It’s important to maintain friendships with people you were friends with before you got married.
I once knew a woman who after she got married pretty much stopped hanging out with her friends because she wanted to be with her husband. She went MIA. Little by little they began to find new friends and other things to do with their time and eventually dropped away. Some were single girlfriends and some were married. Most were women, only one was a man. Friends provide support and care, help you cope in difficult situations, offer encouragement, and can actually make you happier and healthier. When a friendship has been in your life for a while and the dynamic begins to shift people eventually stop calling.
Fast forward 10 years. She got a divorce. Now she was alone. She needed someone beside her cat to spend time with. She was not feeling supported or nourished by their former friendship. Her opposite sex friends also dropped her. (My opinion: The sex of the friend is not as important as the nature of the relationship – more on this some other time). Her friends had moved on and she was left without any close friends to comfort her or to be with.
You don’t need only married friends to convince you to stay on the straight and narrow any more than your single friends should be able to lead you astray. After the divorce, she began recontacting some of her old friends however she had this sudden realization that they were no long as close as they once were and she was single again and on her own. I cautioned her not to sever those relationships but she didn’t listen. Letting go of those who has been a prominent fixture in your life is not a wise move. She once told me she had this regretful longing and was often consumed with guilt for not being there for them like she used to.
While it is wise to let go of relationships that no longer serve you – friends who were bar hopping and crazy wild (most smart partners weeding out the bad ones when they get married) – it is important for your own well being to continue relationships that nurture you, support you and provide ears to listen when you need to talk. Things are going to change when your married, you need to choose your time wisely and it gets even harder when kids enter the picture.
I’ve said for many years that you can’t be anyone’s friend – including your husband’s friend – if you aren’t taking care of yourself first and foremost. Of course, your relationship with your husband gets top priority. However, letting go of your friends and clinging only to your husband is called co-dependency. Maintaining former friendships after you are married requires setting priorities and balancing the time with your friends and your own family. Being married tends to require that you pay greater attention to your schedule, especially as more time is devoted to being with your hubby.
“Friendships provide support, keep us from feeling lonely, and make us well-rounded people. Encouraging and supportive friends understand that your best-friend is, and should be, your spouse, but no matter how close we are to our spouse and kids, we often desire to have a kinship with others.” ~ TwoOfUs.org
Shared interests, common bonds and friendships forged over years are nothing to just drop because you get married. Any true friend should be part of your life, married or single. You still need that “girl time.” Spending a little time away with your girlfriends gives you a chance to unwind and relax. I believe married couples should keep their friends, and as long as there is a bond of trust and a high level of respect between them there will rarely ever be problems.
Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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