Friendships outside of marriage are important

Men and women are wired differently and need male and female friends to relax with. In their book, Growing Great Marriages (Random House New Zealand, 2009), Ian and Mary Grant say that frustration will result if a couple isolate themselves from friends and rely solely on each other for companionship.

Female Friendship for Wives

Women think differently from men and it is good for them to spend an afternoon with a friend. Shopping and coffee dates are favourite pastimes. Females are able to follow several threads of activity at once and can enjoy browsing through a market while sharing issues that are troubling them.

Shopping with a lady friend is generally more fun than shopping with a husband. Men are hunters by nature and prefer to walk into a mall, choose the first shirt that suits them and then go home. Women can have fun with their friends, browsing through stores, comparing items and finally buying what they consider is the best choice.

Women also enjoy doing crafts or baking together. Many deep thoughts are shared over a pot of paint or a cookie tray. It is important to make time for these kinds of friendships.

Male Friendships for Husbands

Men enjoy companionship and friends but often prefer different pastimes than women. They tend to talk less and engage in more physical activities. These may include sports, fishing and hobbies.

Men thrive on physical action and an afternoon riding motorbikes through mud with a good friend can be exactly what they need. Others prefer to strip a car and rebuild it with a bunch of mechanically minded friends. The activity is not as important as the chance to enjoy male friendship and the freedom to indulge in activities that women often shy away from.

Friendships With Other Married Couples

This is a slightly different scenario where husband and wife enjoy a friendship with another couple. While they may meet in groups and do couple activities such as taking a day trip, sharing a leisurely dinner or playing tennis together, much of the communication ends up as male to male and female to female.

This type of friendship can be extremely beneficial to husbands and wives and is something to value. Couples of similar age and interests can often be found at social groups, sports clubs or churches.

Friendship is a vital part of life and while husband and wife should always be best friends, their marriage may become unbalanced if they do not also have friendships with people of the same sex. It is worth making an effort to cultivate these types of relationships.

Why Marry when You Have Friends

Having a significant other has changed over the years. High school sweethearts rarely become husbands or wives. Marriage is less and less common.

It seems like a close relationship is something that is feared, but really isn’t so bad. Everyone’s afraid of how they’ll be perceived by the other, weird habits, smells and so on. But relationships do advance to the point to where it’s okay to fart in the other’s company.

Marriage isn’t fun anymore

Then again, another reason why people fear a close relationship is (gasp) it might lead to marriage. It’s one thing to commit to a job, a job you can quit, but marriage is something that nobody can just quit. Of course it shouldn’t be this way, since when marriage happens, the two becomes one being. Think Yin and Yang, two opposing forces complementing each other.

People are compelled by society to marry, since having children is considered a great service to it. Continuing the species is important, no question about that. The unfortunate part is that so much of marriage has become commercialized that it’s seen as just another reason to spend an enormous amount of money for the sake of the relationship (which is done already on Valentine’s Day).

Religion isn’t helping either, by insisting that people urgently have to marry. They never talk about how important love is in the relationship, they just seem to care about getting people married (probably because it’s a chance to get people in church for once), while vigorously opposing efforts by gays who really DO love each other to get married (does nobody see the cognitive dissonance?)

Who has been forgotten?

But who needs marriage? Who needs a close, personal relationship? Some people do, and more power to them, but maybe it’s time to honor those other people in life that are often forgottten at the expense of the significant other: friends.

People are relaxed about friends. There’s no pressure to be good, it’s just natural. Friendships aren’t challenging at all, they’re just natural. Of course, out of this, a marriage could come, but some people are content to just go along for the ride and enjoy their friends. The problem with a significant other is that they are more important than every other friend, and should some friends be more important than others?

A friend in India said once that the problem with having a girlfriend is that “you forget about your friends, and only pay attention to her.”

Which he followed with a toast: “No girlfriends, no boyfriends, just friends!”

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