There's a nasty little rumor floating around that once you get married, your friendships will change — for the worse. But our experts are here to bust that myth and share how your friendships will actually change for the better. Here's how.
1. You'll make more friend dates.
Let's face it: Now that you've tied the knot, more of your time is tied up. So as a single gal, you could get together with friends on the fly, it's more likely now you'll actually have to add them to your calendar. But don't fear: Making these kinds of penned-in commitments to your gal pals will actually strengthen your friendships, says Malini Bhatia, founder of Marriage.com. Why? Because all lasting relationships have expectations and regular dates, she says. So, "switching from random events to consistent meetings can add to friendship," Bhatia explains, "and extend the life of the friendship because you know you can count on each other to show up."
2. You'll gain a new perspective you can share.
Relationship and etiquette expert April Masini says that marriage will give you a new lease on life you simply didn't have as a single person. You'll be able to add that fresh perspective to your arsenal of advice, making you a more useful friend. "A friend who has some fluidity and perspective tends to be more valuable," Masini explains, "and if you're that person who's marrying, you'll see things differently than when you were single. Your friends have the benefit of your new perspective."
3. You'll sharpen your listening skills.
You'll soon find out that one of the most crucial components to a healthy marriage is an ability to really listen to your spouse, Bhatia says. And that skill can seriously benefit your friendships too. "A friendship will only mature and deepen if the friends are good listeners," she says. "This is the difference between a superficial friendship based on circumstance and a deep friendship in which both friends feel a sense of being understood and liked for who they really are. By learning listening skills in our marriages, we can become better listeners with our friends."
See More: 5 Ways Marriage Can Boost Your Happiness
4. You'll give your friends a new friend.
By getting hitched, you've automatically added a new friend to your inner circle. And that new friend, says Masini, is your spouse. Now that you're married, "you can offer your friends the brotherly advice benefit of your husband," she says, "because, by association, he's now part of their team! Your friends can ask him for advice. He can vet your friend's dates, and give her the guy's perspective on things. He's a new go-to brotherly asset as a husband of your friend."
5. You'll take your friendships to the next level.
The relationship you have with your spouse likely started out as lust and grew to a deep love. "Steamy romance novels aside, a long-term marriage often involves intentional nurturing of intimate moments," says Bhatia. Like your marriage, your friendship has to go from the lust level to a deeper, more intimate place. And your marriage will help you take it there. "Building intimacy in a friendship is similar to building it in a marriage," Bhatia says. "It requires planning ahead, thinking deeply, and listening carefully. It means that you build a trust bank over time through acts both big and small."
__6. You'll go with the flow (of the friendship). __
Says Bhatia, "No marriage stays the same over decades. That's because no two people stay the same over time. You change jobs, have kids, lose parents, and face disaster. Life changes constantly, and in marriage we must learn to flex with the times." But at the same time, she says, many friendships exist in a fixed time based solely on present circumstances — think: your kids are in school together, or you work for the same company. "In order for a friendship to endure over time, the friends must adjust to the changing circumstances of life," Bhatia says. "Your kids will graduate, one of you will move on from the firm, and the art class will end. Just like in marriage, if you want to maintain the friendship, you need to find ways to adjust to each others lives and find new ways of relating to each other over time."