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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Time With "The Guys"

...or time with "friends"...or lack thereof.

Quality Time - Arm WrestlingFor the married people in the audience tonight: how important to you is time with friends? For the wives, this would be time spent with "me and my girlfriends." For the husbands, this is commonly referred to as "time spent chilling with the guys." For the purpose of this post, such activities preclude one half of the marital corps.

I suppose I should add some further restrictions on the circumstances. How important is time with friends if you could be spending that time with your spouse? (I have no problem with Harmony visiting and being visited by friends from church during the daytime while I'm not there anyways.)

I ask this question because of some "hanging out" that Harmony, Luna, and I did recently with one of my good friends from college (who was also the Best Man (tm) in our wedding). Somewhere in the course of the hangout, he made mention that if/when he were married, he'd still "have to" exercise his option to have time with the fellas. Since I've been married, I've never felt the urge to exercise this option. Especially when I think of my time this way: On average, I spend the majority of my waking hours away from my family :P I wake up around 6 AM and get home around 5 PM. We start getting ready for bed at about 8 or so, and I usually fall asleep between 9:30 and 10.

If I regularly spent time with "the guys," cut out a good portion of time that could've been spent with my wife. Unless it's a special occasion, every once in a while, or unless Harmony can come along, it's just not really that worth-it to me. I firmly believe that spending time with my wife is one of the most important interpersonal activities I do on this earth (aside from things like, say, performing CPR on a cardiac-arrested child. Luna says "and feeding me!"). When I get off work, I look forward to seeing my wife and dog. When we have children, I imagine the desire for home will only increase. I imagine that my desire to "hang out with the (nigh non-existent) guys" will decrease even further.

We go to a church where there's only one other young married couple within 5 years mean age of us. All other people, married or not (especially married with children), are busy with their own lives. In my life, "the guys" do not exist. They are not there. They have not been there for at least 1.5 years. They even started getting phased out of my life back when my relationship with Harmony was blossoming. I don't know if it's a bad thing that I never initiate hanging-out-time with other men in my church, but those men are just as busy (if not busier) than I am, and just as likely to decline a regular hanging-out-time.

So I don't really have "friends" or "buddies" anymore. Not like I did in college. But I'm okay with that. Is that so wrong? At-large culture would probably tell me that I need to "get out more and socialize." Not that I care about what at-large culture has to say about socialization, amen homeschoolers?. At-large culture seems to say that I'm weird if I spend most of my time at home, with my family.

To sum things up in bullet points:

  • I grant that spending time with friends is important...

  • ...but nowhere near as important as spending time with your spouse.

  • For me, spending time with friends is fine...

  • ...especially if we can do it as a family...

  • ...or if I can do it while Harmony is otherwise occupied or away from home.

What do the older married people have to say about this? And by older, I mean anyone who's been married longer than we have.

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10 have poured out their souls in electronic text:

  • Ginny

    I agree with everything you have said on this subject, thus far. There is a difference between men and women on this issue, though. I find that I spend a lot more time with friends than my beloved does. He doesn't have time, inclination, or need for it that I do. I don't have a great need, but I am more inclined that way. It is not so important, though, that I cannot break it off to spend time with my beloved. And, usually, it is done while he is at work. My time with my friends is sheduled around my husband. I will rarely be with my friends when my husband is home. My husband does not spend any time with friends like I do. I don't know of any men who have time with friends like I know the women do. Men are busy being men: providing for their families in financial, physical, and spiritual ways. At least the men I know...

    But, after all is said and done, I am my husbands best friend and he is mine. We like each other and enjoy each others company. I believe that that is different than loving each other...

    :-D

    (We also arm wrestle once in a while. I only win when I cheat or surprise him. LOL!)

  • Laura

    As you well know, my dh and I are not an older married couple by any definition. But we are different, so I thought I'd comment.

    I have a similar schedule to JunkMale: I work for 8 hours and then come home. My husband has a very open schedule (due to grad school), and he will often meet with one of his friends to play board games over lunch or just to hang out during the day. It seems to be the same idea as Harmony meeting with friends while you're at work: no way dh and I could be spending time together, so there's no cost to weigh. On the other hand, his weekend time with the guys has nearly always included me. Means I have to be fine playing guy-type games, but they're actually starting to grow on me, and most of all it's just good to spend that time with my husband.

    Every couple of months, a group of women in my "small group" at church meet up to spend time together. I, being a female with some amount of need for friendships, jump on the chance to go when I can. I make sure my dh has something he can eat for dinner, and I don't tend to stay out past 9:00. But I appreciate the occasional time with these girls -- moving to a new place far from all my family and friends (except of course my husband!) has made developing new friendships very important to me, and there's a time investment needed for that.

    That being said, most of my time with those women is spent with all of our husbands included. Honestly, I don't see any benefit to excluding the guys; when they're there, I still can have one-on-one conversations with the other women. Of course, if a chick flick is on the agenda, the *guys* might see a benefit to not being invited. :-)

  • Ewokgirl

    Our 10-year anniversary is this week, so I guess I qualify as older. ;-) We do some hanging out with friends without each other, but not very frequently. I might go shopping with the girls, and he might see some guy movie that I don't want to see with the guys. But usually, when we're with friends, we're with our mutual friends, meaning couples.

    I sometimes do things with my friends during the day. Steven goes to lunch or plays video games with his work friends. I do occasionally do things in the evenings or on the weekends. That actually is a bit of a kindness to my husband because he does enjoy having the house to himself once in a while.

