After you get married, if you have a friend who cannot stand your spouse, berates your spouse, or tries to drive a wedge between you and your spouse, you clearly need to put some distance between yourself and this person.
However, before you are married, it can be harder to choose. Should I be loyal to my friend who has been there for me through thick and thin, or should I be loyal to this man or woman I may marry someday?
Lord willing, you, your sweetie, and your friend(s) will be able to work out your differences before it gets to this point; however, you may find yourself in a situation where you have to make a difficult choice. If the day ever comes when you have to pick a side (pre-marriage), consider the following questions:
- Who has shown the best track record? If your friend has always been level-headed, generous, and easy-going, but your sweetheart has a tendency to jump off the deep end, chances are your friend is not the primary cause of the scuffle. If the opposite is true, your sweetie may be helping you see your friend in an honest light. Before we were married, if Eric had been running around picking fights with my friends, I would have considered that a red flag as my friends had proven themselves to be kind and loyal. However, if my friends had been prone to rash or self-seeking behavior, I would probably have sided with Eric. Occasionally, we need to let go of certain “friends,” and sometimes it takes a third party to show us. It is hard to walk away from a friendship (for some personalities more than others), but sometimes it is necessary to let go of toxic relationships.
- Are you certain your relationship is heading towards marriage? If you are in a new relationship, take notice of whether or not your new “romantic friend” is trying to get along with your other friends. Personally, if my best friend ditched me after I had one argument with her brand new boyfriend, I would be crushed. You know me. You don’t even know him. How could you leave me in the dust so easily? If your friend(s) cannot get along with the man or woman you are dating, you will have to decide which is more important to you – keeping your friend(s) or keeping your sweetheart? The more certain you are of your decision to marry your sweetie, the easier it is to answer that question. Sometimes our friends help show us the uglier parts of our love interests – the parts we are blinded to. If your relationship is new, and your friendships have stood the test of time, I would err on the side of choosing your friends. However, try to reconcile them before throwing away a potentially great relationship.
- Can you clearly see who’s in the wrong? If it is obvious that one party is in the wrong, then there’s your answer. If your friend is bullying your sweetie (or vice versa), then try to get to the bottom of why. If the bullying continues, it may be time to put some distance between you and him or her.
- Is jealousy the issue? Could it be that your sweetheart and friends are jealous of each other? Maybe she wants all your time and hates that “the friend” is always around. Maybe he misses the fun you use to have together before she was in the picture. If jealousy is causing a rift, try to find time to spend with each person – alone. If there are still problems after making valiant efforts to please both parties, they may be sitting on some unrealistic expectations.
- Can this be traced to a personality clash? Sometimes people don’t get along because they are so alike or so different. If you can get to the bottom of why your friend(s) and sweetie grate on each other, maybe you can play peacemaker. We can grow fond of our foes once we allow ourselves the chance to get to know them. ~smile~
- Is this a warning sign that your sweetie or your friend may have deep issues that need to be addressed? When you and your honey are all alone, life may seem perfect. However, when he or she is placed in an uncomfortable situation, you may see a much different side to him or her! Don’t assume that your sweetie or friend is perfect. Notice how he or she changes in different circumstances. If your friend is not getting along with your sweetie, it could be that your friend is seeing the truest version of your sweetie. The reverse is also true. Don’t squeeze your eyes closed. Consider if maybe you have been in the dark on some issues. Once they have surfaced, determine if you can help in some way. If not, you may need to put some distance between you and your sweetie or you and your friend depending on the verdict.
- Where do your loyalties lie, and why? If you had to imagine your life without your friend(s) or your sweetie, who stays? Why? I sincerely hope you never have to face this situation; but, if you try to reconcile your significant other and your friend(s) to no avail, you may have to choose. If your best friend continues to rag on your sweetie after you are married, that will get old fast; and, if your spouse complains every time you go out to “play” with your friend, that will get old too!
When at all possible, advocate for peace. It is so nice when your sweetie and friends get along, but when they don’t, pray for wisdom, seek advice from a mentor, and ask yourself the above questions. Determine if you should continue in relationships with any of them, especially if they are all determined to fight with each other. It may not seem like a positive situation, but it could be God’s way of freeing you from some unhealthy relationships.
Have you ever had a friend who would not get along with your sweetheart, or vice versa? How did you handle it?