FACET Tool Topics, cont'd.:
- FRIENDS AND INTERESTS
Engaged couples do not suddenly end the friendships they had prior to marriage. They eventually find that they begin to develop mutual friends hopefully including some married friend couples. Ideally, they are to become each other's best friend. All those other friendships prior to marriage and even during marriage, have their place but the marital relationship needs to take priority. This does not mean that they are not to have any other friends. In fact, friendships can and often do support the marital relationship. In order for this to be a positive benefit to the marriage, they will need to make some clear rules to govern themselves by, and some boundaries will need to be installed so that friendships remain supportive without becoming a distraction or even temptation for the marital relationship. This section looks into the healthy nature of friendships and interests. Balancing time apart and time together will be an important dimension of marriage. One is going to want more togetherness than the other. The other will want more time apart than the other does. This does not mean there is something wrong. It is a matter of adjusting and compromising: one can give more space in order to get some closeness, while the other can give more closeness in order to get more space.
Generally speaking problems within marriage should be resolved by the couple, and privacy should always be respected. Complaining to a friend about your spouse's behavior can potentially undermine marital unity. It also does little to resolve the issue especially if complaining to someone else is a substitute for discussing the issue directly with your spouse.
Additional Questions to assist the conversation:
- Which one of you prefers more closeness, relatively speaking, than the other?
- Which one of you prefers more space?
- How can you accommodate these differing styles through your friends and interests?
- Are there friends that your partner likes who you don't like? How do you deal with that issue as a couple?
- Are there areas of your relationship that you do not wish to be shared with others?