Why Marrying Your Best Friend May Actually Work

posted: 03/31/16
by: TLCme
Happy Hispanic couple outdoors

It's an age-old movie premise: Two friends of the opposite sex vow to get hitched when they reach a certain age, or certain level of desperation. You may have even looked at a guy friend and thought "what if?" or, taken it a step further, and promised that you'll happily walk down the aisle if you're both single at 40, even if you're not particularly attracted to him.

TLC is taking this concept and turning it into a new show, "What If We Get Married?" which follows two couples who go from friends to husband and wife. You're probably thinking "well, this will be a trainwreck," but research may prove otherwise.

Friendship is the basis of marriage

A 2015 study found that those who considered their spouse a "best friend" had the highest levels of happiness and greater overall wellbeing than couples who didn't label their spouse as their BFF. One of the authors of this study, Shawn Grover, told the Huffington Post: "We do think it's more about that social relationship than the legal status," he said. "Marriage, in a sense, is a super friendship."

Interestingly enough, according to that study, women benefit more from being married to their best friend than men do, though women are less likely to regard their spouse as their best friend.

And as we've covered in a previous blog, the biggest predictors of divorce include: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. Happy marriages usually occur when spouses are continually supportive of each other and help weather life's stresses. It seems that old friends who have maintained a multi-year relationship have probably learned to overcome ups and downs better than some couples who get married quickly.

But what if you're not attracted to your partner?

Though happy couples tend to have sex more often than unhappy couples, it really depends on your own needs. For some married couples, companionship and security may outweigh having an active sex life.

That being said, most psychologists say that if you're not attracted to your partner at the beginning of your marriage, it's not likely that you'll suddenly get the hots for him or her.

And though there are plenty of people in the pro-marry-your-best-friend camp and plenty who are against the idea completely, like with any relationship, it really depends on the two individuals involved.

What If We Get Married?

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TLC’s WHAT IF WE GET MARRIED?, explores the changing relationship of two couples who have never dated each other as they figure out if the key to a successful marriage is sexual chemistry or friendship.