Euripides, the revered ancient Greek poet, once said, “Every man is like the company he is wont to keep.”
Here’s another way to put it: “Birds of a feather flock together,” and I’m sure you have heard that saying.
Friends are great; at least good ones are.
Your friends get you – they understand your point of view and bring loads of fun into your life in many cases.
But not all friends are good for your marriage.
Yes, some friends are supportive, but others cross the thin line between being supportive and meddling in your personal space. Is there a chance of how friends destroy marriages?
The friendship dynamics of married couples are quite different, and boundaries must be established and respected, especially when it comes to an opposite sex friend.
Unfortunately, many couples do not realize how friends can destroy marriage until their union is on the brink of falling apart.
Your marriage is the friendship you should care most about; all other friendships are secondary, and you shouldn’t hesitate to ditch them if they show signs of causing cracks in your home and family life.
In this guide, I’ll share some important telltale signs to help you quickly discover poor-quality friends that can potentially hurt your marriage.
How Friends Destroy Marriages
It is normal for your spouse to become your top priority once you enter married life.
Fun hours with friends take the backburner because your spouse is your family and your primary responsibility. You should spend more of your free time together with them.
As a married couple, something is probably wrong in your relationship (or is about to go wrong) if you spend more time with your friends than your spouse.
Companionship is a fundamental part of marriage, and couples must nurture it. This means being good company to that one special person you have decided to share your life with.
Observe marriages where the couples are good companions, and you’ll see that they are best of friends. Yes, love between couples is great, but companionship makes them genuinely like each other.
Good friends understand this fact.
This is why they will maintain a respectful distance from you to give you all the time you need to nurture your companionship with your significant other.
Bad friends do the opposite.
They insert themselves in your life and take up all your free time to the detriment of your marriage.
Why do they do this?
For several reasons:
- Different value system: They do not share the same view on marriage as you. Friends who have completely different ethics and morals may have a difficult time understanding why you want to stick to just one person.
- Jealousy: They are in a hurtful relationship, separated, or divorced, and don’t like it when others enjoy blissful relationships.
- Ignorance: Some friends are unaware of the damage they are unintentionally causing by taking up all your free time. This is especially true if they have been long-time friends who see you as family.
8 Common Sings of Toxic Friends You Should Look Out For
It is crucial to protect your marriage from bad influences in the guise of friends if you truly want your union to last a lifetime.
To do this, you need to identify poor-quality or bad friends.
Here are some common signs of toxic friends that can potentially hurt your marriage.
1. They Don’t Acknowledge Your Spouse
A toxic friend finds it difficult to come to terms with the fact that you are married. They don’t like the idea that you are sharing your life with someone else, so they will dislike and hardly acknowledge your spouse.
How do you know if your friend dislikes your partner?
- Your so-called friend cleverly changes the subject each time you reference your spouse.
- The friend will never ask how your partner is doing.
- Your friend acts as if your spouse doesn’t exist whenever you mention them.
- They look for ways to belittle your spouse’s achievements.
- The friend doesn’t encourage you to be proud of yourself or your spouse unless they are in the picture.
A friend who doesn’t acknowledge your partner or dislikes your spouse indirectly tells you to choose between them and your marriage.
This behavior clearly indicates that your friend thinks less of your spouse and would rather have you to themselves.
It is best to steer clear of any friend with this type of attitude for your sanity and the sake of your marriage.
2. They Don’t Respect Your Personal Time
Toxic friends do not respect your personal time. They do not care that you need to spend quality time alone with your significant now that you are married.
Instead, they act in ways that can steal your personal time and cause problems in your home.
For example, your friend calls you on your mobile phone on the weekend or after work when they know you are with your spouse. Instead of keeping the conversation brief, they talk with you for long hours, not minding that you should be spending time with your partner.
This shouldn’t be a problem if it is a one-time event.
But a toxic friend bent on destroying your marriage will make this behavior a routine.
If you allow this to continue, it won’t take too long before your spouse becomes irritated and annoyed. And this is understandable because someone outside your marriage is intruding in their personal space.
3. They Make Inappropriate Jokes
Even people who aren’t particularly bold can freely express themselves these days through online chats and text messages.
This makes it easy for friends to use sexually tinged words during conversations.
Indeed, you can’t completely rule out flattering remarks from friends on how desirable you or your spouse is, especially from friends of the opposite gender.
However, a friend that consistently makes sexual jokes and comments may have an ulterior motive.
