Who needs ‘couple friends’ when you have great family and single friends that have been your buds since junior high? If you’re married, you do. Not instead of the great family and single friends, but in addition to.
Why You Need Other Married Friends
Nobody is suggesting that you dump friends you had prior to marriage – nobody gets us like those who share our history. But often pre-marriage friends aren’t the best choice to hang out with when you’re wanting to do something with your spouse. Prior established single friends can actually, unwittingly, create some divisiveness between you and your spouse because of shared history that excludes the other spouse or an attitude that is inconsistent with promoting marital goals. And there’s always the chance that a spouse isn’t crazy about the other’s friend for whatever reason.
Studies show that having friendships with other married couples can actually enhance our own marriage. Not only does it give us somebody to do things with and share our interests, it helps us grow and expand our interests by being exposed to activities that we might not seek out on our own. Married friends are likely to understand where we are in life and be supportive of marital goals. And having such friends to interact with keeps spouses from getting too dependent on the other to be spouse and complete social life.
It’s Not as Easy as It Sounds
Sure – just go make some new friends. As if it’s not hard enough to make one friend, now it’s suggested that you make two friends who are married to each other and will get along with you and your spouse. And your spouse will like them both. You may be thinking: “We’re lucky if my spouse and I can find something in common that we want to do – now we’re suppose to try and match up with two more people?” Yes. Don’t over-think this. You’re not looking for someone to spend the rest of your life with. You’re just opening your mind to options for expanding and enhancing your social life.
It can be a challenge to find a good foursome fit. The hope is that the women are comfortable with each other, the men are comfortable with each other, and there is a balanced group dynamic where all four enjoy the interaction. But don’t make assumptions about a particular type of couple you think you’d hit it off with. Some years back my husband and I sat next to a couple we knew very slightly from two of us being on the same church committee. We had preconceived notions about the type of people they were. The wife was Martha Stewart meets Grace Kelly and the husband seemed cerebral. They came across as dignified, precise, and formal. I’m not saying my husband and I are not dignified. I’m just saying we’re less-than-precise and would probably be categorized as pretty informal.
Somebody mentioned a card game common to the part of the country we were all from and a casual: “Oh, we should get together and play that sometime” resulted in several years of a very enjoyable friendship. They were, indeed, as different from us as we had anticipated. Which was one of the reasons the association was so enjoyable – conversations took unexpected turns, we learned about each other’s professions, and introduced each other to new games and interests. We missed the get-togethers when a new job took them states away.
Making Couple Friends
The first thing you have to do is get rid of any insecurities that are holding you back from doing something good for your marriage. Like: “What if I invite someone over and they say no?” That’s really not the most likely outcome. But if it happens, don’t take it personally – they don’t even know you and it’s probably more about what is going on in their own lives. Don’t let it stop you. If you call a restaurant for a reservation and they tell you they’re full, you don’t go without eating – you go on to the next restaurant option.
Next insecurity: “What if we don’t hit it off or one of us doesn’t like one of them?” It happens. In our early days of living in a new state with no friends or family, we had to figure out how to make friends. We had ‘interesting‘ evenings with more than one couple over the years. Like the one where the husband played air guitar ALL night long – which was weird even in the 80s. Sometimes you get lucky on the first get-together with a good foursome-fit; sometimes you have a few ‘interesting‘ evenings before you make a connection that lasts.
Finding Couple Friends
Chances are good there is a couple in your midst that would love to have a couple friend of their own. Examine your different environments. Do either of you work with a married individual that might be a prospect? Somebody you could suggest getting together with the spouses for dinner or a movie? Are you in any community groups? Do you have kids with activities that you interact casually with other parents? Ask them what they do for a kid-free evening for an icebreaker – you might discover some common ground.
Neighbors are often an unnoticed possibility. Step back in time and invite a few of those neighbors over for a potluck. No pressure. It’s simply an opportunity for a few people who live in close proximity to meet and eat. They bring a dish, you provide one plus the drinks, and friendships can grow.
Churches are also a great place to connect with other couples. You already have a common point of interest. I bet some of those couples you see in worship, Sunday school, choir practice or committee meetings would be delighted to have an evening out with some new conversation. While you may feel vulnerable offering an invite, think about how pleased you would feel if you were the invitee.
If you have looked everywhere and there is not a couple in sight, you may have to be a little more proactive. Participate in activities that will expose you to others with like interests. Take classes, volunteer in the community, join civic groups, sign up for team activities – you get the idea. You’re not going to meet new people in your home.
Not every new connection will result in life-long friends. Actually, if that ever happens it’s a wonderful bonus. The goal is to interact socially with other married couples and have some fun. Do something different. Enjoy different conversation. You will be doing you, your spouse, and your marriage a favor. And, more likely than not, you will be doing the same for your new couple friends!
Do you have a suggestion on how couples can meet other couples? Please share it with us in the comment section below.