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How do I handle my wife’s friends?

Dear Michael,

While I appreciate that we are all social beings and women are more social than men, I am concerned about the many friends that my wife has.

She has friends of diverse cultures and backgrounds some of whom I am jittery about their values. In addition, I feel some of her friends neither respect me nor our marriage.

 

They are not just her friends but also business partners and hence it’s not that easy to call off the friendship. I care about my wife and I want our marriage to be enjoyable and fruitful.

How do I handle her friends? Would asking her to withdraw from those businesses be selfish of me?

Robert
Dear Robert,

The first sense one gets is that you want to be in control. That’s not necessarily bad, especially since you have a vision for your family, and values that you want your family to espouse.

Does your wife know these values, explicitly spoken about, and lived-up to by you?

If as husband and wife you are on the same page, then might it be important to trust her? It is also evident that you know your wife.

She must lack the ability to stand firm on her beliefs and values and hence your concerns. She must really like being with and around people, and that is why she has many friends. She must be non-judgmental with regard to cultures and backgrounds.

But does she have values? And does she value you and your opinion? Have you related with her in a manner that encourages her to value your opinion?

I hope your feelings about the lack of respect for your marriage are wrong. But if they are right, there are only two people who can be held responsible: you and your wife.

None of her friends, or your friends for that matter, would take the liberty to disrespect your marriage unless they have received ‘permission’ from you.

The permission could come in the form of participating in putting down your spouse before them, or remaining silent when such disrespect takes place, or showing that what you are engaged in with them is of greater importance than your relationship with your spouse.

Robert, businesses are formed, grow and either rise or fall. The same is true of marriages. We choose what is most important to us.

 

Yet, has your marriage reached the point where it requires the ending of business partnerships to survive?

If you want an enjoyable and fruitful marriage, then make it happen. Stop worrying too much about the external forces. Stop trying to control your wife. Influence her to want to choose you and your marriage, over the business partners and friends.

She chose you once before, you have the upper hand, use it!  Remaining aware of the threats that her friends pose to your marriage, take action in the direction of pleasing her. If she responds, it will be long lasting, but nothing that’s worth it comes easy.

Be ready to consistently, and for as long as necessary (till death do you part), to please her beyond her expectation.

Delay giving a directive to end friendships… you would rather she saw the sense in doing so herself by becoming too valuable for her to risk losing. Even so, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do in the interest of his marriage and family.

Do you have a pressing personal problem? Seek advice from Michael Oyier at [email protected]