We know it’s healthy to have separate friendships after you’re married. Spending time with your own friends, away from your partner, helps you maintain a balance of “I” versus “we” and nurture your own identity. That being said, there are some unique benefits to having “couple friends,” too. Here are four big ones:
They help you gain insight into your own relationship.
When you spend time with other couples, you inevitably will notice the different dynamics of their relationships – the way they interact, communicate, handle disagreements, speak to and about each other, etc. This tends to make you more aware of how your own relationship operates, which can have a positive effect. For example, you might notice the way John and Tara never interrupt each other when one of them is talking, whereas you tend to do jump in if your partner is telling a story inaccurately. You might make a mental note to try to interrupt less, or you might even call yourself out and apologize next time you catch yourself in the act. Or you might notice your couple friends handling something in a way you wouldn’t necessarily choose and realize, “Hey, we’re actually pretty good at ______,” or “I like they way we handle ______.”
They’re a source of camaraderie and support.
Whether you’re navigating life as newlyweds, trekking through the chaos of having babies and young children, or adjusting to an empty nest, there’s something special about having couple friends who are in the same chapter of life as you. Not only are they sort of a tag team support system, but they also just get it. They understand your struggles with minimal explanation; they know what’s helpful – and what’s not. When life feels crazy and unpredictable, they are by your side saying, “We don’t know what we’re doing either, but we’ve got your back.”
You’ll see other (favorable) sides of each other.
We get used to seeing our partner in the same context. Maybe that’s at home, with no other adults around, doing silly voices for the kids. Or quiet on the couch after a long day of work. Or a little snippy because the house is a mess. Whatever the case, when we’re interacting with friends, it often brings out facets of ourselves that aren’t always front and center. You might take notice (or be reminded) of how charming and funny your partner is when they’re telling a self-deprecating story or have a renewed appreciation for how at ease they are in social situations. These are the things that likely made us fall for them in the first place, and spending time with couple friends gives us an opportunity to see those sides of each other again.
It’s an opportunity to unwind – together.
Sometimes we get into the habit of spending our fun, relaxing time with our separate groups of friends. This is especially true for couples with young kids – it’s easier to just “take turns” spending time with friends than to arrange a sitter if you both go out. Which means that most of that rare downtime you get is not spent with your partner. Don’t get us wrong, time apart is an important part of a balanced relationship, but it’s important to also prioritize having fun together. Plus, if your couple friends also have kids, you might not even need a sitter. The whole gang can get together for some low-pressure fun.
Friendships in general are important, but there are some unique benefits to having friends who are couples. If you feel like you’re lacking in this area, don’t fret. Friendships take time. They may come and go with seasons of life. They might not work out. Or you might get lucky and find couple friends for life!