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Sustaining Friendships

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that gives

value to survival."

-C. S. Lewis

You've seen it happen-relationships that last through difficult times. What kept these relationships strong?

It seems counter-intuitive in our culture for people to stay together, whether in marriage or friendship. But in Chapter Four, you gained tools to resolve conflict and create closeness. Now you and I need tools that keep friends and family close ... and add value to survival.

Sustaining friendships has been hard for me. Before I was twenty-five, I had lived in nineteen places. It's difficult to keep any relationship going when you move all the time. But I did learn the enduring value of commitment.

Genuine friendships depend on robust commitment-the willingness to sacrifice one's own desires to attain a greater good. Thomas Bradbury, psychologist at the UCLA Relationship Center, describes why commitment is necessary:

When the stakes are high, our relationships are vulnerable. When we're

under a great deal of stress or when there is a high-stakes decision on

which you disagree, those are defining moments in a relationship.

What our data indicate is that committing to the relationship rather

than committing to your own agenda and your own immediate needs

is a far better strategy. We're not saying it's easy.

Commitment guides our behavior so it's consistent with what we value. Although sustaining friendships requires a similar commitment from the other person, we can enhance our part by consciously choosing to commit to the relational principles in our next blog so that people who matter to us count us as friends.

What can you do today to sustain your relationship with your best friends?

God Bless,

Paul W. Swets

P.S. Please share the Happiness Blog with friends and on your Facebook page.

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