Friends are some of the best things in life. They are the people who get you, who like you no matter what, who stand by you, who click with you, and who enjoy spending time with you - and you don't even have to put up with living under the same roof with them! Everyone needs a good friend, and friends are vitally important to having a healthy and happy life. However, once you are married, you ought to be careful not to allow your friendships to overrun your marriage.
Take a few minutes to evaluate your friendships. If any of them are hurting your marriage, then you ought to think about ditching those friends and keeping your marriage as your top priority. It really comes down to the following questions, "Who is more important to me? My friends or my spouse?" Now, we're not saying that you can't have both, but if your friends fit any of the descriptions below, then it's probably time to think a little more deeply about what you want. Just saying...
Here are nine tell-tale signs that your friendships could be ruining your marriage.
1. Your friends know things your spouse doesn't.
If your friends know about something you did, or something that happened that your spouse doesn't even know about (or that you would be embarrassed if your spouse found out about), then that is a red flag. Your most intimate conversations, along with your transparency and vulnerability, ought to be reserved for your spouse. Boundaries protecting you and your spouse are vital in marriage, and your friends probably shouldn't know details about your life that you aren't willing to share with your spouse first.
2. You prefer to hang out with your friends over hanging out with your spouse.
Just think about it - your video game time? Your shopping time?! How often do you look forward to your time out with friends over your time-in with your spouse? Are you vigilant about planning your weekly girl's night out, yet fail to ever plan a weekly date night? If so, it might be time to re-examine your priorities and choose to spend a little more quality time hanging out with your spouse, instead of with your friends. Of course, it isn't bad to have friends to do things with, just be wise and make sure your friend time isn't trumping your spouse time.
3. Your friends suck the bank dry.
Do you have needy friends? Friends who always need you to lend them cash, or pay for dinner? Or do you have friends that always invite you (with or without your spouse) to do things that are a little out of your budget? If so, maybe pull back a little and think about how this might be damaging your relationship with your spouse, and your bank account.
Or, if you think your friends are just "using" you in other ways, it might be time to re-evaluate the friendship. Friendship is a real give and take thing. Depending on seasons and circumstances, sometimes you might be giving more, while at other times you might be receiving more. But if your friendships are just take-take-take, that's probably not a good sign.
4. Your friends bash on your spouse.
This is a big no-no. Shocking, really, if the people you call "besties," thrive on gossiping about or speaking unkindly about your spouse or their own. Can you imagine what they say when you're not around? If your friends don't treat your spouse and their own with the respect they deserve, it's definitely not doing your relationship any favors. That should be a huge warning sign that you have the wrong friends. Choose friends who protect and support you, and your spouse, and who encourage you in your marital duties.
5. Your friends make you look bad in front of your spouse.
Do you have friends who constantly poke fun at you or make jabs about you in front of your spouse? Or do they say things that embarrass you in front of your wife or husband? If so, realize that those friends aren't for you. When it comes to friends, the keepers are those who inspire you to be your best self and who make you feel like the person of worth that you are.
6. Your friends always try and introduce you to other people.
It's possible that your friends believe that flirting and playing around isn't dangerous or wrong. They always want to hang out in places you aren't comfortable in, or with people that you aren't comfortable with. Listen up peeps, ditch those friends. If your friends bring out the worst in you, or are always putting you in situations of temptation, then be done with them. You can find better friends than that. Plus, you'll be happier when you no longer feel that tug between your heart knowing what is right and the adult peer-pressure of fitting in.
7. You confide in your friends more than you confide in your spouse.
When something exciting happens or when big decisions are in front of you, who do you call first? Please don't say your friends (or your mom)! Hopefully, you call your spouse first. Of course, call your friends and mom next, but just not first.
Also, try to not let your friend's opinions weigh too heavily on the important decisions that should be between you and your spouse. You know what I'm talking about. There are certain decisions that are yours alone to make and likely don't require the input of all your guy or lady friends. Of course, it's wonderful to have friends and mentors to turn to for advice and counsel, but make sure that your spouse is your go-to counselor.
8. Your friends know every thing about your spouse and about your relationship.
That is just asking for trouble. It's true, a lot of people tell their friends everything about their spouse and their marriage. They tell them the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sure, you may feel like you need someone to talk to, but your first priority should be to protect and be loyal to your spouse. There are some things that can simply be kept between the two of you. Maintain each other's confidence's and it will pay huge dividends for your marriage! (***Please note, if you are stuck in a rotten relationship or are being abused and need someone to talk to - then certainly find a trusted friend to confide in!).
9. Your friends bring you down.
If your friends bring you down, encourage you to make bad decisions, or make you feel awful about yourself or your marriage, then they aren't true friends. It's really that simple. True friends make you want to be a better person. True friends see the best in you and your spouse. True friends are the biggest cheerleaders for your marriage and your family. True friends respect your time and your marriage. True friends are there for you, without trying to replace your spouse. True friends are loyal, kind, and fun. True friends can offer you something renewing and wonderful in life without compromising the relationship that matters most to you - your marriage relationship. And finally, true friends are perfectly okay with the fact that they will never be your "best friend," because they know that that title belongs to your one and only. And that's exactly how it should be!
Photo Credit: Caitlinn Mahar-Daniels
"What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility."
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