When Andy and I first got married, we were loners. We knew people, but we didn’t have too many friends. We did things together, made excuses why we were busy, and generally focused on the two of us.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with that. Too many couples and families nowadays get so busy that they never have time for their marriage. Spending time strengthening your marriage is very important, especially at first! However, we were missing out.
About six months into our marriage, we started realizing what we were missing out on…friends. Other couples to spend time with and grow with. We were hesitant at first. Part of us felt like if a couple had kids and we didn’t, then we really didn’t have too much in common. Then we realized how fun being friends with other couples can be!
We’re now blessed to have a large circle of couples as “friends”, and several that I would consider close friends. We hang out at least once a week, go to church together, and, in general, live life together. It’s great! But why is this important?
First, no matter how good of a friend your spouse is, he or she just can never replace your need for friendships with people of the same sex. Ladies, trust me, you need women in your life. Other women understand you, they appreciate the same things you do, and they can give you awesome advice. I know my husband would say the same about men.
Second, you can grow together as couples. Undoubtedly, you still have single friends. You may not like it, but the day you said “I do”, your friendships with them changed. While you may still have a lot of things in common, there is quite simply a barrier of difference between unmarried and married people. Growing up, I’d watch movies with my parents and find them laughing hysterically at a part that I didn’t find that funny. They would tell us that you could only understand the joke if you were married. I understand that now.
The fact of the matter is, marriage changes you. It’s no longer just you…it’s you and your spouse. You’re a couple and a family. Being friends with other married couples gives you the opportunity to grow together. You can laugh about the same jokes and plan activities that “work” for married people (like a ladies night out that ends early so sleepy babies can get to bed). You’re there for each other when you have babies, buy a house, or change jobs. You do life together, and it just works.
Finally, you can learn a lot from other couples. Maybe you’re friends with a couple that are old enough to be your parents. They have so much experiential wisdom that they can share with you from their many years of marriage! Or maybe some of your close friends have babies and you don’t. Are they not the perfect people to watch and learn about childrearing? And aren’t they the perfect people to talk to about when to have kids, how to balance kids and marriage, etc? Or maybe there’s a couple that’s even more newlywed than you. They’re looking to you for advice and guidance. Don’t let them down! Being friends with other married couples can be such a learning experience!
So, open up your planner a little to make a few new friends. Don’t avoid the next Sunday school activity. Get out there and start forging relationships with other couples! I promise you, you won’t regret it.