The initial years of marriage is very crucial for the couple to spend time with each other to know and understand each other to build a strong marital bond between each other. As a relationship counsellor I always try to make the couple understand the importance of making quality time with each other, when I meet with any couple who have been recently/not so recently married who come to me for couple counselling.
I encourage them to talk, communicate, share about each other, acknowledge and appreciate things about each other, do activities together, learn how to enhance their emotional closeness etc, over and above the issues that they bring to the counselling process. The couple is encouraged to take responsibility for their actions and take remedial action as necessary, and not to involve the entire family and friends on every problem they face.
Having said that, it is very important for the both partners to retain and sustain their other support mechanisms – family and friends. But ensure that your partner understands the importance of it and is comfortable with it. That doesn’t mean you go and hang out with your friends by yourself every other day of the week or the entire week end.
What I mean is, to stay in touch with your friends who have been there with you for a long time, who know you and understand you. Here I am not referring the long list of (so called) friends on your facebook or whatsapp. I am talking about people who have been in your life, who really care for you, who are your well wishers.
Marriage – especially the first few years, could be a honeymoon and exciting period but it also could be a stressful period for both of you. You learn to adjust to the new life and living with your partner and their families and so on. Over all marital life and responsibilities will pose you many challenges that you might need to face at some point in time. Staying in touch with friends can just be your stress buster, not necessarily to talk about your problems to every one.
What is important here, is to understand it and not to overdo it. You need to give a lot of importance to your spouse/partner, make them your priority, to be able to understand them better, help them understand you better and connect with each other in a lot many more ways etc. But at the same time do not ignore your friends who have been there for you for a long time. Your friends – they know you, understand you, been there for you, have accepted you with your positives and flaws.
Of course, don’t hang out with friends all the time making your partner feel ignored or neglected or insecure. Talk to your partner about your friends. If your ex is still part of your friends group – your partner may not like it. Discuss the boundaries and arrive at an acceptable space for the both of you. It is preferable that or it is ideal that you both get along with each other’s friends, so that you are able to meet each other’s friends and also become friends with them as well if possible. You may not get along with all of them. But it doesn’t hurt to make a sincere attempt.
Point A – Guys / Gentlemen – So try to be friendly with your partner’s friends. Encourage your partner to introduce their friends to you. Be kind and respectful towards your partner’s friends. Do not talk behind their back and say unpleasant things about them to your partner (unless it is a serious issue). Plus point B.
Point B – Girls – ladies – do not stop being connected with your erstwhile friends from childhood, college or workplaces just because your are now married, or relocating because of marriage. It is normal to make friends with your husband’s friends and their wives, but it is important that you be in touch with your friends as well and get your spouse introduced to them. Plus Point A.
It is safe to say that in sometime or the other both of you are going to need your trusted friends around you to help you with. So don’t you drop your friends just because you are married and then expect them to be there for you tomorrow when your are having difficult times. Who better to stand next to you apart from your spouse and family – your Real FRIENDS.