4 Tips for Choosing Wise Friendships In Your Marriage

By June 23, 2015June 30th, 2015Communication, Time

Friendship is a gift. We need our friends, and that need doesn’t come to an end when we get married. Here you’ll find tips for choosing wise friendships that will enrich your marriage, as well as balancing the intimacy in your marriage with the important friendships in your lives.

1. Make Past Friends Part of Your Shared Life

When you get married, the landscape of your relationships changes. There are many adjustments to make because it becomes impossible to cultivate your marriage while supporting the same time investment you put into past friendships.

While there’s nothing wrong with each of you having individual, separate friends, it’s best to try to make each of your friends a part of your shared life as a married couple. You feel a sense of loyalty, ownership and responsibility for friends you’ve been close to through your single years. You can maintain a healthy sense of continued connection with them as you transition into this new season of your life.

If you’re the first of your circle of friends to get married, they won’t want to “give you up.” Be sure to have empathy for them, as this is a major change in their lives, too. By being the pioneer in your group of friends and striking out into uncharted territory, you’ll have the unique chance to model marriage for them.

2. Set Boundaries For Opposite-Sex Friends

Opposite-sex friendships don’t threaten a marriage unless you or your spouse feels uncomfortable. If your spouse is feeling unnerved by your friendship with a member of the opposite sex, then you need to respect his or her feelings and talk about it.

Maybe involving your spouse in the friendship will help make him or her more comfortable about your friend, or maybe you could make the relationship a couple friendship with that friend and their significant other. Ultimately, show your spouse that his or her needs are most important to you, and that you respect your commitment to the marriage.

You don’t necessarily have to sever relationships that might be enjoyable to you, but you do have a responsibility to find ways to build up your spouse’s confidence and reassure him or her. Setting healthy boundaries around these friendships will allow you and your spouse to maintain healthy relationships with opposite-sex friends.

You might set boundaries around the settings where you interact with your friend; maybe your spouse feels comfortable with certain settings, but uncomfortable with others. Find out what makes your husband or wife relaxed and comfortable about your friendship, versus what makes him or her uncomfortable and anxious.

In your friendship with that member of the opposite sex, always be sure to talk about your spouse in a positive way. If you’re in an office setting or a public place, display pictures of your spouse where they can be seen, to let people know you’re committed to your spouse and prize your relationship above all others.

Decide now to not get involved in situations where you omit discussion about your shared life with your spouse, or where you might feel tempted to talk negatively about him or her to a member of the opposite sex. This will set the tone for a safe, healthy friendship.

3. Protect Your Marriage From Destructive Friendships

If your spouse’s friends are not your top choice (or vice versa), be open to allowing them into your life anyway. Shared history is a big deal, so honor that shared history as you get to know your spouse’s friends. Sometimes the hardest individuals to build a relationship with at first become your best friends later.Symbis- 728X90

On the other hand, it’s important to use careful discernment when it comes to incorporating past friendships into your marriage. Is this friend someone who is dishonoring or disrespectful of you or your spouse? Is this person toxic and destructive? Does he or she negatively affect you as a couple? Does this person bring turmoil into your relationship? If you answered yes to any of the these questions, it’s time for a serious discussion with your spouse about whether to allow this person to remain part of your life.

When you approach your spouse to discuss a friendship that is making you uncomfortable, be honest, but be tactful and genuine. Don’t pass judgment, and don’t accuse your spouse of having an unwise relationship; simply let him or her know how vulnerable you feel about it.

In the case of an opposite-sex friendship that is making you uncomfortable, approach your spouse carefully. Often, he or she doesn’t realize that the friendship is making you feel unnerved. One way to approach your spouse might be to say, “You might not realize this, but when I see you interact with your friend, they seem more drawn to or interested in your than I’m used to. It raises concerns in me and makes me feel threatened.”

You don’t want to seem paranoid or suspicious, but you also want to open an honest dialog about your fears and hesitations regarding this relationship. Be patient with your spouse as he or she tries to process the discussion; there may be initial hesitance to change the tone of the friendship, set boundaries around it, or (in severe cases) end it.

