Two Plus Two
Couples and Their Couple Friendships
Routledge – 2012 – 232 pages
Friendships are undeniably important to an individual’s health, longevity and wellbeing, but they can be equally important for the health and happiness of a couple. Just as a friend can provide a mirror to the self, another couple can provide a reflecting team that supports or impedes a relationship’s growth. Two Plus Two: Couples and Their Couple Friendships offers an important framework for helping couples to have conversations about their friendships with other couples and to enrich their own relationships. When couples agree about how to spend their time alone and with others, they are more likely to have a happy marriage or relationship.
Couple friendships have not been researched previously, despite their numerous benefits. Authors Geoffrey Greif and Kathleen Deal take an in-depth approach to this important topic. Based on interviews with more than 400 people--some of whom were interviewed with their partners, some who were interviewed alone, and some who have divorced--they find that couples fall into three general categories of making couple friendships: Seekers, Keepers, and Nesters. Drs. Greif and Deal discuss the different styles of interaction they've observed in couples as well as the findings from their research. Readings from their interviews illustrate what characteristics define Seekers, Keepers, and Nesters. Couples at any stage of their relationship will get a fresh understanding of how to seek, foster and sustain positive, healthy friendships.
"Dr. Greif and Dr. Deal have given couples everywhere a fascinating and helpful look at how these friendships evolve, why they are often so meaningful, and when to look out for land mines. It's a terrific read on a subject that often goes unaddressed." - Jeffrey Zaslow, Wall Street Journal columnist and author of The Girls from Ames, coauthor of The Last Lecture
"Making and keeping couple friends leads to happier lives. This amazing book provides insight into friendships and how to make them an asset, not a liability, for couples. Important reading for couples as well as therapists." - Jon Carlson, Governors State University, Illinois, USA
"With a pitch-perfect blend of scholarly research and wisdom, Drs. Greif and Deal have written the definitive guide to understanding and building satisfying couple friendships. Every couple and anyone even contemplating coupling should read this book." - Irene S. Levine, NYU School of Medicine, New York, USA and author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend
Two Plus Two: Couples and Their Couple Friendships. How We Conducted the Study and What We Discovered. Starting Out: Couples in the First Years of Marriage/Partnership. The Middle Years: Couples Raising Families and Balancing Friendships. Older Couples and Their Couple Friendships. When Couples Have Been Dumped (or Dump); Like Her and Hate Him (or Vice Versa). The Impact of Divorce on Couple Friendships. When Two Couples Get it Right: An Interview About 38 Years of Couple Friendship. One Couples Group: A Possible Blueprint for Others. Building Couple Friendships for the Future. Appendix A: How We Conducted the Study and Implications for Future Research. Appendix B: Questions for Marriage Enrichment Groups. Appendix C: Couple's Quiz.
Geoffrey L. Greif, DSW, LCSW-C is Professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. He is the author of books and articles related to family issues and men’s and women’s relationships. A previous book of his, Buddy System: Understanding Male Friendships, was published in 2009. In 2010 he received the University of Maryland Board of Regents faculty award for teaching.
Kathleen Holtz Deal, PhD, LCSW is Associate Professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. She is the author of articles and book chapters related to supervision and professional development. In 2011 she received the award as outstanding teacher at the University of Maryland Baltimore campus.