A Perfect Foursome: Couple Friendships
Keeping Adult Friendships
We met a couple at a dinner party about a year ago, and the four of us instantly hit it off. We were similar enough, yet different enough, that there was great potential for that most elusive of adult relationships -- a new "couple friendship." That's when two couples become friendly not just because there happens to be a work connection, a kid connection, or a friendship between half the couples into which their spouses are dragged kicking and screaming. I'm talking about a real emotional rectangle where all four people actually become instant friends.
A year later, I still think we are truly couple compatible. But there's a roadblock, and I have a pretty good idea what it is.
My wife and I are weird.
Lovably weird, I hope, but still weird, and in a very specific, socially challenged way. In a gender role reversal that may not seem like a big deal but actually is, I am the social director in our marriage. I am the one more motivated to make plans, keep plans, and make follow-up plans. I am, okay, the wife, and Diane is the husband, who can be counted upon when asked to commit to an outing to sigh, "Okay, if we must."
So, in our 20 years together, I've had a lot of discussions that go like this:
Me to another husband: "The four of us ought to get together for dinner sometime soon."
"Okay, I'll have my wife call Diane."
"Um, well, maybe you better have your wife call me."
By the way, I'm not trying to suggest that my wife is antisocial. Quite the opposite. Anyone who knows us will tell you Diane is much more charming than I am and infinitely more interesting. Not only is she an ideal guest, but she gives great thank-you note and even greater handwritten acceptance note, treating even the most casual get-together as though we've been invited to the White House. But until we actually leave the house to go see other people, getting her to commit to socializing can be a struggle.
Sometimes she doesn't want to tear herself away from her writing; sometimes her health problems keep her from wanting to stray too far from home. And she also resists surrendering all the time required to prepare for nights out, which I understand. For me, it takes about 20 minutes, from the start of my shower to the last slouching look in the mirror. For her...well, let's just say this is the one aspect of socializing where she is still very much the wife.
So, you can see the problem. Think of the sheer amount of time and energy all wives need to prepare themselves -- shower, hair, makeup, dress, re-dress, ask how she looks, ignore the answer, go re-dress again, and then enter into a round of accessorizing before a period of self-hypnosis to get to her "happy place." If the wife wasn't the driving force in making the plans, what would keep her going through these arduous rituals, once used only to prepare Egyptian queens for burial?