I recently looked up the phrase “Guys’ Night Out” in the popular online Urban Dictionary. According to the Urban Dictionary, “Guys night out is a harmless activity that male friends participate in for the purpose of reinforcing friendship or simply getting together to do something positive. Such activities include but are not limited to beer drinking, discussing business and finances, watching or playing sports, playing videogames or card games, occasionally talking about women or watching a movie that doesn’t suck.”
I followed this search with the Urban Dictionary definition of Girls’ Night Out. Clearly the editors of the Urban Dictionary are men. I found the definition disturbing, so I am not going to share the definition here, but in today’s post I want to talk about the role of guys’ and girls’ night out in healthy marriages. Is it appropriate for your husband to go out every Tuesday night with the guys? Is is alright for your wife to play bunko every Friday night with the neighborhood girls? How often is too much? What are the danger signs?
Having a sense of individuality can be healthy for the marriage relationship. The research is conclusive that having same sex friends improves health, makes us more attractive to our spouse and improves the overall quality of our lives. Having same sex friends to hang out with occasionally can be extremely healthy and beneficial to the marriage.
There are two main challenges with the concept of guys’ night out and girls’ night out:
The first challenge is that many couples have never had conversations about what behavioral guidelines are acceptable for the marriage. The problem with this is that when boundaries are crossed it creates conflict and a relational disconnect. When this happens the night out with friends becomes a constant source of conflict and chaos in the marriage. Take some time this week to talk about healthy boundaries in regards to this issue in your marriage. Make sure you have conversations about frequency, types of activities that are acceptable, and mechanisms to have conversations when it is not working for either one of you.
The second challenge with girls’ night out or guys’ night out is the reality that we only have a limited amount of time. Our marriage needs to be our highest priority. If you want to know what your true priorities are look at your check book and look at your calendar. Some people are more intentional about their night out with their friends than they are the weekly date night with their spouse.
If you are having regular guys’ night out or girls’ night out but are not having regular date nights your marriage is in trouble. Make a decision to fix this immediately. Make spending time with your spouse your highest priority. I have some of the best guy friends in the world. I truly am blessed with wonderful relationships and friends. But my very best friend is my wife, Cathy. There is no one that I love spending time with more than her. We have always gone on at least one date a week. I get with my friends and Cathy gets with her friends monthly or every other month. This works for us. Figure out what works best for you and your marriage, just make sure your spouse gets the number one place in your priorities.