A cheeky tickling laugh under the bedsheets.
A cracking of dark jokes, rolling on the floor, belly laughs.
A moment of silence- then a slow smile in the middle of an argument.
A subtle, playful teasing to bring out the fire and raw ambition in her/him.
A word we invented together, when we were dating, that only the two of us ‘get’.
All the above. And much more. Encompassed by the word banter. It is so important to have this special, playful connection in our intimate relationship. It helps us hold our head above water when things get hard. It teaches us to make fun of ourselves without feeling belittled or insecure. It gives us the team feeling of us against the world. It is our bubble and our space to connect, to grow and to explore together. To cherish life.
Some of the strongest couples have amazing banter between them and it makes them super resilient.
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