We all know that friendships influence our relationships throughout our lives, because our friends are there for us when we need them, especially when we are going through the lows. Over time, we begin to ask them for advice on even the most mundane of things, and before long, without us realizing, we are dependent on them for every little problem that comes our way.
But is it always good to ask our friends about everything, instead of our spouses? Recent studies have revealed the potential disasters of sharing ‘a little bit too much’ with our friends, and that a few of them may even have detrimental effects on our marriages.
‘When people hang out with their old friends, their behavior tends to rub off on each other, and they act differently as to how they would when around their husbands/wives’ a researcher claimed.
Sometimes, toxic friends coax spouses to spend too much time away from marriage, and as a result, feel discontent with their spouse and the marriage after a while. Anger alienates, and resentment rejects, so it’s important to talk about these feelings as well. Being on the same page, also called UNITY, is essential for a healthy marriage.
Anything that threatens a marriage needs to be faced, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that both people have to agree on everything.
Is it the fear that they are talking too openly about your relationship with other people?
Ask yourself how you feel your spouse is changing as a person, and seek to identify specifically the ways in which the relationship with their friends is affecting the marriage. Are his/her views on important issues changing because of others? If yes, then it’s a big problem and might have a toll on the marriage.
Consider the example of a married couple, in which the negative views of a man’s/woman’s friend rubbed off on the spouse, and over time, he/she began to view their spouse negatively. It is a reminder to us all that an unhealthy comparison can be TOXIC for a marriage.
Leisure activities together are important for every relationship, and it is important to have movie and dinner dates, walks, talks and night outs together, just the couple. If you feel that your spouse is giving all of his or her ‘fun time’ to the friends, consider talking to them about it, because friendships are only supposed to bring out the best in us, and our marriage, not the other way round.
If you’re only spending all your days out with your friends, chances are that you are going to have a wrecked up marriage.
“We often become like the people we hang out with the most.”
Having friends from various walks of life is okay, but allowing ANY of them to harm your marriage is not.
So, how can we recognize a “good” friend from a “bad” one? We have to understand the kind of friendship behaviors that negatively impact our marriage. There are 4 types:
- The friend who talks badly about his/her spouse
- The friend who talks badly about your spouse
- The friend who is always putting you against your marriage
- The friend who hates marriage in general
When we ALLOW people to say nasty things about our spouses, we are placing the friendship ahead of the marriage, which is unhealthy.
It perpetuates a negative cycle in our heads and hearts, and creates an unhealthy co-dependent friendship that later on harms the married couple’s life.
A true friend would always encourage the married couple to be close to each other, not the other way around. Any friend that says negative things like ‘She/he takes too much of your time’ or ‘She/he is too controlling’ or ‘She/he has you at their fingertips’, or even more toxic things like ‘You should be able to do whatever you want without being questioned’, is not a good influence and is certainly not considering the person’s devotion to the family.
Our friends should, first of all, never expect us to choose them over our own families.
The bottom line is that we need to spend time with our friends for a healthy routine and life, but NOT at the expense of our own families. If we are spending too many nights out with our friends, our marriage will suffer.
“BAD COMPANY CORRUPTS GOOD CHARACTER”
Even if your spouse is not engaging in casual sex, drinking or gambling but his friends are, simply being with such company can be potentially dangerous-he might not be the one drinking but he might be at a party where drugs and women are being hurled around and might get in trouble with the cops.
The consequences of having ‘friends with a bad influence’ can be far reaching, and if you have proof of their bad influences, you need to talk to your spouse about it.
For a marriage to prosper, in any case, it is important that friends and family are kept away from anything that makes them interfere in the marriage. Personal things should be communicated and discussed between the married couple, not with the whole family or whole bunch of friends. Once that happens, there will be multiple opinions on the given issue and it could corrupt a weak mind. It is fairly important for married couples to seek counseling if they are not able to communicate their thoughts to each other, and for them to resolve their conflicts on their own. Friends should be a part of the ups and downs, but never the center of them.