Friendships in and Outside of Marriages

Photo by Lissa Anglin Photography

Many couples struggle to maintain friendships after marriage and kids.  Life gets busy and our family becomes our new priority; as they should.  Building and nurturing marital friendships builds mental and physical intimacy by helping each spouse develop a deeper appreciation for one another.  However, having friends as a couple and outside of your  marriage is vital to a healthier life.  You will grow as a couple feeling more united, while feeling refreshed with your own individual friendships outside of your spouse.  

Sharing interests with your spouse is important but not always applicable.  Friends who share common interests can help inspire and encourage you to learn, develop, and evolve.   They can provide helpful insights to situations and constructive criticism we aren’t always willing to hear from our family.  A friend’s point of view can impact us in such a way that we come back to our relationship with an enlightened and fresh perspective.  Friends help you develop a sense of independence and give you each additional outlets for expression and fun leaving you energized.   

Your marriage is benefited by outside friendships as long as you seek and maintain friendships with people who share similar morals and values, respect the sanctity of your primary relationship, and add to your life, rather than detract from it by creating stress and conflict.  Knowing there are dangers in friendships outside of your marriage should not hinder you from seeking the support of others. Rather, the benefits should provide hope and a set of general guidelines for making deeper connections with those who will support, encourage, and enhance the relationship you have with your spouse!

Benefits of Marital Friendship:

Quality Time and Communication

These will help you reconnect, share, and learn to have genuine talks about everyday life.

Trust and Common Interests

Trust is built through couples being open, honest and loyal.
Finding common interests is important in helping you have fun, laugh, and make lasting memories together.

Set and work towards life goals and dream with one another.

Make your spouse feel like a top priority.

Respect and Appreciate each other and treat one another equally.

Cheer on each other’s successes.

Lean on one another in times of need.

Be considerate of each other.

Be forgiving of one another-don’t hold grudges.

Benefits of Outside Friendships:

Benefit 1: Accountability

Friends with similar mindset can give you a lot of mental peace, which in turn helps you in treating your spouse with love and consideration.  Marriage is not always easy, but having a friend or a couple to turn to in those times of need can help keep each of you on track.  It is essential,though, to have trustworthy and intelligent friends with whom you can share your stuff and look up to for sound advice. 

Benefit 2: Encouragement

Friendships can provide mutual encouragement.  You and your spouse might be a valuable resource for another couple, just as they are for you.  Again, it is important to find friends with similar beliefs and mindsets; those who are in disagreement with the values of your household are likely not the ones to look up to for encouragement. 

Benefit 3: Connectedness and Community

It is important, as a couple, to remain connected to the people around you.  Without friendships, it is difficult to become a part of a community and feel supported and encouraged by others.  Family is an important resource, but family is not always willing to tell you what you need to hear.  Friends, however, often create a network of support and consistency that many couples desire.  Additionally, being connected with others can provide you and your spouse the opportunity to input encouragement and support into other couples’ lives.