This lie arises from the desire to be so fully enmeshed with one’s spouse that no one could come close to fulfilling needs like one’s spouse. The thought is that because one’s spouse is their best friend (and we agree, they should be!), that therefore all counsel, relational, and social fulfillment should be in the context of the marriage.
The reality is, no one person can fulfill all the needs of another. You and your spouse are gifts to each other from God and should be treated as such. You are the most important person in each other’s life. However that doesn’t mean you are the only person who should be in each other’s life!
God created us for community. The very nature of the Church is for us to be in relationship with others. Your spouse needs friendships of the same gender. We don’t endorse friendships that will be detrimental to your marriage with people who go bar hopping or clubbing to flirt or hook up. Nor do we recommend relationships that will be unsupportive of your marriage.
But it is healthy for your spouse to have godly friendships. Likewise, its important for you to have good, godly friendships as well! “…in an abundance of counselors there is safety…[and] victory” (Proverbs 11:14, 26:4). There is sheer wisdom in having others in your lives off of whom you can bounce things. Your marriage is actually weaker when you are exclusionary of other close relationships.
It can feel threatening to release your spouse to hang out with friends. It may even feel like a betrayal or that you are somehow less valuable to your spouse. You’ll have to work through that and agree on what it looks like to build friendships and spend time with friends.
As you free your spouse from the weight of having to meet all your needs, you will grow as a person and the two of you will build your marriage.