3 Reasons You Lost Friends When You Got Married
I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t been tip-toeing around this post for quite some time. Partly because I know a topic like losing friends can be almost like salt in the wound for some, and also partly because I’ve been trying to navigate it myself. But the more that I have talked to friends who have gotten married young, the more that a roaring response comes rolling in that shouts, “Yes, I lost friends, too! And I thought I was the only one!” Sweet friend, let me tell you – you aren’t the only one who lost friends when you got married. I did too. And you know what? It’s okay.
When I was single and engaged, I felt like I was in such a close-knit community. I had so many amazing friends that I was able to do life with and my memories with them are some of my most cherished times. There are so many things I wish I could tell me pre-married self. I traveled, studied, lived, laughed and cried with some of my most dear and close-hearted sisters during those times. I never thought it would change. I hoped it wouldn’t.
When God unraveled an unexpected plan and I found myself getting married a lot sooner than I planned, I genuinely hoped things would somehow stay the same. I couldn’t imagine losing any of these friendships that I had come to so closely rely on and to lean on. I felt that I had poured so much into them, and they into me – where would I be without them? I didn’t want anything to change. But more than all of this, I knew God was leading my husband and me toward marriage and it was a gift.
Our wedding came and went, and it was a blast! But quickly after our marriage.. things began to change. And perhaps they started to change during our engagement (in fact, I’m almost certain they did) but I was too lost in a mix between looking like a deer-in-the-headlights and being starry-eyed to notice. This was this biggest change I had ever gone through. I was focused on the wedding, life after the wedding, moving, job changes, finishing a semester of school, and so much more. I was stressed and overjoyed. Exhausted but excited. Running on coffee and Pinterest.
Friendships After Marriage
To be completely honest, I was scared and alone. I didn’t have a lot of friends at the time who were married, and I felt so much like I was walking blindly. I felt such a peace about marrying my husband because I felt so sure that this was what God had so clearly brought us to. But I had hardly any examples around me of what to look for in a marriage because I had hardly any peers that were married. We got married very young. What in the world was I getting myself into? What does this look like?
But once the wedding passed, things became a lot clearer. We set goals and began to learn what it meant to do life together. We began to hash out some of the joys of compromise that marriage brings and tried to learn what our new forever life would look like together. We weren’t sure what we were doing. We felt like toddlers learning to stand – wobbly, unsure, but expectant because everyone else seems to figure it out. We moved forward.
But the rapid transition of our lives brought a rapid transition in who we were as people. Two people who then became one. It confused us and hurt us more than anything that our friendships suddenly shifted to a degree we didn’t know how to navigate.
Before we had much time to sort through it and figure out what we could do, we both started in full-throttle life. We both were doing college full-time and work full-time. We often worked opposite schedules and felt like ships passing in the night. We felt friendships slipping but felt like we were grappling to figure out how to maintain our own relationship – we couldn’t figure out how to balance the two. It was overwhelming.
But two years later, I can promise you that things look so different but so beautiful. Time really does provide such perspective and hope, and the transition began to iron out the longer we chose to just trust that we could only do what we could do and God would take care of the rest.
If your heart resonates with any of this, sweet friend, check out these 3 reasons you (may have) lost friends when you got married.
3 Reasons You Lost Friends When You Got Married
1. Your Friends are In a Different Season of Life
Before I dive into this – let me say something important. Hear me. Ready? Just because you are married does not mean that you can only have married friends. Can I say that again? I will. Because it is beyond important.
Just because you got married does not mean that you can only have married friends.
Marriage is not your ticket into a super private club of friends that only hang out with other married friends. That is brash and rude and exclusive and totally not the heart of God. It breaks my heart when some people adopt this mentality because I fear it might paint such a harsh picture for those who aren’t married.
Marriage is a ministry to your spouse and with your spouse, and it is an opportunity to be a light to the world as a reflection of Christ’s love for us. And God’s love doesn’t exclude. It is welcoming. It is open arms and an open heart. It is an open invitation to join in this life and to be a part of a family.
Moving on – the first reason you (may) have lost friends when you got married is because they are just simply in a different season of life. Right after I got married, five of my nine bridesmaids moved states away (and some even to different countries!). FIVE! Talk about a whirlwind. I was floored. At first, I felt so alone. It was such a drastic change from where we all had been in our friendship just months before!
But just because they moved didn’t mean our friendship ended. It meant our friendship shifted.
After my initial, slightly selfish bout of “why is everyone leaving me?!” I had to come to terms with the reality of the situation. My closest friends were taking dramatic steps to pursue God’s call on their lives, and what a privilege it was to be close to them during that transition. People say you are who you hang out with, and if the epitome of who I was could be rooted in the same heart that these women had to unabashedly pursue the heart of God – I was blessed.
The way your friendship was before may not be how it is now, but take heart in knowing that this shift in perspective can be an amazing avenue to growing roots deeper in your friendship. Instead of burning bridges because we find ourselves in different seasons, we can learn to build bridges and let each other into our new world.
