Sunday, March 8, 2009

Wife Life pt 1

Getting married is like moving to a foreign country. You can read about it, plan for it, study the language, look at pictures others have taken and talk to others who have been or lived there. But until you really get there, unpack your suitcase and step outside, it’s not real.

So,  while being a newlywed can be utterly wonderful and the best time of your life, it can also be extremely frustrating and confusing. And, like living overseas, you sortof have to relearn how to do things, like drive on the other side of the road or not do certain things with your hands or feet.

I’ll call this new country ‘Wife Life’ until I think of something better.

I wanted to write about and start a discussion about one element in Wife Life that a friend asked me about recently. I have some thoughts on it, but I’m interested to see what others have to say, too. Here is the question:

“How do you make new friends or keep old friends when all you want to do at the end of a busy day at work is go home and spend time with your husband?”

This is a great question and one I can really relate to.

Just as background, I have been married for three and a half years, which probably still qualifies me as a newlywed, and also means that I don’t know much about this country yet. My husband and I knew each other as acquaintances for one and a half years before we started dating, then it was a quick transition from friends to courtship, with marriage 17 months after our first date. It would’ve been sooner, but I actually lived overseas for 12 of those months!

When we got married, I had moved from Honduras to Washington D.C. and basically only knew my husband and his friends from church, who quickly became my friends, too (thank God!). Eventually, though, we made ‘our’ friends and I made my own friends. 

Friendship is so important, I think we’d all agree on that. There’s even a study that says that women need girl-time for their health (http://www.anapsid.org/cnd/gender/tendfend.html). In a grad school class, we learned about the CS Lewis friendship circle. He says that in special circles of friendships, you become someone with those friends you cannot be without each of them. So if one of the friends leave and/or another takes her place, everyone changes a little bit. (Grad school CS Lewis friends, have I got this right?)

I think the friends I have now are essential to the kind of person I am, and therefore are essential to the kind of wife I am to my husband, and the kind of friend I can be to others.

In pt 2, I’ll share my thoughts on how to “do” friendship in the early years of marriage, but for now I’d love to hear some other perspectives from you who have walked through this successfully, or maybe are still new to this country and have some questions of your own. 

3 comments:

  1. did you want us to email you our thoughts or comment here?

    I'll comment here..
    I think that you and C.S. are right that your friends definitely make you who you are, which is why it is so important that you pick ones that have qualities that you would strive for. I have a friend that is very much like me and we get a long great and we have a lot of fun together but I don't think I learn much from her, where as hanging out and spending time with someone who is not like me at all I can learn from and change those things about me that I don't like..does that make sense? As far as making friends in the newlywed stage.. I don't know if it ever gets easier, I still would just rather have Jeremy come home and spend time with him rather then try and go out or make the effort to make new friends. However one night a week hanging out and making friends is really worth the investment..not helpful I know.

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  2. Even after 13 years, "wife life" feels foreign sometimes. I think that this is one of the reasons that making new friends and maintaining existing friendships is so difficult. I have made several new friends in the past decade plus, but none of them live within driving distance of my current address (for the past five years). I have managed to plan weekends away with the girls several times during my marriage, so I can attest to how important these moments are. However, I have yet to discover how to incorporate regular friendships (not once-a-year get-togethers) with all of the other time-consuming functions of wife, mother, and contributing member of society.

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  3. I am wondering if I fit into the "Grad school CS Lewis friend" group. Although, I never did attend grad school, most people thought I did at some point or another and I hung out with all of you a lot.

    I like this post, and agree with the group dynamics that you are describing here. All of this reminds me, once you told me "Nic, I don't know how you are when I'm not around, because well, I'm not there when I'm not around you."

    haha

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