Eric and I have different methods to making friends. He is will take the initiative and get to know new people while I hang back and wait for life to bring me together with others. He will approach new couples at church and talk to them while I wait for a Bible Study or ministry opportunity to naturally pair me with new people. He’s proactive and I’m reactive. ~smile~
I’m aware that it takes all kinds of people to make the world go round. It would be rough if we were all leaders; we would all stand around and argue about who gets to be in charge and whose plan is better. If we were all followers, we would flounder around waiting for someone to follow.
Still, these fundamental differences in personality do cause conflicts; or, as I like to consider them, “opportunities for growth.” ~smile~ Agreeing on the role of friendships in our marriage has been one of these… opportunities for growth.
When we married, I had friends in the area (most of them still single). Additionally, we had a handful of couple friends and, so, I was satisfied. After all, between work and school, I had very little social energy remaining at the end of the week. The idea of making new friends seemed like a lot of work at that point in my life. My extraverted husband, however, needed (and continues to need) more social outlets; and, as a married man, he desired to hang out with other couples (go figure!).
Our differing social needs continue to wear on us; but, much to Eric’s glee, I must admit that friendships between couples are a blessing, and even (arguably) a necessity.
My Sweetie and I are Happy Without Friends
New love is like springtime. After a long time of cold and dreariness, the sun comes out, birds sing, beautiful fragrances fill the air, and happiness abounds. With all this joy in the air, couples are satisfied. There’s so much to discover about each other and so many new experiences to have together. The need for friendships may not seem as strong when we’re wearing rosy-colored love goggles.
But, as we all know, springtime fades and summer is not far behind. Though it’s still sunny out, the temperatures rise and people go inside to enjoy the modern wonder of air conditioning. Moods aren’t as cheery as sweat pours down our backs.
New love, if the relationship continues, will always change – and hopefully deepen. Once a couple gets to know each other well, there is less to discover, there is a greater understanding of the other’s flaws, and being alone all the time together often no longer meets both of their needs. This is not a bad sign, but rather a natural progression of deepening relationships.
Friends Help Us See What We Cannot See on our Own
A healthy marriage does provide companionship; and, though I’m so thankful for my precious husband, I am also deeply grateful to God for the friends He’s brought into my life. Some are faithful to bring me the truth, even when it hurts. Others have great big ears and can listen patiently for hours. Some help me come out of my shell and have fun. And, others just light up my life. Each of my friends are very special to me.
Biblically, we are only permitted one significant other or spouse (unless we’re looking for worlds of trouble); but, there’s no limit on friendships. Friends offer us the chance to see the world through many different lenses. Even when I’m baffled by our differences, I’m so glad I have friends that can broaden my horizons.
Support, Support, Support
Support may be the best reason for couples to seek out new relationships – to receive and give support. Relationships need support. As much as we want to believe we can handle it all on our own – just the two of us – we desperately need others. American culture praises independence and individuality; however, I question our desire to walk alone. When I see large families together, I feel a bit jealous. Sure, they may be in each other’s business, but look at all the support and protection they have in each other!
With many students leaving home for college and never returning to live in their hometown, lots of young couples bring children into the world without grandparents right down the street. It can be completely overwhelming, but family friends can provide that missing family element. Though Eric and I don’t have children, I still count on my local friends to provide the closeness I miss from being away from my parents.
An investment in friendships now while you’re dating is an investment in family later. Not all friendships will grow so close; but, who knows, some of them may! We will all need support from others at one time or another.
So, even if you are shy like me (an understatement if you ask Eric), take your sweetie’s hand, and open up to the idea of making new friends together. Pray for friends and even inconvenience yourself occasionally to invest in new relationships. You will need same-sex friends for recreation, emotional support, and intellectual conversation. If you befriend other couples, your time with friends can also be quality time with your sweetie instead of time away from your sweetie.
There are many other good reasons to seek out couples friends. They are worth the investment and even the initial discomfort. Take that step and open your relationship up to new friendships. (And yes, if you haven’t been noticing, I’m preaching to myself. ~smile~)
How do you and your sweetie make new friends together?