Building a Lasting and Vibrant Friendship

I kindly request that you permit me a space in your widely read column in other to share my views on the need to build a strong friendship with your partner before consummating your relationship. Friendship according to the oxford dictionary is defined as a close, lasting and lifelong friendship between two friends. It is also a relationship born when two people receive and share love and mutual affection for each other. As it is nurtured, it grows to become stronger as they both give to each other.

A friend is —-
Someone who is nice and good to you.
Someone you like to spend quality and precious time with.
Someone you can trust.
Someone who helps you to get up when you are down.
Everyone desires a friend because friendship makes your yoke easy.

It is in friendship that you know if you can be with someone, if you can trust them, respect them and spend your life with them. There are different levels of friendship namely,

Strangers: In this level of relationship, you hardly know the person but you do exchange pleasantries with him/her whenever you get to come in contact with each other on the way.

Acquaintance: Is a platonic relationship you have with someone you slightly or hardly know. You may be familiar with this person by relating or paying each other visits to your various homes but you barely know details or information about him/her. So many arranged Marriages are acquaintance based. It is also known to be a game of chance, because such relationships were not allowed to fully develop. It is not advisable to jump from this stage of relationship into Marriage because such a union could be very disastrous and could bring upon a negative effect on the lives of the two people who are involved in it. It is better to take your time before rushing into a relationship, because once you rush in there is every possibility for you to also rush out.

Close Friendship: At this level, companionship begins, emotional feelings sets in, you begin to realize that by constant keeping in touch with each other, you begin to share mutual feelings and interests. You begin to discuss issues with this other person to a certain extent. It is necessary and mandatory to give time to your relationship so that you two can become familiarized with each other. There is also a point to note that at this stage of the relationship that it is not advisable to ask for the other person’s hand in Marriage or accept proposals.

Intimate Relationship: it is a level of relationship where you want to fully get committed and deeply involved with this new found catch of yours. In this kind of relationship you not only want to have sex with this person, but you also want to have an intimate union with that person such as telling or revealing to your partner your innermost secrets, plans and dreams which you have not disclosed with anyone before not even with any member of your family or friends. Wanting to take responsibilities of the other person’s needs, rendering a selfless service to him/her, sharing in his pains and joys and a whole lot of others to numerous to mention.

Marriage: In this level and final stage of relationship: one has to continue nurturing the union. For the fact that it has successfully ended in marriage is no gain saying that the relationship cannot still pack up, if there is no daily renewal of their friendship or commitment which they once swore to each other to keep. The marriage is bound to head to the rocks.

Mary Okonji.

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