It’s always nice to have friends. Often when we get married we end up in a situation of isolation from friends for one reason or another. When you have friends who aren’t friends of your spouse or your spouse has friends who aren’t friends of yours, things can get complicated. If either you or your spouse tends to get insecure about the relationship, the insecure person might find it difficult to deal with having to share their spouse’s time and attention with his/her friends. It can create bigger problems in the relationships.
One often suggested alternative to giving up socializing with friends due to not having the same friends, is for couples to make friends with other couples.
In a TIMES article titled “Why Hanging Out with Couple-Friends Enhances Romance”, author Bonnie Rochman writes:
Want to spice up your romantic relationship? No need to spend money on long-stem roses or expensive dinners. Instead, spend time — not just with each other but with some really good friends. Recent research in the journal Personal Relationships shows that dating couples who hang out with couple-friends wind up feeling closer to each other. (source)
On its face this sounds like a perfect situation. You get a chance to go out and socialize with other people as a couple. And you reap the benefit of feeling closer to each other as a result. But there’s something else that can happen as a result of spending time hanging out with other couples. You can start to judge your spouse a lot more and create problems in your marriage.
Judging your spouse and your marriage…
In spending time with other couples we can start to judge our own spouse and our marriage based on our observation of the other couple. Maybe the other guy’s wife is beautiful or she has a nice figure. Suddenly we start to notice our wife’s physical shortcomings. We start to notice that she’s not very pretty and she’s overweight. Or maybe the other woman’s husband listens to her more attentively. Maybe he seems to dote on her and appears to have eyes only for her. We feel jealous because our husband doesn’t listen to us. He doesn’t dote on us. And he seems to always be looking at other women, even in our presence. We’ve noticed how he seems to be quite fascinated with the other wife. He appears to be engrossed in everything she says. He gives her all his attention while appearing to be unaware of our presence.
Dissatisfaction arises. Feelings of jealous arise. We go home and and we start to pick a fight with each other. We become more highly critical. We accuse each other of not being as good a wife/husband as our couple friends are to each other. It affects how we behave when we go out with our couple friends again. We bring our feelings of dissatisfaction along with us. We bring our feelings of jealousy along with us. It makes us disagreeable. We treat each other with obvious contempt in public. We embarrass each other. And it affects how we treat each other at home.
Hanging out with other couples can be a great thing…
The fact is, hanging out with other couples can be a great thing. But if you and your spouse don’t have a close relationship founded on trust, you might not be ready for it. If your marriage is not secure and you have jealous tendencies, it could the worse thing for you to be around a seemingly happy couple.