Friends before marriage

A couple of posts have led me to wonder . . . how many folks were friends w/ their spouse before they became romantic?

There seem to be many unhappy marriages out there.

Does getting involved on a romantic level w/o first being friends make things more difficult down the road? —KCT

Good question. I think it is mandatory to be friends. I realized when my marriage was deteriorating fast that we had never been “friends.” Or at least he had never been my friend. My friends wouldn’t do to me what he did to me. That when the romance wore off for him, he was finished with me. Because it was never about me. It was always about him. As long as we both were head over heels in love with him, we had a marriage.

I realize now he has never had a real friendship with a female. And that is a critical ingredient to his psyche.

I would suggest that men who are capable of appreciating women without the romantic involvement, and are deemed worthy by women as being friendship material also make good husbands. Men who only see women as sexual conquests and cannot maintain a platonic but deep friendship with someone they do not sleep with are missing something. (same goes for women who cannot be friends with a guy, but it always has to be romantic.)

Because marriage is not always candles and moonlight. And if you are incapable of having a relationship beyond that, you’re doomed to failure.

The ability to have a friendship with a person of the opposite sex is the canary in the marriage mineshaft.

And the best way to start your marriage is to be friends. Every old couple who hit the 55 year mark always says the same thing: My spouse is my best friend.

The problem with starting out as romantic people is some of that is illusion. It’s based on an idealized notion of each other. Friends know each other intimately and love each other anyway. That kind of love isn’t shifting sand.

Well… Never been married, but sometimes it doesn’t work even if you’ve been friends before. This includes some of the unhappy marriage stories here. Some people generally prefer to make it clearly either friends or lovers, not liking any open-ended situations. In turn, I can’t really imagine going out, holding hands, kissing with someone whom I haven’t known, who might as well have tons of issues or complications in life that I don’t know about, let alone impediments or defects of consent. Okay, I’m jaded. Don’t take me too seriously - you haven’t had this kind of history and your situation is probably different. Anyway. I’ve had a relationship (long-term) with a new person go boom and a relationship with a best friend go boom as well.

Things change once you do the switch. Some relations have to change. Some things can’t really continue, some have to start anew. In my particular example, I was hoping for a continuation of the friendship as it had been before but with a more pronounced romance added on top or as a parallel even. Thing is… it didn’t really work.

Lately I’ve been thinking about brain styles, ways of thinking, personalities. Some people will be more compatible, some less. Some will be opposites, some will be similar, some will complement each other. There are perhaps different things people need in this area since there’s that saying “opposites attract”, there’s the general concept of a “kindred soul” and soulmate and there’s also the truth that men and women complement each other. In theory, we should go for the latter, but practice of life is a bit different.

All in all, I’d say there are other things that matter, not only whether the person is new or a friend. One shouldn’t probably close himself to strangers for etiquettal concerns, nor should one cross off friends for some societal reasons. Probably the best approach is to stay open-minded.

Chevalier, you started as friends and it couldn’t take the weight of romance. That shows there was a problem that would have prevented a successful marriage.

Being a friend, you get to know the person, sometimes better than if they were trying to romance you. It becomes easier to see and hear them as they are. To uncover those defects and problems that seem to get hidden during the dating process.

Since you don’t know my history, you can’t say what I know about this subject really. But believe me, I know what happens with defects of consent and hidden impediments. I married that and now have an annulment and a whole lotta pain.

And that’s what I’m saying here. I was young, romantic, very devout and very idealistic. And I didn’t go kiss every guy I met. And I thought I had found this wonderful guy, who was an expert at hiding his true self. And I didn’t realize his inability to be friends with females was one indication of that true self.

Your lack of success doesn’t mean the process is flawed. It just means you haven’t found the right person yet.

