The Importance of Having "Couple Friends"
Having friends is healthy but having couple friends is even healthier for your marriage.
Friendship is a gift that enriches our lives in so many ways. There are many different types of friendships too. There are childhood friends we grow up with, family friends, church friends, work friends, and even the parents of our children's friends. It's possible to make new friends all the time. When we marry, we have the opportunity to invest in a whole other group of friends, "couple friends." There's something so special about a husband and wife hanging out with other couples that they both enjoy, and yet, many couples don't see the value in these friendships or have found it challenging to make couple friends. Therefore, are forging these couple friendships worth the time and effort? Absolutely! Here's why:
1. Going out with couple friends is a great way to spend more time with your spouse.
Having individual friends is a good thing, but sometimes, it can be hard to balance the time we spend with friends versus the time we spend with our spouse. Our marriage must take priority over our friendships, however, when we spend time with couple friends, we get to invest in both our marriage AND our friendships at the same time.
2. Couple friends can encourage us to make our marriage stronger.
When we choose to hang with couples who love God, love us, love our spouse, and are for our marriage, we will grow in our marriage as well. Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend." I love that! When we hang out with other couples who are also trying to fight for their marriage and grow closer to the Lord, then we, too, will keep fighting for our marriage and keep growing closer to the Lord. The people we hang out with most often shape our marriage and lives the most. So, be sure to choose your friends wisely.
3. Spending some time with couple friends helps bring more fun and perspective to our season of life.
This is a big one. When I reflect on the eighteen years that Dave and I have been married, I can't help but think about all the amazing couple friends we have had along the way. When we were newlyweds, we were heavily involved at our church and volunteered as chaperones for the youth group. We loved it, and we made lifelong friends with the other volunteers, many of whom were in our same phase of newlywed life. We ended up having children around the same time and then raising our babies together. It was so nice to go out on a double-date with these couples now and then and talk about nursing, sleepless nights, potty-training, finding creative ways to have some special "mommy-daddy alone time," and everything in between. In this season of life, we've become great friends with our neighbors, workmates, and the parents of our kids' friends. Just the other night, Dave and I were invited to go out to a Brazilian steakhouse with our neighbors. It was the wife's birthday, and they wanted to celebrate by going out with friends. We had a blast! We told stories, laughed a lot, and ate way too much. We even talked about starting a small group for couples who lived near us. As we hugged their necks and said goodbye, I thought about how thankful I am to have them as couple friends. When you have couple friends that "get you" and understand what you are going through, they are like a breath of fresh air for your marriage.
So, how can we practically forge these fantastic friendships?
I think a good place to start is with your individual friends. Invite your best friend and her husband over for dinner and see how it goes. If you both feel like you enjoy spending time together as couples, then invite them over again. If not, no worries. Just stick to hanging out with your best friend on your own now and then. You don't even have to tell her why. Sometimes couples jive; sometimes they don't. We can't take it personally.
Another great place to forge couple friendships is at church. Join a small group with other married couples. These groups usually start off with a bit of awkwardness because everyone is getting to know each other. However, I promise that if you hang in there and push past the awkward moments, you will make lifelong couple friends. Dave and I have been in a small group every place we have lived, and we treasure each and every one of those couple friends. There's something exceptional about couples getting together to study God's Word to grow in their faith and invest in their marriages.
Bottom line, friendship takes time, but it is worth every effort. So, think about the individual friends in your life. Invite him/her and their spouse over for dinner. Join a small group for married couples at your church. Or, try something new together like ballroom dancing classes for couples or a church softball league for couples, etc. Keep at it and keep praying, and you will be surprised at the couple friends that God will place in your life!