Family and Friends

            The early days of a marriage are full of adjustments. However, it is not just the newlyweds who must adapt to the new situation. Your parents, siblings, and friends have spent many years thinking of you as a single person. It takes some time to realize you have commitments to someone else.

            Your friends are use to being able to call you up at the spur-of-the-moment to meet somewhere for a meal or a game. It is awkward, and perhaps silly to them, that you need to check with your spouse to if it is all right to be away. To you it is simple courtesy, but to your single friends it is being tied down. You want to bring your spouse along to enjoy the time together, but your old friends only want you. Often the differences in outlook becomes so vast that you lose many of your old friends. You move in a new circle now and often that requires making new friends who see you as a couple instead of two independent people.

            Your family has an even greater problem. Your parents have spent many years thinking of you as their child. Your siblings still see you as their old playmate. Not only have you moved on to be a mature adult, but you have someone who is a stranger to them along with you. Old habits are hard to break. Your parents are going to slip at times and speak to you as if you were still ten-years-old because in their mind you were ten just yesterday.

            This is why God said in Genesis 2:24 that a husband (or wife) must leave his father and mother. I strongly recommend that newlyweds move out of their parent’s home and establish their own home. Preferably, there should be some distance between the families, so Mom and Dad can’t just drop in without letting you know in advance and so that you are not tempted to run home each time a problem comes up. After you and your folks have gotten used to the fact that you are married, then you can make plans to live near each other if that is what you desire. (This usually becomes desirable when you start having children.) Moving to another town also helps you to establish new friends who only know you as a couple. The adjustment is hard at first, but it pays off in the long term.

            While the advice is sound, it will not always be practical. Moving to a new town means locating new jobs, which isn’t always possible. Newlyweds are notorious for being short of funds and some young couples cannot afford to get their own place immediately. Regardless of your particular circumstances, you still need to separate your new family from your old one. Distance makes it easier to do, but it can be done even while you live under the same roof. Understand that the adjustments will take time. Don’t get angry when people slip back into old habits. Just be prepared to give gentle reminders. Since the husband is the head of the family, this responsibility will generally fall on his shoulders. It is his duty to protect the sanctity of his family.