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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

4 Types of Couple Friends

My favourite episode of How I Met Your Mother so far has to be The Sexless Inkeeper (Season 5, Episode 4). To be fair, I haven't finished the whole series unlike the husby, but I remember watching this episode with Gladys the sis and replaying it again and again cos it's just too funny!

Okay before I go ahead of myself, here's a brief summary on one part of the episode that I'm referring to.

Lily and Marshall got very excited when they found out that Robin and Barney were dating because they could then go on double dates. They started inviting them over for double dates where they were overexcited, came on too strong and tried too hard to impress their guests, which led to Robin and Barney distancing themselves from Lily and Marshall, and slowly rejecting their double date invites. 

Lily and Marshall were very hurt by that and started blaming each other for what happened (which was hilarious omg!), and while Robin and Barney stopped hanging out with Lily and Marshall, they never thought that they would actually miss having couple friends and their company (though their double dates sucked). So they decided to make it up to them, only to find out that Lily and Marshall had moved on and found themselves new couple friends for double dates. It left Robin and Barney feeling shunned and lonely as if they went through a break up.

The whole episode was just hilarious, and when I watched it close to 4 years ago, I didn't understand the whole concept of double dating and the importance of having couple friends. I just had a good laugh at the episode and that's it. It didn't resonate with me and I thought that it was just something funny that the producers cooked up.

I mean, why would we want to double date when we can have a private and romantic date, just the two of us? And why would we want to have a couples vacation when we go can on our own, just the two of us? It didn't make sense to me back then. 4 years ago, I was still dating Boon and every date meant the world to me. Getting to spend quality time alone with my bf was rare, and we were not allowed to go on vacations alone as a couple too (which I'm kinda thankful for, else our honeymoon wouldn't have felt so special). So the concept of double dating and having couple friends never made sense to the 21 year old me.

However, after we got married, things changed. We found ourselves to love the company of other couple friends more than we used to. Before we got married, we only wanted time for ourselves and stick with each other as much as we could. But as we grew older and more mature, especially after getting married and settling down, we realised that we're looking more outwardly and have become more open in sharing our lives with the people around us, couple friends or not. I guess it's one of those things that being married does to you. When you're feeling much more settled in life, you feel less uptight and caught up with yourself only and have more capacity to look into the needs of others. At least that's what happened to us.

Since we got married, at every single wedding, we found ourselves having better quality conversations with other couples, mostly about life, career, business, marriage, weddings, getting preggers, raising kids, etc., and we actually really do enjoy such topics now! After two years, I came to realise that every couple needs couple friends, and at this stage of our lives, we need 4 types of couple friends:

1. Newly Married Couple Friends

It's not hard to have couple friends who are about the same age and in same stage of life as us. Newly married, no babies yet, still fresh in this thing called marriage, still exploring and learning and honeymooning. We can talk about anything at all- from wedding woes, problematic wedding guests, honeymoon destinations, plan upcoming vacations together, where to get good beds and furniture, what type of knives we use in the kitchen, which property to invest in, when we plan to get preggers, contraceptives, and even how our first night went *ahem*. We were surprised at how we (and most newly married couples) become much more open when we're married, which is not a bad thing at all. We become more open in sharing our experiences on life in general and helping each other grow and journey together, and it feels really good knowing that we have couple peers with whom we can journey life together.

2. Newly Parents Couple Friends

Having just turned 25 a few months ago, I don't have many peers who are already parents. In fact, most of my friends have yet to get married. But Boon being 4 years older than me, many of his friends have become parents to newborn babies and toddlers. When we hang out together, it is usually more on a sharing session. We would usually be the ones asking questions like, "So how was your labour? OMG tell me all about it!", "Did you guys plan to have epidural? Did the laughing gas work for you?", "Did you see the whole process? The WHOLE process?"

Since they're new parents and parenthood is still something fairly fresh for them, they're usually very keen to share their experiences which makes it really fun. They still remember the labour down to the details, and usually when they share about being new parents, they would share tips and advices, and at the same time encourage us that it is doable, manageable, and though it's not easy, they're still loving it.

At this stage of our marriage, we're like a sponge absorbing every single experiences and information we can learn in preparation for our next stage to be parents, and to hear it firsthand from our closest friends, it just becomes much more exciting and fun. 

3. Been-There-Done-That Couple Friends

Being in a big church like ours (and also being very friendly and sociable people that we are), we have friends of all ages, which also includes couple friends who are much older than us, whose children have grown up and started going to school.

It is totally different when we hang out with them though. Unlike our Peer Couple Friends whom we can empathise with, or our Newly Parents Couple Friends who are as excited to share all the details of parenthood as we are in listening, when we hang out with Been-There-Done-That Couple Friends, it is usually an advisory type of chat. They take on the role of mentors who give sound advice and guidance on what we should do next, what we should and should not be worrying about, and sharing their experiences in parenthood, mistakes they made and things we should avoid doing.

We usually learn a lot from this group of couple friends, and it feels good knowing that we have mentors whom we can go to if ever we face any problems to come.

4. Dating Couple Friends

As much as it's great to have couple friends who are of the same stage and more senior than us, it is also good to have couple friends who are younger than us, couples who are still dating or engaged.

At this point, we become the mentor that this younger couple looks up to for guidance, just as how we look up to senior couples for advice. With this group of younger couple friends, our conversations usually revolve around when they plan to get married, where is a good location to purchase a property, hotel rates for wedding receptions, where to get a ring, how to handle problematic relatives who love to butt in to the wedding planning, and so on. Now, they're the ones doing the asking while we're the ones doing more of the talking.

Why it's healthy to have couple friends who are at this stage is because whenever we advice other couples, we learn about ourselves too. We realise that both of us are on the same page as we share and offer advice and solutions to others, and are reaffirmed that we're both on the same team, and that we're a good team. We can only share our experiences with others when we have ourselves communicated openly about these things in the first place, and each time we share, it makes me feel glad that hey, we're actually feeling the same way about things. It reassures me that we have a healthy, open communication in our marriage. It's hard for me to find the right words to explain further but I hope you get what I mean haha. 

At the same time, it makes us a better, more responsible couple because who are we to mentor others when we ourselves are not living right and being a good example? It helps us to keep ourselves in check because we know there are many others who are looking up to us as role models, and also it keeps our hearts big and open in continuing to care and be there for others. It teaches us to be more giving and basically more selfless.

So yeah, couple friends. 
Every couple needs couple friends. 

It helps us grow better as a couple when we have all of the couple friends listed above. I'm not sure if this applies only just for us, but if you also have the same views about having couple friends, share it with me!

Til' then!

love, Careen

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