You may have already read Mary J Blige’s recent comments about her 11-year marriage. In the Telegraph, Mary revealed she has all female friends and her husband Kendu has all male friends. She went on to share that there shouldn’t be any “that’s my female friend”, or “that’s my male friend” because she has never seen that work in a marriage. It’s an interesting perspective. It may not make sense to most of us, and may even seem unrealistic. However, there is something about this rule (if tweaked just a little) that actually has the potential to work for a large majority of our marriages.
What causes the most damage to our relationships isn’t whether the friends are male or female, it’s the interactions and connections that lead to destruction.
While I do believe men and women can be just friends, married couples have to be very careful when it comes to maintaining certain friendships. An individual who has a friendship with a married man or woman, has to be a friend of the marriage. This means certain behaviors are unacceptable if they don’t honor the couple as a whole. A true friend would always respect that request.
What causes the most damage to our relationships isn’t whether the friends are male or female, it’s the interactions and connections that lead to destruction. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
We should never share more with our friend than we do with our spouse. This includes personal issues, family, career and everything in between. Our spouse is our confidant, a trusted advisor, no one else’s opinion should matter more than your mate’s.
No new friends of the opposite sex. Colleagues, associates maybe, but the word “friend” shouldn’t be thrown around so loosely. It requires a lot to build a friendship. What benefit is there for a married man or woman to build new friendships with those of the opposite sex?
Our friend of the opposite sex shouldn’t advise us on our spouse. He/she is not your spouse and doesn’t know your spouse better than you do. We have to remember not all men and women think alike. Your friend isn’t the spokesperson for all people of that gender.
We definitely shouldn’t spend more time with our friends or do more interesting things than we do with our spouse. The more time we spend, the easier our friendships become, the more likely it is to catch feelings. We have to be smart in the beginning by not putting ourselves in that situation.
It’s so easy to get caught up. Sometimes the friendships are less stressful than the marriage. What we sometimes fail to realize is that we have the power to change that at anytime. The energy we give to our friends can easily be poured into creating a better marriage.