It’s Research Wednesday! Where I share the latest, or most fascinating, in the science of friendship.
“Healthy couple friendships make a marriage more fulfilling and exciting for several reasons, such as increasing partners’ attraction to each other, providing a greater understanding of men and women in general, and allowing partners to observe ways that other couples interact with each other and negotiate differences.” (“Couples Friendships Make for Happier Marriages, Relationships” ; Science Daily 8/19/2011)
When the discussion turns to making new pals, the issue of couple friends comes up quite often. Finding them is hard. Not only do you need to like the other woman, but now your partner needs to like the guy. It’s hard enough to find two people who click, getting a strong foursome can seem nearly impossible.
I’m adding this new book, Two Plus Two: Couples and Their Married Friendships by Geoffrey Greif and Kathleen Holtz Deal, to my reading list. It looks at all the ways that having couple friends can help your romantic relationship. The one that I can relate most to, personally, is the idea that being in a couples friendship helps you see your partner in a new light. “Some couples said, ‘When I see my husband or wife with other people, it really makes me appreciate them in a different way. I see how charming or thoughtful they are or what a sparkling conversationalist they are,’” Greif told the Chicago Sun-Times.
It’s so easy to fall into a routine at home, speaking to each other in the same way, doing the same things, that you aren’t always seeing your partner when he is “on.” Which is to say when he might be at his funniest, most charming self. It’s a fun to watch your partner win over others when you’re out with couple friends. It renews that sense of pride that this is your guy.
Not unlike regular friends, though, it can be really hard to find new couple friends. According to this book, most people do it by starting with a twosome and extending it to four. Deal, one of the authors “says she was surprised to find that she and her husband were in the minority because they set out as a pair to make friends with other couples.”
That hesitance we feel about picking up new friends seems to extend to couple friends. Starting from scratch can feel awkward–and, of course, you probably can’t help wondering: What if they think we are swingers? (I’m just saying, it’s a concern.)
I also like this classification of couple friends: “Couples fall into one of three categories, according to how they approach their friendships with others, the research shows. … Greif and Deal describe seekers as extroverts who are often looking for another couple with whom to socialize. Keepers have full lives and many friends, and are not necessarily looking for more. Nesters tend to be introverts who have a small number of couple friends and are content with that.”
That breakdown can probably be extended to good ol’ one-on-one BFF searching too.
Do you find it easier or harder to make couple friends? Have they improved your relationship? Are you a seeker, keeper or nester?
Remember how I just wrote about how much I love Hello Giggles? And how I just heard from a wildly successful old classmate who was somehow duped into thinking I was the “older cooler girl”? Well, that old classmate wrote a hilarious review of MWF Seeking BFF on… Hello Giggles! I’m so excited, even though I still can’t wrap my head around anyone thinking my crazy scrunchie collection was cool.