It is even worse if this happens when you are having some problems with your spouse. Being emotionally distant from your spouse can lead to cheating if your friend of the opposite gender continues to pass subtle suggestions about your sex appeal.
Your best move in this situation is to set clear boundaries and let the friend know that you are not okay with their jokes or comments.
They will stop this behavior if they are good friends without any hidden motives.
4. They Are Too Affectionate
Some friends love to hug and paw, which can sometimes be too much. But that’s all fine if you are single.
However, it is a different story if you are married.
For example, it is not okay for your friend to pat your butt or kiss you, especially if they are of the opposite sex.
You will probably seethe with rage if a male friend grabs at your wife’s behind or a female friend kisses your husband.
It doesn’t matter whether or not this happens in the absence of your spouse. It is simply not okay.
You want to make it clear to your friend that you love them, but there are physical boundaries that must be respected.
Good friends will put a leash on their affectionate tendencies, regardless of how affectionate they are. They will show a healthy respect for your physical and emotional connection to your spouse.
On the flip side, toxic friends don’t care about the special connection you share with your significant other.
5. They Give Wrong Relationship Advice
Talking to friends about your marital problems may not be your best move. However, it may be necessary to do so occasionally, particularly if the issue with your partner is an ongoing one.
Sharing your problem with a trustworthy friend can bring about helpful feedback.
Now, here’s where things can get tricky.
Not every friend is trustworthy, and you may have a tough time figuring out who to trust, especially if your current problems blind you.
Here’s how friends destroy marriages using wrong relationship advice. They give you feedback that worsens your relationship issues.
Unfortunately, things may have already gone from bad to worse before you realize what your friend’s wrong advice is doing to your marriage.
But how do you know when it is okay to share your marital problems with a trusted friend?
Here are two suggestions you may want to consider:
- Don’t share anything with your friend if you haven’t discussed it with your spouse first.
- Don’t share any marital (or even personal) problem with a friend if you wouldn’t say it in the presence of your spouse.
Whatever you do, keep intimate details of your marital problems away from friends.
6. They Tag Along During Family Outings or Intrude During Family Time
A friend who inserts themselves into your family outing uninvited clearly doesn’t respect your marriage.
For example, you causally mention a planned family outing to your friend, and they ask you (insistently) to join the family outing.
You don’t want to embarrass them by turning them down, forcing your spouse to endure their presence during what was supposed to be your special time together as a family.
This can put unnecessary strain on your relationship if this friend continues to behave this way.
In many cases, one partner will feel helplessly angry but can’t do anything since they won’t want to embarrass their spouse’s friend.
The only other way to show their frustration is to take it out on their partner.
7. They Frequently Borrow Money Without Paying It Back
Money issues can put a lot of strain on a relationship. It gets worse when the cause of your family’s financial problem is a friend who borrows money but fails to pay it back.
This can create a lot of tension in your marriage, especially if one partner frequently lends money to their friends without first discussing it with the other.
Here’s how this can cause problems in your marriage.
Your friend may be fleecing you dry, but it is not obvious to you. Your spouse sees this clearly because they are emotionally detached from the situation.
However, depending on your partner’s approach, you may feel they don’t like your friend when they try to help you understand what is happening.
In this type of situation, it is not uncommon for some spouses to think that their significant other is trying to force them to choose between their friends and them.
Good friends won’t embarrass you with frequent requests for money because they understand that being in a marriage involves plenty of financial commitments. And even when they borrow money, they will pay it back promptly.
8. They Wrongly Influence You Into Bad Habits
Poor-quality friends will intentionally drag you into unhelpful habits that can destroy your marriage and even hurt you personally.
Be wary of friends that influence you into the following habits:
- Staying out late probably hanging out with friends
- Doing drugs or consuming excess alcohol
- Lying to your spouse
All of these habits can eventually take a toll on your marriage.
Of course, everyone has a right to choose the lifestyle they want, and I am not in any way telling you how to live your life.
But certain habits and lifestyles simply don’t foster a healthy marriage.
The Bottom Line
Now that you know how friends destroy marriages, should you ditch all your friends to make your spouse your priority?
You probably are dealing with a controlling partner if your spouse suggests you ditch all your friends. Succumbing to that could mean you are a people-pleaser with low self-esteem.
A better approach would be setting and enforcing boundaries instead of cutting off all your friends.
However, that friend your partner dislikes might be a serious threat to your marriage. For this reason, remember to always check in with your spouse to know what they think of your friends.
Friends who do not respect your marriage and who don’t foster your relationship are not worth keeping. Seek good-quality friends and make them family friends, too.