Marriage is great and, if you work at it, your spouse can be your best friend. However, it is still important that you have some same-sex friends. Women can find their boyfriend’s, fiancée’s, or husband’s same sex friendships to be threatening: “Why doesn’t he want to spend all his time with me?” Sometimes it can affect men the same way: “Why does she always need to spend time with her girlfriends? Am I not enough?” If your significant other has a comfortable number of same-sex friends (as determined by your significant other), it can be a tremendous blessing for your marriage.
Men and women were created so very differently. Though there are men and women that evade the general stereotype for their sex, in general, men have an outlook and communication style that differs significantly from women. When a man and woman spend exclusive time together, it can turn into a communication battle. Perhaps the man just can’t take yet another night of discussing his feelings. Maybe the woman believes that if he emotionally shuts down one more time, she’s going to burst into tears. This underscores the importance of men and women needing to work to understand one another.
However, in general, men innately understand other men and women innately understand other women. So, it is often a blessing to find familiarity in the company of our same sex friends. Women occasionally need another female shoulder on which to cry and hear phrases like: “What you are feeling is normal. I understand! I’ve been there.” On the other hand, many men would rather do something together, either fun or constructive, while omitting the emotional support.
Since we live in a college town, many of our friends have left as they have graduated or become married and have moved away for purposes of occupation or to be closer to their family of origin. However, I am thankful to still have a few of my college friends remain here. A few hours each week with my female friends helps my outlook on life to become brighter and lighter. Eric is a great listener, but he doesn’t have that instinctual female validation. He is created and geared to fix the problems that I introduce. Most of the time, however, I don’t want a solution… I just want to get the item off my chest and have someone look at me in an understanding way. It is just important that I not feel like the only person in the world going through whatever I’m going through at the time. After dinner with my friends, and leaving feeling validated, I come home and can’t wait to spend time with my husband. When Eric spends time with his guy friends, or goes to a book club, he comes home with that part of his life need met. When your significant other is free to be with their same-sex friends to get his or her sex-specific needs met, you will get to reap the benefits of a satiated partner.
If you are finding that you are threatened by your future spouse’s friends, there may be a few reasons. Are his or her friends a negative influence on your spouse? Does your future spouse consistently spend more time with them than with you? Alternately, maybe you don’t like being alone while your spouse hangs out with his or her friends. If either of the first two reasons above are true, then you need to lovingly and respectfully approach your boyfriend or girlfriend with your concerns. If nothing changes, then make it a matter of prayer, asking God to change his or her heart on the matter. It is also important to ask God to reveal if you are in the wrong in your feelings. If you simply don’t like to be left alone while he or she spends time with his or her friends, then I would encourage you to join a group or to create some other, or more, same sex friendships of your own. Spouses can ultimately fulfill only so much of our needs, so it is essential to have positive, same-sex friends to encourage you. Life is often challenging, but good friends make the journey a lot easier.
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