Friday Rant: You Gotta Have Friends When You’re Married

gotta-have-friends[Note: Every Friday we post a new rant from one of our writers, edited only for typos and spelling. This new series is not for those easily offended or for those who only like to play nice. So read this before you start posting your comments.]

Do you remember those friends who got married before you did, and then you didn’t know if you could hang out with them anymore, so you left them alone?

You thought since they got married they had no time left at all for you and their other friends, and then over time you grew apart because you didn’t call, they were too busy (so you thought) just having sex all day and night long, etc.

Then then you got married and besides being in each others wedding you really weren’t even friends anymore?

Maybe that didn’t happen, but I talk to a lot of people who lose contact with their friends once married, and also people who say they gain 10 pounds in the first year of marriage.

Not sure if one or both of those happened to you.

Maybe neither, BUT then you had a first kid. Your newly married couple friends are not as excited about your kid because they are either not wanting kids yet or they are trying, and either way the thought of your kid is not as cool to them as it is to you.

Your Instagram feed was cool pre-kid, but now it is just filled with baby photos. Heck your baby might even have its own Instagram account these days but guess what… besides your mom, dad, or grandmother, no one really cares to see your kid… especially if it means they don’t get to see you anymore.

I have seen two things happen being married now 18 years.

The first I explained earlier.

1. Friends let their newly married friends enjoy marriage and don’t seem to stay engaged in the friendship early on in marriage and that is a bummer.

Don’t be that friend.

Keep in contact… keep in touch, and stay in engaged with your married friends. Marriage is great, but friendships are needed before marriage, during marriage, and later in life when a spouse is passed after marriage.

The second thing I have seen happen, and it is the same, but the married person is now at fault. Baby #1 comes and then maybe baby #2.

2. The married person is now juggling being married, working or being home with the kid, and has no time to even think about others.

This is a huge bummer.

Kids are great… babies not so much as fun as kids, just being honest. They sleep a lot and don’t say much. Having two myself at an early age I can tell you that it isn’t the toughest thing at all in life.

When you have kids, don’t let them take away from your time with your spouse and your time with your friends. Now, yes things change. I am not talking about checking out as a parent, but you all know who I am talking about here…

“I haven’t been on a date in 9 months.”
“I can’t leave my baby at the church nursery.”
“I don’t even have time to shower.”
“I am exhausted.”

Yeah, news flash. It doesn’t get easier.

Teenagers don’t sleep 16 hours a day. Just wait. You will be wishing they did when you are dropping them off at dance, driving across town, coaching the soccer team, and doing all those things laughing about “nap time with your infant.”

Learn how to handle this stuff early on or don’t have kids.

Kids are not suppose to rob you of your life and especially your relationship with your spouse. If you kid is still in your bed and he is 3 your marriage is in trouble. Just being honest.

If you don’t have time to shower, I am sorry, that is not a huge turn-on for your spouse.

If you have no time for a date with your spouse and won’t leave your kid with a sitter your marriage is not as important as that baby and it should be the other way around.

So, how does this relate to friends….

Well, your spouse is your best friend, but in addition to your spouse, we all need friends to do life with.

Telling your friends to check back in with you after the baby… guess what: bad idea. Then baby #2, then they have a baby, and then 10 years go by and you look back and you are lonely and lost in your marriage and your parenting because you have no outside voices in your life.

I am just letting you know that your friends won’t be there when you are ready to respond, and when I look at my parents’ generation, a lot of them had this kind of thinking. I look at the widows and older couples I know and few of them have friends left.

I have tried to be intentional on friendships.
I Make time for friends.
I find friends who breathe life into my life and family, not suck the life out of me.

Those types of friends you want and need in your life.

Life is busy. Yeah, we all get that, but people need other people.

Women need women in their lives.
Men need men in their lives.
Couples need couple friends in their lives.
Families need family friends in their lives.

Make time for this.
Make time for your relationship with your spouse.

If the last 20 posts on your Instagram feed are just a picture of your drooling baby… there are problems. Leave him at home with grandma and go on a date, or call some old friends and get out of the house and shower.

Some friends are divorced now… that is a common theme in my life, but it took them 12 years in their marriage to go on an overnight date without their kids. You wonder why they’re divorced?

You want to be that mom or dad that doesn’t trust anyone with your kid… or that crazy mom that has some rule that only one family member that she appoints can ever watch the kid?  No. Don’t be that person.

Your kids need you, but if all day every day is only about your kids you are in trouble.

I’m off to see Britney Spears with Jeanette and some friends. They have three kids. They live in Washington. They flew in a babysitter. We have two different ones and it is harder than hell sometimes to pull stuff like this off, but you do it because relationships matter and that is something I need my kids to see.

I wrote this about friendship last year –   and I am 18 days and counting from year 9!

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