Many couples find their friendships taking a backseat after marriage. While that’s perfectly normal, it’s still important to maintain them because they have a profound effect on our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. In fact, according to a study, the effect of friendships on health, happiness, and longevity is even more pronounced than that of family.
Here’s how married couples can maintain friendships outside of marriage.
Prioritize Your Friends
Making your friends a priority instead of an afterthought is the first step to maintaining your relationships outside of marriage. Try to schedule specific dates in your planner for hangouts, meet-ups, and brunch dates. Pick a day that works for you and stick to it. Being proactive about meeting your friends also help your spouse to understand the value they hold in your life.
Be Mindful Not To Over-Share
Over-sharing your marital stories and problems during most of your hangouts will make your friends feel like you’re using them as your personal therapists. Not to mention, sharing too much detail may creep them out. So, try your best to resist the urge to make the conversation about you and your spouse.
That said, that doesn’t mean you can’t talk to your friends about your marriage. Friends can, after all, provide different perspectives on your problems. Keep the spouse talk to a healthy minimum and you’re good to go.
Avoid Feeling Guilty
It’s quite common for spouses to feel guilty when they spend quality time with friends. They feel like they’re being selfish and unfair. This isn’t a healthy approach to your relationships. Guilt has the uncanny potential to create erroneous self-fulfilling prophecies that damage your relationships. It influences your behavior in a negative way and your spouse is obliged to respond accordingly.
For example, time spent with friends may cause you to feel guilt over lost time with your spouse. This may cause you to—often erroneously—anticipate your spouse’s frustration. This, in turn, causes you to feel defensive, stressed, and even resentful when you meet them. They may then respond in kind.
Azizeh is an experienced and accomplished couple’s counselor based in Palo Alto. She has helped countless Bay Area couples rekindle their relationships and marriages by providing them a healthy and supportive environment for effective communication.
Call (650) 206-9973 today to schedule a free 20-minutes consultation.