A couple months after Adam and I were married, I was spending the evening catching up with a friend on the phone.
Our conversation turned to our husbands, their jobs, and marriage in general.
“Sometimes, I think Adam forgets he’s married!” I said. “There have been numerous times that he’s failed to call me when he’s going to be late coming home. Last week, he was almost two hours late, and I couldn’t reach him by phone. Fearing he had been in an accident, I was almost ready to get in the car and go look for him! It’s like he doesn’t even think of me.”
My friend chuckled a bit, knowing my personality as well as my husband’s.
“Kara,” she said, “Adam DOES think of you. You’re just in that transition period of marriage where you’re learning how to be married. He’s used to doing things on his own, especially since you had a long-distance relationship almost right up until your wedding.”
I knew she was right and was thankful for her insight. But the most interesting thing about the conversation was not what she said, but what she didn’t say. As my friend, I would have expected her to be on “my side.” But instead of bashing Adam, she defended him. She wasn’t part of my team, but “our” team. She wanted our marriage to thrive and succeed.
That was exactly what our pre-marriage counselor said friendships should be for married couples when we were preparing for marriage. One of the greatest pieces of advice Adam and I received from him was about the role of friends in our relationship.
It was this: Each of us needs to have one or two friends we can turn to for support and advice when we are frustrated or hurt by the other. However, we need to keep it to just one or two and those people also needed to love our spouse.
He said whenever those inevitable disagreements come up, it can be helpful to have a fresh perspective. They might be able to point out to us our own failings so we can work on them. What those moments of disagreement need are people who are rooting for us and want our love to deepen and grow.
Having been married almost seven years now, we don’t use the advice as much as we used to during those first couple of years of learning how to be married. Miscommunication mishaps and frustrations still come up, but I’m not as bothered as much when they do happen. Still, we know our friends are still there to fall back on if we ever need them in the future. And we are confident that they’ll be rooting for us then, too.