They say a person learns the true character of others during 4 life events: the death of a loved one, the birth of a child, a promotion and a marriage.
While there is nothing disheartening about any of these events, these events are critical because they symbolize moments of change and growth. Change is hard for a lot of people, so support is crucial for the journey. Our loved ones need a support system that will hold their hands, carry out their best wishes and/or celebrate them.
What happens when we aren’t celebrated? What happens when we notice that those we once cherished and cared for become jealous, self consumed and unsupportive?
Studies show that in 2015, 42% of brides lost a friend during the planning of their wedding. Some women reported falling out over a dress, costs and lack of desire to be a bridesmaid. How does this happen? How is it that something so minor can change a friendship that was to last a life time? I’ll tell you how: expectations
Expectations are the root of all heartache. We expect people to play a role in our lives based on their title and years invested. We often fail to look at the characteristics and the behaviors, or whether the role or years invested have been of any substance. Substance is very important. A friendship can have so many years of “nothing.” It’s possible, trust me. Pay attention to the signs. It can save a lot of time and money.
5 Signs That Your Friend Isn’t for Your Marriage
1. Their wordplay isn’t supportive
When people first get engaged, they share the news with everyone. This is an exciting time. Two people will soon become one.
Be careful, because every “congratulations” do not come from a good place. Some congratulations have a “must be nice” undertone to it and there’s always that one friend who usually demonstrates that with his or her words. I’m often leery of people who describes a big accomplishment as “little.” There is nothing little about gaining a spouse. This looks like, “Oh here comes your lil’ fiancè” or “when are we going to plan this lil’ wedding?”
People tell us who they are all of the time, but for some reason we just refuse to believe them.
2. They are defiant about everything
Have you ever planned an event and someone had a problem with every detail of that event? You want blue dresses but they hate the color blue; you want them to wear makeup for better photo optics, but makeup just breaks our their face; the venue is too small or the food is too salty. There is always something. This is because they don’t really want to be apart of said event to begin with.
There comes a time when we have to stop forcing people to be happy for us and see the value in our choices. Don’t get in the habit of bargaining with bullshit when you know you deserve premium. Real friends will stand by your side wearing a banana suit, if you asked them to.
3. They put you in positions to look “Single.”
When our lives change, especially our marital status, there will be activities that aren’t beneficial or conducive to our lifestyle anymore. This includes “freak ’em” dresses at the club without your spouse (for ladies), leaving or traveling without notice, or making plans without discussing them with your partner first.
In my first marriage, this was a struggle for me. I was so big on independence that I failed to realize that marriage is anything BUT that. I was blessed to have friends who sat me down and said, “Get your ish together. You are married…”
All friends are not like mine. There are some friends who suggests that because they were “around first” your spouse or ‘soon-to-be’ isn’t important. There are some friends who will encourage you to disrespect your mate by not calling him or her to check in, or not sharing your whereabouts because your mate doesn’t own you. This type of thinking destroys marriages. Also, your friend may be worried and trying to preserve as much as your time as they can for themselves. After all, having a spouse means, less time for them, and some friends, do not like that.
4. They become too busy and unavailable
You ever notice that when you were single, that friend was almost, always available? Now that you are engaged or married, they don’t have time anymore. Sometimes the reasons are, “I’ve been busy; Oh, I have a new boo-you have one so let me be great too,” or my favorite, “I thought you were busy with your new fiancè so I didn’t want to bother you…”
It’s really confusing because at no point did you ask for space or insinuate that you didn’t want to spend time anymore, yet that’s what you ended up with. Don’t fret. This is a tell-tell sign of jealousy and a defense mechanism people use to avoid being letdown. That friend is most likely fearful of losing you to your spouse so they create distance themselves to avoid what they see as an inevitable break down of the friendship. The best way to work this out is to reassure friends that you haven’t forgotten about them and schedule times to get together consistently based on your schedules.
5. They disrespect your spouse or soon-to-be
Some friends can be too “mouthy” or opinionated when it comes to communicating with your spouse. If you’re at an outing or hanging out as a group and you notice your friend is constantly telling your significant other to “shut-up” or “move, give my friend some space,” that behavior is not supportive to the relationship and should be extinguished immediately.
Friends should have boundaries with your spouse or soon-to-be. As much as we love protection from our friends, it is not OK for friends to insert themselves in lover’s quarrels (unless it’s a safety issue) or share with their friend’s partner thoughts about what they should or should not be doing, without your consent. It’s not OK for your friends to withhold greetings from your spouse because of something shared about a disagreement. A wife should be able to tell her friend, “hubby didn’t take out the trash” and he is still greeted with a warm welcome, the next time they’re all together.
Remember, a marriage is between TWO people, and God, not two people and friends.
This post was written to improve boundaries with friends in a marriage and gain insight to authentic marital support.
Nya B is an author, mental health clinician, professor and speaker. For more tips, follow Nya B on IG and Twitter @author_nya_b.