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Yes. Married Folks Need Single Friends (Male And Female).

Who said (married) men and women can't be friends (with single men and women)?

Marriage

Some of y'all probably remember the movie The Wedding Planner (Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey). Whenever I reflect back on it (which I actually do more than I would like to due to being a marriage life coach), something that immediately comes to mind is a "rule" that Jennifer Lopez's character had when it came to engaged couples. She could tell, based on the first dance song they shared together, just how long their marriage was gonna last.

Well, over the years, I have come up with some other dead ringers that two people's marriage is headed towards some pretty bumping waters if they don't switch up their thinking a bit—thinking that sex shouldn't be a priority; believing that a difference in religions isn't "that big of a deal"; thinking that sucking at money management (whether it's one person or both) isn't gonna cause a ton of problems up the road; feeling like they don't "marry someone's family" (you don't but you do have to deal with them a lot and/or the after-effects of your spouse's family's influence on them); not discussing gender role expectations (whether you have some or none at all); overlooking triggers that already kinda piss you off about the one you're seeing (marriage only magnifies what already exists), and thinking that marriage means that you shouldn't have single and/or opposite sex friends.

Each one of these deserve a hearty "what in the world are you thinking?!" article; however, you can tell from the title of this piece what we'll be exploring today. As someone whose friend pool consists of mostly married people at this point, there are a few reasons why I believe it is very important for married folks to have single friends—yes, male as well as female ones, for husbands as well as wives.

Single Friends Offer a Different Perspective

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Relational status-wise, "single" means you're not married (even tax forms cosign on this). I don't know what makes so many people think it also means that we as singles don't have any kind of insight, experience or common sense when it comes to matters of the heart. Good lord. And here's the thing—I often tell my clients that sometimes it's a good idea to have a single counselor/therapist/life coach and to see a married couple from time to time. The reason why is because it is very difficult for married folks to counsel without bringing their own marriage into the mix and the reality is each marriage is different—meaning, what works for one couple may absolutely not work for another. Not only that but based on how a married person feels about their relationship or spouse at the time that you seek them out, their advice could be great or really jaded.

Singles on the other hand—it's like there is oftentimes a very "detached approach" in the sense that we oftentimes just see whatever a husband or wife is talking about for what it is. Because of that, our perspective isn't so emotionally driven and that can actually be helpful at times.

Single people read books. Singles check out podcasts. Singles have (usually) had relationships before. Singles pray and meditate. Singles want to see the people they care about win. (Many) singles have great knowledge and common sense. Know what else? A lot of singles are single by choice, so them not being married shouldn't be seen as a disqualifier so much as a personal preference—one that is oftentimes based in profound wisdom.

Having single friends when you're married can help you to look at things from an "outside looking in" angle that you might not get any other way. That's just one reason to consider having them as friends, even if you are in a marital union.

Single Friends Can Give You the Opportunity to Do Certain Things That You Enjoy

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When you're married, it's a part of who you are—a big part even. Know what? It's still not your entire identity, though. I can't tell you how many people that I have to remind that no one is—or should be—their everything. Believing that your spouse should be exactly that is not only a low-key form of idolatry, it will set you up to be quite disappointed, many times over. Because, again, no one is supposed to check every box and fill every void. This is another reason why having single friends can be a cool thing because the things that your spouse may not be interested or like to do, you can do those things with your single friends—and spending time with those friends can make you value your marriage all the more once you return home.

Now, what I will say on this particular point is hanging out with an opposite sex friend and no one else could get a little dicey simply because intimate time is well…intimate time. Yet even in this case, a good opposite sex friend is totally on the up and up and therefore, will have no problem spending time with you, even if it's at your house with your spouse present. Maybe it's to see a movie that your husband couldn't care less about or to have dinner with the both of you that features a dish that only they would appreciate. Bottom line, single friends can keep you from resenting your spouse if there are things that you like that they don't because you've got those friends to share those experiences with. It can actually take some pressure off of your hubby. That's always beneficial.

Single Friends Can Be a Great Support System

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I have close married male and female friends. Their spouse knows I exist and most of them even have my phone number (the ones who don't, don't want it). The reason why is because I get the "two are now one" (which is biblical, by the way—Genesis 2:24-25) concept. Besides, if I am a good friend to my folks, this means that I want all that personally affects them to thrive—their marriage included. And you know what? I can't think of one friend whose spouse has an issue with my being friends with their partner. Now, I will say that a big part of this is because the spouse has met me and even had a few conversations with me before. Also, when it comes to my male married friends, none of them are someone I've had any kind of romantic or sexual history with (that kind of dynamic is another article for another time). And perhaps being a marriage life coach helps. Yet you know what I believe the biggest part is? My married friends and their spouse know that I am a huge fan of marriage and I make it clear that being friends with married folks means that I am an advocate for their relationship.

