5 Friends That Will Break Your Marriage
Friends – we all have them. None of them are the same. While they may share similar traits, none of them are the same type of friend. Some friends are more like family and other friends are more like acquaintances. Some friends are needy and other friends are very generous. Each friend that you have in your life should bring something to the table, just as you should provide a certain dynamic to that friend in return. That’s the great thing about friends – they’re God’s way of putting good people in your life to make it better. However, some people may not really be our friends and their presence can present various distracting and crippling effects into our life – especially if you’re married.
Married couples have a different dynamic when it comes to their friends because there is an added measure of checks and balance. Your marriage is the one friendship that should always come first. You’ll find that some people don’t understand that or perhaps they don’t share that same outlook. Therefore, it’s very important to nurture your marriage and ditch friendships that could potentially cause problems. Sometimes it’s not very easy to see these types of friends as hazardous – especially if you are blinded by other elements. However, if you stay true to yourself and seek out ways to rid yourself from these toxic people you’ll discover which friends could potentially break up your marriage.
I think it’s safe to say that all of us have had the “Stage Five Clinger Friend,” right? This friend is stuck to your like glue. No matter what you do, they feel like they have to invite themselves and be around you 24/7. While some friendships become more of a family element, it’s important to still maintain healthy boundaries. Which means you can’t be around each other all of the time and you cannot do everything together. There are times when it’s important for a husband and wife to have alone time – not only does this present a platform for couples to bond, but it also gives a couple the opportunity to connect away from any distractions. You’ll find that if you are constantly including your friend as the third wheel or consistently neglecting your spouse that things may begin to crumble.
Another type of friend to stay away from are the ones who don’t have the same morals and ethics that you do. If Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, it’s important for your friends to respect that. Moreover, you want to surround yourself with people that share your views because they’re part of the world you’re surrounding yourself with. If you live within negativity and drama, then that’s what you will put out. The same outcome is true when it comes to positivity – if you surround yourself with positive elements then that is what your outcome will be. Try to surround yourself with other Christians that will build you up. These faith believers can provide you with positive dynamics to support your marriage. You’ll find that negative people can be a wedge within your marriage.
Liars are another dangerous friend to have. Unfortunately, there are some people in the world today that receive their happiness by making others miserable. In most cases, these people are very good at convincing you that what they’re telling you is the truth when in fact it’s the furthest thing from the truth. Once you’ve identified your friend as a liar, it’s important to distance yourself. Oftentimes, Christians get caught up with trying to help others and be their shoulder. Constantly subjecting yourself to these lies will cause a rift within your marriage because you will have invested valuable time with someone who has no intentions of bringing positivity into your life. It’s important to remember that you cannot save someone from their lies. Unfortunately, they must address this problem within themselves and talk to God on their own.
It’s also important to recognize the friends who talk badly about the opposite sex. Perhaps this person is going through a difficult time or had a bad relationship – either way they’ve categorized an entire sex into a category that they’ve set out to hate. You’ll find that this friend will thrive during your conversations that involve frustrations or obstacles that you and your spouse are experiencing. While you may love your spouse very much, it can be extremely frustrating to separate the negative things you’re hearing when you’re going through a rough patch yourself. Never allow this friend to group your spouse into category because it’s not fair for your marriage to be attached to a negative stigma.
Another friend that you’ll want to cut out of your life is a close friend of the opposite sex. It’s probably safe to say that we’ve all had a close friend that caused rough waters with our spouse. While there was no real competition or sparks, your spouse may feel threatened by this individual for one reason or another. In some ways this can be brought on by self-esteem issues or prior events that took place in another relationship. Either way, remember you took a vow to honor your spouse through sickness and in health – honor that vow. Talk to your friend and explain to them the issues your spouse has and in the end it’s important that you pick your spouse. If you allow this friend to be part of your life, you’ll find that your marriage will always carry a third wheel that makes things uncomfortable. There will always be the ‘I’m not good enough factor’ and it’s important that your spouse feels like your number one.
Remember, there’s no definitive right or wrong way to live out your marriage. Everyone has different dynamics because every relationship is different. However, it’s important that the friends in your life bring positive elements to the table. You’ll have to discover the truth about your friends on your own, but once you uncover the truth do not wait on acting. Communicate with your spouse and make sure that you’re on the same page because the reality is if you’re friends with someone, then your spouse will also experience those positive or negative elements.
