The dictionary defines a friend as a close or intimate acquaintance, well-wisher or supporter. We make friends in school, places of work and worship, social gatherings etc. Some friends we outgrow, some we lose contact with, some become close rivals and sworn enemies while there are the few that the bible refers to as friends that sticks closer than a brother. While you have the liberty to choose, limit and dump friends at will when single, the whole dynamics changes when married.
Getting married to a friend that you share the same friends with suggests that there is the greater probability of you keeping your friends when married otherwise, you would lose some of them after a while. If you have bosom friends you would like to keep when married, it is advisable you introduce them to your intended spouse during the dating period and let the friendship ensue. However, be rest assured that the dynamics of your relationships with your friends would change when you say “I do”, especially if they are of the opposite sex and single.
After the wedding, your loyalty, priority and devotion switches to your spouse. Everybody and everything else takes a subordinate position. If you spouse does not like or enjoy the company of any of your friends for just reasons, get rid of them fast. It’s hard but it may save your marriage. It is very true for the woman because she can smell gold-diggers miles away by their innate intuition.
As a couple you should desire to establish new friendship together especially with other couples that would be role models and able to provide support and encouragement. What happens to your old friends then? Marriage does establish limits on your involvements with them especially if they are still single. You cannot have your usual girl’s or guy’s night outs without the express consent of your spouse. You would be looking for big trouble by keeping close relationships with friends of the opposite sex. You would be establishing a mine field and breeding ground for jealously and distrust.
It doesn’t however mean you cannot have a friend or colleague of the opposite sex whom you relate with from time to time. If they are worth your time and effort the courteous thing to do is to introduce them to your spouse. If they are not comfortable speaking with your spouse, that’s an alarm bell. The reality of friendships in marriage is that you cannot live as a single person anymore. The two are now one. No individual in the marriage has the sole decision to establish friendships at the expense of the other. You shouldn’t have any friend your spouse is unaware of, that is if you have nothing to hide.
A more sensitive situation is maintaining relationships with ex-lovers, ex-wife or ex-husband especially if there is a kid involved. The relationship must be clearly defined and boundaries established with the consent of your spouse. If there isn’t any child or common interests between you and your ex, my advice it to dissolve any relationship in whatever form that ever existed. You must find the strength to do it if you want your marriage to be void of suspicions and doubts. Exs have a way to getting back together at the expense of the established marriage. Flee every appearance of evil and be the man or The Woman after God’s Heart.
Life naturally dictates our friends. You make friends with people you share common interests with. You most likely would make friends with folks in church if you attend church activities regularly. The same applies to sports activities, places of work and schools. When you start having kids, there is the probability that you would develop friendships with other parents and teachers as well. The same applies when you are pregnant, you get to meet other pregnant women. Your single friends gradually become relegated to the background, if they do not get married sooner, they fade away like the stars of the morning.
All said and done, you spouse should be your best friend but not your only best friend. You should also have at least a very close friend (of the same sex) whom you can talk to, share things with and who can tell you the truth and rebuke you when you err. Your spouse should know who he or she is though. Friends like that are rare to find, but when you find them they would be an immense blessing to your home.
Proverbs 18:24 – A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother