Reading time: ~5 seconds for the simple answer; ~5 minutes for the answer you’re here to read.

The simple answer is no.

Now that we have the essence of the post captured in the simple, let’s flesh that out a little bit more. There is a Wolof saying that goes “borom thiakh dou andak borom baatou neen.” That’s not the correct Wolof spelling so forgive me, but my Wolof readers will be able to read it phonetically and understand. A loose English translation says one with a necklace should not hang out with someone who’s neck is bare. At its core, this phrase is most commonly used for married women and their single friends. The idea being that the single friend may steal the necklace (i.e., the husband). It’s as funny as it’s not because it sets forth this narrative that women cannot be friends if their romantic situations are different. That eventually, jealousy will set in, and rivalry will follow. This phrase is often used as a reason for moms and aunts to warn their daughters and nieces to “cut down” on friends after they get married so they can focus on their marriage being successful. I think this is such a dangerous idea to throw around. It basically says that there is no trust, no loyalty, and no sisterhood among women, not to mention the lack of willpower and self-control on the husband’s part for not being able to resist (or not even look at in that way) the single friend that’s coming around.

But wait – what about preaching more positive and accountable ideas like “don’t cheat on your wife” or “don’t try to seduce your friend’s husband”? I digress… if I don’t stop now, I will go down a rabbit role of trying to dissect that phrase and end up with things that weren’t even the initial intent of this post.

Should you cut down on friends after marriage? No. But you should prioritize, as you do with everything else in life. It’s not as simple as getting married and never seeing your friends again. You wouldn’t do that with a new job, would you? Or just because you move to a new city, right? But organically, things shift and change as you shift and change into new realities of your life. You can’t expect to do everything as you used to and expect the same results. When you get a new job, you don’t spend the same amount of time talking to old co-workers as you do your new ones. Simply because you’re going to be around the new ones more. And maybe that’s a bad example because a job and marriage are not the same things (although, some would argue that a marriage is a job in and of itself). But you get what I mean – priorities change over the time and the key to managing it all is balance. Two of my Instagram followers encapsulated it perfectly: (1) Friendships and romantic relationships can coexist. Just being with your partner is isolating and (2) They [friendships] are very important to keep, even after marriage; you just need to know how to balance them.

I couldn’t agree more. You cannot isolate yourself to just one person and expect happiness. As human beings, we are made up of multiple and many aspects: our home life, work life, family, friends, romantic relationships, strangers even and so much more. All of that is important and just because you get married, it doesn’t mean you have to turn your back on the very people who likely were cheering you on in the relationship or helping you put your dress on at the wedding. Friendships and sisterhoods are so very important and maintaining them, nourishing them over them is an absolute must! Creating shared friendships as the friend group grows and people enter into romantic relationships is helpful! Maintaining your individual friendships is also a healthy practice! All that to say, you should not cut down on friends after getting married. You should just take stock and prioritize.

If you do make the mistake of cutting down or eliminating friends after marriage, undoubtedly, you will come to regret that decision. Marriages are not all sunrises and pina coladas. They’re hard work and your partner will tap on your last nerve, or you may even go through downright tough times. That doesn’t mean you go and air your dirty laundry out for everyone to know. But you do need a shoulder to cry on every now and then and a friend to listen and console you. That is a fact, and it can’t always be your spouse, especially when they’re the source of your frustration/anger/pain.

To wrap up, as someone who believes that marriage is sacred, I will end by saying your marriage comes first. That’s not in contradiction to everything I have said above nor is it a hypocritical viewpoint, at least I don’t think so. But there’s a reason why you’re bound spiritually and legally to your partner – there’s a higher degree of responsibility, care, and accountability with that relationship. You hope to start a family with that person and grow old together so naturally, that will float to the top in terms of importance.

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