You Hate Your Wifes Friends Because Youre Jealous
When you hear that a couple is getting divorced, certain reasons creep into your mind: Infidelity. Financial issues. A lack of mutual respect. Chances are, whether or not the husband dislikes his wife’s friends doesn’t appear on your list. How could something so common and petty lead to something so big? But according to a study from the University of Michigan, they’d be wrong. When a husband hates his wife’s friends, bad things happen. And if you’re harboring this dislike, the explanation may say more about you and your friends than it does about your wife and hers.
In the University of Michigan study, researchers analyzed 16 years of data for patterns of marital tension that led to divorce. A major correlative factor was the relationship between a husband and his wife’s friends, where increased negativity predicted and increased chance of divorce. It all comes down to, as many things do, a degree of paranoia.
“Women are much more likely to discuss marital problems with their friends,” says Stephanie Roth Goldberg, a New York social worker and clinical therapist. “This leads to getting opinions on their relationship from their friends.” This, of course, is perfectly natural, though when the dislike between a husband and his wife’s friends is mutual, or one suspects it might be mutual, husbands feel threatened by the friends’ influence, and tend to generate a lot of negativity as a result. Says Goldberg: “a man may feel exposed hanging out with his wife’s friends because he is aware that friend may know more about him than he may like.”
All in all, this makes sense. What complicates all this is the eternally thorny issue of male friendships versus female friendships — how they’re different, how they’re similar, and how one affects the other within the context of a marriage.
“Women have these intimate, deep friendships with their friends, their female friends especially. We’re going to share everything and talk,” the Wall Street Journal’s Elizabeth Bernstein noted in response to the Michigan study. “Men are gonna golf, they’re gonna sail, they’re gonna go do things together and they’re never going to talk about it.”
Ultimately, it’s implied, the tensions between a husband and his wife’s friends can arise from jealousy surrounding the wife’s social circle and the accompanying emotional outlets that provides. This is basically noted in the data from the Michigan study, where multilevel models revealed that wives were reporting a lot more martial tension than their husbands, though the husbands displayed a greater increase in reported marital tension over time.
This could be partially attributed, Goldberg says, to a difference in expectation. “It has been my experience working with couples that women often want their husbands to be friends with their friends,” she says. “They feel torn when that doesn’t happen.” Essentially: it can take a long time for men to admit that there might be a problem, which becomes a more sinister problem in and of itself.
“Men tend to have more superficial relationships than women do,” adds Goldberg. “They may play or watch sports with many people they consider friends, but only discuss intimate topics with one or two close friends. Women tend to discuss more intimate topics with more people, whether they consider them close friends or not.”
The inability of many men to discuss their feelings — or to be allowed to discuss their feelings — had a wide range of well-documented consequences, including an increased chance of dying early. However, relationship expert James Anderson is optimistic about what the future holds.
“We’re steadily becoming less homophobic and more accepting of people being whoever they choose to be,” says Anderson. “Along with these changes, the pressure for men to be classically ‘masculine’ also wanes. It’s becoming far more acceptable for men to talk about their feelings. To build those same close bonds with their friends and share more intimate details.”
In fact, our perception of male relationships may be more influenced by its historical precedent than we think. And the data certainly suggests that in the 16 years since the data for the Michigan study was first collected, friendships between men have shifted.
In fact, a recent, small study in Men and Masculinities backs up Anderson’s intuition, significantly complicating our understanding of male friendships. Researchers surveyed 30 heterosexual men who were second-year college students and all respondents reported that it was much easier to work through conflict and express emotion with male friends than with a significant other. They mourn more freely. They discuss sensitive health information. In other words, their bromances can often be more open than their romances.
This sign of the times bodes incredibly well for the next 16 years of collected data on marital tension, given that every participant in the Men and Masculinities study reported behaviors like “sharing secrets, expressing love or sleeping in the same bed [as at least 1 male friend].” Anderson also notes that the study saw students feeling less judged by their close male friends, which, we can only hope, might turn the tide of fraternity one-upmanship that dominates college life for many men and contributes to a walling off.