Your energy and your focus should first be on your marriage; the most precious thing to protect is your marriage relationship. Maintaining friendships that are detrimental to your marriage, or that cause your focus to be shifted away from your marriage relationship, is counterproductive to this goal.

4. Cultivate Couples Relationships

Having a shared circle of friends is a source of happiness for married couples. You can expand the social horizon of your marriage by building intentional friendships with other God-honoring couples. Mentoring occurs when you watch another marriage play out in front of you.

Friendships are built on having things in common, so connect yourself with groups that include peers who are walking through similar life circumstances to yours–maybe they’re in same season of life as you are, or maybe you have shared interests.

Don’t limit yourself, however, to only having friends whose ages and lives are similar to yours. Maybe you’ve met an older married couple who can mentor you as your grow in your own marriage. Or maybe you and your spouse can model marriage for a couple younger than you are.

When you’ve identified couples you’d like to get to know better, invite them into your home. Be intentional about cultivating that friendship as you get to know each other better.

It takes work to combine friends and to bring other couples into your relationship, but it heightens the level of enjoyment of the activities you share together. You might share one another’s dinner table, go on outings, or even share vacations together.

Conclusion

As you wisely choose friendships as a married couple, remember, above all else, to cherish and protect your marriage. You need a solid footing, great confidence, and commitment to ensure longevity. Build a hedge around your marriage and care enough about it to protect it at all costs.

6 Comments

  • D says:

    Is it wise to keep contact with ex sexual partners , even if there is no attraction any more but they would like to keep contact as friends? How do I convince my partner that it’s not a good idea?

    • H says:

      You should ask your partner. If they are ok with it then fine. I think the best way to think about it is this… If you can’t invite them over for dinner, and everything be ok, then you shouldn’t talk to them.

  • Vantessa says:

    Well I am not married yet but reading this statement is very good helpful tips off first ✋ get me ready for the best of the best meeting new friends married or not cause my old friends wasn’t mines from the beginning and learn that although I wasn’t too king with them made me who I am today and watching out for myself as well as for my mate on friendships cause some can pretend and will do you in at the ending coming will mess your relationship up been on some untruthful shit inspected you too still be with them and am the type you mess over me it’s no more chances with me bridges have been burned 🔥been thier and done all of that in life not again.

  • Kimmy says:

    I have been married for almost three years. My wife determined our friends should be separate. Meaning, if they are my friends, she shouldn’t speak to them or visa versa. I feel differently. I feel when we joined lives this to means not only family should be joined but so should friends. The reason I feel this way is because of she doesn’t feel comfortable speaking to me about issues, she turns to them. If these people are not people whom are neutral, to me their views are immediately tainted. The chances of those friends standing neutral, slim to none. This only creates bigger issues within our marriage, because problems grow intensely. I guess this is my personal view on it though.

    • Peppi says:

      Very interesting view. My husband feels the same and doesn’t want me to share any of my problems wit my friends. The problem is he has never been able to respond to my problems when I tell him about them. So much that I have resorted to telling friends as I feel they understand me better. You’re right, their opinions may be tainted though I have one particular friend that is always objective in her opinions. I am finding it very difficult to let go of my friends 4 years into marriage but it looks like it’d be the best way to keep my marriage working….or am I wrong?

      • Felix says:

        Your husband is not designed to be everything in your life. Humans are created to interact with each other. You can’t replace your mum, dad, siblings and friends with your husband. What you should be doing is integrating all of these people into their rightful positions in your life respectably. Every person in your life is contributing something. Now, I appreciate the above is quite a long introduction but I didn’t want to apply any filters. To answer your question, you need to explain to your husband how significant the issues you discuss with him is to you. Your husband must see things as you do. If he doesn’t want you to share issues with folks outside your marriage he must be ready to at least listen to them and do something about them. Don’t cut off your friends because of marriage, invest in all people in your life. If not you’ll end up suffering in silence. Please help your husband to understand you.

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