Liberanos, problems which prevent a successful marriage are sometimes deep underlying problems and sometimes probably momentary ill moments with far-reaching ramifications. In my case it was probably lack of imagination and indeed, not enough information about certain matters from the friendship period - after all, while you may learn about a friend’s expectations and goals in life, even his or her type of man or woman, you will not learn certain other things which will only pop up in a relationship.

I wasn’t speaking to you specifically about impediments and defect of consent. Some people, such as you, have had more experience with that kind of thing than I, but normally, people tend to have a less jading collection of personal experience, which is why I made the caveat.

I’m really sorry to hear about how it turned out with your love. It must have been devastating back in the time.

As for the process being flawed, no process is perfect. Exceptions don’t quite prove rules. Simply put, it doesn’t universally work out better with already friends than with new people. What’s critical is some ability to assess the situation, as well as the data to base it on.

Do I understand your question correctly? Are you asking if couples were platonic friends before the romantic aspect of their relationship started?

I think it’s necessary to be friends during the marriage to have a successful marriage, but it’s possible to not have been platonic friends beforehand. I think you could meet someone and feel an early emotional/physical attraction (chemistry) , but you have to guard your heart (sorry if that sounds corny) and not get too emotionally attached while you get to know the person well enough to know if you have enough in common to build a life together. Does that make sense?

Just because you are attracted to someone doesn’t mean you are meant to marry that person. You have to do the hard work of getting to know the person to see if they’d be a good spouse and parent before you allow yourself to fall headlong in love, which is easier said, than done, sometimes. It does take time – a priest once commented you really don’t know a person until you’ve known them two years or so – and sexual involvement (even short of complete intercourse) clouds the mind and makes it more difficult to discern the future of the relationship. But I think this discernment process could take place after a certain attraction has been felt, without platonic friendship first.

Yes, it makes sense. What I am suspecting is that many people feel the chemistry, get caught up in that (not guarding their hearts) and marry someone they are not really friends with. Once the chemistry starts to wear off, they’re married to someone they don’t like all that much. Someone they wouldn’t be friends with. —KCT

My wife and I met in college (Go Gators!) and were friends, dated for a while, and when I graduated we broke up.

No one I dated after that came close to my wife. While I don’t believe in the idea there is only person we are supposed to marry (from another thread), we were just right for each other.

We knew each other for five years before we were married. I can’t think of going through life with anyone else. She makes me a better person than I would have been without her. We complete each other.

We have been been married 23 years (24 next month) and joke , “yep, 18 years of wedded bliss!” There were rough times (we buried our first son 15 years ago) and joyous times and boring times, but we just enjoy each others’ company. Not only for sex or romance, but for grocery shopping, walking, talking, just every day life.

So, yes, you definitely should be friends before you marry. That doesn’t mean you can’t start a relationship by dating, but let the friendship grow with the romance.

My husband and I were friends in college–running with the same crowd, each of us dating other people–but running into each other socailly on a regular basis for 3 1/2 years before we ever went out on a date. We’re just rounding the bases on 19 years of marriage and I’m grateful that not only were we friends first, but were able to make our dating missteps with others instead of one another.

I met my fiancee online through a dating site, but from the outset we had a friendship as well as a romance. I think the fact that it didn’t become a sexual thing early on helped us to really get to know the people we were, and then it was a massive bonus when we met in real life and found that we were attracted and couldn’t keep our eyes (or lips) off eachother.

Though we’ve always been romantically interested in eachother, I’d certainly say that my fiancee is also my best friend, and we tell eachother things we’ve never shared with anyone else. I think that’s essential to any marriage.

My DH and I were friends before we married. We didn’t start dating until after 2 years of friendship. After 3 years of dating, we were engaged for 2 years, and then got married at 22 years old. So, total, we knew each other for 7 years before the wedding. We’ve been married almost 4 years.

I agree with you, KCT. IMHO, many people marry at the peak of the “New Relationship Euphoria,” and then when it wears off, they’re stuck with a spouse (or someone they share a child with).