So the shift has, hopefully, already begun. As with all signs of waning toxic masculinity, this only portends good things for everyone. If difficulties between you and your wife’s friends are causing a rift in your marriage, her friends are most likely not the problem. By investing in your own social circles, you relieve yourself of the envy you might not know you had.
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Friends ruin your marriage- 7 clear cut signs
Do you know that your friends ruin your marriage, without you really noticing it?
It is really sad that you often never realize it until it is too late.
Before you become aware of it, your friends have already done the damage of destroying your marriage.
It is true that good friends are treasure like. You can share your misgivings and emotional upheavals only with them.
Friends understand you from your point of view. This is the reason you like spending time with them. You feel that your friends are the fun and joy of your life.
Your friends boost up your sagging morale by being encouraging and supporting.
Your friendship is all fine until you marry. True friends understand that you now have a life partner and so should spend more time with him\her. But there are friends who never understand their boundaries.
Such friends ruin your marriage.
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They are better avoided and kept at a distance. If you allow them too much into your family life, it creates tons of relationship problems between you and your spouse.
If you notice, your relationship with your friends changes a wee bit after your marriage. A hairline gap develops between you and your friends.
Your spouse naturally wants you to spend your free hours with him\her. Your spouse also wants him\her to be your top priority.
So after marriage, you change your priority from your friends to your spouse. You are not doing anything wrong. This is how your attitude towards your spouse should be.
Your spouse is your family and you are duty bound to look after him\her. Naturally, your time is now spent in fulfilling your family responsibilities. You do not have much free time to spend fun hours with your friends as you did before your marriage.
A good friend understands your problem instantly. He\she maintains a respectful distance from you so that you can spend your free time with your family.
But, some friends ruin your marriage deliberately. They do all sort of things to bring in a wide rift between you and your spouse.
What makes these friends ruin your marriage?
These so-called friends might not enjoy a good marriage. So, they are jealous of the good relationship you enjoy with your spouse. And the way your friends intrude into your personal zone, makes your spouse feel highly irritated.
Your friends know that their actions is ruining your marriage. But they are not bothered. They deliberately intrude into your family time. They intentionally give you wrong advice when you confide about your relationship problems with them.
Here are 7 clear cut signs how friends ruin your marriage
1. Steals your personal time
Your untrue friend calls you in the mobile when you are with your spouse. He\she deliberately talks with you for long hours.
This makes your spouse fume with anger and irritation at the loss of his\her personal space with you.
2. Intrudes into family outings
Your spouse might plan a personal outing with you. When you tell your friend about your plans, he\she thrusts himself\herself into your family outing.
Your friend says that he\she would love to join your family. You just cannot say no. Your spouse can only fume in helpless anger against your friend.
3. Makes you addicted to bad habits
Your untrue friend deliberately takes you towards the wrong path of bad habits.
He\she introduces you to alcohol and drugs which eventually destroys your family life.
4. Gives wrong relationship ideas
You unthinkingly share your relationship issues with your friend. Instead of advising you to adjust with your spouse, he\she gives you wrong advice which actually intensifies your relationship problems.
Your friend does not solve your relationship problems. In fact, your friend makes you feel that your spouse is not worth your love.
5. Uses your personal belongings
Your friend uses your personal things as if it was his\her own.
He\she borrows your personal things and does not return them. This irritates your spouse no end.
6. Borrows money
Your friend creates lot of tension in your relationship by borrowing money from you. You frequently lend money to your friend without the knowledge of your spouse.
When your spouse comes to know about it, it creates terrible rift in your marriage. Your husband\wife rightfully feels that your friends are fleecing you out of your hard-earned money.
A good friend knows that you have a lot of financial commitments after your marriage. So he\she would not embarrass you by asking you for money.
7. Barges into your family time
Your friends ruin your marriage by not having the decency to understand that they should not barge into your personal space with your spouse.
You might want to spend some quality time with your family, but your friend delibrately bulldozes his\her way into your family time. Your spouse could only fume and fret.
Only friends who never really know the true value of friendship would continue committing these mistakes.
You must not allow such friends to ruin your married life. Your family should always come first.
You must definitely explain to your friends that their behavior is causing unwanted misunderstanding in your family life.
True friends immediately understand you from your viewpoint. They instantly apologize and take a step back away from you. They remain your friends always. You need such friends only.
