Can I be married and have friends?

Yes. You can be married and have friends. In fact, you should.

You can have other types of relationships too. Sure, when a man and woman marry they separate from their parents and form a new family unit. But this doesn’t mean you never call your mom. God made us capable of having different types of healthy relationships at the same time. And this includes friends.

So you can be married and have friends, and you should. Here are a few reasons why.

First, God didn’t design you and your spouse to always be alone-together. Both the individuals in a marriage and the marriage itself exist within a broader system of other important God-ordained relationships, which begin with the triune God himself and also include children, church, extended family, friends, neighbors, colleagues. Sometimes you will foster these as a couple (double-dates, going to visit family, church) and sometimes you will approach them separately (ladies’ night out, employee’s lunch, time alone with God).

Second, we need friends to not be lonely. Although spouses should seek friendship with each other, most of us need a few close friends to not feel lonely. Loneliness can be caused by not having enough friends, not having close friends, or both. We also need different kinds of friends in our life. (Here are some more facts about loneliness and things that can help overcome it.)

Third, good relationships tend to fuel other good relationships. Good friends will help you be a better spouse, and a good spouse will help you be a better friend. The flip side is also true. Bad relationships tend to fuel bad relationships. But the solution to bad relationships is not to avoid friends or never get married. Instead, cultivate all of your relationships in a godly way, working through problems as they arise.

God designed you and your spouse to have multiple healthy relationships in your life. Pursuing these, especially your relationship with God, can decrease your loneliness and improve your marriage. So if you’re married and do not have friends, ask yourself why. Talk to your spouse about it. And do what you can to support each other developing healthy relationships in and out of the home.

Christopher Chelpka @christopherchelpka