It’s possible to know someone for a very short period of time, marry quickly, and then celebrate your 50th Anniversary; it’s just not likely.

I strongly suspect that starting out as friends is the best way to lay a strong foundation for a more serious relationship.

The first time I talked to my now ex-husband was in response to him sending me love poems that at first were anonymous then he told me they were from him. I was literally swept off my feet with no chance to really even get to know him before things got very romantic and very physical. It ended up being an abusive relationship. He was not someone I would have ever been drawn to had I taken the time to get to know him first.

This time around, if I ever do get to where I am dating someone, I will first make sure I fight my instincts to be swept away, and will actually take the time to get to know someone and be friends first.

The first time I saw my husband was my freshman year of high school. I crossed him up everyday in the halls, and told my best friend (at the time) that I was going to marry that boy someday!:stuck_out_tongue:

Two years later, we were set up on a date by mutual friends and have been together ever since – as of now, it’s been 11 years. My husband is my best friend, has been since I met him, and I couldn’t imagine life without him.:heart:

I’m not sure what you mean. If you mean just friends first that later on became attracted to each other, then no I don’t think that makes for a better marriage (I’m not saying it would make for a worse one either).
I cannot imagine a couple courting without a friendship unless they are doing it for the wrong reason, and just using each other. Then yeah, that would be a problem.

From our experience, the fact that we were friends for years before there was any romantic feelings great. When times get hard, we still know how to be friends first. It has smoothed quite a few bumps :thumbsup:

I think it’s great to be friends before marriage, because you get to know that person. But more importantly, you MUST remain friends after the marriage.

A lot of marriages failed because once they became Mr and Mrs, the friendship slowly dies, the relationship had changed, there isn’t the anxiety and worry of losing the other person, people became too relaxed about their relationship, starts to take each other for granted to some extend.

There’s a Chinese proverb which shows the way to a successful and fulfilling marriage, is that, you respect one another as though the other person is a friend.

People tend to give more allowance, less criticising, less demanding towards friends than their own spouse. I think it’s an image issue too, we don’t want the friend to think poorly of us, doing things with the family instead of boys night out is seen as being wiped. A lot of times, people tend to cancel with the family for the sake of friends, I have heard it all the time, ‘you are my husband/wife, you should understand’,

It’s fhe friendship after the marriage which makes it work. I have seen the older generation of Asian arranged marriages, it’s still being practised in many parts of the world, and a lot of those marriaged last and happily too, it’s how those people trying to make the best of a situation, of course it takes both of these two strangers to work together to build the friendship after the fact, and make it grow and last a life time.


I would say that my husband and I became friends at the same time as our romance began. We talked at length about how important it was that the romance not cloud the real person.

A dear friend and I had a conversation the day before my husband’s and my first date. I said, “I don’t know how this relationship might go as far as romance, but I do know that this guy is going to be one of my best friends like you and your husband are to me.” It turned out to be true. And my DH is now also best friends with this particular couple too.

I agree with another poster who said that one’s ability to be friends with those of the opposite sex is helpful in determining if a person is marriageable material. Neither of us dumped our previous friends and our romance didn’t make the other friendships take a backseat.

My husband were “in lust” before we were friends or before we fell in love. It definatel makes the road a little rockier till you muddle through it and become genuine friends. I think its best to be friends first, or at least take time to get to know eachother while dating without any phisical intimacy.

I guess I am an odd duck here but my husband and I went on our first date and than were engaged by month three and married by month eleven. We didn’t know each other before but maybe a week or two and even at that we didn’t talk to each other. We have now been married twelve years and have five children two here with us and three in heaven. We are best friends and have been since that first date, I look around and truly feel that we still act like newly weds. That’s not to say we don’t fight, because we do, but we truly enjoy each others company.

You’re not an odd duck here. I totally agree with you. It is not necessary to be friends before you become romantically involved. You can do both at the same time. Friendship and romance go hand in hand.

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