Making Time for His Friends and Her Friends in Marriage

Do you think it's a good idea for husbands and wives to have regular activities apart from each other with their friends of the same sex? My husband feels a deep need to get together with his guy friends a couple of times each month, but I'd rather spend most of my time with him. I get out with some girlfriends a couple times a year, and this seems to be more than sufficient for me. What are your thoughts?

Assuming that the two of you aren’t short-changing your time together as a couple, we’d suggest that it’s almost always a good idea for husband and wife to enjoy a reasonable amount of activity with their respective same-sex friends. Females need other females. Guys need guys. There are things that men feel comfortable sharing only with other men. The same holds true for women. That’s the short, simple answer. But it isn’t necessarily the last word.

On a deeper level, this is one of those subjects we find it difficult to discuss meaningfully without knowing more about you, your husband, and the nature of your relationship. Perhaps we can best assist you by posing some questions calculated to help you think the issue through more carefully on your own.

If we were sitting across the table from you and asked you to describe your marriage, what would you say? What are your expectations for the relationship? Are those expectations being fulfilled or not? How do you think your spouse would respond to these questions?

If your marriage is healthy, vibrant, and strong – that is, if you think your expectations are being met – it seems unusual that you should be voicing concerns about the amount of time your husband spends with his male friends. If, on the other hand, you sense that your needs are being overlooked, and if this is your reason for craving more time alone with your spouse, you may need to dig a little deeper to get at the heart of the problem.

Only you know what’s really happening. Be honest with yourself. Is your husband neglecting you and making you feel left out? Or is it possible that you are simply too sensitive and too needy? Are you saddling him with unrealistic expectations? Remember, no mere mortal man can supply all your needs and grant all your wishes.

Give some serious thought to the quality of your relationship. When it is just the two of you, do you enjoy one another’s company, or do you find it difficult to be together? How would your spouse answer that question? Has this been a long-term bone of contention in your marriage, or is it a recent development? Do you fight about it frequently, or is it one of those subjects you’re afraid to bring up with your husband? Have you ever told him how you feel?

We’re sorry to inundate you with so many questions, but as indicated above, the idea here is to get you to think. Every individual is different. So is every couple. Ultimately, only you are close enough to the situation to understand both your husband’s wants and needs and your own. It’s entirely possible that two outings a year with friends is more than enough for you, but that doesn’t mean that it’s enough for him. If you want him to stay sensitive to your needs, you have to be sensitive to his as well.

Bottom line: if you’re connecting well as husband and wife, enjoying the time you spend together, and striking a healthy balance between friend time and couple time, we don’t think you have anything to worry about. On the other hand, if your husband is deliberately cutting you out of his life, trying to “escape” the relationship, or becoming involved with disreputable characters in questionable settings, something needs to be done right away – preferably with the assistance of a trained marriage counselor. A secure wife who cares about her husband’s enrichment is usually happy to see him forming healthy bonds with other men of solid character. It’s an entirely different matter, however, if he’s bailing out on her, depriving her of his love and affirmation, and giving the best parts of himself away to other people.

If you think you have a serious problem on your hands – or if you’d simply like to discuss your concerns at greater length with a member of our team – Focus on the Family has a staff of trained family therapists available to provide you with sound advice and practical assistance over the phone. They can also refer you to reputable marriage counselors working in your area. Call us for a free consultation.

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