2. Your Lifestyle Has Shifted
When I was in college I got a ton of really awesome opportunities to live with some of my favorite friends. Some of my favorite memories with them are times that we studied together, stayed up all night together, went to church together, worked together – everything was done together! That season of life was absolutely cray-cray (and I’m talking about working 40 hours a week and going to school full time, studying upwards of 25-30 hours a week and trying to get at least 5 hours of sleep a night and live off of more than petite carrots, hummus, and coffee kind of cray-cray).
Despite how busy that time of life was, I was side-by-side with some of my best friends. And now, I am side-by-side with my husband and things have just changed a bit.
Before marriage, a lot of friendships are built upon proximity and convenience. Not all of them, but a lot of them. Friendships are easily built in through who you are close to during work, school, or whatever activities fill your time. After marriage, however, your husband is with you a lot more at some of these activities and you find yourself looking a lot less to find a built in wingman to enjoy the experience with – you’ve got one standing next to you! Friendships absolutely can still flourish with those around you in these areas. It is just a little less prominent.
So – because of this, and in many other ways, your lifestyle may have changed, and this (may be) why you lost friends when you got married. But take heart, sweet sister! This doesn’t mean your friendships have ended. It just means that they can flourish in a new way! When a friendship may have grown quickly over study sessions or because half-priced apps after work was your main catch-up time, now things just need to be shifted a little bit into something more intentional.
What friendships do you feel have withered a bit because of your schedule change? Take a moment to reach out to those friends and make an intended effort to grab coffee soon or catch up over dinner. A small effort goes so far in showing others that you value them through wanting to make time instead of passively filling time together before.
3. You Are Learning More About Who You Are
Before I got married, I really felt like the epitome of an independent, capable, driven and stubborn woman. I felt like with enough hard word, networking, and hustle the I would be able to be anything I wanted to be and get anywhere I wanted to go. I hated the idea of waiting around for some guy to show up that would whisk me away into marriage because I didn’t want to rely on someone else to fulfill my dreams. So I put marriage on the back burner, out of my mind, and focused on what was in front of me.
I loved feeling like I could make my dreams come true. But more than the fiercely strong woman I thought I was, there was an undertow of pride and fear that fueled it. I didn’t want to rely on anyone else for anything. I had been used and hurt and thrown around in the past and used this independent nature to fend off any need to be vulnerable.
Marriage ruined me.
More than I ever thought possible, marriage has brought out the rawest and most real and most unimaginable circumstances that have truly ruined the facade I clung to. There isn’t much room in marriage to be stubbornly self-sufficient. When two become one, it is hard to continue to be one-half of that running wildly towards a goal with the same headstrong, I-can-do-it-on-my-own, I-don’t-want-anyone-else-involved kind of drive. It just doesn’t work. Two became one. We are a team. We are in it together. The longer I am married, the more I realize that my resolve to be right and to protect my heart comes crumbling down.
But I’m thankful for it. Because the more that I tried to run my own race before, the more I know that I would try to keep God at arm’s length from my dreams and pursuits because I was afraid that if I relied on Him that He would let me down. The more that marriage has taught me the value of synergy through being united together with my husband as we take on the easy yoke of the Lord, the more I am humbled under the weight of realizing we truly are better together.
This changed me. And If you can relate to this at all, marriage has probably changed you in a similar way also. You (may have) lost friends when you got married because, in this way and a million others, you are learning more about who you are. Marriage is a very real opportunity to see the most fantastic and the most detrimental parts of yourself, and they all come into play. But it is an incredible opportunity to be refined and be better for it in the end.
As you continue on in the journey of finding more of who you are, your friends may see this change and feel unfamiliar compared to who you used to be. As you change and they change over time (because time has a way of doing that for everyone), it may take some time to get readjusted and reacquainted. But it is worth it try and reach out to them – because, despite the distance, your friendship isn’t over. It just is transitioning, maturing, and growing roots deeper. It may just take some extending of yourself to show the other person that you still care about them, love them and know their heart – and that despite changes, reassure them that they still know yours.
I learned over time that just because my friendships may have changed does not mean that they ended. They may look different now, of course, because your life is different – and so is theirs! Life is about changing and growing. But just because they look different does not mean they are over. You can still love people, pray for people, be an advocate for people and be a friend.
It is not that your friendships have ended, dear sister. Though I know it may feel like it at times, and your heart may be hurting. But something more beautiful than you can see right now is happening.
The way that friendship is defined is changing for you. Just because your friendships now have changed, doesn’t mean this isn’t the beautiful beginning to something new instead of the beginning of the end.
I hope that this post gives you the courage to push past your first perceptions, your fears, any hurt feelings and any uncertainty and truly try to see the value of friendships that were so sweet to you for so long before the transition into marriage. Some friendships really are only for a season, and that is okay. Everything happens in its time.
But – be reminded of how much time, how many memories, and how much of life is invested in them and know that those things can’t and won’t disappear overnight. Take some time to consider these three reasons your friendships (may have) changed after marriage and use this as a resource to begin to build new bridges.