    He'll often go to do stormtrooper events without me. Sometimes I tag along if he's going somewhere interesting, but mostly, that's his time with his fellow stormtroopers. And I'm okay with that.

    I think it's normal to want to spend your free time with your family, but I do think it shouldn't be at the total exclusion of all others. It is important to keep up friendships.

  • Laura

    Hubby and I will be celebrating 15 years of marriage at the end of this month! :D

    We enjoy getting together and showing hospitality to others, which usually means other couples (whether they have children or not). I don't know if this has been "sub-conciously on purpose" or if that is just the way things naturally gravitate when a person is no longer single. It seems natural to us that the desire for the feeling/appearance of a single life would and should fade after marriage. I suppose it also depends upon how much of a party animal you were before- ;)

    I do know that both my husband and myself would feel slighted if the other were to show a preference for spending even more time away from each other than what is part of our normal days.

    So, I guess this is a long-winded way of saying, "Bully to you!"

    Proverbs 5:18--...Rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

    Genesis 2:24--Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife...

  • Birdie

    I guess Eaglewood and I would qualify as an older couple... We've been married for 17 years now (18 come September) and tend to spend most of our free time together by choice. We tend to prefer each other's company and place a high value on any time spent building our relationship. Our eldest two children have actually told us, recently, that they really appreciate the fact that my husband and I value each other and each of them so much. We do enjoy having family and friends over just about anytime and sometimes visit with them as well.

  • Thehotrod5

    We are the same way (for the most part). We have been married 11 years and Kyle has never really shown any desire to "go out with the guys." We prefer to spend our time as a family. That being said....I am the one who more often than not is on the phone with my girlfriends, going out for play dates (with specific friends in mind) or maybe (say once a year) heading out to a movie with the girlfriends (NO KIDS!). When this happens though it is generally a movie that Kyle has no interest seeing combined with the fact that it is one I REALLY want to see in the theater. Those times are rare lol. I make the "assumption" that Kyles desire for his family is because he is away from us all day and then into the evening hours (he is getting his own business started). He is surrounded by men ALL day and is able to converse with other adults in his situation ALL day. Me on the other hand, I have the kids all day (no I am not complaining here...just showing where our time is alloted) we homeschool, I take them to the store, the pool, fieldtrips etc. Most of the time I am lucky if I get to shower or use the restroom alone....nto to be gross...just honest. After talking with the kids ALL day I find that I REALLY need some adult time. Kyle is a great listener but while he has people he talks to all day in his situation..I too look for other women to talk to who are in mine. And sometimes....it is good for me to go out with a friend (even if only once a year) to get away from everyday...and it is also good for Kyle to be the main care taker of the children for at least that one day ( or couple of hours). I tend to call these "mental health breaks" lol. Don't get me wrong, the majority of our time is spent as a family and every once in a while Kyle and I go out on a date "alone" and that is how we prefer it.

  • Harmony's Mom

    I guess I will be the oldest to comment so far: Alan & I have been married for almost 30 years (this coming January). We like to do most everything together, but we also have time for ourselves. Alan is involved in a band, so for practice time he also gets to spend time with another brother in our church by carpooling, etc. I try to go to the concerts and try to bring other family members and friends along to enjoy it together. I sure did need the time with other women friends during the day when I was a stay-at-home Mom. Now that I work & am going to school I need more time at home just with my husband to stay sane. I still like an occasional night out with the girls, especially to see a chick flick (which Alan hates anyway). This happens maybe once a month & it's usually on DVD & most everyone else has seen it, but those times are really good. To sum this up, each stage of life has its own needs, family time is the most important, but keep in touch with other friends. You never know when they will really need you, or you may need them.

  • Headmistress, zookeeper

    My husband doesn't have any guy friends that he just likes to hang out with, either, and we've been married a quarter of a century.
    There was a time when he ws really into racquet ball, and he would go play after work a couple nights a week. He would have preferred it if I went with him, but I'm not sports oriented, and 'after work' at that time was midnight (on military base where the sports center was open 24 hours). So it didn't take away his family time, just his sleep time. That's why he did it that way. Spending time with us has always been his first priority.
    When he has had good guy friends, they've pretty much been part of a couple, so we were spending time together, OR, it was some single guy he would have over to the house- so it was still family time. The guys might step outside to shoot targets (a couple of our girls like this, too, but I don't), but they were here at the house, being part of the family.

    I do talk on the phone to friends more often than he does- he needs a focus and a point to the conversation if he's on the phone. The two gal pals of mine that I talk on the phone with don't. I think men *tend* to be more goal oriented, outside of their family relationships, and women *tend* to be more relationship oriented. He needs a tangible goal. Just 'building relationships' is kind of hard for him to grasp- except for with his wife and kids.

    My brother is different- he and his wife regularly have time apart. I don't get it, but if it works for them....

  • Headmistress, zookeeper

    I did just remember one separate activity we do- we have friends with four boys, and once in a while my husband will take our son over to their house and they'll watch Star Wars movies while the wife of that family comes over here and we watch chick flicks. Or a couple times the dads have taken the boys camping while the gals have stayed home and, um, watched chick flicks.=)

    Camping, btw, is pitching a tent in our woods, so they leave after dinner and come home for breakfast.

    But honestly, I enjoy these events more than my husband does. He does it for our son, because he knows as the only boy in a fam with six girls, our son really benefits from his friendships with these four very nice brothers. He likes it best when we just get together with all of both families.

  • JunkMale

    In case anyone misses it, I had written up a really long comment which I decided to turn into a post in and of itself. But I take it that most, if not all, of you subscribe to our RSS feed, so this is really a pointless notification.