If a close friend of yours has gotten married, you probably already know that this causes certain changes to take place in your relationship.
Perhaps you used to pop over whenever you wanted but now you have to call to get on the schedule. It seems activities together now must include your friend's husband or he's notified of plans. In many ways, it seems an intruder has entered your friendship. It's as though you have given up your right to an exclusive friendship with your long-time friend because now you must also befriend his/her spouse. Sometimes it seems you can't have one person without the other.
This is a common description of what happens when friends get married. Some of it is good and some is not. It is good that marriage brings two people together as one, but that does not mean that newlyweds alienate their friends. It also does not mean his wife must be with him at all the football games with the guys. As with most things in life, a balance does exist.
Here are my suggestions and insights for relationships with friends who have gotten married.
During the early days, give your friend time alone with his/her spouse. It might be difficult, but it will be best for them because they need time to develop the oneness spoken of in the Bible. (“And the two shall become one flesh …” Genesis 2:24 and Mark 10:8). They need a period of isolation for them to develop an identity as a couple. They will appreciate your respect for their privacy.
When the time is right, invite your friend and his wife (or her husband) to a movie, dinner or other activity. You will know the time is probably right not just when the two of them return from their honeymoon, but when they are once again participating in normal activities like going to work and church.
It is very important you involve the spouse because most newlyweds go through a period when one or both are insecure in their relationship. This is somewhat normal in the early stages of a marriage because of the seriousness of the commitment and the realization of the vows they have made to each other. The results are often feelings of vulnerability and jealousy.
When you involve the spouse, you are telling him/her that you are not a threat, but a friend. Likely, when the couple feels more secure, you will once again have some time alone with your friend without objection or insecurity from the spouse. It is, however, very important not to rush this.
Understand that you have not lost your friend, but that the conditions of your friendship have changed. The relationship between a husband and wife should be the most intimate and important relationship experienced by human beings. It takes precedence over friendships and even other family members. That is how God instituted marriage and all should respect that fact.
Though second place may not sound fair or encouraging, understand that your friend has not replaced you. Depending on the intensity of your friendship, your friend will likely never replace you, though her commitments and responsibilities have changed.
Preserving Your Friendship
Perhaps the best way to keep a friendship strong after one of you marries is to be the best friend you can be at that stage in life.
As time goes on, your friend could have children. If you are there to baby-sit or be a good role model for her children, you will be an important part of her life forever. Her commitment is now to her new family; therefore, showing respect and consideration to them is your duty as a friend in this new chapter of life.
If God blesses you with a spouse, your friendship will take on even new roles and dimensions as you extend the friendship between the two of you into your growing families.
If you remain a loyal and considerate friend, your friendship will likely continue and, perhaps, become even stronger as long as you value and are respectful of your friend’s marriage.