Any relationship flourishes only when it has enough space. You need space from your parents so that you can evolve by yourself.
Your children want their space to live their own life. Your spouse also needs spacing to have some personal time for himself\herself.
You need spacing from your friends too after your marriage.
Your friends too should know that they should take a step back from you after your marriage.
They cannot expect you to spend long hours with them after your marriage. They should know that your inability to see them often does not mean you have forgone your friendship with them.
It is just that your priorities have changed. Good friends understand this perfectly. Such friends eventually become family friends after your marriage.
Simple tricks to make your good friends your family friends
- When your spouse does not know your friends, he\she is never friendly with them.
- So, after marriage, you should introduce your friends to your spouse so that he\she also gets to know about them. When your friends becomes a family friends, your spouse does not have any reservations about them.
- When you plan a family outing, you can plan an occasional one with your friends as it further tightens your friendship. Such friendship lasts a life time.
- Do not complain about your spouse to your friend as he\she loses the respect towards your husband\wife.
- Do not talk in a low voice in the mobile with your friends as it makes your spouse suspicious.
- Be very careful when you interact with friends of the opposite sex. Spending long time with friends of the opposite sex makes your spouse angry with frustrated doubts about the nature of your friendship.
- Do not make unnecessary physical contact with your female\male friends. There should be a dignified distance between you.
- It is perfectly right on your part if you deviate a little away from friends of the opposite sex after your marriage. Your friendship should have a good dividing line to make your friendship last for long.
Conclusion about friends who go all out to destroy your relationship
Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity. – Khalil Gibran
It is true that you cannot do without friends, as you need an outlet for your true emotions. But your family means more to you than your friends .
A true friend will never enter into your private world with your family. He\she perfectly knows his\her limits.
You need more of such friends and not friends who think it their right to have you at their beck and call.
Wife's Friend Is Ruining Our Marriage: Wife's Friend Causing Problems - How To Save Marriage
Wife's Friend Is Ruining Our Marriage: Wife's Friend Causing Problems - How To Save Marriage
"Boundaries? I have no clue what those are and why I need them," said the older woman as she shared her thoughts. "Well, for starters," I added, "You have adult children who have been taking advantage of you. You do realize that, don't you?" "Well, yes I know, but I can't let them live on the streets can I", she asked. "No, you don't, but you can prepare them for taking care of themselves down the road and that's what you should be doing." She looked at me for several seconds then agreed.
Boundaries are important for establishing personal ground rules to avoid fights and arguments with the people you care about. Actually, boundaries help you keep your rules enforced. Wise parents place boundaries on their young children to protect them from harm. Remember these? "Don't cross the street without looking! Keep your fingers away from the burners on the stove! Make sure you tell mom or dad where you are going!" We learned at an early age that if these boundaries were crossed then we faced the consequences. As children get older and approach their teens the rules change and so do the boundaries. A few examples: "Son, I want you to keep your room clean which means you don't throw everything in your closet!" Be home by PM! It's a school night." "I don't want you hanging around that neighbor kid - he's a trouble maker." Throughout their growing up years it's important to keep boundaries in place and make them age-appropriate.
Over the years I have learned that as we get older we tend to lose our focus and forget our own boundaries. I see it all the time in my practice. Many adults cannot set boundaries for themselves. It happens in work relationships, marriages, with close friends, etc. Following are a few examples I help people with:
1. An adult child keeps asking their senior parents for money to pay for cell phone bills, rent, car payments, and food. Why should you pay for their living expenses? How do you feel about paying for their personal expenses? Probably not very good. You don't want to hurt their feelings so you keep writing checks or giving them cash. They are breaking the bank and you are probably paying their bills from your retirement funds. If this is a problem for you, it's time to set up some boundaries for them and yourself.
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2. You are in a marriage that you feel taken advantage of. Your spouse leaves all the housework to you. You work full time and are taking care of the kids plus making all the meals. Does this seem fair to you? Of course not but you are afraid to confront your spouse. You ask for help with some of the household chores and your spouse says he will help but never does.
3. You want help in determining how the money is being spent on expenses for the home. You ask your spouse to sit down with you and go over the bills but they rather use the credit card and not hear about the bills. What do you do and how do you set boundaries to bring peace to yourself and the home?
