Friendship is a wonderful thing that can get a person through some of the roughest points he or she faces in life. Friends offer the shoulder to cry on, the tissue to dry the tears, and the invitation to fun activities that promote healing will, undoubtedly, hold great meaning for the rest of that person’s life. Unfortunately, maintaining a new marriage can often strain friendships and challenge them in ways that no one could quite expect. There are many reasons that this happens and it is a natural occurrence. For one thing, marriage changes the way that decisions are made. It is no longer a matter of what ‘I would like to do’ but rather a decision of what ‘we would like to do’. Furthermore, marriage often brings added responsibilities and a new group of people to spend time with. This doesn’t mean that a friendship ends when the words ‘I do’ are said, but that the relationship will require effort.
Scheduling - Time as a newlywed, must be split between the marriage, old friends, new friends, and family. Often the best way to maintain friendships with hurting your marriage is to schedule visits in advance. Whether the activities will be done as couples or just you will be attending, it is important to discuss them with your spouse to prevent calendar conflicts such as you planning to attend a girls’ happy hour on Friday but he promised that you’d both be at his mother’s dinner party. Newlyweds need to realize that there’s more than one person making plans!
Understanding How To Handle Change - As we grow up and get married, life changes happen. Some of those changes in direction will be pre-planned decisions and others might be unexpected. However, all can affect relationships, including those between you and your friends. The choice to start a family, to move, or even to change jobs can have major impact on the time you have available to spend with friends and also how your perspective aligns with theirs’. Being aware that changes will happen can make it easier to address them and even prevent them from causing issues within your friendships.
The Need for Boundaries - Though friendships are undeniably important, when you say your vows, you promise to think of your spouse first. Defining special times, places, and events that should be reserved for just the two of you is a good way to prevent hard feelings and big fights in the future. These boundaries will actually make it easier to maintain the friendship and balance it with the new life you have started with your spouse.
How do you maintain your friendships as a newlywed? Have you instituted a girls night in or Skype chats to stay connected? We’d love to hear your solutions and thoughts in a comment!