A couple of years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, "Why Every Engaged Couple Needs A 'Marriage Registry'". When you get a chance, check it out because it touches on different ways that different people can support a marital relationship in some very specific ways. Any couple who's been married for more than a couple of years knows that it doesn't just take a village to raise a child, it oftentimes takes a village to support a marriage too. Healthy, happy and mature single people can be supportive in some pretty extraordinary ways from being a listening ear and prayer partner to helping to plan a special occasion with your partner or being willing to watch your kids. Every marriage needs support. Single folks can offer help and encouragement. Try it. It might just blow your mind how good we are at it.

Single Friends (Typically) Have More Availability

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I don't go to a ton of weddings. The long short of the reason is because I think wedding ceremonies are very sacred events and, like many officiants say, "It's a union that should be entered into soberly and not lightly." To me, it's a celebration, for sure. At the same time, it's not just a party or merely something to do on any given weekend. That said, the few I have gone to when a close friend is jumping the broom, I often get laughed at. It's because I'm sometimes crying more than just about everyone else. Why? I'll be real—I'm happy for my peeps yet I'm grieving as well because I know that the friendship is about to change. My newly married friend won't have the same kind of time they once did. They can't just "link up" whenever they want to because they've got other priorities. In short, their availability is gonna be quite different, moving forward.

Me? Not so much. Yes, I have a life—a full one, thank you very much; still, my friends can call me at 2 a.m. to vent or cry and it's typically a lot easier for me to drop everything and come their way, if need be. I can't tell you how many "talk me off the ledge" midnight hour chats I've had with some of my married friends when their spouse was out of town or how often I've rerouted on the way to one place to head someplace else when a married friend needed an ear or shoulder.

Married friends only having married friends means that sometimes, they have to figure things out without anyone being able to truly have their back because their married friends are unavailable. Single friends can oftentimes stand in the gap in a way that makes them a real lifesaver.

You Can Share Your Wisdom/Insight with Your Single Friends

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Whatever stage we are in life, hopefully, we are open to sharing what we've learned in order to help others. So, this next point about why married folks and single people should be friends is actually a reason that benefits the single demographic. About five years ago, I asked one of my closest friends to record a video on why she felt that single women should enjoy their single season (check out "Rissi Palmer- A married lady's words to single sisters" when you get a chance). She was able to offer up some "Girrrrl, GIRL" points that you can quite possibly intellectualize before saying "I do" yet feels totally different once you actually are somebody's wife.

In many ways, I see singles being friends with marriage folks as a form of tremendous relational support for husbands and wives and married folks being friends with single people being a form of uncanny knowledge for the unmarried. You know, far too many single women think that being married is better than the season they are currently in. Hmph. Talk to some of your married friends before jumping to such large conclusions. Everything comes with its pros and cons. Being married is definitely no exception.

BONUS: If Your Single Friend Can’t Be Trusted in Marriage, They Should’ve Never Been Trusted

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I'm gonna end this on a point that has never made sense to me. Sometimes, when a married person will challenge me on why there is no need for them to have single friends—especially ones of the opposite sex—my immediate response is "Why?" If they even hint to the fact that they don't trust that kind of dynamic, almost always my response is, "So, if you don't trust someone, why were you friends with them in the first place?"

Listen, while it is important to safeguard your relationship and create mutual boundaries in order to make that possible, if you've got a partner that wants to cheat, they will find a way to do it. Besides, "friend" is not a word that should be used casually. If you trusted someone enough to be in your wedding or even come to see you publicly profess your love, if you trust someone enough to watch your children, if you trust someone enough to hold some of your confidentialities—how can you not trust that they will remain trustworthy now that you've got a spouse?

Yeah, the issue shouldn't be whether or not singles can be friends with married folks—it's if you are choosing the right friends, regardless of their relational status to begin with.

As I shared earlier, when people get married, things change. To a certain extent, dynamics of their friendships, whether their friends are single or married, is included. What I hope is this all will buck the notion that single friendships are an automatic no-no. A good friend is good friend. Single or not. Period.

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This article is in partnership with Xfinity.

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