Entering a new life stage is fun, exciting, kinda scary – and totally worth it. But entering a new stage of life means you’re leaving an old one and that transition, though beautiful, is harder than it seems. I have never been one for change. So I spent my engagement preparing for my life to do exactly that – change. I prepared myself to share our home, our finances, our struggles, split our holidays between in-laws and parents, etc etc. We took equipping classes and premarital counseling to prepare for the wonderful world of marriage. And they paid off. Joe and I are having a fun, easy, and beautiful first year of marriage. But the change I didn’t plan for was that of my friendships.
As a single person, you only have one person to think about: yourself. That means you have only one schedule to plan around. You have all the time in the world to grab dinner, meet for coffee, and fellowship with other people which is such a vital part of everyday life (as well as our spiritual lives). However, when you get married, it’s like all your free time magically disappears and scheduling fellowship becomes dang near impossible because you have two schedules to plan around (not to mention the need to spend quality time with your spouse). It becomes a great juggling act trying to balance spouse time, church time, work time, errand time, extended family time, work out time, friend time… You perform these time-defying acrobatics until to realize, you can’t do it all without running yourself into the ground. And even worse, people notice. They realize you don’t have all the time in the world for them anymore. They’ve realized that you’re in another life stage and, though they don’t forget about you, they find people to fill the void where you once stood. They adapt and evolve to what their life stage looks like without you. While my friends have ‘moved on’, I’m stuck in between the stages, trying to figure out what adapting and evolving even looks like.
While in this transition, I’ve come to the frustrating realization that you can’t be friends with everyone and everyone can’t be friends with you. Friendships change… some for the better and some for the worse, which frankly sucks. But as I adapt to friendships post-wedding, I’m learning a lot about commitment and sacrifice. Because just like marriage, if you don’t fight for it and don’t sacrifice time for it, the relationship will become a shell of what it once was. You can’t leave it alone and expect it to live. And so this extrovert and loyal friend is learning that I don’t have the emotional nor physical bandwidth to keep all my friendships at the level I want them to be. I’m grieving that loss…But as I do, I am encouraged to know that this transition isn’t bad; it’s just different. New life stages provide new opportunities to strengthen old friendships and make new ones. Some friendships are for a season and some for a lifetime and, ultimately, I am not alone. I am fully loved by friends, family, a husband, and my God.