Boundaries Pt 2
Getting married is such a blessed occasion. You get to vow to be with the love of your life for the rest of your life, and there’s a bonus…. You marry their friends too!!!
No, that is not reality. When you say the beautiful words “I DO” at the alter before God and Family, you leave…. Everyone and Everything to become ONE with your now spouse.
I can’t have ANY friends?
We hear people complaining often about how when they got married, they couldn’t spend any time with their friends. We also hear people complaining about how the spouse spends too much time with their friends. The issue is not the friends, but the boundaries that have not been set or have not been adhered to by either spouse.
Yes, of course you can have friends. What type of world would this be without relationship? Quite frankly if you ask us, you need friendships outside of your marriage. It is extremely healthy to have other relationships outside of your spouse!
Whoa …. Little red corvette…. Pump the brakes!!! Before you go and get into a lot of trouble pointing your finger into the face of your spouse yelling gleefully “I can have friends ha ha ha!!!” Let’s discuss some very important topics around what friendships outside of marriage looks like and the boundaries that need to be in place to keep those friendships as a bonus to your marriage.
Who can I be friends with?
One rule of thumb that we have implemented in our marriage was to not have friends of the opposite sex. You know, the wife and John are friends and John really has no relationship with the husband. Or, the husband and Cindy have a relationship and Cindy really doesn’t speak to the wife. Those relationships should be completely off limits. Why? Well namely because they leave way too much room for temptation. If John, wife, and husband are not friends, or Cindy, husband, and wife are not friends, these friends should be left at the alter with the “I DO”.
Especially if those opposite sex friends are single. That there, my friends, is a no brainer! No opposite sex friends that are single. This is a double whammy possibility of temptation. So, if you are married and either of you have these types of friends, unfollow them on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, or whatever social site you are following them on. If they call to check in on you, let them know that you won’t be able to have phone conversations anymore, and that maybe you’ll see them around, and you wish them the best. This may be difficult, but trust us, it is needed to have a healthy marriage.
It is however possible to have friends that are single and of the same sex. Namely because they are usually not a threat for temptation. You, however, should use discernment when having these types of friends also. Why? Because these friends can sometimes pose a threat to your priorities.
Andre and Chris aren’t married, and they still go out drinking or playing pool every Friday and Saturday. Husband is married yet still wants to hang out with his single friends who have no other priority but themselves. That isn’t going to work for husband. His only priority is not himself; he now has a wife to consider.
We deem the best relationships outside of marriage are those that are likeminded. Those that have more in common with you than not. So, that would be, friends who are married also. Even if all 4 of you are not close and just the wives are close or just the husbands are close, these are still the best relationships to have outside of the marriage relationship. They are what we call ‘safe friendships'. Friendships that allow little to no room for temptation or for us to shift our priorities for.
But wait, there’s more!
Now we have established that you can have friends, let’s talk about the boundaries that need to be in place very early on in the marriage, maybe even before. It saves on a lot of heartache and arguments for sure….
First when it comes to single opposite sex friendships, we already established the boundary, CUT THEM OFF! Next let’s look at the same sex friendships to people who are single. As much as we want to believe that when we get married, we are the only friend our spouse will ever need and/or we will have friends from the very beginning who are married and we will all get along and hang out every weekend together, that’s just not everybody’s story.
So, let’s be realistic here, your spouse may have a few friends that are not married and are still considered to be really good friends. All that said, some things still must change. First off if these friends disrespect your spouse in any way, they are not friends, and you shouldn’t want them as your friend. This person is harmful not helpful to a healthy marriage. Let’s say you and your spouse get into an argument and you need to talk, this friend is only going to work you up even more by telling you how horrible of a spouse that they are anyway. Not a good asset to have for sure. Also, single friends can come and go as they please, because their only priority is themselves. You must remember that your priority is your family, not your friends. At the same time, your spouse needs to remember that it is ok to graciously allow your spouse to hang out with their friends occasionally. Yes, occasionally, not every day. Maybe establishing that once every other week they will hang out with their friends. Trust me that get’s old and it probably won’t even be that often. But, be patient, it’s hard to let go of the lifestyle that we were used to before marriage.
Although the best friendships to have are married friends, there need to be boundaries there too. These friends may be easier to hang out with on a regular basis, because the four of you will hang out together, or wives hang out and husbands hang out. Yet, the two of you know that you both have obligations and priorities, and all involved normally don’t push to step over those priorities. But, sometimes, there are some that need to be set. For example, You and your spouse have children and the other couple doesn’t, you may have to set a time boundary because your kiddos go to bed at a certain time. Or one couple spends one day to themselves separately every weekend and that’s not how you roll, then the boundary is, don’t roll like that.
Have Jesus in common
Lastly, you want your closest friends to believe the way you believe. There are going to be many ups and downs in your marriage and life in general. You NEED a friend or two who is going to stand by you, listen to you, pray with you, and encourage you in Christ. This type of friend is essential to a healthy marriage. Not saying that your marriage can’t survive without these types of friends, but they are extremely helpful. Yes, you can have friends that don’t necessarily believe what you believe, but those aren’t the friends you need around when your world turns upside down. You need the friends that are going to point you to Jesus no matter the circumstance.
We hope this helps you in creating boundaries when it comes to the friends that you allow to be a part of your life and as always, we PRAY your journey is a blessed one.
Be Faithful, Be Free
T & E Young