There is no question that your husband—or future husband—should be your most intimate relationship. Nothing should be hidden between you two. But even if you deem your husband your very best friend, having him as your only friend is neither healthy (at least not long term) nor biblical.
There are some seasons, such as moving to a new state, when your friendship with your spouse may become the only one you have. But it should not remain that way. We were designed for community—a community that includes people of all perspectives, walks and life stages. Friendships outside your marriage are incredibly important, not only for your faith and personal life, but also for your marriage itself.
If you’re single and reading this with a friend in mind, you’ve probably seen the unhealthy turn a marriage takes when a spouse becomes someone’s everything. This is not how marriage is meant to be! A spouse is not a savior—only Jesus is, and through the church, Jesus provides an entire community of people who encourage and equip us for the difficulties of life. But in case you need further reasons for why a husband can’t be one’s only friend, here are five.
1. Diversifying your community helps your spiritual growth.
The church is not a building. It’s a collection of people all following Jesus in the same direction. The beauty of being a member of Christ’s church is the diversity; we all bring unique stories to the body of Christ. This diverse community helps us grow spiritually as we gain new perspective, ask hard questions and are exposed to different beliefs. The friendships that grow from our community help us become stronger women and wives. When a wife limits her perspective only to that of herself and her husband, she is not bringing her full self to the church, the community OR her marriage relationship. This goes for a husband as well. Being in godly community will help you establish what you believe, and you can discuss this in your marriage relationship, where “iron will sharpen iron” and you’ll find a stronger stance on your beliefs as a couple.
2. Cultivating female friendships makes you a better wife.
Female friendships are vital to communication and growth in your marriage. There have been seasons where, due to moving out of state, my friendships were few. But I’ve found there is one prayer God always answers: a prayer for godly female friends!
Christian women will teach you how to be open about what you think and how to confront your own insecurities, and will act as a fellow burden-bearer for the issues you face in life. My godly girlfriends keep me from dumping everything I’m feeling or worrying about on my husband, Josh. They help me become a better wife to him by teaching me how to process things well, pushing me back to Josh and to God.
While I certainly don’t keep anything from Josh that I’m telling my girlfriends, having them in my life equips me for the challenges of marriage.
3. Your husband needs space and time with godly men.
Like you, your husband needs time with people who push him toward you and toward God. You cannot be the only person who does this! He needs men to speak into his life, to encourage him in godly masculinity and show him how to grow in his faith. His time with friends will bring him back rejuvenated and help him bring his best to your marriage, just as your godly friends do for you.
4. Strong couples have wise people speaking into their lives.
Strong couples look for other couples—and single people, too—who have wisdom to share. Josh and I are friends with couples younger than us, our age and significantly older than us whom we can ask for advice at any moment. We intentionally meet up with our girlfriends and guy friends several times a month—without one another along. This alone time with our friends helps us come back together with greater unity, and the advice of our friends grants us new perspective for marriage. We are stronger as a couple because we spend time apart with strong people.
5. Your spouse is not meant to be an idol.
Marriage is hard at times. It’s also wonderful. Our spouse is usually a wonderful person we are super excited to be married to, but they are not God. When we spend all our time with our spouse and expect him to do the same, we’re setting up unrealistic expectations for the future, and unhealthy boundaries for our extramarital relationships. We NEED godly men and women to speak into our marriages. Idolizing a spouse destroys those opportunities.
Remember: I’m not saying your spouse should stop being your primary confidant. I’m definitely NOT saying that! Your spouse comes first, but community comes next. You need both for a thriving marriage. If you don’t have this yet, try the following: 1) plug into a local church body; 2) attend a local Bible study or small group regularly; 3) pray for godly friends for you both; 4) host, reciprocate, initiate and step out in faith that God will answer your prayer!