Saturday, July 19, 2008

Secrets to A Great Marriage

Secrets to A Great Marriage, from M. Gary Neuman's Emotional Infidelity
Same-Gender Friendships
  • You can undermine your marriage by focusing on same-gender friendships instead of your spouse.
  • Sharing with our spouse is the lifeblood of marriage. Without it, there are no ingredients to mix.
  • We have to be careful not to share so much with family and same-gender friends that there's nothing left over for our partners.
So far, this might sound like the author believes we shouldn't have any friends, regardless of their gender. I don't think that's what he's getting at. I do believe that we need to be very cautious of friendships with members of the opposite gender, particularly those who might be our friend but not our spouse's friend. Many, many relationships begin as friendships between two people of opposite genders. Rather than trying to make sure that you don't let it go too far, I think it best to draw the line long before the relationship even reaches the stage of friendship.

As for same-gender friendships, all guys need their buddies, and all women need their girlfriends. I don't dispute that. And I don't think that it becomes a problem until "guys night out" becomes such a ritual that it takes precedence over all else. Or the first person you call to share news of your promotion, new backyard grille, or the cool car show coming to town is your buddy instead of your wife. When you reach the point that you spend more time sharing with your buddies than with your spouse, or call them first with important personal news, then same-gender friendships have gone too far.

What might be healthiest is for married couples to befriend other married couples -- preferably committed and devoted married couples -- and to spend their buddy time together as a group. I imagine we'll hear more of that from the author in upcoming chapters.

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