Photo from: www.telegraph.co.uk
You might think that telling your friends and family that you’re getting married would be really exciting and result in a whole lot of celebrating. Sometimes, though, the people you love react more like you’re breaking bad news to them.
Often loved ones who have bad reactions to your engagement and marriage are operating under a few false assumptions based on popular “married-friend” myths.
Bust the myths and speak the truth lovingly:
“I’m Losing My Best Friend”
Although popular (and humorous!) songs suggest otherwise (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQ5CIr0NOs4) weddings are not funerals for the bride and groom.
Healthy friendships don’t end because marriages begin.
If you have a friend who feels like she is losing you because you’re getting married, it’s time to have a real discussion about the value you place on her friendship and on what you believe true friendship is about.
“Your Husband Will Now Be Privy to My Private Life”
Keeping secrets from your spouse isn’t a great idea. However, chances are that your spouse doesn’t need to know that your friend is on her period. A lot of guys don’t even want to know about your friend’s relationship woes or inner struggles –they care because you do, and they don’t need the details.
Let your friend know that while you absolutely love talking and sharing with you husband, especially about stuff you care about (i.e. your friends!) you respect her privacy. If she wants to talk about something and feels the need for privacy, ask her to let you know that that is the case so that you don’t accidentally betray her confidence (Proverbs 11:13).
“Now That You’ve Got It Figured Out, You Have to HELP Me”
“Figured Out.” What a phrase! Relationships are messy and are only “figured out” according to the Lord’s plans (which happen to be individual…to each individual). Getting married doesn’t mean that you stop caring and supporting your friends, including in their relationships. It also doesn’t mean you know everything, so humbly admit your own faults and struggles to come alongside your pals (Galatians 6:2).
“We’ll Never Have Time Together Again”
Marriage will affect your schedule, but it shouldn’t consume your life. You’ll still have time. Ask your friends for patience and grace as you spend the rest of your days working out the whole shared-schedule part of marriage, but make it clear to them and to your fiancée that committed relationships (plural!) are priorities to you. Scripture is clear that fellowship, being there for others, and encouraging others in the Lord is vital, and that goes beyond spousal love.
“You Are Now In a Different Stage of Life Than I Am”
Yes, marriage changes a lot, influences you greatly, etc. It’s a gift and one that effects a lot in life. But marriage is not a “stage.” Stages are phases and seasons –they come and go. Marriage is a commitment for the rest of your life.
When you are married, you will have some topics and challenges that your single friends might not. That doesn’t make you better or more advanced, and it certainly doesn’t diminish your ability to lovingly care for and grow together. Growing in the Lord is your call and a journey best shared with others, married or not (2 Peter 3:18).
“If I’m Not Included/Invited to the Wedding, We’re Not That Close”
Your wedding is your’s and your fiancee’s. It can be shocking to find out how many other people believe they should have a say –and the kind of say others think they should have. Who gets invited can be a hot topic, but that’s up to you.
Since healthy friendships should not revolve around obligation, manipulation, or some sort of contract, consider it a warning sign that something in a friendship needs to be addressed in love and grace if a friend tries to influence your guest list.
“The Pressure Is On: I MUST Get Married”
It’s really tough to watch people around you embracing parts of life that you want to (or feel like you should) embrace as well. But the Lord’s plans and timing are different for everyone.
Show compassion, but also share wisdom: did you “do something” that magically got you married to a great man, or did the Lord provide? Does the Lord only provide what we need when we, based on works, qualify ourselves? Nope. Pray with your friend for his or her longings or feelings of not “keeping up,” but be clear that it’s best to wait on the Lord (Proverbs 3:5, Psalm 27:14).
Everything’s Gonna Be Weird Now
Not totally a myth. Marriage can be weird. It can be awkward to have friends over to your new, shared space. Sometimes, it might be weird to be talking about a challenge you face in marriage to friends who are single, or even friends who are married. Your marriage is between the Lord, you, and your spouse, and that’s new. It’s a one-of-a-kind relationship, and the Lord intends it to be the only relationship of its sort.
So, yes, sorting out marriage and friendship stuff can be a little weird. But it doesn’t make “everything” awkward. Marriage isn’t designed to put you into quarantine. If you’re unsure of how your friends feel about certain changes that you have reasonable control over, ask them.
Talk it over. You’re all still people, still sinners, still in need of grace, and still growing (Romans 3:23-24).