Lord, y'all. When you get to be my age (mid-40s), when it comes to your friendships, you've kinda gotta suck it up. "It" being the reality that, if a lot of your social circle isn't already married or have children, they've got the combo. This means, for every wedding (or baby shower) that you attend, you've got to adjust to the fact that no matter how much you and your sista-friend adore each other, there are some pretty major changes that are in store—even if they aren't intentional. Even if both of you say to one another that things will remain just as they've always been.
I'll speak from personal experience and say that the changes aren't always easy either. Although I consider myself to be one of the biggest advocates for my friends and their life transitions, there's nothing like wanting to call one of my married ones at midnight and realizing that, unless it's an emergency, that's basically inappropriate. Or, after spending time with their new hubby, coming to realize that he's not your absolute favorite person on the planet (see "I'm Not A Fan Of My BFF's Man - This Is How I Make Our Friendship Work"). Yeah, navigating through a single woman/married woman friendship comes with its challenges.
So, if you've got a wedding coming up and one of your closest friends is the bride-to-be, here's an emotional cheat sheet to make getting used to y'all's new normal a bit easier. On the both of you.
Her Time Is Going to Be Different
There's a Scripture in the Bible that says, "When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken." (Deuteronomy 24:5—NKJV) I dig it because it's a reminder to 1) marry a man who has his own house in order before saying "I do" so that he can give you some much-needed quality time, and 2) expect newlyweds to be all into each other because yeah, those first several months, you may not see them much. However, I'll just say that, you shouldn't assume that once the googly eyes and daily sex on the kitchen floor have subsided that your friend's time will fully go back to normal.
If she and her man are taking their relationship seriously, they become one another's top priority. This means that a lot of what was going on in their lives when they were single, it now becomes a concern of the other partner. This means that if your friend was already pressed for time as a "Ms.", things are definitely going to be more congested for her as a "Mrs." Meeting up with you at the last minute after work is going to be a lot more difficult and staying on the phone with you for hours on end is going to be pretty unrealistic. In short, time together will need to be planned. Spontaneity, for the most part, will be a thing of the past.
To a Certain Extent, Her Husband Will Be a Factor
There are a few married couples I know whose marriage blew all the way up because one of them ignorantly (and semi-arrogantly) went into the relationship thinking that each other's families weren't going to be an issue. What I mean by that is, while some of them were dating and not getting along with their partner's mom, dad or sibling, I would ask them, "So, how is that gonna translate after you get married?" Many times, their reply would be somewhere along the lines of, "I'm marrying them. Not their family." Uh-huh. While that mindset works in theory, if your spouse has a relationship with the very people you don't get along with, there are going to be some pretty major bumps along the way for you and your marriage. You'd be better off trying to smooth things over before your wedding day, not after. Family drama has caused more than a few divorces, believe you me.
Although I'm not a blood relative of any of the wives that I am close to, we are, what I call, "love family". And since their husband is their family too, I try my best to not only tolerate their spouse but cultivate my own connection with them.
That way, even if the husband doesn't see me as a "love sister", they can at least treat me like a "love second cousin". You might not think this is super important, but when you want to come over and have dinner or you need to cry over the phone about your ex at 9pm, you'll be amazed how much being cool with the hubby will make that so much easier for you to do.
Her Focus Will Shift. A LOT. At Least for a Little While.
With life transitions come new experiences—and new perspectives. As it relates to marriage, when a woman becomes a wife, it's impossible for her to be 100 percent the same person that she was when she was single. She's got to consider her husband's feelings about things. She's got to balance his needs with her own. Now, his family and friends are a part of her world. His finances become an area of concern just like her own. There are things about her marriage she can share and things she has to keep to herself. She's got to figure out how to make quality time for her hubby as well as herself. In short, being married means that she has a lot more on her plate; a lot more to focus on.
If you don't emotionally prepare yourself for this, it will be really easy for you to get your feelings hurt. I can't tell you how many times I've called a wife to tell her something ridiculous a guy said and she finds a way to bring up a disagreement between her and her husband or, I want to talk about Queen Sugar and she wants to talk about a meal she's surprising her man with. When someone is in love, they talk about the object of that love a lot. When they share a house, bed and name with that individual, prepare for that to multiply exponentially so. It's not that your girl doesn't care about what you care about; she simply has to find balance now that there are a whole lot of other things to focus on too.
Her Social Circle Will Expand
Something that makes two people friends is the commonalities that they share. They like the same things. They share similar experiences. They know some of the same people. That makes it easy for them to have plenty to talk about so that they are able to remain emotionally connected. But once your friend gets married, while the things that you share will still exist, she will now have a whole new social circle that you probably won't be a part of. Her husband's boss. Her man's college buddies. If marriage included them moving to another city, state or country, an entire network of folks who you may never meet. As those individuals become more of a part of her life, those influences will expand her world and probably her views on things as well. To a certain degree, she will change.
Most of my close friends, our social circles don't cross much at all (I actually like it that way, but that's another article for another time). This means that a lot of the time, we're talking about people that we're not personally associated with. The way that we make that work is to try and care about each other's social lives simply out of respect for the friendship. That way, when I bring up a co-worker who has a slick mouth or my friend talks about her hubby's BFF who is still ho-ing out in these streets, we're still able to engage the topic because we've made it a point to invest in each other's lives; even the parts we're not directly a part of. Just so that we can remain connected.
If the Friendship Is Solid, She'll Relish the "Single Time" Together, Though
While recently doing an interview, someone asked me if it would freak me out if I never got married. Nope. Personally, I believe that once you learn how to embrace and enjoy your own season in life, you start to see all of the benefits that come right along with it. In other words, a lot of women who hate being single, they are typically the ones who are more concerned with what they are "missing" by not being a wife than what they already have by not being one. Unfortunately, what they don't realize is, some of the things that they've got, most wives miss. Maybe not every day but definitely some of the time.
Most of the wives in my life, they have told me, at least a dozen times, things like, "Girl, be glad that you always get to sleep on your entire bed" or "Girl, I wish I could just go out and spend money without consulting my husband first" or "Girl, do you know how lucky you are to be able to do whatever you want on the weekends?" Know what else? When a lot of these wives find themselves walking down memory lane of their singledom, guess who they want to call to go see a movie or hear me talk about what the single world is like? They say that you don't know what you had until its gone. Many wives will attest to the fact that while being married is great, single living has its benefits and privileges too.
A writer by the name of Arnold Bennett once said, "Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by discomforts." I won't lie to you—having a close friend get married can result in a little bit of sadness and even some grieving (which is why taking a girls' trip, even if it's for a day, sometime before the wedding can be helpful). Life as you knew it, it is going to shift. But if you choose to embrace and adjust to the love that she has found and she makes sure to keep you as a priority because she values your presence, your friendship can remain intact. It might not be the same anymore, but it will still be good. As time goes on, possibly even better.
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