Boundaries in marriage are key to preventing all kinds of problems. They are simple to set up if both of you are willing to be honest and put them into place.
Make sure you share with your spouse the needs you have and why! What areas are off limits to your spouse? If you need 8 hours of sleep and your husband or wife turns on the TV to watch the late night news and you are trying to sleep tell them that is a boundary that cannot be crossed. Another boundary is the way you spend your money. Do you have an agreement with your husband or wife that you will check in with them if any item is over a certain amount? That may one of your boundaries that you both agree on. I had a client who liked to BBQ. The grill they owned was beat up and old. He was at Home Depot picking up some lumber and walked past the grills. He stopped, took a look at one, and without calling her spent $ and brought it home. The fight over that purchased almost ended their marriage!
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Let's say you have a co-worker who dumps extra work on you but you see them spending a lot of time at the water cooler talking to co-workers about last nights baseball game. They ask you for the "favor of a lifetime" and plead for your help. Or the boss has a favorite employee that never get's their work done and she asks you to help him catch up. What do you do? You may have a boss who is verbally abusive towards you. They may insult your intelligence with name calling and insults. You drive home a mess - shaking at the steering wheel, crying and swearing to yourself that you will never allow your boss to abuse you like that ever again, yet it happens again and again!
When you feel that you're being taken advantage of, that's when you set boundaries for yourself. Boundaries are key to keeping things under control in your life. It's how you let people know that you will not allow them to step on your toes. Boundaries keep us from having lingering anger towards someone who is violating our "line in the sand". It's OK to have boundaries with the people we come into contact with. So, how do we set up boundaries and make them stick?
Write them down and who they will affect.
Know why they need boundaries.
What are the consequences if they violate your boundaries?
Sit down with the person or persons and explain why you need to have boundaries with them.
Let them ask questions so they understand why you need them.
If you're setting boundaries with your spouse, be sensitive with them. Slamming them with your demands never works. Explain why they are important with you. Get their feedback.
These suggestions are for starters. Sit down and talk to your spouse, friend or family member. They will help you open up and get you headed in the right direction
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When a married man starts to feel as though his wife is pulling away from him, panic can set in. Visions of an impending separation and eventual divorce dance in your head. You're concerned that at any moment the woman you married may tell you that she's not happy with the relationship and wants out. If you genuinely feel that your wife doesn't adore you anymore, you need to act quickly to save the relationship. You can get your wife to love you again. It's actually possible to rebuild the marriage so it's closer and more fulfilling than it's ever been.
If you want to get your wife to love you again, you have to be willing to own up to your own mistakes. A great place to start on rebuilding the lost connection is to make amends for anything you've done that has hurt her. Start by saying you're sorry. Then show her you mean it by changing your behavior. When it comes to making a sincere apology, actions really do speak much louder than words.
You also must be willing to change if you want to get your wife to love you again. This means improving who you are as a man. If you have bad habits that get under your wife's skin now is the time to work on changing those. You can also make the effort to be more romantic and attentive. If she sees that you're making a serious attempt to better yourself, she'll feel closer to you again.
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Do you remember back when you two first met? Think back to how you treated your wife then. You were attentive and loving. You did whatever you could to make her life easier. Once you two settled into married life that may have changed. You may have stopped focusing so much on her because there were so many other things in your life that needed attention. Start treating her like the cherished woman that she is to you. Make every attempt you can to ensure she knows how much you love her on a daily basis.
Start dating your wife again. There's no rule written anywhere that says that a husband can't invite his wife out on a date. If you want to get her to love you again, woo her the same way you did back in the early days of your courtship. Bring her flowers, write her love messages and simply shower her with affection. She'll love it and you for making her feel so completely and utterly special.
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When as a couple you want to stop a divorce from happening; you go to marriage counseling, and try to sort things out. But what if you want to save your marriage alone? How could marriage counseling work then, when your spouse wants a divorce but you don't?
This feeling of being alone is highly dangerous, unfortunately. It makes people do all the wrong things to save their marriages; they are so wrong that they end up harming the marriage even further rather than helping save it.
Why? Because when you see your marriage circling down the drain, you feel desperate and you feel that you have to "do something!" before it all slips away. You feel the urgent need to take some sort of action. While it's definitely correct that you need to take action; in a desperate state of mind you don't know what to do, where to turn. So you are tempted to do the only thing you can think of.
