Companionship in a relationship can be a beautiful thing, but it doesn’t always come entirely naturally. Couples sometimes need to work to cultivate it.
People are often confused about the concept of companionship in the context of a relationship. They don’t know what it really means, looks like, or how to go about building it.
And some people are skeptical about it. They think that people that value companionship have given up on romance. That they would rather settle for “just” a companion than risk being alone.
I’m here to explain what companionship is, how valuable it can be, the role it plays in a relationship, and how you can cultivate it.
What is companionship in a relationship?
Companionship is about being good company for the person you’ve chosen to share your life with.
Couples that are good companions are best friends. They don’t just love each other; they genuinely like each other too. And they really enjoy spending time together.
They make time for each other, and they usually share common values, common views about what is good and bad.
They might have common goals in life and are willing to support each other to make those goals a reality.
They’re a team in all aspects of life, from the housework, to child rearing, to letting their hair down and having a good time.
They’re able to be truly honest with each other, showing their true selves and being vulnerable. They’re kind, compassionate, and flexible.
How to build companionship with your partner.
1. Make listening your priority.
Arguments are not conducive to building companionship.
If you make it your priority to listen to what each other has to say rather than trying to always get your point across, then you’re more likely to have constructive discussions rather than destructive arguments.
2. Be willing to accept when you’re wrong.
No one is always right. You will make mistakes and you will get things wrong.
Part of a successful companionship is recognizing that and learning how to take the things your partner says as constructive criticism rather than a personal attack.
3. Find shared interests and activities.
A lot of the time, a successful relationship will be about sharing housework and other responsibilities. But that shouldn’t be the only thing you share.
You need to actively choose to spend quality time together. As well as organizing date nights, look for activities that the two of you can enjoy together.
Getting out and about and getting active has been proven to help strengthen couple bonds.
4. Have honest discussions about your wants, needs, and dreams.
Honesty is the key to companionship. You’ll never get what you want and need out of your relationship if you aren’t totally honest and open with them about what your priorities are.
Don’t be afraid to bare your soul and share what you see as your deepest darkest secrets. Confiding in each other will help solidify the bond between you.
5. Show them that they’re important to you.
Make sure your partner knows just how important their companionship is to you, and that you don’t take them for granted.
As well as grand gestures now and again, find small ways to show them this every day. Words are all well and good, but your actions will really show them they can trust you.
6. Be wary of dependency.
There’s a fine but very important line between being a companion to someone and becoming dependent on them.
The two of you should be able to rely on each other, but you should also still be able to function without them. If you’re too dependent on your partner, then the relationship can be unhealthy.
7. Respect their space.
We’ve established that you need to avoid dependency, and a big part of that is respecting that you both have lives outside your relationship.
Another aspect of building companionship is making sure you both maintain your own interests and friendships.
Make sure you both respect each other’s space and don’t confuse their need to spend time with other people as a reflection on your relationship.
8. Be open about finances.
Let’s be honest, the practicalities of life are a huge part of any relationship. If you’re building a life together, then you need to be honest with each other about finances.
Discuss financial matters and talk about your goals. Make sure you’re on the same page.
Having financial transparency between you will give you peace of mind and reassure you that you can rely on the person you’ve chosen to share your life with.
Questions couples commonly ask about companionship.
Here are some answers to a few of the questions people most commonly have about the role of companionship in a relationship.
Q: How does companionship differ to friendship?
A: One issue lots of people have with the concept of companionship in a romantic relationship is that they can’t see where the line is between companionship and friendship.
And if they can’t see the difference between the two, they struggle to understand the role of companionship in a romantic relationship.
Friendship can be incredibly rewarding, and your relationships with your friends will hopefully be some of the most important and influential relationships in your life.
But companionship is another level. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s deeper or more important than friendship, but it implies more commitment to and reliance on one another.
A companion is your partner in crime and in life. Companionship is about teaming up and making life plans together, taking each other into account when making decisions, supporting each other, and making sacrifices for each other’s benefit.
With friends, you tend to all walk separate paths, whilst always being there to support each other. But with a companion, you choose to forge a path together.
Q: Are companionship and romance mutually exclusive, or can you have both?
A: You can most definitely have both.
Romance and sex are wonderful things, and an important part of relationships. But they’re not enough on their own.
They have to go hand in hand with companionship if a relationship is going to work in the long term.
That’s because sexual chemistry isn’t going to get you through when things inevitably get tough. All relationships will go through difficult times, and when they do, romance isn’t a solid enough base to help you get past them.
You need to be prepared to truly support your partner and be willing to make sacrifices for the good of your relationship.
As time goes on, it’s whether you still enjoy their conversation, day in day out, can trust them, and have common goals in life that will make all the difference, not whether you find them sexually attractive.
Q: Is companionship enough to have a healthy long-term relationship?
A: This isn’t a question I can answer for you. It’s something each person will have to figure out on their own.
But yes, in theory and in practice, companionship is more than enough for a long-term relationship to work and be beneficial for both partners.
Romance is thrilling, exciting and can make life sparkle. But the reality is that for many couples, it doesn’t last forever. The initial rush of passionate romantic love fades, but it’s replaced by a different kind of love.
A love that’s based on mutual respect and support, shared interests, a shared history, and a genuine desire to spend time with your partner and make them happy.
That’s more than enough of a foundation for a healthy relationship.
Q: What are the benefits of building companionship?
A: A strong feeling of companionship with your partner can make all the difference to your life together. It means you have someone to share everything with, whether good or bad.
Someone to celebrate your achievements with and support you when things aren’t going so well. Someone who knows you, and who you know, inside out, and can talk to about absolutely anything.
Building companionship with a partner means that you each know you have a rock to cling to when things get rough. And, knowing you’ve got that solid support behind you, you’ll both feel confident to get out there and build the life of your dreams.
Q: Is it hard to develop companionship?
A: Romantic, passionate love can come more naturally than companionship.
Love is something you can fall into quickly and easily, but companionship isn’t something that develops overnight.
It takes time to really get to know each other and build trust.
But with plenty of patience and commitment, you can find yourself in a relationship that brings out the best in you both and will stand the test of time.
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