Setting Boundaries with Friends: Establishing Healthy Couple Friendships
The Importance of Boundaries with Friends
Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries is an essential skill in life and relationships. In fact, if you don’t draw boundaries, you won’t have your own life. You will have the life that everyone else decides for you. You can’t enjoy your marriage if you don’t have boundaries to protect you and your mate.
The Couples in Your Life
Think about the other couples in your life. Do you have other couples who are close friends with you and your mate? Being with close friends that both partners like can bring out the best in everyone. Shooting a hole in one, seeing the beach at dawn, laughing at a bad movie, or cooking a great meal – each of these may be enhanced when sharing it with your spouse as well as another couple. In addition, learning from that couple how they have handled the normal ups and downs of life can be instructive and helpful. You may get ideas on how to handle the struggles that emerge raising young children, assisting aging parents, or dealing with difficult personal issues. You need friends to “do life” with. You need other couples who value marriage and support and encourage you in your relationship – and they need you.
Recognizing Unhealthy Couples
Unfortunately, not every couple is healthy and pro-relationship. There are those couples who are continually in conflict, complaining about their mate and wanting you to bash yours as well. Misery loves company! Other couples live disconnected lives and are only held together by children, finances, or family or religious expectations. Their marital energy is negative and may affect the way that you think and relate to your mate, even if you’re not always aware of it. It is not judgmental to be aware of these dynamics. It’s important to set clear boundaries with unhealthy people to protect your own life and relationships.
- Get a sheet of paper. You and your partner think about the couples who are currently in your life. Write their names down the left side of the page.
- Evaluate and discuss which couples you both would classify as having a positive or healthy relationship and who are supportive of your relationship. Put a check mark beside their names. Now evaluate and discuss which couples that you would classify as negative or unhealthy and possibly not supportive of your relationship. Put an “X” beside their names. Any couples remaining would be considered “neutral.”
- Share with each other which couple(s) you feel that you need to distance yourselves from and why. What steps will you take to establish that boundary?
- Share with each other which couple(s) you would like to develop a closer relationship with and why. What steps will you take to cultivate their friendship(s)?
- If there are no other couples in your life presently, discuss what you could do to meet new couples and establish healthy couple friendships.
Invite another couple to go on a “double date.” They could be old friends or a couple that you have identified as one you’d like to develop a closer friendship with.
Learn more about healthy boundaries and other relationship tools by attending a Love Recon marriage retreat or marriage seminar or working with a Recon Master Life Coach. Equipping you with the tools for healthy and fulfilling relationships is what we do!