Dynamics Of Friends And Friendships In Marriage

by Pele Odiase

The dictionary defines a friend as a close or intimate acquaintance, well-wisher or supporter. We make friends in school, places of work and worship, social gatherings etc. Some friends we out grow, some we lose contact with, some become close rivals and sworn enemies while there are the few that the bible refers to as friends that sticks closer than a brother. While you have the liberty to choose, limit and dump friends at will when single, the whole dynamics changes when married.

Getting married to a friend that you share the same friends with suggests that there is the greater probability of you keeping your friends when married otherwise you would lose some of them after a while. If you have bosom friends you would like to keep when married, it is advisable you introduce them to your intended spouse during the dating period and let the friendship ensue. However, be rest assured that the dynamics of your relationships with your friends would change when you say ‘I do’, especially if they are of the opposite sex and single.

After you’ve said ‘I do’, your loyalty, priority and devotion switches to your spouse. Everybody and everything else takes a subordinate position. If you spouse does not like or enjoy the company of any of your friends, get rid of them fast. It’s hard but it may save your marriage. It is very true for the woman because she can smell gold-diggers miles away by her innate intuition.

As a couple you should desire to establish new friendship together especially with other couples that would be role models and able to provide support and encouragement. What happens to your old friends then? Marriage does establish limits on your involvements with them especially if they are still single. You cannot have your usual girl’s or guy’s night outs without the express consent of your spouse. You would be looking for big trouble by keeping close relationships with friends of the opposite sex. You would be establishing a mine field and breeding ground for jealously and distrust.

It doesn’t however mean you cannot have a friend or colleague of the opposite sex whom you relate with from time to time. If they are worth your time and effort the courteous thing to do is to introduce them to your spouse. If they are not comfortable speaking with your spouse, it is an alarm bell. The reality of friendships in marriage is that you cannot live as a single person anymore. The two are now one. No individual in the marriage has the sole decision to establish friendships at the expense of the other. You shouldn’t have any friend your spouse is unaware of, that is if you have nothing to hide.

A more sensitive situation is maintaining relationships with ex-boyfriends, lovers or husbands especially if there is a kid involved. The relationship must be clearly defined and boundaries established with the consent of your current spouse. If there isn’t any child or common interests between you and your ex, my advice it to dissolve any relationship in whatever form that ever existed. You must find the strength to do it if you want your marriage to be void of suspicions and doubts. Exs have a way to getting back together at the expense of the established marriage. Flee every appearance of evil and be the man or The Woman after God’s Heart! Every wise woman builds her house: but the foolish plucks it down with her hands.

Life does naturally dictate our friends. You make friends with people you share common interests with. You most likely would make friends with folks in church if you attend church activities regularly. The same applies to sports activities, places of work and schools. When you start having kids, there is the probability that you would develop friendships with other parents as well the same applies when you are pregnant. Your single friends gradually become irrelevant and if they do not get married soon they fade away. Birds of the same feather do flock together.

All said and done, your spouse should be your best friend but not your only best friend. You should also have at least a very close friend (of the same sex) whom you can talk to, share things with and who can tell you the truth and rebuke you when you err. Your spouse should know who he or she is though. Friends like that are rare to find, but when you find them they would be an immense blessing to your home.

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Tiffany March 29, 2010 - 8:37 pm

Agreed! That was the problem that I have with this article… I am currently going through this with my friend. We’ve been friends for 25 yrs, I was a bridesmaid in her wedding, she leaned on me constantly during wedding preparations which I didn’t mind; we’ve always been close, but ever since she said “I do” (Nov 2009), her attitude has completely changed. She’s now talking about how friends are irrelevant and all this b.s. which has caused a strain in our relationship. She and I have never had any issues and when she needed me I stepped up, now our friendship is irrelevant b/c she’s married??? I told her the exact same thing that you are saying in this comment! But I also explained that good friends are hard to find and if you wake up one day and your marriage is not working, who will you turn to for advice and to help you if you push good ppl away?? And like you said, in a good marriage there should be trust, respect and maturity, if he or she doesn’t like your friend(s), if it’s not for a valid reason, then they need to get over it…

Theresa January 30, 2010 - 10:11 pm

Marriage is two lives that are merging together; not one person x-ing out friends b/c the other doesn’t like them. I understand that friendships change after marriage- that’s a no brainer. I believe that CERTAIN friendships can disappear and perhaps are not worth fighting for- but others are innocent and beneficial and are worthy of keeping, and though they take a major back shelf, they do not have to be ex-communicated b/c someone got married. How cheap is that! I understand that ex boyfriends/girlfriends are not appropriate to keep around as friends in many cases, but each couple must decide for themselves what they’re comfortable with. When you have a jealous maniac for a boyfriend, you have to stand your ground in some friendships or he will walk all over you and control every friendship you have. Life would be colorless if we were only friends with people like us. Sure, add new friends but don’t trash your friends just because life changed. Where’s the mutual trust and respect in that? Bring those friends TOGETHER in your marriage. It’s a beautiful thing.

Samir December 28, 2009 - 11:57 am

I dont agree…

Friendship and marriage are two different things. One cannot break one for the another. They are both important in their own places.

If one of the spouses is insecure from friends, he / she has to deal with his / her insecurity and not expect their other half to get rid of someone. You cannot leave old relationships for new ones unless they wither with time. Nobody can dictate anyone their friendships. A good marriage is when both husband and wife trust each other and none of them try to ruin each other’s freedom to choose. And if that is not so, it’s not a marriage. It’s like a boundary of a country run by a dictator.

marty November 8, 2009 - 7:41 pm

not truthful

Stacey August 1, 2009 - 4:26 am

It’s redicululous to think your friends become irrelevant, simply because they aren’t married or have kids.

ADI A August 31, 2008 - 12:39 pm

So in other words, get rid of your friends if your spouce do not like them and if they are not married and join your league of married people? what if you are dealing with a spouce that is not agreeable and selfish? The bottom line is ” too much of anything is bad” whatever friend you choose, remember you have a home and a good reputation build.

Jerry & Cheryl Davison July 2, 2008 - 4:21 pm

This is one of the best articles on the dynamics of outside relationships in a marriage I have ever read. We teach a Christian marriage class at our church and we tell them this very thing. Thank you for the boldness to speak the wisdom of God’s word into lives all over the world.

Brenda June 28, 2008 - 10:28 am

Truth, truth, and even more truth. A very good article with really good advice for newlyweds or couples about to get married.

Tokunbo February 19, 2008 - 2:26 pm

Good work! Well said.


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