After Brad and I were married, there was nothing we'd rather do than spend time with each other. We couldn't wait to get home from work, and we planned every weekend moment to maximize our time together. I wanted to spend all my time with him.
One day after we'd been married six months, while sifting through the mail, I came across a card from a college friend: "Thinking about you and praying that everything is going well in your new life."
Wow, I thought. I've really been neglecting my friends.
Marriage had changed my priorities—I felt complete fulfillment with my husband. For the first time I didn't have to stick one toe outside my front door to find what I was looking for. And I was content to keep it that way.
As the months passed, though, I noticed that other people had outside friends who didn't include their spouse. One night I looked at a photo of my mother, who passed away several years ago, and remembered all the friends she'd had.
Am I becoming a hermit? I wondered.
So I called a married friend who lives in another state and shared my thoughts.
"Denise," she told me, "it's natural for you to want to spend time with your husband. After 10 years I still do. Making Brad a priority is the way God intended it. But he can't be everything for you. God created us for community, which means you still need friends in your life. You and Brad need to figure out what that looks like in your marriage."
In a different place
The next day I had lunch with a couple of old friends from church. It didn't take long before the conversation shifted to the new cute guy at work, the next singles activity, and the latest on the dating front. I brought up my marriage a couple times, but was met with blank stares.1