Ours is a mixed marriage of extrovert and introvert. In most every aspect of our life together, this yin-yang has served our relationship well. For the most part, we have learned how to finesse and embrace our opposite perspectives. We are at our best when appreciating that the other’s strengths make the whole stronger and more fabulous.
One particular area of give and take, regularly tested, is our approach to social engagements. Don’t get me wrong. My better half enjoys our friends as much as I do, but a preference for an evening at home streaming Netflix is his default position. In contrast, as the extrovert in our marriage, I am always game for meeting new people and quick to say yes to accepting and extending social invitations. More than once have I been chastised for making a commitment without consulting him first (though he rarely regrets the consequences of my action).
For him, an evening of brief encounters and chitchat at a packed party is a less-than-thrilling prospect. Knowing that I delight in making my way around the room, we have settled upon a sometimes-employed practice at larger social events—he will sneak an early, quiet exit and then return to pick me up as my personal Uber driver once I am socially sated.
Despite our differing perspectives on parties and receptions, we easily agree that our couple friends are vital to both our individual happiness and joy as a couple. Sometimes it is nice to be out and about with just your partner. But, enjoying hiking, day-tripping, traveling, dining out, or other activities with another couple can add a little zest to the experience for everyone. Couple friends, whether as a foursome or a group, add to our relationship in a way that individual friendships cannot.
A primary benefit to couple dating is you get to see your partner enjoying himself/herself with others and others enjoying his/her company as well. “Bringing out the best” in everyone is affirming and will make your mate more attractive to you, strengthening your relationship. There is always something to learn from being with another couple, too. Interacting with them will open your eyes to differing perspectives, experiences, and interests. These conversations result in making you feel more confident and interesting.
Social interactions allow you to observe and learn how other couples handle ups, downs, and conflicts. You can support them emotionally through tough times and expect they will be there for you when you need it. Good friendships will increase feelings of belonging and purpose. Plus, there is the added benefit of positive peer pressure.
The golden ticket is finding couple friends where everyone clicks. Sometimes couples jive, sometimes not. So don’t try to force a group friendship on your partner or friends. Choosing to hang out with your bestie without your mate may better serve your relationships.
I’m here if you need me. Until then, y’all behave.