Singaporebrides | The Groom Room
How To Keep Your Friends After Marriage
Does the beginning of marital bliss mean the end of bro-hood? It doesn’t have to be, says Fu Jinming, as he shows you how to maintain your friendships after marriage.
There was a time when Saturday nights meant football, booze and bros. Then you got married, and suddenly, hanging out with your friends becomes an event as rare as the solar eclipse. You’re confronted with the prospect of not seeing the people with whom you’ve spent the best parts of your bachelorhood. Sometimes for weeks. Most times for months or even years on end – if ever.
To be sure, it’s painful for your buddies too. They call you up for a quick round at the pub after work, and you politely explain that the wife’s expecting you for dinner. They text you about a spontaneous weekend trip to Bangkok, and you tell them about weekend lunch with the in-laws. They ask if you’d like to catch the match together, and you groan about rom-com movie night.
And as your wife may (gleefully) have told you: this is all entirely to be expected. After all, isn’t she supposed to be your best friend now? The person whom you are attracted to, and with whom you now share your secrets, joy and experiences?
She’s right, of course, but only just. While it’s natural for you to adopt new priorities and pull back a little from your friends after marriage, you are also, by nature, a social being.
Fact is, keeping friendships outside of your marriage is just as important to your personal wellbeing, as it is to your marital one. Friends can give you fresh insights and perspectives. They feed you with inspirations and ideas for work and life. More importantly, your chums can be a source of comfort, solace and support. They’ve been through thick and thin with you before you’ve given your promise to do the same with your wife. Surely, they still deserve a place in your blissfully domesticated life.
Besides, studies have suggested a couple that focuses only on each other without any time for or interest in other people is often a recipe for martial disaster. So explain to your better half about your need for male bonding sessions – and how they can actually be good for your marriage. Then heed our seven tips for keeping your bro-hood alive.
1. Be honest
One of the things you and your friends have to accept is the reality of your new life. You now have a wife and possibly a family who will expect to be your number one priority. Clue your friends in on your new routines and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Don’t pretend that you can still have as much time for everyone as you once did. Be firm about when you will be available and when you won’t.
Inevitably, this may mean losing a few friends. But that’s OK. Chances are, the ones you lose were never the close ones to begin with.
2. Make them her friends too
A great way of getting more face time with your friends is to let your wife know who they are, and vice versa. That means introducing new habits that include both. Have your friends around for movie nights with the both of you. Or invite your wife to after-football lunches with the boys. The key here is to make having your spouse around as routine as having them around the both of you.
You should obviously break both sides in slowly and as gently as possible. Devote the majority of your time to couplehood. But set at least once a month aside for a social activity that includes both your wife and your friends.
Word of caution though: don’t invite them over for regular match nights unless you’re absolutely certain she’s ok with their company. It’s her home too. And we all know she rules it.
3. Make time
Easier said than done, you say. Maybe so, but maintaining old bonds may take nothing more than a 30-minute coffee break, a quick chat over the phone, or even an SMS about the game last night. It’s just like they taught you at school: be smart about how you manage your time, and you’ll find time for almost anything.
If dinners don’t work for you, set up a lunch date. If the weekends are stay-at-home-husband days, try weekdays. And instead of meeting one friend at a time, gather a few of them and catch up with everyone in one sitting. It’s two birds – or more – with one stone.
4. Don’t monopolise the conversation
You may want to talk about your married life – its ups, downs and all-arounds – but your friends may not share the same enthusiasm. It’s not that they’re not interested; it’s just that they’d like to talk about their days too.
At the end of the day, they need to know that you still share the same interests and experiences that brought you guys together in the first place. Besides, having a marital conversation with someone who’s not at the same stage in life may bore and alienate him. So give bro-time to the things that matter to your buddies, like their work, their girlfriends and their passions.
5. Remember their birthdays
Or any special occasion that warrants well wishes from you. Take it as a cue to send a congratulatory text. Or better yet, a present – from both you and your wife. It shows that you still care about what’s going on in his life. And that your other half does too.
In fact, sending gifts as a couple will reinforce the idea that you and your spouse are a team now, and may help your friend get used to the idea of you as part of a duo.
6. Invite them over
Nothing gives your friends a peek into your new life than front row seats at your home. Talk to your wife about organising dinner for a few of your mates. Nothing fancy, just a simple home-cooked fare with dessert and enough wine to wind the evening down.
They’ll see for themselves how your life has changed, and how they can still fit into it. They’ll also get to know your spouse better, and perhaps understand now that when you said you couldn’t meet them down at the pub, you had a good reason.
7. Make new friends
As your life changes, so too will your friends. Friends who are single may find it difficult to adjust and relate to your newfound marital routines. And you may in turn find more in common with married folks like you and your wife.
Consider joining a marriage course or parenting class to meet other couples. You’ll get to know people at a similar stage in life, with similar goals and challenges. As you form your new social circle, you’ll meet new friends and find new experiences that are every bit as interesting, fun and enriching as your old ones.