Resolving Conflict Over Spouse's Friends
I don't enjoy my husband's circle of friends, and this is causing conflict in our marriage.
Dear Dr. Bill: My husband and I were married one year ago. We are very happy and have a great relationship, except for one thing. I really don't get along with my husband's friends. He enjoys meeting regularly with his friends and their wives, but these other women and I have nothing in common. And it seems like we're getting invited out with them every weekend! Whenever my husband and I have talked about this, he doesn't understand — and sometimes feels like I'm rejecting him. This has led to arguments, and I always feel guilty afterwards. Do you have any suggestions for us?
One of the challenges that newlyweds often face is how to resolve differences like this one. In order for a marriage relationship to be successful, each individual needs to be willing to put their spouse's desires ahead of their own at times.
You didn't mention what it is about your husband's friends that you don't like, except that you don't have anything in common with them. Are these people engaging in behavior that is immature, irresponsible or immoral? If so, the responsibility lies with your husband; he needs to consider whether these friendships are truly good for him or for your marriage.
On the other hand, if you simply have different interests than these friends and their wives, then I would challenge you to work at getting to know these folks and finding some common ground. For example, let's say this group loves to talk about football but you couldn't care less about it. For the sake of your marriage, bite the bullet and learn all you can about the NFL.
The friendship issue is a great opportunity for you and your husband to learn to be flexible and compromise. If you can't work out this one, I fear for your future. You've only been married 12 months, and there are much larger issues you're going to need to face in the future, especially if you're planning to have children.
You didn't mention anything about your religious faith, but if you're a Christian, God holds you to a much higher standard when it comes to dealing with other people. Even though you may not have anything in common with your husband's friends, God calls you to be patient with them, to learn to accept them, and yes, even love them with the love of Christ.
By the way, let me recommend a great resource from Focus on the Family. It's a book titled The First Five Years of Marriage.
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