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I have been in your shoes and unfortunately, I felt that terrible temptation to just beg my husband for forgiveness, for everything. And I wasn't able to resist it - but predictably, it harmed my marriage even further. Why is something so obviously harming so tempting to do?
It's the desperation running rampant in your brain. It's your emotions overtaking your mind and clouding your judgment and rationality.
If you want to stop a divorce and save your marriage, the first thing you need to do is to learn to calm down. I was taught to calm down - and this set me on the right track to save my marriage.
Do not allow your feelings to overwhelm you and make you do wrong things. You need calm, considerate and well thought actions; not some momentary knee-jerk reaction that will make everything even worse.
Couples can love one another and yet find themselves drifting apart and headed for a divorce. There are steps you can take, with or without the aid of your spouse to get your marriage back into the loving place it once was.
Click here to save your marriage and rebuild it into a more connected, satisfying relationship.
Going by human nature, we value most of the goodies in life, be it car, house, clothes, and we can even go further to have it for ourselves, but money could be the constraint. But God's values system is completely different from ours, he places the greatest fulfillment of our urgent need at no price at all, Our Redemption.
The same thing goes in marriage, God gave the first man, Adam, He gave him Eve, God gave Adam a treasure but the treasure is in a weaker vessel, in the same vein God has given husbands wives; precious to behold, motivational in speech, comforting and loving, wisdom, foresight, responsibilities, contribution, second decisions and counsel but God decided to place these treasures within their fragile, delicate, and weak figures and their frailty in nature may be the reason while most husband don't value their wives. But behind this frailty is embedded all that could be useful in the home as a wife and as a mother.
My dear friend you should appreciate the hidden treasure of wisdom of wisdom, foresight, sound decision and the counsel of your good and godly wife. Although she may respect you and willfully submit to you, yet she must not be treated as a slave. Husband, dwell with your wives in wife in wisdom, relate with your wife in tenderness so as to be able to bring out and harness the hidden treasure embedded in her fragile figure. Love her wholeheartedly and you'll benefit and enjoy all that God put within your wife.
Now Listen Carefully-
Take 2 minutes to visit the next page and you'll discover a stunning trick which will make your spouse love you for the rest of their lives even if they are this close to walking out the door. Yes, you can indeed save your marriage no matter how hopeless the situation seems. Take the right step now and live to enjoy a blissful marriage. I strongly urge you to visit the next page- Click Here
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Divorce does not have to be your only option. Even if it feels as though your relationship can't be saved because of the ongoing conflicts between you and your spouse, it can be. There are techniques that you can begin using today that will not only stop a divorce, but will help also you build a stronger and more loving marriage.
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Causing wifes problems friend
Does your wife have a friend whom you feel is just an outlet for her to complain about you? Or perhaps your husband has a drinking buddy whom you feel is a bad influence on him? Although one of the benefits of marriage is thought to be the joining of two social networks, the "merging" of these networks is not always easy. Even though when you marry, you suddenly have access to additional social "resources" (i.e., additional relatives and friends you can call on for advice or support when you need it; Acock & Demo, ), you may not always get along with those relatives and friends well enough to benefit from those resources. There is plenty of research highlighting the challenges associated with in-law relationships; for example, one study showed that even in long-term marriages, conflicts with extended family can erode marital stability and satisfaction over time. It is also clear that how our friends or our partner’s friends perceive us can impact our relationship — in fact, if our friends do not approve of our relationship, that relationship is less likely to last (Doxey & Holman, ; Sprecher et al., ). However, less is known about how our perceptions of our spouse’s friends, or their perceptions of us, can affect our marriage.
In our recent longitudinal study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, my colleagues and I explored this question using data from the Early Years of Marriage Project. This longitudinal study of marriage and divorce has tracked white and black couples from Michigan since , when they were newlyweds. Approximately 36 percent of the white couples and 55 percent of the black couples had separated or divorced within the first 16 years of marriage. What we found is that among white couples, when husbands expressed disapproval of their wives’ friends at the beginning of the study, those couples were more likely to divorce across the 16 years. This was true even after controlling for potentially confounding factors, such as income and marital quality. Interestingly, a wife’s disapproval of her husband’s friends did not predict divorce.
