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June 03, 2024

When Your Friends Get Married: How To Keep Those Friendships Alive

Does it seem like everyone in your friend group is coupled up, except you? Lately, you've been receiving more engagement announcements, wedding invitations, or baby-gender-reveal party invites than ever.

Most of your friends are getting married—or married again. Or, they've already tied the knot and they're busy raising kids.

You looked up, and suddenly you're the lone single person.

Sure, you're happy for each of your friends' journey to find lasting love. But you're also feeling a jumbled mix of emotions: glad, sad, lonely, and maybe a bit jealous all at the same time.

Plus, your friends don't seem to have as much time for you anymore. They have date nights and couples dinners, and you feel left out.

I've felt that way before.

While my friends were dating and marrying, I was building my career. Sure, I dated—and even had a few long-term relationships—but I haven't found my special someone. At least, not yet.

When my friends were birthing babies, I, as an author, was "birthing" books. Suddenly, it wasn't so easy for them to take a spontaneous weekend road trip with me, or even see a movie, since they had someone else with whom to spend their weekends.

Indeed, planning a wedding and building a new marriage is a time of change in your relationships with your friends.

Now they're busy trying on wedding dresses, selecting flowers, and scouting venue locations for their big day, while you're trying to navigate your changing friendship.

But, here's what I've learned.

It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Even though your married friends may have less free time and different priorities, you can still maintain a friendship. It may look different than you expected, and change over time, but it is possible.

Here are some ideas to consider as you seek to maintain a friendship with a married friend:

1. Get perspective. Just because your friend is walking down the aisle, doesn't mean she's walking away from you. Sure, it's a different season in life, but you can still have a good friendship. I try to be understanding and tell myself, "This is all she can give me right now." My friend doesn't love me any less, her priorities have simply changed.

2. Change your expectations. Talk with your friend, and tell her how much your friendship means to you. Think about ways to keep the friendship alive, while respecting each other's schedules. Then, plan ahead and put your get-togethers on the calendar. It may not be like it used to be, but it can still be a meaningful friendship if both of you are willing to work toward it.

3. Reach out. Sometimes even a quick text to say "hi" and catch up can help you stay connected. Take the initiative and invite her over or to go out. With my close friends who are married with young children, most of the time I'm the one who is texting to say, "Let's do something." And usually, it's not getting a coffee with my friend alone, it's an activity with her and her kids.

Be creative in ways to connect. Whether it's an afternoon at the zoo, or a few hours at your friend's home watching the kids play on the swing set, cherish the time you have together.

I have a monthly prayer night at my house with single and married friends. Six of us gather in my living room (one friend, who lives in another state, joins us by Zoom) to snack, chat, and pray.

4. Cherish your freedom. As a single person, you have time to do things that your married friends may not. Enjoy this time in your life. Go on a mission trip. Start a podcast. Serve in your church. Reach out to those in need. Travel. Explore new hobbies or interests.

5. Be honest with yourself. If marriage and family are something you desire one day, then pursue that. Sometimes we need an "aha" moment to wake up to what we really want in life. Talk with God in prayer about your love life. Ask Him to open your heart—and open doors—to true and lasting love. Let your friends know you're looking for someone special. Or, join an online dating site or app. Get out of the house more often to meet people in person.

6. Make new friends. Be open to meeting new people and making friends with other singles. Perhaps there's a single adult group at your church to join. Someone needs the friendship you have to offer. Expanding your circle of single friends provides more opportunities to connect with people who have time to get together.

Lastly, treasure the friendships you have. They are precious and rare.

You may not be walking down the aisle soon, but you are walking with God—and trusting Him for His best. If the "single" status is where God has you right now, embrace this season.

You can choose to be a good friend whether you are coupled up or not, and live a life of joy.


Jackie M. Johnson is an author and blogger who writes inspiring content on growing a better life, the power of prayer, and encouragement for singles. Jackie has a heart to encourage single adults of all ages, and she has led numerous small groups and Bible studies for singles. Her books include the breakup recovery guide, When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton Is Empty, Power Prayers for Women, and Praying with Power When Life Gets Tough. Connect with Jackie at JackieJohnsonCreative.com.