Why would it be more problematic for husbands to disapprove of wives’ friends than vice versa? First, we know that wives can more easily take over for men’s friends (e.g., doing activities together) than husbands can for their wives’ friends (e.g., engaging in emotionally intimate conversations), and that husbands rely on their wives more for support. Thus, husbands might be able to more easily give up friends whom their wives do not like and spend more time with her instead, reducing a source of potential marital disagreement. In contrast, a wife may be less willing or able to give up her friends, even when her husband doesn’t like them. Furthermore, wives are much more likely than husbands to discuss their marital problems with their friends, which, over time, may make any existing marital concerns worse and could actually increase the likelihood of divorce. Whether or not wives are actually making their marriages worse by complaining to their friends may not be relevant, since it’s the husbands’ perceptions of the wives’ interactions with friends that seem to play an intrusive and potentially detrimental role in the marriage.
Alternatively, since we know that friends not liking a partner can lead to marital dissolution, it could be that the feelings between husbands and wives’ friends are mutual — that is, the husband doesn’t like his wife’s friends simply because they don’t like him — and what’s driving the eventual divorce is actually the friends’ opinions, not the husbands'. Unfortunately, we did not have information from the friends themselves, so we weren’t able to tease out that possibility in our study. We also didn’t know the gender of the wives’ friends — the husband’s disapproval could of course be linked to feelings of jealousy, particularly of opposite-sex friends, but we also know from some recent work that husbands may be jealous of their wives’ same-sex friends as well. It may also be that the husband feels that his wife’s friends are intrusive. In fact, husbands' reports of interference from wives’ friends (a more "proximal" variable measured at Year 2 of the marriage) was an even stronger predictor of divorce than the "disapproval" variable measured at Year 1.
Interestingly, a husband’s disapproval of his wife’s friends only predicted divorce among white couples. Why was this relationship not found among the black couples? It may be that interactions with family are more relevant for the stability and happiness of black marriages than for white marriages. Our own work has shown that black couples are more likely to be embedded in networks focused on family than are white couples, who are more likely to be embedded in friend-focused networks. We also know that black Americans construct extended kin networks with close trusted family and friends (known as "fictive kin") as a way to garner support that may be unavailable from more traditional formal sources (Taylor, Chatters, & Celious, ). Thus, this focus on the family could protect the marriages of black husbands and wives from the otherwise negative effects of disapproval of each other’s friends. However, the interference variable mentioned earlier (husbands reporting that their wives’ friends "interfere" in the marriage) was a strong predictor of divorce for both blacks and whites — implying that they are not immune from these effects.
This issue may become even more salient given recent historical changes in the way that courtship operates, as outlined in Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg’s book, Modern Romance. That is, when you think about courtship historically, people used to be introduced to potential partners through their friends and families, or they would meet people who lived in the same building or on the same block — in that sense, they often already shared much of their network. With the rise of online dating, people are frequently introducing two entirely distinct groups of friends — making this merging that much more challenging.
So what might be some tips for people caught in this situation? First, be honest with your spouse (and yourself) about your feelings regarding their friends. Talk about the underlying issue. If you don’t like your spouse’s friend, explain what you are feeling. Do you miss your spouse? Do you feel betrayed, because your spouse confides in the friend and not you? Are you jealous of their intimacy? If it’s your spouse who’s jealous, reassure him/her, and reiterate that your partner is always your top priority. Second, acknowledge the things that these friends and family may do for you. For example, maybe you don’t really like all the time your wife spends with her friends and/or family, but think about what kind of support they may provide — can you reframe it and think about how those individuals are benefiting your wife and/or helping you as a couple? Finally, remember that working on your marriage does not mean just focusing on your relationship with each other; it’s also about considering your relationships with your friends and family (those you have in common and your own). Acknowledging the potentially powerful role that friends and the wider social network can play in the marriage may be an important (albeit often overlooked) process in maintaining a healthy partnership.
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Fiori, K. L., Rauer, A. J., Birditt, K. S., Brown, E., Jager, J., & Orbuch, T. L. (). Social network typologies of Black and White married couples in midlife. Journal of Marriage and Family, 79, – https://doi.org//jomf
Fiori, K. L., Rauer, A. J., Birditt, K. S., Marini, C. M., Jager, J., Brown, E., & Orbuch, T. L. (). “I Love You, Not Your Friends”: Links between partners’ early disapproval of friends and divorce across 16 years. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 35(9), https://doi.org//
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Helms, H. M., Crouter, A. C., & McHale, S. M. (). Marital quality and spouses’ marriage work with close friends and each other. Journal of Marriage and Family, 65, – doi/jx
Sprecher, S., Felmlee, D., Orbuch, T. L., & Willetts, M. C. (). Social networks and change in personal relationships. In A. Vangelisti, H. Reis, & M. Fitzpatrick (Eds.), Stability and change in relationships (pp. –). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. http://dx.doi.org//CBO
Taylor, R. J., Chatters, L. M., & Celious, A. (). Extended family households among Black Americans. African American Research Perspectives, 9, –
While husbands and wives should be each other’s best friends, we all need other people in our lives as well. But what do you do when you feel like your spouse’s closest friendship with another person isn’t enriching your marriage or when it’s driving a wedge between the two of you? Are your spouses friends a negative influence on your marriage?
Maybe she feels like his friend, Bob, is coaxing him to spend too much time away from her and the kids. Perhaps he doesn’t like it when she comes home from a night out with Jane gushing about how wonderful her life seems to be and, as a result, becomes discontent with him and their marriage.
Neither blowing up nor bottling it up is a good option. Anger alienates and resentment rejects. But you need to deal with this before it causes a rift that threatens your sense of unity. Being on the same page—unity—is essential for a healthy marriage. It doesn’t mean you have to agree on everything, but it does mean you hold your relationship as the most important one each of you has, and anything that threatens that should be faced.
But there is a positive way to do so, which seeks to close the gap rather than widen it. These 5 questions should be asked when you think your spouse’s friend is causing problems in your relationship.
1. Ask yourself why. What are the feelings that rise up when you think about this friendship? Is it irritation that your spouse seems to be investing too much time and money there? Is it insecurity, that they seem to look forward more to being with them than being with you? Is it fear that they are talking too openly about your relationship to someone else? Remember that all of life is interconnected somehow, even if we don’t see how at first. Try to drill down to understand what’s going on beneath the surface. It may be that it’s not so much the particular friendship that is a problem, it’s just a symptom that your lives are too busy and you are not taking the time you need to connect as a couple. If that’s the case, here are 5 C’s For Staying in Sync With Your Spouse.
2. Ask yourself how they are changing. Seek to identify specifically the ways in which you see your spouse’s friendship having a negative impact on your marriage. Do they come home negative and critical because of what their friend has said, or are their views on important issues changing? I remember the wife of a couple we knew who hung out with a group of women who had all been through a divorce. Over time, their negative views and experiences of marriage rubbed off on our friend, who began to view her husband negatively. In due time, she too divorced. It’s a reminder that unhealthy comparison can be toxic to marriage.
3. Ask your spouse what they like about their friend. Simply telling your spouse that you don’t like their friend isn’t likely to change their mind—their friendship is clearly giving them something they like or want or need. Get them to talk about what they value in their friend—what you hear may help you see that person in a different light, or at least give you a better understanding of what’s going on in your spouse.
4. Ask your spouse to consider how you feel. Invite them to a conversation about this friendship. If you come in vulnerability, sharing your concerns in a gentle way, your spouse is more likely to be able to hear what you have say. Explain how and why you worry that this friendship is damaging the unity you have, and why that matters. Make sure the emphasis is about you as a couple, not you individually. Reading The Right Way to Prepare for Difficult Conversations might help you.
5. Ask yourselves how you might both change. Having talked things through, perhaps your spouse will see them your way and agree to end or dial back the friendship. More likely you may both be willing to compromise somehow. He might cut back to once-a-month golf outings. She may agree to be careful about what she divulges to her friend. You may realize you need to step up and be more proactive about leisure activities together. To help in this process, consider these 8 Secrets of Conflict Resolution.
Finally, be aware that this tension over a friendship might bring to the surface areas you both recognize you need to work on in your marriage, so that the needs and concerns of each of you are better taken into account. In that way, what was something that had the possibility of driving you apart can become something that brings you more closely together.
Have you faced this issue in your marriage? If so, how did you work it through? Share your experiences here.
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